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Many people in the US find that they end up with more room than they need in their homes. Whether they bought in excess of what they require, or their children have grown up and moved out, they often wonder whether or not to downsize or utilize the space for something else. While there are pros and cons to both, let’s look at some options you have for utilizing the extra rooms you don’t use.

1. Rent it out.

One of the most obvious uses for an extra room is to rent it out. If you don’t have the capability to turn extra rooms into a full apartment, you can always list your room on a site like Airbnb or HomeAway. You’ll meet a wide variety of people, and if you live in a huge tourist area, you could easily make enough to pay for your mortgage, or at least reduce the cost significantly. This can give you hundreds of extra dollars each year to put toward retirement, traveling, investments, or just general life expenses.

2. Make it a hobby room.

Another obvious use is to make a hobby room. It’s a stereotype that parents convert their children’s rooms into hobby rooms once they go to college, but it can be useful! You can create an artist’s paradise, a soundproof music studio, a gaming haven, or a cushy reading room fairly easily. After coming home from a long day of work, you’ll be happy to have a secluded area where you can enjoy your hobbies in peace.

3. Create a home office.

Young and old alike will benefit from having a home office. If you have work from home days, this is the perfect place to go. You can also use this room as motivation to start your own business. It’s been said numerous times that we shouldn’t work in our bedrooms, but I would go a step further and say we should only work in designated work areas. To keep the stress of your job from entering your family space, set up a home office.

4. Expand your closet.

Even if you won’t admit it at first, you would appreciate having a walk-in closet. This is a super simple customization that could take as little as one afternoon to complete. If you find that you run out of space for your clothes, or you are constantly packing and unpacking your clothes by season, consider making this the home for all your items. You can also add an area for your laundry, so that you don’t have to cart your dirty clothes to another room. After making a walk-in closet, you’ll quickly find that you have more space in your other rooms, and you can even sell your wardrobes and dressers for some extra cash.

5. Store your excess items.

Some people like to have a stash of gallons of water, canned food, and paper supplies in their house. This can be great if your power ever goes out and you live in a remote area. Maybe you stock up on cleaning supplies or toiletries when they are on sale, but you don’t have enough room in your cabinets to store everything. Or, you might have items that you use seasonally, or that you will need someday, but you don’t use everyday. No matter what excess items you have, you can definitely convert an extra room into a storage room. Most people use their basements for storage, but an extra bedroom might be a great storage area for items that you need on a moment’s notice (such as toilet paper). Location can make a big difference, so consider whether you want to trek up to the third floor to grab a can of green beans, or if you want to keep your Christmas ornaments stored there year-round.

6. Have a pet room.

Some families have quite a few indoor pets. Their toys, food, and other necessities are often spread throughout the house, and many times are stored in inconvenient places. A pet room is the solution to this problem. You can have an area for food, a place for toys to go when your pets lose interest, but you don’t want to throw them out. If the room is big enough, you can even train your pets here, or store their cages here. You probably won’t want to keep a large dog or seven cats cooped up here, but aquariums or hamster cages might work well in this kind of room. Just make sure the room stays open if you have pets in here, so that you are able to check in on them a few times per day. If you’re trying to keep pets away from a food stash, you might want to keep the door closed instead.

Do you have an extra bedroom, basement space, or even a den you don’t use? Check back for more blogs on ways you can utilize the extra space in your house, including helpful tips on renovation, design, and more!