When we moved into our home last February, we made some minor alterations and threw a lot of paint on the walls, but for the most part we took the house as it came. The living room became the living room, the dining room became the dining room, etc.
As a homeschool family, we did need to decide where to teach our daughter, then in first grade. Should we designate one of the spaces as a classroom as we’d done in the past, or simply allocate a school “station” in the living room?
We went with the latter option, which worked very well to close out the school year. However, come September I’ll be teaching two students – my second-grade daughter and my kindergarten son (plus trying to occupy my very curious 3-year-old).
It’s time for a classroom, we concluded last month. But where? None of the obvious choices seemed to suit, for various reasons. So, taking my husband’s advice, I walked through the house trying to think outside the box. Just because a space is already being used one way, doesn’t mean it can’t be used another, right?
I ended up in the family room, which is located in the middle of our home and serves as a thoroughfare for all the other rooms. Because of its location, it’s also pretty dark. Between the constant foot traffic (which impedes cozy furniture placement) and the lighting issue, we rarely use the family room for its intended purpose. It’s pretty much wasted space.
But…I didn’t want to use it as a classroom, either. Spending the sunny morning hours in a dark room would be just plain depressing, not to mention arranging desks, bookcases, and organization bins would be challenging with the need to have a straight path through the room.
And then it hit me. The dining room, adjacent to the family room. It’s on the small side as dining rooms go, and we tend to get together for dinner with large families. We’ve only been in this house a few months, but it’s already proven challenging to crowd so many adults and children into a small space to break bread. The family room, on the other hand, is huge, with plenty of room to pull up an extra table and chairs. And it’s open to the kitchen, whereas the dining room is a separate entity.
Ding, ding, ding! I decided it was time to move some furniture. Overnight the family room became the dining room, and the dining room (which has plenty of natural light and is easily closed off for privacy and quiet from the rest of the home) became the classroom. And all Tim needed to do was swap light fixtures.
How about you? Wishing you had a place to spread out and do x, y, or z? Here’s a great Yahoo article about identifying the wasted space in your home so you can put it to better use.
Remember, the blueprints might name your rooms, but you’re the one who lives in them. Have fun thinking outside the box!