By Charles Richardson

In 2015, it’s all about tearing down walls. At least figuratively. This is the year to transform rooms in your house into ideal living spaces that not only fit your lifestyle, but add a bit of flair that is uniquely, well…you.

Custom loft beds in the Gilchrist Plan #734-D

Make it all about you

Obviously, there are many factors to be considered. Do you have kids? Do you have pets, and are they allowed in doors? Are you empty nesters? Are you looking to entertain more? Are you looking to retire? Are you simplifying? And so on and so on, ad infinitum. The key thing to remember: make it work for you. The saying has always been “your home is your castle,” but in reality, it’s more of a comfort zone. “What we see many homeowners doing today,” says Chuck Tripp, of Donald A. Gardner Architects, “is taking a conventional room or design, and adapting it into unconventional spaces that better fit their lifestyle.”

Recreate your living spaces

So much can be done within four walls. Rather than seeing them as boundaries, view them as opportunities to make your life more functional, livable, and fun. Here are a few ideas:

1) Craft Rooms: Some families, especially those with small children, are now turning an extra bedroom or study area into an Arts & Crafts Room to encourage creativity, random artwork, and drawing, painting, and anything else that inspires school-age children to create.

Bonus room turned craft room in the Gilchrist Plan #734-D

The Gilchrist Plan #734-D.

2) Homeschool Rooms: In certain parts of the country, homeschooling is becoming more and more prevalent as an option to educate children. Rooms, large or small, can be transformed into classrooms—and classrooms only—that are specifically designated for scholastic learning.

Homeschool Room with DIY Farmhouse Table from Happiness is Homemade

via Happiness is Homemade.

3) Storage Spaces: Believe it or not, there are other places besides the attic, basement, and garage to store boxes, winter (or summer) clothes, keepsakes, and Christmas decorations. For example, utilizing space under a stairwell is an excellent option. Or even decorative storage bins that serve as furniture accents.

Storage under the stairs in the Merrill Plan #1209

The Merrill Plan #1209.

4) Loft Beds:

One great way to add more space to a smallish bedroom is to add bunk beds. Not only do they conserve space, kids generally love them. Of course, you open yourself up to the battles of who gets to sleep on the top bunk. But as in all things, compromise can rule the day.

5) Utility/Mud Rooms

Rooms that open up to the outside—even in the front of the house or around the back—are ideal for “transition rooms” to enter the house proper. They can be utilized to store golf clubs, tools or supplies, and they often make great pet hangout areas for dogs (or cats) to sleep inside at night, or on dangerously cold evenings.

Oversized utility room from the Birchwood Plan #1239

The Birchwood Plan #1239.

The walls of your house are only limited by imagination

No matter what size house or family you have, your home should conform to and accommodate your needs—not limit them. Ingenuity is oftentimes the best way to not only maximize your living space, but also make those spaces more creative and fun and livable for every member of your family, pets included.

To learn more, contact one of our DAG Representatives to get additional information on any of our home designs!


  1. storagesurbiton on

    These are some lovely ideas! I am doing a house renovation this year and I definitely need to thing of many interesting things I can do! It is doing to be great! Thanks for the post! Greets!


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