How to Balance An Awkwardly Placed Window

Good soloution to balance an awkward window (click through for more) One of my favorite house qualities is a room full of windows that let in lots of natural light—it can literally brighten your day. In reality, most homes or apartments have a mixture of rooms where some are brighter with more light and some are, well, not so bright. Our main living rooms in our new house have big windows that look out into the front and back yards, but the bedrooms have much smaller windows, and to be honest, they aren’t exactly my favorite feature. Not only are they small and high, some of them are kind of awkwardly placed on walls so you aren’t totally sure where to place furniture in the room. Our master bedroom has doors to the closets, bathroom and hallway, so there’s kind of only one wall option for the bed to be against. Once we center it on the wall so there’s enough room to walk around on each side, the window is pretty far to the right. So it creates a bit of an off-balance look that’s bugged me since we moved in. So, what do you do when you have an awkward window placement?

Good soloution to balance an awkward window (click through for more) You can see the window on the right and how it makes the left side feel really bare comparatively. The key is to fill that corresponding mirrored area (where the dashed lines are) with something so that, instead of seeing one off-center window, your eye will read the whole thing as one unit that hangs above the bed. And what can you do in that area? Lots of things! You can do several rows of separate open shelves, a small gallery wall, rows of hanging plants…anything that will fill that dashed line area and create the feel of one cohesive unit.

Since the window has some pretty thick white trim, I thought I would build a box shelf the same size as the window and paint it white so it would match the white trim. Also, with the busy wallpaper, it seemed better to build the box shelf instead of having open shelving or plants hanging from the wall since the back of the box shelf would create a solid area and the shelf items would visually stand out better.

Good soloution to balance an awkward window (click through for more) I first had the local home improvement store cut a piece of 1/4″ thick plywood to the same dimensions as the window. I also chose a few boards that were 1/2″ thick and 5.5″ wide to be the sides of the box shelf. I could have asked the workers at the store to cut those down to size as well and built the box with straight cut sides, but I wanted to try the 45° cutting option on my miter saw at home. If you have them do straight cuts at the store, just cut the two side pieces to the exact height of the box and then cut the top, middle and bottom width pieces to be the total width minus the width of the two side boards on either end. So, if your box is 20″ high, 30″ wide, and your boards are 1/2″ thick, then cut the two sides pieces to be 20″ and your top, middle and bottom pieces would be 29″ (30″ minus the two 1/2″ wide side pieces that will fit on either end).

Since I was trying the 45° angle on my saw, I made the longest edge of each angled piece to be either the exact height or width of the box and then cut a straight edge piece that could fit down the middle between the two side boards as a middle shelf.

Good soloution to balance an awkward window (click through for more) I glued each piece in place and used clamps to hold the piece as it dried.

Good soloution to balance an awkward window (click through for more) Thankfully, all the edges fit together!

Good soloution to balance an awkward window (click through for more) Once the glue had set, I flipped the box over and used 1 1/4″ wood screws to secure the plywood to the boards from the back and screwed the edge seams together from the bottom and top for stability. If you ever want to put a screw into wood but don’t want to see the screw head from the outside, pre-drill a hole for the screw with a small bit and then use a bit that is a tiny bit bigger than the screw head to drill into the same spot but only about 1/4″ deep. That way, when you put in the screw, the head will sink further down than the top plane of the wood and you can simply fill the hole with wood filler and sand down flat when the filler dries. What screw? I don’t see a screw…

Good soloution to balance an awkward window (click through for more) Once the box and screws were attached and any gaps filled with wood filler, it was time to paint the shelf and attach some keyhole fasteners for hanging. Definitely use some anchor screws in the wall if hanging a heavy shelf—especially if it’s right over your head like mine is!

Good soloution to balance an awkward window (click through for more) Good soloution to balance an awkward window (click through for more) I feel like this shelf solution was exactly what we needed to fix our awkward window dilemma. Not only does it mirror the shape and size of the window to help balance the window placement, but it helps break up the busy wallpaper with a more solid section as well. And, besides, who doesn’t love more shelf space to display plants and other trinkets? Whether you use a box shelf, multiple single shelves, or a grouping of hanging plants or art prints to help solve an awkward window problem, it’s totally worth the effort to bring a little more balance to your cozy space. xo. Laura

P.S. Looking for more window ideas?

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • I am impressed by the way you have shared step by step procedure for awkward window placement.
    Great to see your blog post!
    Looking forward to read more!!

  • Such an amazing solution!

    Can you share where the bedside tables and lamps are from?

  • The entire room is looking amazing I love all the brass accents with the black and white combo. Looking forward to seeing the finished product.

  • So smart! The room is beautiful! Do you mind sharing where you got that gorgeous wallpaper?

  • Might I suggest another solution? Admittedly, this is more expensive, but you could hire a good contractor to extend the window. You’d end up with a longer, perfectly centered window that allows a lot more light into the room.

    If you’re willing to make the investment, I think it would add value to your house. (And more natural light is always welcome!)

  • Love this idea! Genius! You could take it one step further and even do the same shadow box style around the actual window too! Whatcha think? It could look uber pretty and it would totally mirror your project. If you added beautiful trinkets, you’d have a balanced space and yet you’d still have light coming in to the window. Ahhhhh. 🙂 Lynne from Design The Life You Want To Live

  • wow…the result is splendid! I wish I can steal your mind for a little bit to fix the chaos in my flat.

  • It’s this one from Schoolhouse Electric:

    Laura 🙂

  • It’s from Schoolhouse Electric:

    Laura 🙂

  • This is pretty genius! I love how it looked so cozy and in sync!

  • This looks so great, what a great idea! Was the light fixture a DIY? If it is, can you please email me where to get the parts, or do a DIY post?

  • this is such a great idea. love it. guess you solved many confused minds now with this brilliant solution. love the gold accents.

  • This is so helpful! We have an poorly placed window in our masted bedroom so this is perfect for us right now!


  • Very clever, I love it! I’m also loving the golden decorations, what a cute little camel.

  • I love this idea! Weird windows and their placement was such an issue in the last house I lived in. It’s such a pain at first, but also gives you so much opportunity to get creative!

  • This is a really good idea! So many houses, especially the charming old ones have weird windows. It definitely seems like adding a bit of symmetry to the room/window helps a lot
    Dresses & Denim

  • What a creative solution! I love it, almost makes me wish I had an off-center window 🙂


  • This is SUCH a genius tip! Thank you for sharing!

    Allison @

  • Where are all the cute shelf trinkets from? I love the planter and the letters!

  • That is such an amazing idea! Especially how you have styled in in the end in white with these golden accessoires…I love it!

  • That is a great idea! We have a mid century home as well, and it has the the same awkward small and high windows that you mention. Our master bedroom is similar to yours, one wall has the double closets, one wall has the entry door and bathroom door. The best wall to place the bed on also has the off center window. I didn’t think of the shelf option, but I hung curtains as a backdrop to the bed and centered them on the wall so that they cover the window and the empty space. Most people don’t even know that there’s an off centered window 🙂 Great work Laura!

  • That is such a great idea, I never would have thought of that! I just moved into a new apartment and I’ll have to keep this design in mind 🙂

  • ooh!! The window looks just perfect!!! Thank you for your awesome tip!!

  • Looking good! Where did you source your brass L and T letters? I’ve been looking for similar ones for awhile now!

  • Looking better every day! I’m so impressed. And that light fixture!!!! :))

  • That looks really good. Way to go balancing that awkwardly spaced window. I wouldn’t have thought to do that!

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