What to do with an unused room


18 years of picking up socks strewn across the floor, playing the role of chauffeur and unearthing half-filled mugs of tea dotted around their room have finally come to an end. As exciting as it is to finally ship your children off to university or wave them away at the departures lounge, it’s normal if you also find yourself met with empty nest syndrome.

But don’t despair, you now have an entire spare room to decorate as you please. Here are a few ideas on what you can do with a now empty and unused room, from a dressing room to a study. In this post, we talk you through five different options, illustrating how you can transform an old bedroom into your favourite room in the house.

How to turn an old bedroom into a guest room

If you’re passionate about entertaining and enjoy inviting friends over for the weekend, why not repurpose the empty room as a guest room?

To give your guests a 5-star experience, you want them to feel as comfortable as they would in their own home. This can be achieved by ensuring that the room is packed with pillows, cushions, blankets and crisp white sheets. Purchase plenty of extra storage – this will come in handy if they decide to stay for a fortnight rather than a week – think rattan baskets, wardrobes and side tables. Cheery cushion covers help anchor a colour scheme and provide an extra layer of comfort.

If you’ve got the space, bring a small bookcase into the room so that you can leave your recommended reads out for your guests to flick through. A console table is also a great addition to a guest room, as it can be used to showcase a stunning vase of faux flowers (to prevent you from having to change the stems every time you change the sheets) and a jug of water – small yet personal touches to make your guests feel at home.

Tips for transforming a spare room into a stylish dressing room

We all wish for our own dressing room, and with a newly vacated spare room, now your dream can become a reality. First on the menu should be a selection of mirrors to allow you to view your outfits from every angle. Full length mirrors are a must-have, and wall mirrors are ideal for building balance and symmetry, whereas a triptych style mirror will look wonderful on a dressing table. Or for something a little different (with the bonus of added storage), why not opt for a mirrored cabinet instead?

Next, you need to choose your dressing table, the pinnacle of a dressing room. Select one with extra drawers to maximise storage space. Opt for a distressed wooden dressing table to achieve a contemporary look, or go for a bold mirrored design to make your dressing room even more luxurious. A couple of armchairs (which could double up as dining room chairs when it comes to hosting a fabulous party) are essential for a dressing room and can be as minimalist or lavish as you like.

An extra storage cupboard could take up residency in your newly designed dressing room, the answer to that “where do I store all my linens” conundrum (or they could make room for more clothes). OKA’s Alford Storage Cupboard is a generous-sized cabinet, hand-crafted in acacia wood and lined with gathered cotton curtains. This roomy piece of furniture would be a lovely addition to a country-style dressing room.

How to turn an old bedroom into a quiet and relaxing study

Previously, your home office may have been a desk wedged in the corner of your bedroom. Now that you have a spare room to play with, you can create a larger workspace where you can really concentrate as you go back to work or start a new hobby or business with your free time. The study is a room of reflection and relaxation, which can be underpinned with a high-quality writing desk, beautiful task lighting and a couple of chairs that you can sink into after a hectic day at work.

As well as tomes of your favourite novels, biographies and recipe books, stock the bookshelves in your study high with trinkets from different eras, to put your stamp on the room. Prized photographs of your children could take pride of place on the shelves, to lift you when you’re having a moment of contemplation.

The trick in achieving a tranquil study is investing in quality lighting. You need a balance of subdued table lamps for flicking through the paper in the evening and intense task lighting for catching up with admin.

How to create your own artist’s studio in your home

If you’ve got more than enough bedrooms in your home, why not transform the unused room into a creative studio? The artistic hub could accommodate paints, photography equipment or even a sewing machine. This gives you enough space to enjoy your favourite pastime whilst freeing up storage space around the house. All you need to release your inner Van Gogh is a generously-sized desk or table to fit a drawing board, comfortable chairs and plenty of shelving on which to stack brushes, chalks and watercolours.

How to build the perfect snug

A snug is a cosy room to retreat to after a busy day. It could be used as a completely tech-free living room (to allow you to switch-off) or would make a magnificent cinema room. It’s made especially comfortable by choosing colourful accessories and soft furnishings which bring warmth to the space and are a joy to touch. To create the ideal snug, you need a large corner sofa that pretty much fills the room. Once you’ve decided on your style and material of sofa, you can start having fun, picking colourful cushion sets to reflect your taste and personality.

Channel your feelings of loneliness (or new found freedom!) into a creative project, morphing your child’s old room into a new and improved space. It’s time to declutter the socks and bric-a-brac left behind, offering the space a new lease of life. As demonstrated, there are so many ways to re-decorate an unused room; hopefully, you’re now feeling inspired to tackle this next chapter with style and gusto.