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Those of you with older houses already know the struggle – a long hallway on the main floor leading to a small reading nook or telephone niche that you’re not quite sure what to do with.

You remember that book you read forever ago explaining how those niches were originally designed for holding your house phone and taking calls, back in the days when phones were a newfangled thing that you couldn’t take with you when you left the house. (It’s also sort of weird to think that we’re actually not far past the point where that was the case, but we digress.)

Of course, given that your phone is a wildly advanced computer that you keep in your pocket to look at pictures of other peoples’ cats and occasionally take a phone call on, you probably don’t have a ton of need for a hallway phone nook anymore. What to do with that space, then? Here’s a few of our favorite ideas for repurposing a hallway nook:

 

Entryway Storage: A lot of hallway niches tend to be close to the front of the house and are a little on the larger side, in this case generally being referred to as a hallway reading nook. In this case, they could be the perfect place for an entryway bench to hold onto shoes and help you get ready a little faster in the morning.

 

Book Storage: Smaller hallway nooks could be turned into book storage pretty easily. Add a floating book shelf about halfway up the height of the nook to give it some extra storage surface, and line up a few of your favorite books spine-out to keep them easy to reach, or at least in a place where you can show off how many times you’ve read the whole series of A Song of Ice and Fire.

 

Photos and Knick-Knacks: Especially if your nook takes up a place of prominence in your home (or is at least visible from a major room), you can use it for extra living room storage of things like photos, fancy plates, and collectibles you want to show off. Line the back of your hallway niche with glass shelves for extra visibility, and put up some vacation pictures and souvenirs.

 

Keyrings and Mail: Hallway nooks near the entryway (or right by the front door, as many homes put them there initially for easier access to house phones) could easily become a ‘launchpad’ for getting out the door more easily. Set up a small coat rack on the back wall to make sure you never lose your keys, and then get a mail organizer to sit on the shelf part so you never accidentally toss out your license plate renewal alongside all the junk mail you still get.

 

Vintage Phones: Some people show off outdated technology like record players and typewriters – why not buy a giant, old-school phone to show off in your hallway nook? After all, that’s what it was made for!

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