Some homeowners use every square foot to its maximum potential, even their attics, basements and garages. But if you’re like the rest of us, these spaces become graveyards for moth-eaten clothes, unused sports equipment and unfulfilled renovation dreams over the years.

Now that spring cleaning is in full swing, it’s time to find a better use for those spaces in your home that aren’t exactly inviting at the moment, but have potential to increase property value and make living at your house more fun. Here are a few ideas to pique your inspiration:

Home bar

You don’t have to spend a fortune at the neighborhood bar to enjoy quality time with friends. Bar equipment can get expensive, so you might want to hunt down an old dresser to serve as the shell of your dry bar. This is the perfect place to display favorite sports memorabilia, bar signs and dart boards— or go the other direction with a pre-Prohibition theme and class things up. Because you’re in charge of the menu, stock your favorite beer selections and give fun personal names to your house cocktails.

Movie theater

The in-home movie theater is a classic “dream house” feature. Now you can make it a DIY reality, even in a smaller space. Find an affordable projector that can connect to your laptop, and paint the largest wall in the room white. Hunt down vintage movie theater seating, or even push together a few rows of couches and chairs of equal height. Track lighting on a dimmer along the ceiling is perfect for ambiance. With all the online streaming services available these days, you’ll be all set for movie and TV showings, and be the envy of everyone you know.

Library and office

Create a secluded and insulated retreat ideal for quiet study. Consider installing cozy wood paneling, or floor-to-ceiling shelving for your book collection. Decorate with a patterned area rug, a chandelier and unique assortment of lamps for sufficient reading light. Don’t forget your favorite overstuffed reading chair. Be inspired by warm and neutral tones — vintage Aztec prints, the old West, and woodsy log cabins.

Music studio

If you’re already a musician, or just a music lover with the ambition to learn a new instrument, this is a fun option. Remember to beef up the insulation — you may be churning out solid gold rock nuggets all night long, but your loyal fans living in the rest of the house will enjoy them more after a good night’s sleep. Install a miniature stage, fog machine, some flood lights and neon bar signs for effect. It’s your space, so decorate however you like with favorite band posters and other music memorabilia.

Vaulted ceilings

If you’re feeling a little destructive, and the layout of your home makes sense for it, consider deleting your attic entirely by opening it up to create vaulted ceilings. Finished appropriately, this can add spaciousness and elegant refinement to your home. You can even install some skylights to brighten things up.

Guest or tenant bedroom

For the classic property-value boost, renovate your attic, basement or garage into a comfortable bedroom. You can utilize it as a guest room for visiting family and friends, or rent it out to a trusted tenant for supplemental revenue. Along with all the necessary bedroom accoutrements, keep the decor neutral and inviting, with as much natural lighting as you can bring in. Save money on flooring by applying a smooth finish to bare concrete, a trendy and minimalist look that’s perfected with an area rug.

Home gym

Odds are, at some point you have bought and subsequently forgotten about some gym equipment. Even if this isn’t the case, Craigslist can be your best friend for finding gently used equipment at great prices. If you want to banish any and all excuses for not working out, this room is your solution. In addition to a cardio-working machine, invest in some dumbbell weights, exercise mats to pad the floor, and a stereo for pumping out your most motivating jams.

Note that with any remodeling project, your primary concerns are insulation, air and heat, lighting, wiring and accessibility. These factors will vary according to the type and size of the house, when it was built and where you live. Consult an architect for a structural assessment of your space and to get advice for your specific plans.

Why not clear a few hours this weekend to start planning? Break it down into baby steps — make a list of each practical task needed to accomplish the project. It will probably start with a thorough de-cluttering of all those old clothes, sports equipment and memories, so find a San Diego storage unit (or one wherever you live) to house them remotely.


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SpareFoot is the world’s largest marketplace for self-storage, making it easy for people to find, compare and reserve storage units online. We also offer a suite of web marketing tools for storage facility operators.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

About the Author

SpareFoot is the world's largest marketplace for self-storage, making it easy for people to find, compare and reserve storage units online. We also offer a suite of web marketing tools for storage facility operators.

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