Ideas for Converting Those Rarely Used Rooms Into Spectacular Retreats

By Botond Laszlo

We’ve addressed the topic of adding space in quite a few of our blog posts including master bedroom suitesguest bedrooms/suiteshome officesman caves, and even attic renovations. Those all represent specific space needs for your home. Another concept, and one we like a great deal, is to add “flex” space to your home.

What's Flex Space?

Flex space is a key feature for many new home builders. It represents dedicated space on the floorplan that can be designated by the buyer during the building process. 

NewHomeSource provides some insight in their article “Flex Rooms Change to Suite Buyers’ Needs, Preferences.” They note that the same floor space could be garage space, a game room, or a guest suite with bathroom. 

How Do I Add Flex Space To My Home?

The best way to add flex space to an existing home is to convert little-used space into the space you need. You’re essentially creating your own flex space. 

For example, you may have formal dining and living rooms that see traffic once or twice a year. They could instead become an in-law or guest suite. Or perhaps a wine room, office space, or playroom are needed for your family. 

Multipurpose Rooms

While we tend to focus on our needs in the here and now, you should also consider the potential for flex space over the years as your family changes. As just one example, bedroom space could be used in your children’s early years as a nursery, changing into a bedroom as the get older, and finally into an office or crafting work space as they head to college.

media room with office deskSomething we’ve seen transition over time is home offices. In the early days of your family, it might be used as a baby’s bedroom, moving into office space or a reading room for a while, and then into space with several workstations that the entire family uses for homework—work from the office and from school.

For another angle on this concept, we like Dwell’s article “7 Modern Multipurpose Rooms” which focuses on using large open spaces to accommodate multiple activities within the same large room.

Spectacular Retreats

When we think of retreats it’s usually someplace to escape the your busy and overloaded day, often alone. With that in mind flex space can be focused on:

  • Study/Library: Build a cozy reading area to dig deep into that novel you’ve been putting off.
  • Media Room: Install video and audio systems to help you unwind after a hard day.
  • Workout Room: Treadmills, weights, and a nearby audiovisual system provide a great way to refresh yourself through sweat labor.
  • Hobby Space: Build that perfect space for scrapbooking, stamp collecting, and more.

Family Options

game roomWhile not necessarily a retreat, flex space can also be used to address family needs, essentially sending the rest of the family to these flex spaces so the rest of the home can be your retreat. 

  • Play Room: A great way to get the kids toys out of the rest of the house and into their dedicated space. Also a nice way to provide game tables, video games, computer workstations, etc.
  • Game Room: As the kids get older, their games get more sophisticated. Use this space for foosball tables, pool tables, computers, anything that keeps them actively engaged.
  • Adjoining Space: Build space off the master bedroom that can serve as a workout area, home office, or baby’s nursery. This is a great way to move through multiple purposes over the years. 

Functional Foyers

Yet another space that’s begging for alternate uses is the formal foyer. Recently the Wall Street Journal’s article titled In “Luxury Homes, Foyers Get Functional—And Fabulous,” highlighted that some owners are reimagining entryways as dining rooms, dens, and entertaining spaces. They have some great photos of what’s possible with this often overlooked space.

Still More Ideas

Pinterest and Houzz are always good places to search for more ideas. We like Houzz’s Flex Space photo gallery. We’ll note, too, that a recent Houzz survey found that 46% of respondents said that hallways are the most overlooked spaces when decorating homes. Now there’s yet another candidate for a makeover! 

As you can see, flex space is a great way to redesign and repurpose some of your floor space to meet your current needs while maintaining the ability to transform that same space yet again as your needs change.

Let us know what you’re thinking about with your home makeover project. We have considerable experience and expertise with flex space and can build your dream.

Use the contact form or call 214.458.1932.

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About the Author

Botond Laszlo is the owner of Marvelous Home Makeovers. He is passionate about high quality, environmentally conscious design.