How to make use and better your life with a spare bedroom

Excess space is a luxury that most of us do not enjoy while our kids are living at home. But many of my clients find that once their grown children have moved out of the house and established their own households, they suddenly have extra unused spaces. At some point, those childhood bedrooms get cleaned out and stand waiting for a fresh coat of paint and a new purpose.

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If you’re lucky enough to have extra square footage in your nest, here are eight ideas for turning that space into something fit for your current lifestyle.

1. A walk-in closet and dressing room. I love the idea of transforming an extra bedroom into a beautiful walk-in closet and dressing room. Several of my clients have done this, gaining both functionality and luxury. One client was even able to connect her new dressing room to her master bath — a nice perk if your floor plan allows. Many companies specialize in custom cabinetry and closets and can help you add this extra bit of comfort to your home.

2. A home office. Some people telecommute, others finish work projects or emails after hours at home, while still others simply enjoy having a dedicated home office for paying bills and taking care of other personal business. An extra bedroom is a perfect option for a home office because the door can be closed for solitude and focus or to hide clutter. You might line closets in the room with custom shelving and cabinets. Or, if this level of construction is not in your budget, you might purchase some beautiful storage solutions at furniture stores that can help you create a good-looking and organized home office.

3. A guest bedroom. Perhaps your adult children live out of town and stay for several nights when they visit. Or maybe other friends or family members often bunk in your home. A dedicated guest room might be just what you need. To make this a relatively inexpensive project, you might repurpose some furniture from a child’s former bedroom. A fresh coat of paint, new bedding, and updated accessories may be all you need to complete its new look.

4. A craft room. If you are someone who enjoys scrapbooking, jewelry making, sewing or similar hobbies, a dedicated craft room may be exactly what you crave. Frequently, craft projects span days or even weeks, and putting supplies away in the middle of a project can be cumbersome. Even if your funds do not allow for built-ins, a large table and wall shelving can work wonders for storing and organizing craft materials.

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5. A reading nook. Maybe you have been longing for a quiet, comfortable place to relax with a good book — a small spare bedroom easily could be outfitted for this purpose. You may be able to relocate a comfortable chair from elsewhere in your home. Add a good reading lamp and a small book shelf and, if you want to go further, paint the walls a new color and add accessories, artwork and throw pillows. A cozy blanket in a bright color is another inexpensive way to add style to your reading spot.

6. An exercise gym. Outfit a small extra bedroom with exercise equipment and a wall-mounted television. Watching your favorite show while working out can make the time much more pleasant — I’m speaking from experience here. Also, large wall mirrors not only make a small bedroom appear larger but can help you ensure correct form and prevent injuries.

7. A yoga or pilates studio. With an available bedroom, a quiet dedicated space for yoga or pilates may be an attainable luxury. If your space and budget allow, enhancing a new studio by adding sliding doors out to a private garden is a wonderful way to create a special place with plenty of light and fresh air. A bubbling fountain augments the mood. Painting the walls a cool, calming color such as blue or gray can also boost the tranquility.

8. A multifunctional space. If you have only one spare bedroom but a variety of needs, a Murphy bed or wall bed may be the solution for you. Multiple companies specialize in beds that fold effortlessly into an attractive wall cabinet when not needed. That way, you can use your spare room as a home office, craft space or exercise studio without a bed taking up floor space — at least not until just before your visiting children arrive.

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