Rethinking Traditional Spaces

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One trend that I have been following closely is the use of spaces in homes for a different purpose then they were traditionally intended. Sometimes it comes out of necessity, such as the arrival of another child, a work from home job that creates the need for an office space, or the must-have playroom when the flood of bright, large plastic toys appears in your home by the time your first child is roughly six months old.

So, by my calculations I need about a 6000 square foot home because I can make the argument that I “need” all the following spaces in my house:
  • A bedroom for me and my husband and a separate bedroom for each of our three children
  • A guest room with a private bath
  • A home office for him
  • A home office for me
  • A craft/art room (for my children, and me)
  • A playroom for my daughter
  • A big kids playroom for my boys who “need” space to play video games (or occasionally read a book)
  • A garage/ workroom for those dirty, sawdust and paint-strewn DIY projects
  • A library reading area with shelves for the books we have amassed
  • A mudroom for coats, bags, backpacks
  • A large laundry/ironing/gift wrapping room (and it should be upstairs where laundry is, please)
  • A quiet room for homework with a computer
  • A TV room (one not intruded on by the above mentioned video games) where my husband can watch in peace
  • A large eat-in kitchen of course with a separate a butler’s pantry– while we are in fantasy land!


Enough? Reality Check!!! 
I don’t have that many rooms, hardly even close! My house is NO WHERE NEAR 6000 square feet and in fact, we recently moved to a smaller home then our previous home and no longer even have a basement, which is hard, especially when you have 3 kids.


I find myself paying closer attention now when I see rooms being used for other purposes then tradition or the homebuilder intended them to be.


For instance, we hardly use our Dining Room (in this house its too small to host more then a few people in anyway). When we entertain, everyone is always in the Kitchen anyway. We moved a smaller table in the room recently, but I often think the space would make a nice reading room like the very smart Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick is doing HERE. I can’t wait to see her outcome.


Traditional Dining Room turned Library at Thrifty Decor Chick

We use the traditional living room in our floorplan as a home office, and recently added an IKEA chair and a TV (yes, with the Wii). One of my children is always in the chair, more often times reading.  With space for only one chair, they get the space all to themselves but can keep me company if I am in the office working.  My daughter has an “art” area in this room as well, which also gives her a chance to do her projects close to me, and away from her brothers.


A quiet reading area in my home office

How wonderful and smart is this Dining Room turned Craft Room by Jen at Tatertots and Jello? I admire her in creating a room that she uses all the time and foregoing the traditional and often unused dining room in favor of a great creative space.

Dining Room turned Craft Room at Tatertots and Jello

We don’t have a mudroom, or anything close to it. But we do have a large coat closet, and I think I could, given the time and energy, make it function as a mini-mudroom like Shelley at House of Smiths has done. Such a cute space, and so much better then piles of backpacks and jackets that naturally amass by the door, right?

Entry Way Closet Turned Mini-Mudroom from House of Smiths

Christy didn’t have a separate room in her historic North Carolina home for a play area, but she did have a large upstairs hallway area. She turned it into the cutest playroom area for her children, and the couch got great use as an overflow sleepover space for visiting young friends.

Christy’s upstairs hall turned playroom

I will forever be jealous of this amazing Kids’ Homework Area that Terry created out of an unused part of her basement. She can work nearby, and her kids have a quiet space of their own.

Terry’s Basement Kids Learning Center

I don’t have the picture of her home to share of this specifically, but a woman in my Bible study recently shared she replaced her kitchen table (they had a separate dining area) with a couch. She said it was one of the best things she had done, and it really encouraged her children to sit and chat with her while she cooked or cleaned up. I love that idea!

{Image Via Coastal Living}

Have you seen any great rooms reused for other purposes? Are you using your rooms for a different purpose then it was originally intended? I would love to see them!

Thanks for stopping by!



  1. I love this post!!!….I love it when people think out of the box to use the “traditional room” for another purpose…Love all the examples that you presented…I am truly thinking about the coat closet idea…wonderful!!…I have turned my breakfast area into a sunroom/keeping room…it made sense for us as the dining room and kitchen where we have plenty of seating is just a few feet away!

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