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How to find extra space in your home without extending

Extra space

If we honestly look at how much time we spend in the various rooms of our homes, I think we would be very surprised to find that there is at least 25pc of unused space. Awkward rooms, are often left unused because we simply don’t know how best to use them. If we spent a bit of time tracking how we use our homes, we could actually find the extra space we need without having to extend.

My Story

Before we renovated our home we had a bedroom that was built over our garage. It was long and narrow and because the door opened into the middle of the room it was incredibly difficult to furnish. The room had many incarnations, from a home office to a laundry room, to a guest bedroom, but it never worked so we simply closed the door and forgot about it. 

Change in perspective

Rooms like my problematic bedroom could actually provide the extra space that so many of us feel our homes are lacking. The difficulty is trying to get these rooms to work. So often we can’t see past the things not working well and rule them out rather than try to analyse how to fix them. The way around this is to change the way we think about these spaces. A shift in thinking is a very powerful and liberating thing as it opens up possibilities that you had overlooked. 

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How did I want to use the extra space?

My youngest son was rapidly growing out of the tiny box room and as a result, his stuff was slowly starting to inhabit the whole house. All the while we had a large room that was never used. 

At the time, I  just couldn’t see how the long narrow bedroom would work for a four year-old-boy.  So I made a list of what we actually needed and this helped me to find a solution.

Extra space - Awkward rooms

How I solved the problem

We actually needed the room to carry out two functions, sleeping and play space. So instead of treating the long narrow room as one space, I thought of it as two. This immediately solved the issue of the door being bang in the middle. One end of the room became the sleeping area and the other the play space. 

Extra space - Sleeping

The sleeping zone

By thinking of the room as two spaces rather than one, it also helped me with decorating the room. I decided to treat both ends of the room completely differently. I painted the sleeping area in a really dark blue and placed the wardrobe in the middle to separate the two spaces further. The sleeping area consists of a bed and some picture rails, which I used as bookshelves to make it easy for Billy to access the books at bedtime.

Extra space - Play space

The playing zone

I kept the playing end of the room light and bright. It’s a good idea to keep children’s rooms fairly neutral as their toys and stuff, in general, are very colourful. 

At this end of the room, there was plenty of extra space to put shelving for toys and a small table for him to sit at. Everything can be accessed easily by Billy, which is fantastic as he can play freely and because everything is easy for him to get at he is well able to put everything away and is now keeping his room very tidy – well so far anyway.

Best of Houzz 2020

We are thrilled to have won best of Houzz for both Design and Service.  Optimise Home was chosen by the millions of homeowners that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 2.5 million active home building, renovation and design industry professionals. A huge thanks to all of our Houzz followers and to everyone who voted for us. 

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Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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