Bedroom alcove ideas – 10 ways to decorate, design and use nooks and niches

Be inspired by bedroom alcove ideas that show how to make the most of these elegant recesses

Bedroom alcove ideas
(Image credit: Future)

Bedroom alcove ideas offer a wealth of options for the room’s design. Large versions are the perfect place to locate the bed or seating, while smaller nooks provide space for storage or display.

If they’re an architectural feature of the room, make the most of alcoves when selecting your bedroom ideas, but there’s also the opportunity to add alcoves into a square or rectangular room to create detail and interest as well as to solve practical problems.

Take your cue from our selection of bedroom alcove ideas here and maximize style and storage.

Bedroom alcove ideas

Alcove ideas can exploit everything from the smallest of niches to spaces big enough for furniture in the bedroom, and wall decor can draw attention to them, or make them discreet. These are our favorite bedroom alcove ideas.

1. Highlight an alcove with an accent color

grey bedroom with grey button backed bed, wooden floor, alcove, side table, wall light, bench seat

(Image credit: Button & Sprung)

An accent shade will draw the eye to an alcove. Introduce it with bedroom paint ideas or, as here, with headboard ideas like this dark buttoned design.

'Soft neutrals are used to create a calm and uplifting space,' says Adam Black, co-founder of Button & Sprung of this room. ‘Some of our favorite bedrooms feature a neutral color scheme paired with a dark accent color for maximum effect.’

2. Use a bedroom alcove to display artwork 

Parquet wood flooring in a bedroom

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

'If your bed doesn't fit into an alcove you can still position it in front of it so it becomes a feature,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens. ‘Use the space to decorate with art instead – an alcove creates a perfect frame for it.’

3. Create an alcove with bespoke storage

bedroom with alcove and fitted side table, lamp and shelf

(Image credit: Original BTC)

Bespoke bedroom storage ideas keep a sleep space clutter-free and calming, but they also offer the opportunity to introduce attractive bedroom alcove ideas.

'This clever design incorporates storage behind the bed, plus it has created an alcove with a built-in bedside and a high shelf,' says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief, Homes & Gardens.

4. Add a secret alcove

neutral bedroom with hidden overbed storage, modern bedside, gold detailing on wall

(Image credit: ND Studios)

Think bedroom alcove ideas that are concealed to store more without disrupting the room’s peaceful ambience.

'We love a secret corner here at H&G, and what's better than a hidden mini alcove like this fabulous design from ND Studios ,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens. ‘You can keep all of your favorite things in here and at the end of day, close it back up and view the beautiful metallic design on the door.’

5.Create a cozy nook in a window alcove

neutral bedroom with alcove window seat, bench, wooden bedside, ochre color palette

(Image credit: OKA)

Building window seat ideas into bedroom layouts makes the room a private retreat, and an alcove can be the ideal location.

‘If you’re lucky enough to have a window alcove in your bedroom, then you’ve got the perfect opportunity to create a cozy spot in which to curl up and read a book or, even better, watch the world go by,' says Sue Jones, co-founder of OKA. ‘I’d add plenty of cushions to make it feel extra comfortable, plus it’s a great way to bring color and pattern to the room. Try to pick out shades that match the rest of the space, to create a cohesive look.’

6. Opt for a custom headboard in an alcove

black and white bedroom with built in storage, wall leith, wooden floor, artwork

(Image credit: TR Studios)

'A custom-made headboard is a great way to utilize an alcove in the bedroom,' says Tom Rutt, founder of TR Studio. ‘In our project NCH House we created a custom made timber headboard which wraps around the existing chimney stack, utilizing the recesses for storage with bedside tables from a rich, chocolate stained oak. 

‘Not only do the headboard and bedside tables provide storage with bedroom shelving and cupboard space, but they also frame the bed creating a focal point in the room. As the drawers were off the floor it also created the sense of a larger and more free-flowing space.’

7. Exploit alcoves to boost light and storage

Decorating with mirrors

(Image credit: Future/Brent Darby)

Small or attic bedrooms need to take features such as alcoves and use them to the max. In this bedroom, alcoves either side of a bedroom fireplace have had both storage built into them and mirrors installed on the back walls.

'This trick is ideal in guest bedrooms where space might be limited. A clever bedroom alcove idea like this can help make a space a wonderful place to stay,’ says Andrea Childs, editor, Country Homes & Interiors. ‘This charming bedroom alcove by the window is the ideal spot for reflecting maximum light back into the room.' 

8. Opt for a curved alcove

contemporary bedroom with alcove, white lamp, red and white bedding, textured walls

(Image credit: Arteriors)

Think about lines when contemplating bedroom alcove ideas as part of a remodel. 'A curved top is reminiscent of architectural detailing from past eras but translates well into a modern bedroom,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens. ‘It will also create the illusion of greater height, drawing the eye upwards. Place your bedside centrally within a curved alcove for a curated look.’

9. Create an alcove for a nook bed

Bed ideas for a spare room

(Image credit: Future / Simon Brown)

'Alcoves are a great asset in the bedroom,' say Jen and Mar, co-founders of Interior Fox. ‘They’re a practical and streamlined way to add storage, freeing up floor space, and allowing you to create a clutter-free haven.

‘Make best use of the space by using the bottom part to install bespoke cupboards or drawers, which double up as a bedside table or compact desk. Utilize the top half to let your personal style shine by decorating with prints, ornaments and a selection of your favorite books. The key is to not overfill the shelves for a curated and stylish look that also leaves enough room to add in a bedside light and glass of water.’

You can also divide a bedroom alcove off to create a nook bed, as in the room above, too.

10. Wallpaper the interior of an alcove 

bedroom with brown wallpaper, grey upholstered bed, alcove/beddroom storage, large bedside lamp

(Image credit: ND Studios)

Wall decor is an important factor in bedroom alcove ideas. 'Bedroom wallpaper ideas should include wallpapering the inside of your bedroom alcove to match the rest of the scheme; it will create a more finished feel. Paint the alcove shelves in a color that matches the rest of the room but works as a gentle accent – in this case a pale green,' says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief, Homes & Gardens.

What can I do with an alcove in the bedroom?

An alcove in a bedroom can be used as a niche for storage, a place in which to locate or build-in furniture, as a display area, or as a frame for artwork. 

Let the size of the alcove guide your choices: a large recess might have room for a bed, an armchair, or to fit a bench, or could be used to provide space for custom cabinetry. Small alcoves are ideal for shelves or to hang pictures.

Should alcoves be symmetrical?

Alcoves are often symmetrical – think of those either side of a chimney, for example – but this isn’t necessarily the case and, especially in older homes, you may think they are symmetrical until you measure and discover otherwise.

If you are creating alcoves in a bedroom either side of the bed, symmetry is desirable, echoing the symmetry of the room’s central feature. But in decorating shelves within alcoves, balance without perfect symmetry can be a more interesting approach.

Sophie Warren-Smith
Contributing Editor

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.