When we first move into a new home, we're usually full of ideas. We look around each room, examining the space available and making plans. We know exactly what we are going to do with it. We've got Pinterest boards filled with ideas; we envision ourselves making the most of even small spaces, installing home offices or reading nooks.
Then, as time goes by, spaces fall out of use, or we never get around to fulfilling all of our early dreams. We focus on the main areas. Spending time making sure our kitchens are modern, homely and fully functional. We create relaxing and luxurious bedrooms where we feel free to be ourselves, and we give ourselves the dream living room. The other areas don't seem as important, and when life gets in the way of our plans, they get left behind. They are either ignored completely or turned into dumping grounds for all of our excess clutter.
Your home likely has some spaces like this that can be reworked with a little imagination and practicality. You've paid good money for every square foot - those unused spaces included - and transforming them can give added value to your home. Re-working them can give your house new use and functionality. Used well, they can help you to fall back in love with your home and perhaps even give you a whole new room. Let's take a look at some areas that you may not be using to their full potential.
Many homes have garages. We often pay more for a house with a garage as it gives us a safe and secure place to keep our cars overnight. We can even get significantly cheaper car insurance if we are keeping our car in a garage at home. But, most people don't actually park in them. Instead, they become somewhere to keep tools, old toys and anything else that doesn't have a home.
First, take a look at garage doors that will add kerb appeal as well as adding extra security and think about what you want to do with the space. Keeping your car in it is the best option, but if you honestly don't use it for this, think about what else you could do to best utilise the space. Take some time to have a good clear out and consider storage for the things you will be keeping that already live in the garage. Your unused garage could easily become a library, a guest bedroom, a playroom, an office or a workshop. A bedroom or playroom might need heating or plumbing, and there are plenty of great soft, safe, and attractive flooring options you can even lay yourself. It's a chance to be a little more creative than the rest of the house and an area that could evolve as the kids in the family do too.
Basements aren't as popular with more modern homes, but many older houses have a large basement space that is almost always unused. If we need to extend our homes, we go up into the loft or have an extension built to the side or out of the back, often ignoring the basement completely. If you've never spent much time down there, or just use it as an area to store unwanted goods, they can seem a little creepy.
With the right conversion, flooring, walls and ceiling, your basement can become a cosy and welcoming room. The bugs and damp will be no more, and it can be a fantastic space that you may wonder what you ever did without. If you've got a large surface area, you could even give it its own small bathroom or kitchen area to create a separate flat, ideal for a guest room or older child's bedroom. Other great options are art studios, theatre room, games room, home gym, or even a romantic dining room with a cool bar and wine cellar. The options are so vast I'm wishing I had one!
We often see our corridors as a path to other rooms and barely give them any thought at all. But, they can be so much more than this. Your downstairs hallway may the first thing that guests see when they enter your home. It welcomes them in and sets the tone for your whole house. It gives them their first impression of the inside of your home. Shoe racks, coat stands, pegs and shelves are popular additions to halls that are functional and attractive. A key hook and notice board could also be useful for large families with lots of coming and goings. When it comes to decor, most of us stick to something plain and hard-wearing, which seems sensible, if not a little boring. But, this first impression space is the perfect chance to set the style of the rest of the home with some wow factor. Tile your floors in bright and bold patterns that say 'come on in!' Add a water feature; bead board and wallpaper; a giant piece of art or gallery wall of art; plants; a settee for putting shoes on and off; or lean a mirror atop a beautiful hall table or cabinet so guests can check their reflection as they come and go. And don't forget a fragrant candle to scent the mood.
Your stairs are an extension of your hall and another area that you might be wasting. You should never keep things on the stairs themselves as this could cause a dangerous tripping hazard, especially if you've got young children. But, the walls are a valuable space. Add floating shelves, pictures and artwork to make them attractive and useful. Or convert an under the stairs junk cupboard to a study or reading nook.
Take a look around your home. Are you using all of it to its full potential?
Are you making the most of all those tucked away spaces?
The cupboards and closets? The garages and basements?
If not, start now to get the most out of your home and enjoy *all the room for activities.*
PS. Tag me in your space conversions @vp_sam!