A Spare Room

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Chapter 9: A Spare Room

 

Hopefully, you now know how to best remodel every room in your house, whether it is the kitchen or the children’s room. Yet, what about those of you out there who have already finished installing all the bathrooms, bedrooms, and other rooms but still have a room or two to spare? Worry not, we’ve got you covered.

In this chapter, we’ll discuss some of the alternatives you can take when it comes to your spare room. We’ll begin by looking at your home office and all of its prerequisites.

 

Home Office

For anyone who works from home, a home office can make all the difference with regards to productivity: It helps separate your work life from your personal life and provides you with a secluded space within which you can work without any interruptions. If you’re a freelancer or telecommuter and you’re still unconvinced of the importance of a home office, you should know that, according to Jo Heinz the president of Dallas interior architecture and design firms, the number one problem facing most people who work from home is that, at some point, the invisible line between their private and professional life fades away.

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Additionally, another common error is to presume that it is easy to tune out the distractions from the rest of your household. It is for these reasons and more that designing a home office makes a ton of sense.

Assuming that you’re sold, let’s see how you can transform your spare room into a home office. The first thing is to look for any sources of natural lighting and to check whether any of the windows have any views or not. The best case scenario is for you to find a fantastic view and to realize that the room is flooded with natural light all through the day. In this case, position your desk in front of the window so as to let the view be the thing you see whenever you look up from your desk. On the other hand, if none of the windows have an interesting view or your room is windowless to begin with, then use good lighting to compensate for the lack of natural lighting and hang a beautiful picture in front of your desk to replace the lack of scenery.

Achieving good lighting, as we’ve just mentioned in the previous paragraph, can come about through several different means. For starters, you will need a mixture of general and task lighting. As the name implies, general lighting is more purpose free; it’s only purpose is to light up the room. Through using an overhead ceiling light or a couple of open-top floor lamps placed in the corners, you can bathe the room in good general light. Moreover, you can check out daylight replicating light sources. Conversely, task lighting is used for particular tasks that require that kind of light. For instance, a high quality desk light can be the perfect instrument to provide you with shadow-free task lighting.

As for the furniture itself, you need something that will fulfill your needs rather than just look pretty. So, you should begin by figuring out what you need and which furnishings will serve these needs best. Afterwards, you can start looking for items that meet your criteria but are also beautiful. After all, you don’t want your home office to stand out too much from the rest of your home and be the odd man out. The design principle of unity still holds here.

Regardless of what you might need, there are basics that must be present in any home office, starting with the desk and chair. With that said, you should be willing to splurge on these pieces of furniture, seeing as you’ll be spending several hours using them every day. Hence, a chair that is comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and ergonomically-correct is a solid investment on your part. The desk ought to be wide enough to accommodate your computer as well as all your other necessities.

It should come as no surprise by now, but the number one enemy that you will have to face in every room is a lack of storage space. To combat this foe, you can use a bare wall as an ally. You can install floating shelves and stack them up vertically, and the beautiful thing about floating shelves is that they are very conservative space wise. However, if you have the space for it, you should go ahead and install filing cabinets and cupboards, all of which help you stay organized and have everything you need to work as close to you as possible.

Besides relying on storage space, decluttering your workspace is another way to keep organized. To avoid all the wire tangles, you can start by using as many wireless appliances as possible, such as a wireless mouse, a wireless keyboard, a wireless printer, and a wireless router. With regards to the appliances that can’t go wireless, you can figure out a way to hide the wires, which can be achieved by having the wires go under your desk and grouping them inside a fabric cord or with any other cord tamer.

Finally, to give your home office that extra touch it needs, you can sprinkle a few plants here and there. In addition to making the place look nicer, adding plants to the room has several benefits. For one thing, it reduces stress and increases your level of comfort. For another, it can actually reduce ambient noise by up to 5 decibels and aids in keeping you healthy.

 

Guest Room

Perhaps you’re not the kind of individual who works from home but are the kind of individual who has guests over all the time, some of which end up sleeping over. In that case, you’re better off transforming your spare room into a guest room.

When it comes to the bed, two matching twin beds can serve you better than a single king or queen sized one. Think about it this way: if you have several guests sleeping over at the same time, then both beds will be able to accommodate more people than just the one. In a different scenario, if you have a couple crashing under your roof, they can just bring the twin beds together to create a bigger one.

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Along with the bed, the guest room should sport a desk, especially for the guests who’ll be staying for a while and will need a place to work from. Additionally, it would be a safe bet to say that more than 90% of guests sleeping over at your place have their laptop with them, and the desk offers them the perfect spot to place it on.

Leaving your guests an alarm clock on the nightstand to help them wake up in the morning can be a very smart move on your part. It shows thoughtfulness on your part, especially if your guests have an important appointment early the next day. You can also place a bedside lamp on the nightstand for any night owls that enjoy reading well into the night.

When decorating the guest room, you should consider putting up a mirror on the wall, even if the mirror is small. Mirrors have the capability to make a room seem larger than it really is, and you don’t have to go bankrupt buying a big mirror to achieve this effect; small mirrors can attain a very similar result without the outrageous cost. Furthermore, mirrors can come in handy when your guests are getting ready and they need to put a touch of makeup or straighten their hair.

Naturally, you should provide your guests with a closet, and, again, a small one will suffice. Unless your guests are planning to move in, they don’t need a lot of storage space anyway. Alternatively, should the guest room already be equipped with a closet, you can afford to lose any other bulky storage units, such as a large wardrobe; it crowds the room unnecessarily.

The last thing worth saying about guest rooms is that you should try to apply the principles of feng shui to the best of your abilities. When it’s all said and done, any host cares that his guests get as good a night sleep as he does.

