When you're looking around your new home for the first time, the possibilities seem endless when it comes to the spare room, and the extra space suddenly feels like something that you and your family can't live without. But all too often, the spare room becomes neglected and is merely used for storage, or turned into a functional, but bland, office space or spare bedroom.
It's easier than you think to transform a spare room into an exciting space that will benefit the whole family, and it doesn't need to cost the earth. We've put together some exciting options to suit a variety of lifestyles, families and homes, and included top tips for choosing lighting, colour schemes and furnishings to help you maximise the potential of your extra space.
A playroom provides children with their own dedicated space and will help minimise the time you spend tidying up after your brood. By confining all toys and games to a playroom, you'll also be able to create more grown-up spaces around your home, and your kids will love having their own private den to retreat to during playdates.
Be sure to choose a room with lots of natural light and hardwearing, wipe clean, non-slip flooring which can be easily warmed up and softened with a rug. The more involved your kids are in the planning process, the more likely they are to enjoy the space for years to come, so be sure to get them involved when it comes to choosing your playroom furnishings and décor.
A playroom needs to inspire creativity and imagination, while also providing a bright and stimulating homework space for when your kids are older. Yellow symbolises happiness and is a great gender-neutral option. Adding a brightly coloured accent wall is a great option for brightening up a room without being too overwhelming.
Lighting and décor
Using chalkboard paint on a section of wall is a great way to allow your kids to put their own stamp on their play space, and will evolve from a creative doodling space to a useful revision tool as they get older. Wall stickers are another cheap and easily removable option to decorate a playroom, while spotlights, fairly lights and corner lamps can all help transform the room into a more relaxing space in the evenings.
A playroom should be a multi-purpose space that can change as quickly as your children's hobbies and interests. Multi-functional furniture, such as a pull-out day bed, is ideal for watching movies or doing revision, and provides additional space for sleepovers. Bean bags are also a cost-efficient way to create a cosy corner, and are not only comfy and durable but act as an excellent space-saver.
Games rooms are perfect for families who want a less formal entertainment space for playing games or for those who have teenagers looking for a space to hang out with friends. It can also serve as a retreat for sports fans whose families don't necessary share their passion for the game!
It's important to determine the space's main usage when choosing the ideal room. For example, a downstairs room is more accessible for entertaining guests, and when it comes to decorating - hardwood flooring is ideal if you're planning on having a pool or football table or are likely to be frequently mopping up spills.
Red stirs up excitement and is a great colour for entertaining friends or watching sports. It's also cosy by lamplight in the evenings when watching movies and is warming in the winter. The colour purple symbolises luxury, so is another great option for relaxing and unwinding, while calming green tones are also ideal for creating a chill out space.
Lighting and décor
Blackout blinds and thick curtains help to create a dark and cosy space to unwind in, and lamps and candles provide the ideal atmosphere for sports and movie nights. Installing a dimmer switch provides a great solution for creating instant mood lighting, especially if you don't have room for lamps.
Creating a games room doesn't have to be expensive, and you can often find pool tables, sofas and armchairs and quirky fixtures and fittings by checking out eBay or the local listings. If you're short on space, you can also opt for a football table which can easily be covered with a flat board and swiftly transformed into a table tennis table.
A home gym is a brilliant concept for those with busy lifestyles who may not always have the time or energy to head to the gym after work. Many of today's fitness gurus promote workouts which can be completed easily at home, meaning that staying fit is now more convenient and cost-effective than ever before.
A home gym doesn't necessarily mean heavy duty equipment and treadmills; quite often all you need is a yoga mat or some jigsaw foam tiles, a set of dumbbells and an exercise ball. This means that a small room with durable, non-slip flooring is perfectly adequate for a home gym. However, if you're more of a fitness fanatic, you may need a little more space and specially designed floor material if you're planning on lifting heavy weights.
In terms of creating your ideal workout space, orange is an energetic, stimulating colour, and yellow is happy and uplifting and will make you feel more motivated to work out. Cooler blue tones can be too calming, unless you're looking to create a Yoga or Pilates space.
Lighting and décor
The brighter the space, the more awake you will feel, and opting for spotlights will give you optimum levels of light and make the room fit for a great workout. Full length mirrors are great for reflecting light and will also allow you to monitor your form during a workout.
Installing a music system or TV means you don't have to worry about your headphones falling out as you're in charge of the music or channel. If you're working out alone, it can be hard to keep to a routine or track your progress, so installing a whiteboard, or pinboard is ideal for keeping on track and monitoring progress. Finally, it's all too easily to fill a home gym with equipment and forget about the finishing touches, so adding a couple of pot plants can help to freshen up the space.
Hopefully we've given you some ideas for what to do with your spare room, but if you're still struggling for inspiration, check out our Pinterest boards for some interior design ideas!