Rethinking Your St. Louis Home’s Underutilized Space


adding a den to a house st. louisHave you been wanting to add a den or home office, but lack the space or financial resources to build an addition? There are other ways to gain space within your house that don’t involve putting on another room or heading down into the basement.


Rethinking the Space You Have

Does your home have a formal dining room, spare bedroom, or “breakfast area” that rarely gets used? For some people, it makes sense to put on an addition on their home, but for others, the best solution might be to take an underutilized area and turn it into the home office, den, or multi-purpose room they’ve always wanted.

Most people have areas in their houses that have specific, infrequent uses. Formal dining rooms that wait for major holidays, guest bedrooms that host visitors once or twice a year, or separate breakfast nooks abandoned for the island or peninsula.

A simple re-evaluation of your family’s lifestyle and how existing rooms are used may be the start of something wonderful.

Transform the Dining Room

Probably the number one room conversion we see at J.T. McDermott Remodeling is changing a formal dining room into an office. Many people work full or part-time out of their home and having a dedicated room that is separate from the normal everyday distractions is a must. Here are some things to think about when designing the new space.

  • If you plan to meet with clients, consider adding a separate entrance.
  • The layout should take advantage of natural light and offer a view for both you and your visitors.
  • Built-in cabinets not only keep things more efficient, they’re great for hiding everything away, especially if you’re going to use the space for another purpose, like a guest room.
  • Add French doors to the space to have some privacy while working.

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  • Task lighting cuts down on eye strain when using a screen. Put them on dimmers to create a cozy atmosphere when using the room for something other than work.

New flooring, paint, lighting, and molding can make all the difference when converting your dining room into an office or den. Not ready to completely give up on your dining room? There are ways to design the space so that you can easily transition back to a dining area when needed. An understated table that doubles as a desk or work zone, chairs that stack or fold away, and a drawered cabinet that can double as a sideboard is all it takes.

Turn a Spare Bedroom into an Office

If you’d rather use an extra, unused bedroom as a den or office, it’s an excellent choice that comes with some built-in advantages; for instance, it already has a framed door that can be closed against background noise and interruptions. Turning a bedroom into a functioning den makes a lot of sense but, if it’s a smaller room, you’ll want to get creative with the design, using every available square foot, including the closet.

Space-saving measures include:

  • Using a freestanding or built-in corner desk in place of a standard one.
  • If that’s not an option, choose a desk with a separate roll-out piece that provides more workspace when you need it.

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  • Consider filing and storage solutions that don’t take up space in the main room. Rolling carts and organizers or filing cabinets installed in the closet let you keep information close by when you need it but tucked out of sight when you don’t.
  • Use bookshelves, wall shelving, and multipurpose furniture to maximize square footage.

Special Considerations

A home office, den, or entertainment room frequently needs specialty or upgraded wiring to handle modems, printers, and wall-mounted monitors. A baseboard chase is one solution that easily allows for future changes.

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Whenever possible, choose furniture that is multipurpose, so the room can be used for more than one function. Smaller scale pieces maximize the number of uses. In a smaller room, for example, a self-contained desk that looks like an armoire when closed could be the perfect choice. Have young children who’ll be using the room? Pick a coffee table with small matching stools so they can easily do homework or play games.

Learn More

Adding a den or home office can be as simple as using space you already have. Another bonus for making that choice? The funds you save by not adding on another room can go towards an upgraded bathroom, kitchen, or basement!

Let our designers show you just how easy it can be to convert unused space into a room you’ll use every day for years to come. To learn more and get started on creating the perfect new den or work space for your Greater St. Louis area home, get in touch with us today. We look forward to meeting with you!

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