 

Home Gym

Exercise helps you maintain your health, reduces stress, and keeps you young. Therefore, if you have the necessary willpower to motivate yourself to exercise regularly, then you should consider designing your very own home gym and putting in the investment. It won’t be cheap, but it will be worth it.

The heart and soul of any gym is the equipment. In the case of a home gym, you want equipment that can work out several muscle groups, equipment that is small and can fit inside a home, and that is above all safe to use and made of high quality material. The importance of the safety of your equipment cannot be overstated since you’ll most likely be working out alone. On the other hand, avoid stuffing too much machinery into your gym; you should be able to walk through your gym with ease.

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Other appliances that can prove helpful in a home gym are an accessory rack and a small fridge. The accessory rack can be a convenient spot for you to place all your devices and gadgets while working out so that they can always be within arm’s reach. The fridge, in turn, can store all your water and energy drinks in addition to keeping them cold.

One more item that belongs in your gym is a full length mirror that is placed on one of the walls. Not only does it make the room feel more expansive, it can also aid you in perfecting your form while exercising. After all, the best way to avoid injury is to maintain perfect form. Over and above, a mirror can help encourage you upon seeing all the progress you’ve made.

Regarding the color of the gym, you should stay away from any warm colors because they’ll fatigue you prematurely. Instead, you can paint your gym in a hue of white that can drive and egg you on. Alternatively, you can choose to use grey predominantly in your gym. The reason grey would be a good choice is due to its versatility: it can stand alone or it can be complemented by a bright accent or two. Furthermore, grey, in most of its shades, can act as a suitable base for a gym. In addition to all of this, grey can go with almost any decorating style that would suit a gym.

Speaking of accent walls, you can’t do better than using red. As we mentioned earlier in the guide, red is a powerful color that energizes the viewer. As a matter of fact, two professors at the University of Durham, named Russel Hill and Robert Barton, came to an interesting conclusion based on their research of the 2004 Summer Olympics: when two athletes of equal capability face off, the athlete wearing red was more likely to win. And the amount of times that this happened was too big for it to be a statistical anomaly.

Last but not least, a stylish finish has the capability to elevate your gym and make it stand out. Wooden slats are a trusted classic that never fail. They can even help a sauna fit in your space and mesh seamlessly.

 

Relaxation Room

Without getting into too much detail, a relaxation room is a space that is usually found at spas and into which you can walk and relax before or after a treatment. They tend to be riddled with chairs, lounges, bean bags, and every other type of furniture designed to help you lay back and chill. If you can afford one, it can make a nice addition to your household.
The lighting of a relaxation room should be subdued. Candles work best here thanks to their soft glow, flickering flame, and swaying shadow. As anyone who’s stared at a candle long enough will tell you, there is something hypnotic about the way they glow. However, should you wish, you can brighten the lights in your relaxation room at midday, when the sun is highest in the sky, so as to mimic what’s happening outside. This has been shown to make people feel better.

As for colors, you have a few options. You can go with yellow that is believed to invigorate the nerves and cleanse the system. Besides that, you have orange that can boost your energy levels and blue that calms illnesses and relaxes pain.

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If you’re thinking of the things that you should use to stock your relaxation room with, fresh water belongs at the top of that list, followed closely by fruits.

While sounds and scents haven’t been that big a factor in most of the previous rooms, they both play a pivotal role in your relaxation room. When figuring out what sounds you want to fill your room with, you have a few options to choose from: nature sounds, relaxing rhythmic beats, or white noise. Natural sounds can range from crickets to waves to bird songs. The sound itself isn’t that important so much as its monotony combined with its subtle progression. An individual who listens to this sound and responds to it is bound to relax, feel their heartbeat slow down, and realize that their breaths are getting deeper. Just as sound is used to create a soothing environment, so do scents play a very similar role. Try going with smells like lavender or vanilla for their serene effects. Avoid using citrus smell; it evokes a feeling of energy rather than relaxation.

With regards to color, the three most popular colors to use are blue, white, and grey that has hints of red in it. As we asserted earlier, blue is a soothing color, so it makes sense that it would dominate the number one spot. Anyhow, the use of light hues of greys should come as no surprise seeing as how they can be combined with pale aqua to give off a comforting feeling that can compete with the one given off by the blue and white combo.

You should fill your room with plush furniture and other elements that promote an overall feeling of relaxation. For instance, placing a small Zen garden sand tray in the middle of the room can be a good idea. If you're wondering what a small Zen garden sand tray is, it's simply a tray containing sand, stones, and a tiny rake. Interestingly, plenty of people find it calming to rake patterns into the sand on the tray. You can also use art to help create a relaxing atmosphere; a picture or a drawing of a serene landscape is bound to leave a sensation of peace. Aside all of that, you can just use whatever calms you down when you are stressed.

You can also experiment with different plants in your relaxation room and see which ones put you at ease. Most potted plants and fresh cut flowers are bound to do the trick for you. As well as this, they purify your air.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that the objective of the relaxation room is to create an environment of absolute comfort, the kind of environment where you can’t help but fall asleep. In accordance with this, make sure that every piece of furniture you buy is a small cloud taken from the heavens above: find armchairs in which you can sink in and lose yourself in a book, get yourself a hammock that juts oozes lethargy, or buy a bean bag that is big enough for you to get lost inside.

The last point to make is that your room should have an obvious and simple path to walk on. Otherwise, the room will seem cluttered, which will be anything but relaxing for you.

 

This chapter delved into several options you can explore when furnishing a spare room. The next chapter, the final one, will discuss how you can make the exterior of your home as impressive as the interior.

For a full list of chapters, click here.

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