If you’re lucky enough to have an unused bonus room, you’ve got a space with tons of potential. You deserve to love your living space, so don’t let that extra room go to waste — give it a makeover with one of these fun, functional design ideas!
This guide features 12 of our favorite spare room ideas, complete with expert input, to inspire your next home makeover. Most of these designs can fit in small spaces, and many are DIY-friendly, so keep reading to find the perfect fit.
1. Guest room
Using your spare bedroom as a guest bedroom is a super-simple choice that can add functionality to any home. Whether you host family on the holidays, guests from out of town, or friends who need a place to crash after a late night, it’s nice to have an extra bedroom to make them feel at home.
“We wanted to include a guest bedroom because we had a lot of out-of-town guests,” said Kristin Patrician, owner of Dwelling Envy Interiors. “What I love the most about this space is it feels like a home away from home. We stayed economical in our choices, repurposing and upcycling a bunch of items we had lying around, including the fabric we used to create a custom headboard.”
You might opt for a multi-purpose room design if you only host guests occasionally. For example, you could create a home office with a sofa bed flanked by end tables that serve as nightstands when you have company. The rest of the time, you’ll have a functional office space that can also serve as a reading room if you add task lighting behind the sofa.
If you have children and a small room, it’s an excellent spot to create a playroom. For example, you might use a walk-in closet, a small bedroom, or the space under a stairway. First, look for cute decor ideas matching your little one’s personality and age. Then add some essentials, like toy organization, activity stations, bright colors, and fun lighting options.
“For one client, we wanted to be creative with the space under the stairs,” said Temple McDowell, interior designer at Dwellify. “This family had a young child with more on the way, so we turned it into a playroom area complete with a custom-made child-sized Dutch door. Thanks to the fun wallpaper, decorative lighting, and toys, this space is a hit with any child in the home.”
If you have your own home, something creative like this tiny door could be perfect. But if not, you can still add color blocking, pint-sized furniture, an arts and crafts corner, and even a mini fridge stocked with kid-friendly snacks.
3. A multi-purpose space
If you can’t decide which spare bedroom idea to go with, why not pick two? Multi-purpose spaces make your space more versatile, so you can add something fun to the functional thing you need or fulfill a second practical necessity.
“Our client had a spare bedroom that was becoming more of a storage room with no real purpose,” said Valerie Ruddy, owner and principal decorator of Valerie Ruddy Designs - Decorating Den Interiors. “We decided it was a perfect place for a beautiful built-in unit with plenty of storage and a comfortable Murphy bed for friends and family.”
You might combine a guest bedroom and a workspace, but you’re limited only by your imagination. For example, what about a yoga studio that doubles as a music room, a reading room combined with a home bar, or a combination of an arts and crafts room, home office, and lounge? Get creative to meet your preferences and needs
4. Home library
What book lover doesn’t dream of an in-home library? It’s the perfect spot to store your collection, curl up to read, play a board game, or have a drink with a friend. And you can create a home library in almost any space!
Where many clients would have used this room for a formal dining room, our client opted for a large breakfast table to leave room for a playful, modern library on the main floor.
“Our clients had an amazing children’s book collection from around the world and wanted a library. Where many clients would have used this room for a formal dining room, our client opted for a large breakfast table to leave room for a playful, modern library on the main floor. It has wall-to-wall shelving for their collection, a games table, a cozy rug, and a lounge chair for solitary reading,” explained J.R. Coffin, an interior designer and partner at Studio Den Den, based out of Brooklyn, NY.
The natural light keeps this library bright and modern during the day, but no reading space is complete without cozy lamps, comfy reading chairs, and somewhere to set your drink. And if you don’t have room for a full-scale library, a small reading nook with built-in bookshelves captures the same appeal.
5. A Dining Nook
If you have your own home, don’t forget to consider the potential of merging your extra space with surrounding rooms, especially if it’s close to the kitchen. And look for a spot with natural light and the potential for some built-in seating if you’d like a classic appeal. For example, in this house, Temple McDowell removed the spare room’s wall to merge it with the kitchen and make space for a dining nook.
“In this 1940s home, we wanted to open up the space to create a functional kitchen and dining area, allowing for better entertaining,” explained Temple McDowell. “We incorporated a window bench anchored by two tall cabinets and drawers beneath to maximize storage space. Add in a bench cushion, a few pillows, and a round pedestal dining table, and it makes the perfect cozy spot to enjoy a morning coffee, family game night, or afternoon nap in the warmth of the sunlight for their pets.”
If you don’t have a spare room near the kitchen but still want a dining nook, look at your living room arrangement to see if you can make room. For example, a bistro set by a window is an excellent alternative if you can’t fit a full-sized dining table.
6. A Room for Relaxing
If you’re looking for spare room ideas because you don’t need anything specific, why not create a room for relaxing? After all, you can never have enough space to chill out. And if you opt for daybeds, the room can serve as a guest room when you have company. Here, the coffee table between the daybeds works as an impromptu bedside table, for example.
It’s a sunny space, so just hanging out and relaxing is fun.
