4 Rooms Homeowners Don’t Use and How to Repurpose Them

Transform the underused parts of your home to make for a more enjoyable space.

U.S. News & World Report

How to Repurpose Rooms You Don’t Use

Dining table and chairs near staircase

Especially when you know you won't be hosting dinner parties in the near future, repurpose a dining room to a home office, study spot or playroom.(Getty Images)

We all have that one room or space in our home that rarely gets used. Lifestyles have evolved over the last two decades and with them, certain domains have gone in and out of vogue. Advances in technology and the rise of work-from-home have also shifted traditional design trends toward reimagining underutilized spaces to function more practically.


If you get creative, you can increase your living space to accommodate modern needs without adding any extra square footage. Here are four rooms homeowners rarely use and how to repurpose them to optimize every inch:

  • Formal dining room.
  • Extra guest bedroom.
  • Porch.
  • Wide hallway, tiny room or oversized closet.

Formal Dining Room

The need for large-scale formal dining rooms is a thing of the past. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, homeowners were split between those who still used their formal dining room for entertaining and those who ate meals more casually while letting their dining tables collect dust and clutter. As we don’t expect large dinner parties to resume anytime soon, we’re seeing this prime real estate in the home being remodeled to serve a more practical purpose.

If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that workspaces and study areas can be set up just about anywhere. Many dining rooms have assumed the role of home offices and study areas – a place where both adults and children spend most of their days working and learning remotely.

If you don’t want to give up your dining area entirely and have some room to spare, make it multifunctional. Add a comfortable seating area with a TV, and for those with children, a play area.

Extra Guest Bedroom


The extra bedroom that typically housed visiting guests is being redefined. For many, this additional room that would otherwise sit empty for most of the year has become the best option for creating a private home office or makeshift classroom. A remote working professional can shut the door and get on Zoom conference calls in peace and quiet, or the kids could have proper desks set up for at-home studies.

In some cases, the guest bedroom has become a live-in nanny or housekeeper’s room, where commuting has become a challenge, and having more help at home has become a priority.

Porch

In today’s world, a serene place to retreat outdoors for solitude or to safely socialize with a close friend or a family member is priceless. Patios and porches were once spaces we used lightly and often took for granted. Those lucky enough to have a little slice of the outdoors, especially if it’s covered or enclosed, have transitioned elements of everyday life into the open air.

Many homeowners have improved their own alfresco living and dining experiences by outfitting their patio or porch with more comfortable seating arrangements, mood lighting and even projectors for pop-up move nights. Like we’re seeing with restaurants, it’s also become more commonplace to add a compact space heater to continue utilizing outdoor space through the colder months.

Of course, we can’t forget about our furry friends. With a few small updates, like adding a barrier along the perimeter of the railings and a portable patch of fake grass, you can turn your porch or patio into a pet-friendly oasis to safely enjoy together while spending more time at home.

Wide Hallway, Tiny Room or Oversized Closet

The need for a home gym or space to exercise has never been more in demand. While we may not be returning to the gym or workout classes in the foreseeable future, we can’t allow the “quarantine 19” to get the best of us. With companies like Peloton and Mirror offering live-stream and pre-recorded workout sessions online, you can bring the gym to you.

The question is, where can you escape to get in your workout? That extra hallway space under the stairs, a random tiny room that you use for storage or even an oversized utility closet are all great places to transform into your home gym. Just don’t forget to ensure the space has good airflow, and add a fan if necessary. For the blossoming wine connoisseur, any nook or extra oversized closet can be altered into a climate-controlled wine cellar that not only adds architectural interest to the space but also houses an extensive collection.

How and which rooms or spaces to repurpose in your home will be personal based on your lifestyle and needs. No matter the square footage, layout or configuration – and whether you live in an apartment or house – there’s always a space that could be better utilized. Sometimes, it could be as simple as a small decorative change that transforms the space and improves its usability or enjoyment. Ultimately, it’s all about what works best for you.

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