The Case for Repurposing Your Space

Tips for reimagining and breathing new life in underutilized spaces in your home.


By Lauren Oosterlinck


It’s almost criminal — leaving rooms in your home underutilized. While navigating the obstacle course of life, there are a host of reasonable factors that lead to this common home-functionality transgression. Now is the ideal moment to repurpose what you have and reinvent such spaces.

A desirable feature of yesteryear, the formal dining room is now often deemed obsolete by many homeowners, who allow it to morph into an underused or wasted space. A contributing factor is the evolution of the kitchen into a multi-functional communal area. Fortunately, the size and central location of this former principal gathering room typically allow for plenty of practical new purposes.

Similarly, extra bedrooms are always useful – until they aren’t. These rooms typically boast prime real estate within a dwelling, yet unless you frequently host overnight guests, they easily befall the sin of neglect. If it’s become rare for you to have stayover visitors, the space is well worth repurposing to revive and add value to your floor plan. It’s your oyster for all sorts of possibilities!

Any of the following suggestions could inspire these rooms’ next roles. Here is a curated collection of the most actionable and relevant ways to inspire an uplifting transformation in your dwelling’s neglected spaces.

Serious Business

Particularly with recent shifts to a work-from-home situation, savvy homeowners have taken to the idea of repurposing their dining room into a home office. Adding a desk, shelves and a few chairs – perhaps from the dining table set – will easily convert an outdated area into a place dedicated to work or remote learning. Get creative with this project and give the room a true makeover with a bold new paint color, wallpaper and artwork throughout the reimagined space.

Child’s Play

If you have young children, consider creating a designated play area. You can maintain organization in the room by adding a colorful chest of drawers, whimsical hutch or handy bins for toys and game storage. Be sure to incorporate plenty of comfortable seating, and perhaps even a television to enhance the capabilities and fun factor.

Hobbyist Lair

Bibliophiles and audiophiles, rejoice! A dining room or spare bedroom could be reinvented into a library or combo listening studio. Any treasured books or magazines hidden away in boxes or spread among various coffee tables throughout the house can be placed on stylish display on dramatic floor-to-ceiling shelving. An essential here is at least one ultra-cozy chair. Vinyl lovers can add a turntable and settle in for undisturbed contemplation. Further elevate this converted space by introducing an elegant bar cart or armoire bar cabinet.

Mindful Movement

Fitness-focused households might find another use for an underutilized space – and pounce on the opportunity to build out a home gym. Relocate or sell any unneeded furniture, and as a first step for those with wood flooring, try laying foam mat overtop. Double down on the quality of this transition by installing a full-length mirror. Then comes the fun part: Decide which machines, weights or other equipment would optimize the revitalized room.

Every square inch of your residence matters, so if you discover any areas that have become abandoned, focus on the primary needs and functions that best serve you and your family – and reference these tips to get the most out of your space.

Senior Manager, Content & Multimedia at Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. In his role he manages content strategy and execution across several platforms. He’s held other roles within the Marketing Department ranging from Previews & Product Development to the day to day management of the redesign. Besides being a marketer, Gustavo is a filmmaker, musician and writer.