26 Inspiring Ways to Repurpose a Spare Bedroom
A guest room that sits vacant most of the time is ripe for repurposing. Transform your underused square footage with these clever spare bedroom ideas.
In an analysis of U.S. Census data, Finder.com determined that there are at least 33.6 million spare bedrooms across the country. So much underused space represents a lot of untapped potential! If you’re lucky enough to have a room in your home that doesn’t get much use, now’s the time to jazz it up and make it more functional—or just more fun.
Maybe you wish you had a dedicated space for crafting supplies or a home gym. It might be time to stop using your dining room table as your home office. There are plenty of ways to transform a spare bedroom into a space that can soothe the soul, strengthen the body, feed the spirit, or enrich the mind. All it takes is a little inspiration.
1. Airbnb Rental
According to Airbnb, the typical host took in about $14,000 in additional income last year. While renting spare room might not get quite so princely a sum, a little extra cash could come in handy, particularly given today’s soaring cost of living. Help your Airbnb guests feel welcome and ensure their comfort by outfitting the space with essentials like towels, toiletries, and tissues, and make sure your home’s Wi-Fi password is displayed prominently.
2. Craft Room
If crafting and creating is your jam, your maker space should reflect your imaginative personality. Keep it bright, airy, and energizing while also focusing on practicalities like task lighting, appropriate storage for crafting supplies, and spacious, uncluttered surfaces for laying out your work. Having a dedicated craft room keeps supplies— fabrics, yarns, beads, sharp tools, and other tempting objects—safely away from kids and pets, and keeps you from having to scoop your projects up from the kitchen or dining room table every time guests arrive.
3. Home Office
Even post-pandemic, the demand for a dedicated work space in the home continues. In fact, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders, this year marks the first time a home office appeared on the list of buyers’ most-requested features. Just think how productive you’ll be working from home in the privacy of a beautiful, ultra-organized home office.
4. Homework Hub
Doing homework at the kitchen table is so passé. Create a space where kids and teens can concentrate on their after-school projects with all the necessary tools and supplies at the ready, and distractions like televisions and game systems out of sight. A dedicated learning station also can come in handy should schools have to revert to virtual instruction, even for snow days.
Have you ever dreamed of twirling around in your own home library, surrounded by towering bookshelves, like Belle from Beauty and the Beast? If you don’t have the square footage for a traditional living room library, your spare bedroom is the next best thing. Line the walls with shelving, and save a corner for the comfiest chair you can afford.
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6. Art Studio
Even the tiniest extra bedroom can give you a place to express yourself artistically. Place an easel or a drafting table in a bright nook, hang shelves or bring in a cabinet for storage, and you’re ready to create. If the room is big enough, you can even pull in a comfortable couch or sofa bed for overnight guests.
7. Music Room
Practice piano, jam with friends, or mix your first hit tracks in a room that’s dedicated to music. Lay down thick carpeting to soak up sound (and maybe some mass-loaded vinyl on the walls), and add a few comfortable floor cushions or bean bags for musically inclined visitors.
Gardening enthusiasts who lack the space or budget for an outdoor greenhouse can cultivate seedlings in their spare room from the waning days of winter through early spring. Buy ready-made shelving or DIY your own, and outfit the shelves with grow lights. With the right equipment, ambitious gardeners can even grow vegetables indoors during winter and enjoy tender leafy greens all season long.
9. Home Gym
Whether you run, lift weights, or take Peloton classes, having a dedicated exercise space can make your workouts more enjoyable and convenient. To get the greatest benefit from your home gym, consider the types of exercise you enjoy the most and purchase home gym equipment accordingly. Don’t spring for a pricey elliptical trainer you’ve never used before; instead, start with what’s familiar. Pay attention to lighting and decor—this should be a place you look forward to using. Finally, working out takes consistency, whether you do it at home or at a gym, so make a schedule and stick to it.
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Turning your spare room into your kids’ playroom will let you declutter the rest of your house and keep toys under control. Choose washable, easy-care furniture and fabrics, and keep kids’ storage at their level. This way, they’ll be able to reach what they want and be more likely to put toys away when they’re done. Have fun with the project by customizing the room to suit your children’s interests and style.
11. Pet Retreat
You may have to evict Fido from his bedroom lair when guests arrive, but all the other days of the year, your furry friend can enjoy a private pet sanctuary. Include your pet’s favorite toys, and don’t forget to adorn the walls with dog- or cat-themed art. To keep your pup tidy, set up a grooming station in a corner, complete with brushes, combs, and other supplies.
12. Game Room
Board game aficionados know that the kitchen table is often the worst place to settle in for a marathon dice-based battle: The table is cramped and often too small, and the seating is uncomfortable. When you set up a dedicated game room, you can furnish it with cozy chairs and an expansive table that can accommodate large boards. Chess fanatics can keep their sets in place the clock close at hand, ready for a match at any time. For a luxe touch, add a mini-fridge filled with game-night beverages.
