Are you wondering what to do with a newly spare room in your home? Whether your child has left for college or a relative who needed a place to stay has moved out, it can be hard to decide how to make use of a vacant room. But imagine how much money would be going out the door over the course of your mortgage if this room becomes yet another space to accumulate clutter. Why not take the opportunity to transform the room into a space dedicated to ensuring your financial freedom?
Here are seven ideas for creative ways to use your spare room, and tips on how to decorate the room cost-consciously and comfortably.
Show Me the Money
1) Launch a business. What are you interested in, and what are you good at? Think about not only the jobs you’ve had, but the work you’ve done over the years that you haven’t gotten paid for.
- Always helping your friends with their resumes? Start an editing business.
- Constantly sharing recipes or recommending restaurants? Cook up a food blog.
- Enjoy helping your husband balance his company’s books? Become a bookkeeper.
Whether you decide to launch a business based on an earlier career, volunteer work or an entirely new area of interest, you’ll want to determine what kind of furniture you’ll need for your home office.
- If you’ll be spending a lot of time at the computer, invest in a comfortable office computer desk and chair.
- Will you be meeting with clients in your home office? If so, you’ll need adequate seating.
2) Get crafty. If you’re passionate about arts and crafts, whether you paint picture frames, make beaded jewelry or knit baby sweaters, why not dedicate a workspace to making your art? Don’t overlook something you’ve considered merely a hobby. By dedicating a whole room to your craft, you’ll increase the likelihood that it could become a profitable career.
- Invest in a craft table so that you have surface area to do your work as well as storage to keep your supplies. Imagine how much more efficient you’ll be without having to lug everything to and from the coffee table.
- Display your creations. The room itself can make a great impression on potential clients. Think of it as your personal art gallery.
- Sell your merchandise on Etsy, which is a great site to reach an audience of craft lovers.
3) Share your expertise. It’s likely that there’s something you’re knowledgeable about that you can teach to others, whether children, teens, adults or seniors.
- Is there an art or craft you could teach?
- Do you play an instrument that you could teach?
- Are you fluent in a foreign language that others might want to learn?
- Will the lessons be individual or will you be teaching small groups? This will determine how much extra furniture you will need.
4) Clean out your closet. Chances are there’s something in your closet that you never wear. Why not see what you can get for your old clothing on eBay or even take it to a local consignment shop? If you have more stuff to sell in the garage or attic, you can sort through and organize everything in the spare room before selling it.
- Do you have toys or children’s clothes that you no longer need?
- What about books, DVDs, or electronics?
- Are you hanging onto valuable collectibles that you wouldn’t mind parting with?
5) Set up a workout room. If you’re shelling out money each month for a gym membership, you could quit the gym, invest in exercise equipment and turn your spare room into a workout room. You might even be more likely to work out in the comfort of your own home. And who knows, maybe you’ll end up teaching yoga or Zumba in your newly transformed room.
6) Rent out the office to someone who needs an office space. This could be a good idea if your business is only part-time. The person you rent the room to could even become a business partner. Join local professional associations to expand your professional network.
7) Transform your room into a travel destination. You probably know someone who has booked a vacation room on Airbnb. Consider renting a room for short periods of time to business travelers. You can review potential guests’ profiles and read recommendations on the site. This could even lead to making new business contacts.
Time to Decorate
Once you’ve decided how to best utilize your spare room, it’s time to think about how to personalize and maximize your space.
- Let there be light. Invest in proper lighting so that you can work as efficiently and comfortably as possible. New lampshades can add style to a room without draining your resources, too.
- Choose a subdued color palette. Paint is the most cost-conscious way to change the look and feel of a room. It might be tempting to spruce up the room with bright colors, but instead choose a color palette that is calm, inviting, and that you won’t get tired of. Think off-white and pastels. This could save you money down the road, as you won’t need to re-do an exuberant color scheme.
- Don’t be afraid to show off. If you have certificates or diplomas, make your accomplishments part of the décor and get everything framed. Picture frames can be an easy and economical way to create a new style for your room. Plus, framing your accomplishments will make a good impression on clients.
- Consider your storage needs. If you’re selling anything out of the room, you may need ample closet storage for your merchandise. Investing in proper storage can help you maximize the space and potentially sell more products.
- Visualize your goals and progress. A bulletin board can help you set and track goals, serve as an inspiration board for projects, or even help you visualize what you’ll do with the money your spare room brings in. (Travel, anyone?) Think of it as your old-fashioned Pinterest.
What are your new ideas for how to use your spare room? How can you decorate the room in a way that supports your financial goals without draining your resources?