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What can I do with a spare room?

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Maybe you're an empty-nester, maybe you have a bonus room in your new house, or maybe you have a nicely finished basement. Extra rooms can serve a variety of purposes, and with a little planning you can establish a space that will make your home a happier place to be. You may already be familiar with the classic craft rooms or man/woman caves, but here are some other options for that room.

Home gym

The home gym is a classic in spare room usage for a reason. A home gym can be anything from free weights and yoga mats to a full-scale setup of treadmills, weight benches and other exercise equipment. Add a wall-mounted TV for workout videos, or a sound system for your favorite tunes to keep your blood pumping. Whatever you do, make sure the floors are sturdy and well-protected from whatever you might be doing. A consultation with a fitness trainer, even online, can help you design the ideal workout room.

Themed entertainment room

You can turn that spare room into something more than just a game room or TV-watching space with an extensive themed remodel. The options here are as broad as your imagination itself! A 1950s-inspired diner with jukebox, wood-paneled English pub with leather stools pushed up to a custom bar or a tribute to the movies or sports teams that drive your passions.

Walk-in closet

Convert the extra space into the walk-in closet of your dreams. Depending on the complexity of the closet you'd like to create, you can complete the task with a few supplies from the local home improvement store in a weekend. You can also hire a contractor to create a completely custom design with all the bells and whistles.

Closet renovations tend to have a low return on investment, so if you do this, make sure you're doing it for yourself and not to improve resale value. This should be a labor of love.

Relaxation room

Rather than stimulating activities or entertainment, you can use that room to create a relaxing, peaceful environment to decompress and find serenity. Wall projectors, relaxing seating areas, soft blankets, pillows and mats, and water elements such as aquariums can help create that feeling.

Greenhouse

Plants and gardening can be a relaxing hobby, and an indoor greenhouse can be just the ticket for all-seasons gardening. A lot of windows and a fair amount of natural light make this possible. Strategically place shelving so your favorite indoor plants can benefit from the sun south-facing windows will receive the most sunlight. Add an oversized chair for a cozy reading spot. The garden room can also house any outdoor plants you need to shelter from harsh winter conditions.

Guest room

Of course, you can always add the traditional guest room. You can work the concept into areas such as craft rooms as well, such as with a pullout sofa or Murphy bed to accommodate visitors. A queen-sized bed is enough for most couples to sleep. Beautiful bedding and window treatments or shades create an inviting space, as do table lamps or wall sconces for lighting.

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Home Decor

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