New Life for an Old Bedroom

How to make spare rooms that are functional and flexible.
Personal Space
A chaise longue provides
a comfortable spot to
read and relax.

Finding time for a favorite hobby can be a challenge. Finding a place to do it -- one that looks good and works well -- is even tougher. Plus, there's your computer, too. Stashing supplies in an overstuffed closet or messy basement just won't do.

New homes often feature "bonus" or "flex" spaces that can be turned into hobby rooms. In older houses, a spare bedroom can be sacrificed to satisfy the passions of crafters, yoga followers, and woodworkers. When you don't have a lot of extra space to spare, designating an entire room for hobbies means the space has to be functional, flexible, and adaptable.

Transform a closet with a
built-in desk for a
computer and shelves.

At the very least, most projects would benefit from a work surface and efficient storage. Be sure to allow your decorating plans to include shelves and storage by your computer, too.

Although function is vital, a comfortable and nurturing atmosphere also provides the stimulus and staying power you need to complete your projects.

Here are some tips used to create this restful retreat:

  • Start by removing all the old clutter in the closets. Give the garments to a local charity.
  • Add a fresh coat of paint and new carpet. Plush carpeting tends to have a bedroom feel, so opt for a Berber or low pile carpeting. Since the owner of this home is an avid fan of yoga, she avoided sisal because it can be scratchy.
  • Visit your home improvement retailer for shelves and other storage devices. Gain space by building a desk in the closet. The desk can be constructed from a piece of wood supported by two file cabinets. Place your laptop computer and a small TV on the desk. Then, build more shelves above the desk. Wicker baskets will stow papers and projects. Add a mirror on the desk or one of the shelves to reflect light. Be sure your desk chair is small enough to tuck under the desk when the doors are closed.

A narrow antique table holds
a vintage typewriter and
workday essentials.

Surround yourself with objects that inspire and comfort you -- all the items you love. Make the room reflect your personality. If you have a collection, this is a perfect spot for it. Collections are best when displayed in groupings. If you collect birdhouses, for instance, put a grouping on a wall or shelf. That way you create visual impact. If space is tight, and your collection is large, include only the best for your display.

Continued on page 2:  Work and Play the Garden Way