Maybe you recently bought a home or perhaps you’re now empty nesters – and you might have a spare room that’s teeming with possibilities. Sure, you could turn it into a guest bedroom, complete with a comfortable bed and unique artwork, but why perpetuate that “spare” identity, only making use of it on occasion?
It’s time to convert that square footage in a fun way. Have you ever dreamt of having a walk-in closet or a family game room? Here are five ways you can turn that unused space into your favorite place.
Wouldn’t it be fun to have the same choices of the Library of Congress at your fingertips? Like Belle in “Beauty and the Beast,” I’ve always wanted a room where I could slide my ladder across bookshelves. You can transform a spare room into a reading room, where you can escape into a book in solitude. While you don’t need to have wall-to-wall bookshelves, you might want some organization for your collection. Shelving can allow for easy reference and décor accents, even if it’s just along one wall. You can organize books by size, topic, color or any way you wish.
Buying a comfortable chair or two, or building a window seat complete with pillows and a blanket, can draw you into the room. Gone are the days of dimly lit, wood-paneled spaces as home libraries. While natural light may be sufficient during the day, proper lighting can set the tone for the room and ensure your eyes aren’t weary after one chapter when it’s dark outside. It helps to add elements like bookends, a vase with flowers, a framed print or bust of your favorite author, or an ornate lamp.
If you want to have a place where you can be a kid no matter your age, a game room can be the entertainment hub at your home. Any spare room can be transformed into a game room; you just need to consider how much space you have when selecting amenities. Do you have space for a pool table, foosball or a Ping-Pong table? Or do you want a space designed for board games, video games and tabletop casino favorites?
Once you know what you want in the space, it’s time to ensure you have proper furniture and lighting. For active games like pool or table tennis, barstools would be appropriate, but for big screen action, gaming chairs can be used. Utilize your space well by picking furniture that is easily moveable, and can double as seating and storage. Ideally, gaming areas would have ample lighting, whether it’s overhead with track lights or with table or floor lamps. If your game room is next to a bedroom, you might consider adding sound panels to decrease noise levels. Don’t forget to add fun elements like a chalkboard to keep score, speakers for music and a snack/drink cart.
If you can’t seem to make time to get to the gym, you might consider transforming that extra space into a workout room. If you are ready to march your way to fitness, you’ll need some key elements.
Depending on the size of the room, you may only have space for one large piece of equipment, like a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical machine. If you can fit more than one of these items, that’s great, but if you only have room for one, pick a machine you’ll use regularly. What are your other favorite pieces of equipment? Do you need a medicine ball, resistance bands, a yoga mat or an abdominal cruncher?
Round up all of the items you’ll need and use, which brings me to the next point – storage. Wall shelves or colorful bins can keep everything handy, from towels to water bottles to free weights and more. If you follow online workout programs or DVDs, you’ll need a TV or a table to prop up your laptop for easy viewing. If you don’t have a sound system, consider buying speakers that connect wirelessly to playlists on your favorite device to give you that surround sound effect you’d have at your local gym.
Lastly, don’t forget to add motivational elements, like a Fathead calendar that sticks to your wall so you can track your workouts and progress. Add framed quotes or photos of your favorite athletes on the wall to inspire you. If you’re an avid runner or participate in fitness competitions, hang those medals on the wall!
I’m pretty sure no one has ever wished for less closet space. If you want to take your current closet to room-size level, there are a few things to consider. First, you’ll want to take inventory of the items you have. Will your spouse or others share this space or will you be able to design the room around only your items? Will you organize items by season or color?
Next, you can choose between a wall-mounted system (typically more cost effective) with a mix of shelving, baskets and racks, or a floor-mounted one that resembles more of a built-in look. You’ll want to make sure that you have rods at different heights to accommodate clothing of various lengths. Determine which containers you’d prefer for hooks belts, scarves, shoes, jewelry and handbags. Try to create a design that avoids having direct sunlight coming in contact with clothing to reduce fading.
Next, you’ll need effective lighting, seating and mirrors to complete the full walk-in closet effect. In addition to overhead lighting, consider LED strip lighting, as it produces less heat and can be built into shelving. Depending on how much space you have, a full-length mirror or tri-fold mirror can be mounted to your wall, or you can find free-standing ones that are moveable. Try adding an ottoman or pouf so you can set out clothing or put on shoes. You could add some color by painting the inside of your shelves to coordinate with an area rug or any artwork on your walls.
Whether you are into painting, scrapbooking, sewing, jewelry making, woodworking or any other type of art or craft, dedicating a space for this special hobby could really bring your creativity to life. The centerpiece to your space should be your work area. A desk, table, or easel and chair can serve as the base from which you’ll do most of your work. Adequate lighting is helpful, and electrical outlets enable you to plug in hot glue guns, power tools and any other devices you’ll need.
Next, surround the area with organized supplies and plenty of inspiration. Round up all of the utensils you need for your art and craft work, and get creative with storage. Colorful bins, clear storage crates and easy-to-read labels can help you stow and preserve the items you use.
Pegboards allow you to hang frequently used tools so you can grab them quickly without turning your workspace into a chaotic mess. If possible, buy a tack board and pin images that inspire you or create a vision board for your current project. Decorating a wall with photos of your previous creations might encourage you to try new and different ideas for future projects.
You might also consider storing wrapping paper, ribbon and tags in this room so when you’re not using the space for your favorite pastime, you can use it to wrap presents for birthdays and holidays.
These are just a few ways you can turn extra space in your home into a place you can use for activities with others or to enjoy personal time.
How would you transform a spare room in your home? Share with other Zing readers in the comments below!
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