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Beyond the Guest Room: The Functional Spare Room

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January 30, 2019

Do you have an extra bedroom in your home? Many homeowners see a spare room and think “guest room,” but that is a singular function — and unless you’re entertaining weekly, it’s not necessarily the best use of the space.

Think beyond the guest room and use your spare room wisely to ensure you get the most out of it!

Mirror, mirror

Most spare bedrooms end up being the smallest of the rooms in the house. While you might not be able to expand the square footage, you can give the illusion of a larger space using strategic decor. Hang mirrors to make the room look bigger. Combined with good lighting, this is an easy and effective trick to brighten a space.

Make it multipurpose

What good is a guest room if you don’t have many overnight guests? It’s nice to have a place where visitors can stay, but what about every other day of the year? By using compact, space-saving furniture, you can use the room for a multitude of purposes. Create a home office using a small desk and chair, but add a pullout sofa or a Murphy bed to create a guest room when you need one. If the bedroom is too small for an office, make it a walk-in closet with racks, shelves, cupboards and drawers. Or, put a treadmill or spin bike in the room, and add some free weights, stability balls and mats to create a home gym. If you have kids, turn it into a playroom to keep some of their stuff contained to one area of the house.

Whatever you do, make sure it’s a space that will be well-used all year long — not just when people visit.

Neutral palette

If you want the room to be multifunctional, you need to be wary of personalizing it too much. Paint the walls a neutral colour — such as beige, grey or taupe — and stay away from bold patterns or accents. Because the room will be used by various people in your household as well as guests, you want it to be welcoming but not done up in a very specific style or colour scheme.

Say hello to storage!

Many spare bedrooms start out with a purpose and slowly descend into a junk/storage room. Having a storage space is great, but not if it means having boxes stacked ceiling-high. Organize this chaos by adding built-in storage units. Store kids’ toys, gift wrapping supplies, seasonal decor and more! Get it off the floor, out of boxes and into properly organized cupboards and shelves.

Shop proportional furnishings

If the room is small, or you want to fit a lot into the space, buy compact or proportionally sized furnishings for the room. This might mean adding a single or double bed rather than a king or queen, and buying compact furnishings that can nest together or fold up when not in use. Basically, don’t crowd the room with oversized items.

The end goal is to design a room that is organized, useful and attractive. Having a guest room is great, but it can be so much more than that.

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