13. Yoga Studio
Inhale. Exhale. Sure, yoga can be done anywhere you can lay down a mat, but it’s infinitely more soothing to do sun salutations and downward dogs in a room devoted to meditation. Add a small console table for candles and music, plug in an essential oil diffuser, and you’re ready to namaste.
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14. Walk-In Closet
If your bedroom closet is packed to the gills, why not move your clothes to a spacious new address: your underutilized spare room? With careful organization and a few storage accessories, you can transform your guest bedroom into a luxurious walk-in closet.
15. Creation Station
Whether you’re a writer or an entrepreneur, having a safe, private space to work out your ideas is invaluable. Outfit your spare room with whiteboards and plenty of empty wall space where you can map out your thoughts and get your creative juices flowing.
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16. Home Bar
Do you love to entertain but lack the space to do it in style? Swap the traditional guest bedroom for a discreet home bar and lounge space where guests can gather and mingle at your next dinner party. Go low-key with simple shelving for potables and a few small tables to hold drinks, or all out with a built-in bar and a comfy couch.
17. Bathroom Expansion
Is your unused spare bedroom right next to a cramped bathroom? Think bigger! Create a spa-worthy retreat by tearing down a wall, expanding the space, and adding indulgent touches like a freestanding tub, a walk-in shower, or sauna.
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18. Sewing Studio
Do you know how to sew, or are you ready to learn? Rather than sacrificing a corner of your bedroom or a section of a dingy basement for sewing space, equip your spare bedroom with a sewing machine, storage for notions, and a generously sized worktable (dress mannequin optional). You’ll have a space that’s suitable for accomplished seamster or seamstress.
19. Record and Reading Room
Is your vinyl record collection overtaking your living room? Full-service interior design firm Metal + Petal designed this delightful, 115-square-foot Athens, Georgia space for clients who wanted somewhere to keep their media collection. Albums, movies, and books in one room gives the homeowners reason to linger and listen; a small bar keeps refreshments close at hand.
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20. Home Theater
Film buffs and Netflix bingers: Why not turn an extra bedroom into a home movie theater? Outfit the space with a big-screen TV, ultra-comfortable seating, a mini fridge, and a popcorn maker, you’ll be all set to enjoy your favorite flicks. For a real-deal cinematic experience, spring for a video projector and a home theater system.
21. Dining Room
If a formal dining room is on your wish list but you’re still entertaining dinner guests at the kitchen table, think about converting your spare room. All you need is a table and chairs, and some dining room-appropriate decor to transform the space. In a larger room, include an attractive rolling cart and a small sideboard or console table to make serving and cleanup more convenient.
22. Gaming Station
Most gaming enthusiasts would love to have a room just for their favorite pastime. Start with the basics: a desk big enough for the gaming computer and monitors and an adjustable gaming chair with great back support. Opt for blackout curtains or blinds to control daytime glare, and don’t forget to include storage for games and collectibles. Set the mood and enhance the immersive experience with LED light strips, light bars, or wall lights, then let the games begin!
23. Pantry Storage
If you have a small kitchen with limited storage, turn your spare room into a walk-in pantry. This is an especially great idea for avid home canners and families who stockpile months’ worth of emergency food supplies. Line the walls with shelving units to hold canned goods, grains, beans, and other staples as well as rarely used serving pieces and appliances. Your decluttered kitchen will thank you.
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24. Photo or Video Studio
Whether you’re an aspiring YouTuber or a motivated eBay seller, you’ll benefit from having a dedicated video/photo space. At the very least, you’ll be able to keep all your equipment—lights, cameras, tripods, backdrops—in one place. Hang blackout curtains to provide greater control over lighting, and install weatherstripping around the door to eliminate unwanted noise. Keep furnishings to a minimum, and be sure to include a desk for the computer and some storage to curb clutter.
25. Corporate Headquarters
Go-getters running a side hustle, such as an eBay or Etsy store, might want to turn that extra bedroom into a warehouse and fulfillment center. Install shelves to hold inventory and supplies, and create a shipping station for assembling and packing up orders. Top it all off with a small desk, a postal scale, and some file cabinets and you’ll have your entire operation in one tidy room.
26. Beauty Room
The typical cramped bathroom doesn’t have space for a vanity table, let alone all of the makeup, creams, nail polish bottles, and beauty treatments that accumulate over time. Tame the bathroom clutter and pamper yourself by transforming a spare bedroom into a Hollywood-style dressing room. Set up a vanity table with a lighted mirror, a comfy upholstered chair or stool, and storage for cosmetics, towels, robes, and other necessities. Paint the walls in a calming hue that flatters your complexion.