Five ways to transform your spare room
If you have a spare room in the house, it's time to clear out the junk that has accumulated and make the most of the extra space.
The average Aussie family accumulates an incredible amount of possessions every year. Some of this stuff is useful, and others not so much. But where does all the stuff you don't use on a regular basis end up? Scattered through living spaces, stored under beds, in cupboards and in corners, and often, in the spare room.
Assuming you're fortunate enough to have a spare room, it's time to clear out any junk that has accumulated and make proper use of the extra space. Whatever your needs are, we have a few ideas here for you that will get the inspiration for that spare room flowing.
Now that we're in our third year of the pandemic, you may have already made the move to transforming your spare bedroom into a home office. But if you're yet to make the transition, now's a good a time as any. According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 40 per cent of employed people were regularly working from home during the first half of August.
Even with most COVID restrictions lifted, many companies have moved to hybrid working arrangements where employees work part of the week in the office and part of the week at home. Home offices are also handy for when you need to take your work home with you, or the kids need a separate space to get their homework done.
Getting started is simple. All you really need is a sturdy desk and comfortable chair to begin with. But there's a lot you can do to make the space conducive to getting work done. This includes placing the desk near a window to provide natural light, adding some colour in your décor and making sure the room is free of clutter.
If the room is big enough, you can even consider making it a multifunctional space that accommodates a home office and a guest room, separating the two with a stylish divider, such as a narrow bookcase or a sliding panel.
Having a dedicated space to exercise in your home offers huge lifestyle benefits for everyone in the family. Whether you are a fan of free weights, power yoga, high intensity interval training or a run on the treadmill, a home gym can bring your favourite form of exercise conveniently close, and also help you save money on costly gym fees. Creating this space at home is particularly useful for anyone with very young children who cannot be left in the house alone while you head to the gym or go for a run.
Your home gym can be as simple or as outrageous as you like. To kickstart your set-up, a foam mat and some light dumbbells ball is really all you need for a general workout area. Consider a subscription with one of the many online services such as Apple Fitness+, Peloton, or Chris Hemsworth's Centr to guide you on exercises, in which case setting up a TV in this area will be handy as well. Depending on space, you may also want to consider investing in some cardio machines like a treadmill, exercise bike or rowing machine.
Now that we're finally seeing the other side of the pandemic, reconnecting with far-flung loved ones (or even near-flung ones) has become a priority for most families. This is where having a spare bedroom comes in handy. For the more creative among us, this extra bedroom can be seen as an opportunity to use any secondary design ideas you had up your sleeve for the main bedrooms. If you prefer a simpler setup, all you need is a well-designed and constructed bed frame, and perhaps some side tables and lamps. A nicely framed mirror or a vintage dresser can add a little charm to a minimalistic space! And, as mentioned in the previous section, this room could be utilised as a multifunctional space for when you don't have guests staying with you.
For those with small children, using the spare room as a rumpus room can contribute greatly to the cleanliness of other living spaces. Colourful carpets, an arts and crafts corner, a bookcase and a multitude of toy boxes of different sizes and shapes are basic building blocks for making a space for the kids to be creative.
If your brood is a little older, throw together a teenage retreat with some beanbags, a games console and television, a sound system, a large bookcase and reading nook, or even a dartboard or pool table. These elements could also create a perfect 'man cave' or 'she shed'. Also, including a pull-out sofa or day bed in the set-up of this room enables you to use this space for kids' sleepovers, or as an on-demand guest room for relatives and good friends.
Now, you are possibly thinking that this is what you already use your spare room for. However, there could perhaps be an improvement on the way you're currently storing items. If you're clever, you can store the same amount of stuff here but still have enough space to utilise the room for one of the ideas mentioned above.
Inbuilt cupboards are your best friend when it comes to using your spare room for storage in a smart way, as you can move larger objects out of the main floor space, hang clothes and stow away extra bedding and pillows. But take care that this room doesn't just become a whole room filled with items you don't want to look at any more or cannot be bothered to get rid of.
For functional items, think about whether you've used an item in the last six months, or whether you intend to use it in the next six months. If not, they may be better off in the charity bin or sold via Gumtree/eBay/Facebook Marketplace. Renowned 'tidying expert' Marie Kondo's '6 Rules of Tidying' are another great set of guidelines to consider when decluttering – the sixth rule is asking whether the object 'sparks joy' when you pick it up.
This information is of a general nature and does not comprise professional advice or product recommendations. Before making any decision about any investments, financial products and services, you should consult with your own independent legal, taxation and financial advisors, who can provide advice which takes into account your own personal circumstances, goals and objectives.