“This room features two twin-size daybeds which can be used as sofas for watching TV, gaming, or hosting overnight guests. It’s a sunny space, so just hanging out and relaxing is fun. Guests like the shaggy Greek rug and custom touches in the bedding. And the closet doubles as linen storage for the homeowners,” explained Maggie Blau, interior designer and founder of Hudson Blau.
Customize your design based on the square footage you’re working with. For example, you could create a similar space with a pair of chaise lounges or one lounge and an accent chair.
7. A Study
A study offers a flexible space for paperwork, reading, computer work, and homework, and it’s an excellent spare room idea for families. All you need is room for shelving, desk space, seating, and extra storage!
“We wanted this room to be flexible for everyday living and guests alike,” Kristin Patrician, owner of Dwelling Envy Interiors, told Interior Indsider. “So, we chose a sofa with a pull-out mattress. On the far wall, we loved the niche in the architecture and got creative with it — we added open shelving to display some of our personality and, to hide some of our belongings, we included base cabinets with doors.”
Studies work well for multi-purpose rooms, too. For example, you might add a sofa bed for guests and a yoga mat holder with space to stretch out for a small home gym!
“I was hired to turn a small parlor into a study,” said Kathy Corbet of Kathy Corbet Interiors. “The teen wanted an L-shaped workstation with room to spread out. Since very few feminine workstations are available, we decided to go custom with lightly-stained oak. The desk chair features stylish lines and is covered in a fun medallion pattern, and we added two soft chenille upholstered chairs to create a conversation area.”
8. A Mudroom
If your spare room is in the right spot, creating a functional mudroom is an excellent way to upgrade your home. Depending on your floor plan, this might mean combining it with a laundry room or transforming your existing entryway space.
“We wanted to give this growing family an inviting and functional mudroom. So first, we modified the existing closet by knocking out the front walls and door header to open up the space. Then, we installed a storage bench with cubbies for storing shoes, scarves, hats, and gloves, plus hooks for organizing coats and bags. Finally, in the powder bathroom beside the mudroom, we updated the vanity and installed new flooring in both spaces to make it cohesive,” Temple McDowell told Interior Insider.
9. A Kids Den
What kid doesn’t want a spot to escape into their own world? If you have a small space attached to or near your little one’s room, it’s the perfect spot to give them a den for homework and hangout sessions.
“I had a client whose daughter was turning 11,” said Kate Dawson, interior designer and member of the Lush Décor Home Stylist Collective. “She had a little closet off her bedroom that we decided to make into a she-shed for reading, journaling, or homework, and she LOVES it! We had a cushion custom-made for the floor and added little shelves, plants, inspirational quotes, colorful artwork, a few neon lights, and some fairy lights to create a perfect hide-out for this tween! “
Depending on the space, this could be as simple as updating a closet, as we see here, or you might knock down the closet wall to open up the room and create a reading nook. Again, remember to consider your child’s personality (and get them involved in the design if they’re willing!). For example, an opened-up closet could provide the perfect spot for a small sofa across from their gaming console and TV.
10. A Lounge
Spare room ideas are your chance to customize your home for the members of your household, whether it’s just you or you have a whole family to consider. A moody lounge designed for one creates a personalized escape that adds character to your home.
For example, Emily Mackie, award-winning designer and founder of Inspired Interiors, created moody and elegant spaces designated for specific members of the household. Both husband and wife wanted rooms of their own to escape to and unwind.
“I created adjoining gentlemen’s and ladies’ lounges separated by a shared fireplace, each of which leans into their personalities. We went sophisticated and stately for the husband, with illuminated bookcases, navy lacquer walls, and a custom fireplace with welded metal and stone. And an exquisite and airy design for the wife, with sumptuous couches around a roaring hearth, tea service, and cordial selections for leisurely afternoon entertaining,” Emily Mackie told Interior Insider.
11. A Meditation Room
If meditation and peace are integral to your routine, a meditation room could be a perfect spare room idea. A sanctuary space can support you throughout your day, encouraging balance, harmony, and well-being for anyone in your home. And it’s a beautiful way to honor your daily practice.
“One of the most meaningful spare room spaces we’ve designed is our meditation room,” said Lisa Kahn of Finding Sanctuary by Lisa Kahn Designs. “Designating a specific place for meditation allows us to express the value we place on contemplative practices to ourselves and anyone who comes to our space. And the natural textures, organic materials and colors, handmade pieces, and reclaimed wood blur the lines between what is inside and outside.”
Consider your practice when designing your meditation room, using the colors, imagery, and styles that make you feel at peace. And if you combine yoga or stretching with your practice, consider leaving floor space for one or two yoga mats.
12. A Game Room
A game room will look different from household to household, but who can deny a space dedicated to fun? With a bit of creativity, you can fit a game room into any extra space, whether it’s a full basement or a small attic. Consider the most popular games and activities in your home and find ways to incorporate them into your design. For example, Lisa Kahn designed this scrabble room to connect with loved ones and stimulate the mind.
Your game room might include something else, like a billiards table, video game consoles with a big screen TV, arcade cabinets, air hockey, or a computer with a large curved monitor and a surround sound system. Whatever you choose, decorate it thematically, and look for ways to create a multi-purpose room that fulfills all your entertainment needs. For example, you might add a home theater and a wet bar or a pair of sofa beds for friends when your gaming night runs late.
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