“A room of one’s own…” Virginia Wolff must have known a thing or two about modern day real estate, because today’s discriminating buyers are looking for homes with space for private endeavors. And these aren’t just any spaces either, hardly a niche in the corner of the kitchen that quickly becomes cluttered with bills, and to-do lists. Thanks to hours and hours of television programming devoted to home design and renovation and pages and pages of the blogosphere dedicated to “do-it-yourselfers” and their quest for beautiful spaces, the home office, bonus room and man-cave have become more important than ever. But, what if your existing home doesn’t have a perfect office or a cozy play area for the kiddos? Is all lost when it comes to listing your home for sale? Do you automatically have to cut your asking price to remain competitive with newer, trendier homes? Of course, not! You just have to spend some time making a few changes to how you use rooms in your home.
First and foremost, look at your life and decide how you spend the majority of your time. Even though your house might not reflect the trends of home design, I bet your life does and that’s a great place to start. Ask yourself what you crave when you’re in your current home… a quiet place to write an e-mail to a friend or colleague? A place to send the kiddos where they will (hopefully!) entertain themselves while you put the finishing touches on dinner? Or a place to putter, craft, and work with tools? It’s not necessary to redesign your home with multiple spaces for privacy, so choose one or two and then decide where to put them.
I have a friend who uses her formal dining room twice a year. Literally, two days a year. The remaining 363 days, her dining table is the catch all for field-trip forms, mail, unread magazines and papers, papers, papers from doctor’s appointments, school meetings, work she’s brought home, etc… I’m sure you can relate. It became quickly apparent to her that this space was wasted and would be much better utilized as a home office. So, she set about transforming this space by removing the chandelier and adding a lighted ceiling fan. She replaced her grandmother’s antique sideboard with white bookcases, then stocked those bookcases with pretty file boxes, frames, and yes… books.
She built a white desk that wrapped around another corner of the room and lighted it with a dainty lamp. She topped the desk with cork, magnetic and white erase tiles and voila! This once, unused space was a pinterest-worthy home office. Best of all, she spent little money and didn’t make any permanent changes. Chances are the new home owners will continue to use the space as a home office (it’s really THAT perfect), but if they decide they need a formal dining room, it wouldn’t be hard to convert the room back to its original purpose.
Similarly, a former client transformed a large, but awkwardly designed second story bedroom into a bonus room by adding shelving and creating distinct areas for television and gaming. A large L-shaped sleeper sofa means the room can still be used as an impromptu guest room, but now her kids have a space to call their own. She swears she’ll never, NEVER live in a home that doesn’t provide kid space (for kid mess!) that allows her to simply close the door to avoid the mayhem and noise that seem to accompany these small creatures.
So, yes… those eye-candy channels and websites have created a new set of wish-lists for potential buyers, but with a little creativity and effort, you can transform your current under-used space into awesome rooms that hip and happening buyers are looking for in their new homes. And thank you, Ms. Wolff for reminding us how lovely and important “a space of one’s own” really is…