Let’s face it: some of the areas of your home can feel like an afterthought. After all, it’s not like you’ll be showing your linen closets off to your guests. But just because space isn’t Pinterest-worthy doesn’t mean it should be any less functional. In fact, some of the unused spaces in your home can actually become the most useful. By thinking outside of the box, you can turn what seems like wasted space and dusty corners into your favorite places in your home.
Adding over and under your home are both smart ways to increase living space, but there are other creative ways to eke out extra square footage without drastically changing the footprint of your home. Look up, down, and all around, and you may find you have more room for rooms than you think—in the attic, the basement, the garage, or even an unused outbuilding. Here are some ideas to help you look at every nook and cranny a little differently.
Most people would say the linen closet is one of the most underrated spaces in a home. But that doesn’t mean you have to fill it with linens and blankets. If you’re able to store extra blankets in bins underneath each bed, you’ll free up an entire closet for things that make more sense to you. Whether it’s outfitting your linen closet as bathroom storage for products and towels or making over your closet as a storage pantry, think beyond sheets when rethinking your linen closet.
Ask kids and they’ll tell you the ideal place to sleep is in a tree house or on a sailboat, like Max in Where the Wild Things Are. Architect Darren Helgesen incorporated that spirit in this attic redo at a century-old house in East Hampton, New York, where he used warm finishes and smart details to turn the dark, sloped-ceilinged space into a shipshape two-bedroom suite. Homeowners Bill and Cory Laverack had already renovated the rest of the house.
“It was always their favorite place,” says Cory, recalling how the couple’s four kids would hide out upstairs with friends every chance they got. “And now it’s the ultimate sleepover space.” Snug built-ins with below-bed storage, roof windows, pine flooring, and lots of glossy beadboard opened up the attic and made it more functional.
Bikes, trikes, and tools: oh my! The typical garage is a catch-all space for anything you don’t want in your house. But it can also be valuable space for other interests. With the right storage solutions, you can get larger items off the ground, opening up precious square footage.
Store bins up in your garage trusses to get rarely used items out of the way. Then, use wall hooks to keep bikes and gear organized. With your new floor space, you could have a great indoor gym, a lounge, a rec area for rowdy kids or even a music studio.
There’s nothing like your own bed – unless it’s the foot of your own bed. This underutilized space is ideal for solving storage problems, especially if your home is short on closet space. A hinged ottoman becomes the perfect place to put on shoes and can help stash away blankets, sheets, clothes and any other quick-access items. Or, add a desk and chair for study space that won’t fit on any of your walls. Rethink the space at the foot of your bed as functional square footage and it becomes more than just a place for your socks.