Most spaces in your home already have a designated use. The kitchen is where you gather with family and your master bedroom is your nighttime respite. So when you have a room that doesn’t have a clear purpose, you might be left scratching your head.
Bonus rooms are often found tucked away over garages or in attics and sometimes create challenging layouts. But a little clever planning can help you define the space and turn your bonus room into one of the best places in your home. Not sure what to do with the awkwardly placed space? Here are some ideas to get your design juices flowing.
1. Homework room
If you find that your kids tend to leave papers, binders and textbooks all over the house, your bonus room could be the perfect homework space. Quiet and free of distractions like TV and video games, a few comfortable chairs and a workspace turn a big, empty room into a peaceful place for kids to buckle down. Just make sure you stock shelves with school supplies and use organizational solutions (think folders) to keep kids’ work separate from their siblings.
2. Home office
You might not need a homework room, but bonus rooms can work great as studies or home offices as well. Because they’re often separated from noisy rooms like the kitchen, they’re the perfect place to get a little work done. With a solid desk, ample lighting and a computer, a bonus room might become a catalyst for productivity — or at least a quiet place for conference calls.
3. Yoga studio
Love getting your zen on? Your bonus room could become a complete oasis for centering yourself and working on your Eagle pose. Think about it: Bonus rooms don’t always have the best lighting, making them ideal for activities that benefit from low-key light. Grab a couple of reed diffusers with your favorite calming scents, hook up a speaker to a relaxing playlist and you have a dedicated space for your yoga practice.
Strange angles might not make sense for a bedroom, but an awkward room is ideal for books. Create your own library with DIY shelving and add plenty of comfy seating and lamps for individual reading spaces. With a room designed free of distractions, you’ll love bringing a cup of tea into your bonus room to catch up on that thriller you’ve been reading.
5. Teen hangout
Let’s face it. Teens don’t always want to hang out with the rest of the family. Still, you can at least keep them in your house if you give them a private space they can call their own. A teen hangout spot might include a TV and gaming system, a speaker for their phones, plenty of charging outlets and even a snack station or mini fridge to satisfy those never-ending appetites.
6. Gaming room
If you have video game-aholics in your family — whether they’re kids or adults — you know how annoying it can be to have your TV constantly tied up by the latest Xbox release. A gaming room might be your answer. Setting your gaming systems and a few bean bag chairs in the space means finally getting your living room back.
7. Music room
Have a burgeoning Beethoven in your home? Instruments can take up a lot of space, so relocate them to your bonus room. You’ll have plenty of space and, since bonus rooms are usually tucked away from your main living areas, you might even regain a little peace and quiet in the process. You can even add recording equipment and plenty of seating for impromptu concerts.
8. Home gym
Busy working on your fitness? Stop tripping over dumbbells and workout mats by using your bonus room as a family fitness center. You’ll have plenty of space for various workout machines and tools and can add a few fans and a drink cooler to stay cool and hydrated while you get your Arnold on.
9. Craft room
If you’re crafty, you know that your supplies can get messy. Organize them and put all of your materials in place by using your bonus room as a crafting space. Shelves and organizers help keep all of your supplies at the ready, while large, inexpensive tables make for great crafting surfaces. Add your sewing machine and fabric stash and you have a dedicated space to get creative.
10. Home theater
Home theaters were all the rage five years ago, but they’re slowly going out of fashion in favor of more casual spaces. Skip the expensive basement theater and turn your bonus room into a movie room. You don’t even need expensive seating; try some bean bag chairs or a few overstuffed couches and stock the room with cozy blankets. You can even invest in an inexpensive projector screen for a real at-home theater experience without the cost.
11. Bunk room
Do houseguests have you feeling cramped? A bunk room can give guests a place to call their own while maximizing your bonus room space. Adding a couple of bunk beds or day beds gives guests a comfy place to spend the night while giving them a little privacy, too. And, since bonus rooms are often oversized, they’re the ideal spot for noisy sleepovers.
Bonus rooms can often be awkwardly shaped and oversized. Still, with the right planning and furniture, you can turn what might seem like a wasted space into a completely functional part of your home. Don’t be surprised if that unused bonus room suddenly becomes your favorite room in the house.