Maybe it’s time to re-purpose a room or two.


Do you NEED all that room just to sleep?

Several years ago I woke up in my queen sized bed in my quite large bedroom. Gave the cat a scratch on the head and looked around. What a nice big room.  As I was getting up to go downtown to the space I rented for my drapery business, I had a light-bulb moment — the square footage of my bedroom plus one of the other 3 bedrooms almost equaled the square footage of the space I rented.  It had been bugging me that when I wanted to sew, or create, or muck around in the workroom, I had to drive downtown.

lady at a sewing machine 

The upside to moving to a smaller bedroom.

Within two weeks I was re-arranged. And what a difference in my life. I could keep my prices down because I was no longer paying that rather high rent. ( Yes, I know about claiming part of my home for business at tax time). I wasn’t paying for parking, I wasn’t shoveling the walk if I didn’t feel like going out. I could work at 9:00 at night, or 5:00 in the morning.  And the cat and I were sleeping just fine in the new double bed. I put the old drapery and bedspread — which I loved —  into the new room  and for those five minutes before I turned the light off at night, or on in the morning, I’d think ‘What a nice room.’

One of the three bedrooms became my business storeroom. I had to relocate the office, so I repurposed my tiny little dining nook. I had a table and chairs which seated six, and I realized I used them so infrequently it wasn’t a good use of the space. So I sold the set, got a smaller table and a desk which wraps around onto two walls.

When I’m not drapery-making I write for internet businesses and for myself, I look after a few websites, and I help a musician with her on-line needs. So a desk with computer and storage was more important than a table and chairs I rarely used.

living room behind open french doors
Doors. Got to have doors.

I never take sewing into my living space unless it’s to sew on a button or something for me. NO business sewing in the private areas of my home; the workroom has a door which I use to separate my business and private life.


How she got her living room back.

I was at a house call for drapery and the client and I got talking –she told me about the desk she was about to buy. Her kitchen, dining and living area were one long room. She had a master bedroom and a really good-sized spare room which was bright and sunny and which she had decorated nicely for her sister’s annual weekend visit . Her L-shaped desk had to be large because of the monitors she needed for her home-based business, and it was going to take up all the dining space and encroach on the living space in the main room. She had a wish-list for two wing-backed chairs but the desk made that impossible; she barely had room for the single-sized hide-a-bed she had. 

I suggested she make the sunny spare room her office and put the hide-a-bed there. When her sister came for that yearly visit, she and her husband would get the master bedroom and the client would use the smaller room. The living room would have then have space for the wing chairs AND a book-case AND a dining room table. But the best part of all was that the client would not be at work 24/7, the office would have a door. 

messy living room

I know, from personal experience, that home-based businesses can suck your time, and it is far too easy to be at work all day. I think it’s essential to have calm, peaceful living spaces. And they can’t be that if there is a business going on in the middle of them.

The moral of the story?

You may be using your rooms against your purpose.  You may have a lot of space you didn’t really think you have. Give some thought to how you are using your space. Be realistic. Do you really need all that space around the bed in your big master bedroom when your craft room is overflowing? Maybe switching the two is the simplest solution of all. Do you really need the garage to store your old clothes and all the stuff the kids left behind when you are thinking of adding on a room for your yoga practice?   And just because it’s called a dining room doesn’t mean you can’t use it for something else.

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