You want to know a weird fact about me? I work out in my kitchen. I know that’s an unusual place to exercise, but my home has a large eat-in kitchen that is adjacent to a dining space. Since I have no need for two tables, I keep my kitchen empty so I have space to set up my laptop, roll out my yoga mat, and get my daily exercise in. Since 1950 the average American home has grown 63% larger, but family size is 24% smaller*. This translates into a lot of unused space. If you have rooms that sit empty most of the time, try thinking outside the box to make them more useful. Here are some ideas: 1. Start with function first – Think about what you want to do in your home. Are there activities you avoid because you don’t have a dedicated space for them? Maybe you want to take up a certain hobby, but you are lacking a workspace or storage area for supplies. Also, think about what features could be added to your home that would make your life easier. A first-floor laundry, office, or playroom for the kids might make more sense to your family than a formal living room or dining space. 2. Open spaces vs. closed – If you have an older house your floor plan may be divided into a bunch of smaller rooms. Sometimes, removing the barrier between two rooms makes for a more functional space, such as opening an under-used dining room into the kitchen. But an open plan is not always the best solution. For activities that are noisy or messy, like playing video games or crafting, having a space closed off from the main living area is probably a good thing. 3. Reject convention – Just because a room is designated for one function doesn’t mean you have to use it that way. After living in a home for many years we sometimes stop questioning how we set it up. But our lives change over time, and our homes should support those changes. Design your space to work for your life, right now.
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