Have you ever had that dream where you discover a hidden bonus room in your home, only to wake up and find your square footage the same as it ever was? Yeah, that's a bummer. Whether you live in a studio apartment or a two-bedroom, and whether you share your digs with an army of roommates or someone you love with another on the way, you probably wouldn't mind a little extra space.
For some, the dream is to find a quiet work area. For others, it's cozy place for reading, sleeping or even entertaining. Assuming you don't have the money or resources to build an extension to your home, you probably think it's time to put that dream to rest. Think again, my friend.
While you've been busy decluttering your closets with the help of Marie Kondo, you might not have noticed you were actually standing in the space you've been fantasizing about. That's right, you've wasted precious space (with doors!) in your home by using it for storage, when you could be using it for living your best life.
The closet is new spare room, and the internet is bursting with proof. From walk-ins converted into bedrooms to linen closets that double as bars, no matter how small your storage space may be, it's got potential. So let's start converting, shall we?
Making Space For Your New Closet-Room
First, the obvious question: What do you do with all that stuff you're currently storing in your closet? Depending on your options, you could Kondo-fy another closet, purchase some cheap organizers, and let that space serve as a multi-purpose storage area. Perhaps a more realistic option is to invest in a wardrobe or clothing rack. IKEA's sizeable BRIMNES wardrobe is only $129 and their RIGGA clothing rack is just $12.99. If you're converting a utility closet, you might be able to store brooms and mops in kitchen corners, conceal tools in decorative baskets on display shelves, or find a space-saving cabinet like this $60 one on Amazon, which you can store in any corner of your home.
Prepping Your New Room
Now that you've emptied out your closet, it's time to reimagine the space. If you've got a hanging bar for clothes or a series of shelving units, they should be easy to remove with a screwdriver and some elbow grease. Don't worry if you chip the paint or notice dents and nicks when the installations are removed. The key to a dreamy closet room is a decorative wall anyway. That means you'll want to either paint the closet a bright new color for a work area, a serene color for a sleeping nook. Better yet, pick an easy to apply, removable wallpaper that delights you. (Tempaper has tons of gorgeous, affordable options). Because you're working with a small space, your closet walls are essentially your furniture and decorating them will dictate the vibe of your new room.
Closet Room Possibilities and Inspiration
It's time to decide on what kind of room you're building in your closet. While your needs/desires will drive your decision, you also have to take into account the size of the closet you're working with. Here are some practical options and tips for inspiration.
The Reading Nook
The beauty of the reading nook is that they fit in any type of closet, no matter how narrow or small. If you are working with a particularly small closet, you'll want to remove the door—which will ultimately give the appearance of a larger space.
For a seating area you can go all in and create a built-in ledge, or you can try modular shelving units ($35 from Ikea), which allows for extra storage space. Cover it with soft, furry faux sheepskin and pillows for a cozy area you want to snuggle up in.
Fairy lights help set the mood, and replacing the overhead bulb with a pendant light will add drama to the room. And if you want the option to close-off your hideaway, consider a curtain which both frames the closet and conceals it when you want more privacy.
The Office Closet
If you work from home or have a side hustle, you need a dedicated area that's separate from where you eat, sleep and watch TV to get your business done. More than that, you need to feel inspired to sit at that desk and not be bogged down by the tasks at hand. You need a room of your own, as Virginia Woolf would tell you, and you have it in your converted closet.
Office closets are fairly easy to create, as long as you take your measurements. While standard size desks might not be optimal for closet areas, ladder-style desks are ideal because they're narrow and full of vertical storage space. (West Elm's version is $196). Foldable wall-mounted desks also work great in small spaces, especially if you need room to close the doors. (Being able to close the doors to your office area when you're done with work is the best thing about a closet office!)
Add a plant or flowers to add vibrancy to the room, and choose a desk chair that is versatile enough to double as a side chair in your non-work area. This will give your closet office a homier vibe, and doesn't throw off the look of your exterior room if the chair doesn't fit in the closet when it's closed.
The Bar Closet
Ever since Don Draper brought back the stocked bar, we've all been jonesing for a grown-up section of the house to "fix a drink." Small closets are ideal for this, especially if they're already outfitted with storage shelves.
A little wallpaper and a coat of paint go a long way in a closet bar. Better yet, decorate the walls with retro pictures. Set against glasses and bottles of booze, you can really create the Draper-vibe without too much effort.
The Nursery Closet
This one requires more than reach-in access. You need a walk-in closet—though it needn't be too large. Just enough for a mini-changing table and a tiny crib. Keep the upper shelves in place to store supplies and let the wallpaper provide the baby-worthy entertainment.
The Bedroom Closet
If you need an extra sleeping area for a guest, a kid or your own human body, your closet may just qualify. It doesn't necessarily have to be a large walk-in to work. As long as you can fit a twin mattress into the area, you've got yourself a new bedroom. But you're not done yet.
To avoid feeling cramped, paint the walls a serene, calming color. You can add floating shelves as nightstands and hang a dreamy pendant light or sconce on the wall. (Battery-powered fairy lights also help set the mood without requiring an outlet.) Keep the sheet patterns to a minimum and the cushiony, feathery, coziness to a maximum by adding comforters, pillows and even a faux-fur throw.
Those are just a few ways to realize your bonus room dreams, but there are so many more ways to create the closet-room you've always wanted. Did we mention you can DIY one into a sauna? The fact is, if you've got closets, you've got options. Lots of them. Now go forth and make your new room your favorite spot in your home.