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Don’t throw up your hands in defeat! Transforming your most awkward room into a fun and functional space is within reach. These three solution starters let you lean into the problem and deal with some tough (but all too common!) design dilemmas.

1. The Awkward “Extra” Did your new den come complete with a quirky architectural bonus? A column in the middle of the room, or a weird wall that gets in the way? Don’t fight it. Make that detail a focal point.

Where to start

Find a way to make it functional and decorative. If you have an unwanted column, you might install open shelving on all four sides to create a one-of-a-kind gallery for displaying books, family photos and artwork.

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Don’t forget…

to paint the feature beforehand. A neutral taupe in a matte finish will help your gallery blend in, while a patterned wallpaper will make a statement. If you decide that demolition is the way to go, consult an expert first — it might be a load-bearing post that you need to keep your house in one piece.

2. The I-Don’t-Know-What-to-Do-With-This-Stuff Room Has the extra room at the end of the hall — you know, where you stashed all your boxes and bags when you moved in a few years ago — gotten out of control?

Where to start

Toss or donate what you’ll never use — recruit a bossy friend to help if you’re overly sentimental. Then organize the rest thematically (Christmas ornaments, sewing supplies, old photos, gift wrap, and so on) in clear, stackable storage boxes.

Don’t forget…

to measure (width, height and depth) beforehand to ensure that the storage bins you buy will fit in your closet or storage area. Clearly label each box so that you can find what you need fast and easily store any other items that you don’t know what to do with in the future.

3. The Funhouse Floor Plan Not sure what the architects were thinking? An awkwardly shaped room can cause despair in any homeowner.

Where to start

If your room is big enough, arrange your furniture in sections and recruit a bookshelf, trifold screen or area rugs to help divide the space. Distinct areas let you reshape a larger space. If it’s a bedroom, make the awkward part a sitting area. Or if it’s a long and skinny dining room, you could tuck a home office at the far end.

Don’t forget…

the tried-and-true designer trick of using mirrors to make any space appear larger.