Better Things to Do With a Spare Bedroom Than Make It a Gym

Chances are if you've got a spare bedroom in your home, it's not really "spare" for anything and is more likely a holding place for stuff you don't know what to do with. But someday, either through massive cleaning or a child moving out and leaving you with an empty nest, you'll be lucky enough to have a spare bedroom that's empty and that you can do something with.

Turning it into a home gym can be an easy first choice. But if you really want to use the room for more than an hour a day and do something creative with it, you'll be better off putting the home gym in the garage.

Here are eight ideas for turning a spare bedroom into a dedicated space to pursue your dreams and enjoy your home a bit more:

Things to Do With a Spare Room
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Better Things to Do With a Spare Bedroom Than Make It a Gym
Whether you're knitting, painting, working on a stamp collection or want more room to work on your favorite hobby, a craft room can be converted in a week or two for a few hundred dollars. "All it takes is a little motivation, some ingenuity and in a few weeks, you could have your dream space," says Brian LeBow, a real estate agent in Arcadia, California.

The biggest flatscreen TV you can afford, a comfortable couch and a nice stereo system can be just the beginning of a place to get comfortable and read or watch a movie.

"This is a private space for those who live in the house, where you can spend time by yourself or with a loved one," says Michelle Workman, a celebrity interior designer. "It also allows you to get the television out of the living room and turns that space into a conversation and entertaining room."

"I would get the most comfy sofa for this room, and an ottoman as a coffee table," Workman says, along with a chaise for reading, a basket for throw blankets, book shelves to create a library feel, and a TV on the wall and home stereo system.

It can be done in a weekend. Costs will vary depending on the quality of products you want, or you may have an old sofa to re-upholster or one that's not being used.

If you've collected too many books over the years and have no place to put them, a library can be a good use for a spare bedroom. It can also be used as a designated "quiet room" to meditate and relax in.

Judy Crockett, a retail management consultant in Manistee, MI, says she converted the smallest bedroom in her new home into a quiet zone painted in a warm, gold color and put a soft area rug on the floor. A small desk and home office supplies were put in a closet with the closet doors removed and curtains added. A bookcase and overstuffed chair were added.

"The real treat in this room is a small electric fireplace and mantle that we purchased at a yard sale for $30," Crockett says. "We added a scented candle and a salt lamp to give the room a spa feel."

"While I often work from home from this room, I can simply pull the curtain to close off the office desk and workspace to get my spa area back again," she says.
If you don't want to share a home office with a quiet library or spa room, turn one spare room into an office. If you have enough spare rooms, give each person their own office, as Richard W. Hayman, 69, of Rockville, MD did in his home. Hayman says they replaced carpet, painted walls, added lights, furniture and built-in for desks in just a few days at $4,000 each. Your costs can be a lot less if you already have most of the office decor.
Instead of a cramped home gym, turn a spare room into a yoga studio and save money by not going to someone else's studio. "Find a large mirror, bring in a fan, your favorite yoga mat and you're ready to go," says Ryan Hart, 28, an architectural consultant. "Want to take your home studio to the next level? Add hardwood flooring, a small TV to follow along with yoga instruction videos, and a radio."
Whether you're using a spare room to store wine or drink it, it can be a good place to set up an informal bar and entertain guests. You can add a small refrigerator and store drinks -- or a keg of beer -- and keep your beer cold without having to run to the kitchen.
A New Jersey homeowner who was a client of Denise Baron, a real estate agent in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, turned a spare bedroom into a room just for her cats to play and live in. It's a way to keep the pets from destroying other parts of the house, and is a spot to put their playthings.
If a craft or media room isn't for you, a game room with tables and comfortable chairs where you can play board games with your grandchildren or cards with friends (poker) can be an easy conversion of a spare bedroom. You may want to add some comfortable furniture for lounging, and good lighting to better view the games.
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