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Those pesky extra rooms...

Ok, its a pretty first-world problem, but there plenty of people who live in suburbia (or even in the city!) who have a room or two that they just don't use. Often, its a formal dining room or extra bedroom, but if you are the owner of such a room, you may wonder why you are paying for so much unused space!

Today, I'm walking through some of the best uses of dead space in your house and how to make it you new favorite room!

The Formal Dining Room

This is the most commonly "complained-about" space in the suburban home. While we still like to entertain, a lot of people aren't crazy about a whole, extra, (often large) room thats only used on a handful of occasions throughout the year. Unless you have family dinners there, this is likely a space that you are taxed on & heating that sits vacant 350 days of the year.

One of my personal favorite ways to reuse this room is to use it as a craft/workspace. The room can keep a large dining table and chairs that can be used for kids craft projects or adult work space (in fact, I am writing this from my dining room right now!).

Oh Happy Day's conversion was very simple - add a solid and no-fuss table and chairs that could take a paint spill and add storage for crafts! 

Another favorite makeover is to turn it into an office/study combo with bookshelves. 

This farmhouse renovation utilizes a similarly simple table with bookshelves for a library feel. 

Similar library/dining combo from The Art of Doing Stuff

Of course, if you've never once used your formal dining table and aren't one for spreading out (or maybe already have an office), another great option is using the empty space as a playroom if you have kids! 

Image from Design Lines

The right storage can downplay chaos and French doors can close off the space from other formal living areas. 

The only caveat to a converted dining room is don't go too far. If you think you might sell your home at some point, ever, remember that despite their usage, a formal dining room should still be available to a buyer. Adding too much built-in storage or deciding to keep the room as a playroom in the midst of selling aren't ideal strategies. 

Formal Living Room 

Obviously, there's a theme here.... Closed off, formal spaces get less use in today's world. The typical, smaller, formal living room in homes that also sport a family room (often open to high-use areas like the kitchen), often sits empty. 

Similar to the dining room, great uses are playrooms and converting the space to a full-time office, craft room or library. 

But if you don't need any of the above, or don't feel like adding bookshelves, just rearranging furniture to imply a new use can be helpful. 

One of my favorite such reworks is the modern conversation area. This is the perfect adult-only area used for sipping wine and chatting with friends in a comfy and elegant area. Arranging the space with four cozy armchairs is a great way to invite conversation! 

Extra Bedroom 

Again, quite the luxury to have! Most people don't over buy on bedrooms without future intent. But sometimes, whether its buying in a new, less-expensive area or if you are a recent empty-nester, you may find yourself with an extra bedroom without a use. 

The obvious solution for most people is a home office - which is a smart use. But even often-used offices can be multi-functional with extra seating or even a bed. 

Via Houzz 

But options don't stop at a home office for that spare room - think of uses based on interests and don't be scared to make a few additions that can be undone. 

For instance, one of my favorite uses of an extra space is a glamorous walk-in closet/dressing room. This works well for those oddly-small bedrooms (or a full size one if you've got quite the collection). 

Unless its your forever home, Ikea wardrobes and open racks are great ways of changing the space without making it a more permanent feature. 

Of course, playrooms and workout spaces are also fantastic uses of closed-off, private space. 


Have an extra space you've worked on and love to share?! Email me for a featured design post or 
share on social media! 


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