Do you have an empty room in your home? Or a room that is under-utilized and often ignored?
I’ve been to a lot of homes that have a space that has been sitting stagnant for sometime—often it is designated as a formal living or dining room. The owners can’t fathom using the space as a formal dining or living room—it just doesn’t fit into their lifestyle. So the space remains empty as they grapple with how to effectively use it.
I’m here to tell you that just because something is labelled as a formal living or dining room, doesn’t mean that you need to use it for that purpose. Now, I know you don’t need me to tell you this—you can use your space any way you see fit.
But I often work with clients who just don’t know what to do with these empty spaces. They know they don’t want a formal living room, but they get stuck on how to get the most out of their space.
When you’re at a restaurant, at your friends’ houses, or simply hanging out with people, how do you spend your time? Do you prefer to sit on comfortable couches, or do you tend to sit at a table? Is the table long, round, short?
By looking at how you use space—especially when you’re interacting with other people—you can start to understand how you can best use your formal dining or living room.
How Do You Vacation?
When trying to decide how to use your space, I also recommend thinking about the way you spend your time when you are on vacation. What do you look for in a hotel? Is there something you need to have in your room? Where do you spend your time when on vacation?
If you tend to spend your time in lounge areas, lobbies, patios, or tea rooms, think about how you can draw inspiration from those spaces and translate it into your empty room to make a space that brings you joy.
Are certain rooms in your home being used as multifunctional spaces when they don't have to be? Maybe you have a room that is currently functioning as your home office, playroom, and living room, for example, and it is working for your family.
You can create another version of this space that is already working well for you and your family—this also allows you to keep both spaces organized and free from clutter.
Think about your home and your family—how do you communicate with each other at home? If you can identify how you have conversations in your home, you can build a space that facilitates that conversation. This will help you build a home that works for everything and gives you an outlet to share and be heard with one another.
A formal dining room and living room does not have to function in that way simply because the previous owner or home builder labelled them as such.
You can create whatever you want in that space and it gives you the opportunity to create a room that works best for you and your family. Perhaps that means creating a space to hang out, a space to get some work done, a creative space, or even a multifunctional space.
Before you decide what to do with your empty space, it is important to really look into the ways you and your family already function within other spaces. Draw on the above sources to find inspiration on how to best create a functional space that your whole family will love.
And remember, just because you have what was built as a traditional living room doesn’t mean it has to function that way—your house, your rules!
All my best,