Put your spare room to good use

Wednesday August 7 2019

Turn the spare room into a children’s play

Turn the spare room into a children’s play room. A fresh coat of colourful paint is always a good way to turn what was once an ordinary room to your very own mini-Disney World. Don’t forget to childproof the room. Net Photo  

By Joan Salmon

For purposes of this article, let us think of a spare room as that room in your home that is redundant and could be put to better use. Say, for example, a garage that has turned into a dumping ground for old newspapers and magazines, a nursery that all the children have outgrown or perhaps an extra bedroom that is now a storage room for all things unwanted.

You may also have an empty nest hence a couple of bedrooms that your now grown up children have left behind. Whatever the case, you can turn that space into an amazing place. Here are a few ideas on how to go make use of that dark and dreary room.

Turn it into a poet corner
If the room is so small you can barely put more than two pieces of small furniture, Adrian Wangwe, an interior designer with MacFaj Ltd, says you could turn it into a thinking or poet corner.

“Rather than have it gather dust and have it looking like an abandoned hole, turn it into a room where ideas are generated. You may want to paint it with calm colours such as a tranquil blue to enhance its new found purpose,” he says.

Guest room
With the children all grown up and gone, you could turn their rooms into guest rooms. Rather than have your extended family book into hotels when they come to town, you could host them. For those that are into the bed and breakfast (Airbnb) business, but want it at a small scale, Wangwe says this is also a great idea.

“However, when the rooms are part of the rest of the house as we would expect your children’s bedrooms to be, you need to be security cautious when venturing into the Airbnb business,” he cautions.


If you are a lover of books, Freda Namusoke, an interior designer, says that spare room beneath the stair case can serve as a great reading room. With space not so luxuriant in this part of the house, a shelf and chair may be all you can put there. But it will serve as a good place to indulge your hobby.

If you have children, and the spare room has ample space, adding beanbag seats will serve as a great place for them to read. It will also help to free up spaces you might have been stashing magazines and other reading material in.

Play room
Any parent will jump at this idea very fast because having toys scattered all over the house or stepping on a Lego is far from pleasant. Not forgetting that one has to regularly remind the children to clean up after themselves because the space needs to be used for say, entertaining visitors yet they still want to play. Turning that spare room into a play or toy room will not only save you this hustle but also force them to keep their space clean.

Relaxing room
After a long week at work, school or whatever else you spend the day doing, a place to relax would come in handy.

So how about you turn that spare room into your relaxing room? Remember to make it free of any form of distractive technology, paint it with calming colours and use design materials that are earthy to accentuate the relaxing effect.

“Even the furniture should aid the relaxation,” Wangwe emphasizes.

Art and craft room
Got any artists or aspiring artists at home? Turning this spare space into a place where the artists in the house can lock themselves away and let their creative juices flow is a good idea.
It will also help to have a central place where their creations and tools are kept rather than have them scattered around the house.

For that fitness enthusiast, that barely has time to spare to go to the gym, a home gym is ideal. It could also save time because if you have to take 30 minutes to and from the gym, doing it from home will help you save time.

Namusoke proposes that you could begin with just dumbbells, then add a fan to keep the room cool as you slowly build your collection.

Other minor additions include a skipping rope, a work-out mat and maybe a treadmill.

A pair of dumbbells will cost you from as little as shs10, 000, a skipping rope, Shs3, 000 and a treadmill, Shs700,000 at any sports equipment store or supermaket.

Walk-in closet
If you have more clothes, or shoes than your current closet space can accommodate, you could turn that spare room into a walk-in closet.

All you need to add is a couple of shelves(these can be mounted on the walls by a carpenter), a mirror, a dressing table, chair and maybe a laundry basket.

The list of what you can do with that spare room is endless but once you have zeroed in on what it is you need, start clearing the room of whatever clutter there may be and start walking towards your dream.