What To Do with "Dead Man's Land" Space?

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Q: My husband and I just moved into our first apartment, and we are trying to decorate and furnish it. One problem that we have ran into is an awkward space that exists between the entry and the living area in the main room (maybe you can get a rough idea of it from the floor plan).

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Descending three stairs into the living area, you walk into a "dead man's land" of about 10 by 15 feet that runs past the kitchen and toward the bathroom and bedroom doors. I hate how the space feels empty and bland, but I don't want to add anything that will make the area seem even smaller. What would you do with this space?

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.