Work The Room - 10 ways to give your spare room the wow factor

The spare room - also known as the other room, the dump and the store everything you’ll never use again room. Lots of people are lucky enough to have an extra bedroom but many tend not to make the most of it.

 Here we look at our top ten ideas for making the most of your spare room, whatever its size.

Guest appearance

The first - and traditional - use of a spare room is, of course, as a guest room.  For those with grown children who have moved away from home and those who enjoy having friends to stay, a guest room is essential.  Keep the decor and furnishings in your spare room simple and fresh in order to minimise cleaning time.  A guest room should be tidy and inviting so make sure that the bed is kept made with fresh linens and add a few practical but pleasing touches such as neatly tied towel bales and decorative bowls of toiletries.

Dress for success

For those with more clothes than guests, a spare room can be a lifesaver.  Invest in some covered clothes rails and turn your spare room into a walk in wardrobe or a dressing room fit for a celebrity.  If you’re lucky enough to be a dab hand at DIY (or live with somebody who is), a larger spare room can be transformed by adding custom made wardrobes and shoe racks.  As a bonus, this will also give you more room in your bedroom and give the illusion of more space.

Homework

With more and more people choosing to work from home, you can save yourself the frustration of balancing a laptop on your knee in front of the television by turning your spare room into a home office.  Before you begin, check that the room has enough power and telephone outlets for your requirements - if you need more, always seek the advice of a professional.  Practical desks and other office essentials can be picked up relatively cheaply from furniture superstores or, if you’re looking for something a bit more special, check out local antique stores and websites. As the room is for work, keep decorations and nick nacks to a minimum and keep the space clear of distractions.  A few themed prints will add a professional but pleasing look.

A new chapter for your spare room

Bookworms can turn a spare room into their own literary lounge with a few clever touches.  Get in touch with your local library to see if they have any used bookcases for sale or to give away; quite often they will be more than happy to sell these at rock bottom prices and are the ideal solution for starting your own home library.  Alternatively, check out online shelving sites for custom or ready made solutions.  If you have a wall in your library without a bookcase, book-print wall coverings can add a fun touch.  Add a comfy armchair, a side table and a mini fridge and your bookish bolthole is complete!

Craft / Hobby Room

A spare room is ideal for storing and displaying all the things you need for a hobby such as sewing, painting or crafting.  If your spare room has a window, place a table or desk next to it to catch as much light as possible - if not, add a couple of lamps.  Invest in a few quirky or custom shelf units and drawer units to make sure all your essentials are close to hand and claim your space with a few themed prints or posters.

Stretch your imagination

For fitness fanatics who don’t have the time to get to a gym or leisure centre, a home gym is the perfect solution.  Keep the space as minimalist as possible in order to make cleaning easier and, if the room has a window, invest in blinds to avoid an unwanted audience during your workout!  Decide on your preferred method of exercise and invest in the necessary equipment as the focal point of your home gym.  Some exercise equipment can be pricey but can be picked up on auction and local buying and selling websites. 

Me time

 We all need somewhere to escape to and a spare room, even a tiny one, can make a great space for focusing on your wellbeing.  Beginning with a calming wall colour, fill the space with your personal story board and uplifting images and photographs.  Add a comfortable mat and chair and an ipod dock to provide a peaceful haven from the outside world. 

Childs play

 A spare room can make a perfect playroom for children, saving time and space in bedrooms and minimising clearing of other rooms in the house.  Fill the room with bright colours, squashy bean bags and funky containers and cupboards to store toys at the right height for little hands.

In the family

As a family grows, there’s not always the room to display all trophies, memories and achievements in the main living areas.  Turn your spare room into a dedicated family room with a wall for each family member where you can display awards, certificates, photographs and memories.

Bringing the outside in

For those with the luxury of a spare room but no outside space to call their own, an indoor garden is a peaceful and pretty addition to a home.  As well as shelves filled with potted flowers and plants, many hanging and climbing vines such as Purple Heart, String Of Pearls and simple Ivy can be used to great effect.  Add a chaise or sofa and an occasional table for a perfect secret garden.

Whether you decide on a dressing room, a fitness centre or a study, make a new years resolution to give your spare room a chance to shine.