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Our homes mean more to us than ever before. It’s not just where we eat, sleep and live, it’s become a workplace, playground, classroom and gym. With this in mind, Jane Lockhart, Principal Designer of Toronto design firm Jane Lockhart Design, shares how homeowners can make total use of their space by designing rooms to suit their needs.

1. Create a Designated Play Area For Kids

Having a playroom in your home is great, but when you’re cooking or folding the laundry on the couch, it’s nice knowing that you have a spot to keep the kids close and occupied. To make a dedicated area that doesn’t overwhelm the room, purchase matching bins or wicker baskets and store them on open shelves at a suitable height for kids. “Store smaller items in stacking boxes that double as decor, and turn to ottomans with lids to store larger items like board games,” says Lockhart.

2. Convert a Spare Bedroom Into a Home Gym

Transform your spare bedroom into a home gym to create a personal wellness space. Fill the room with smaller workout equipment including weights, yoga mats and stability balls, or compact machines like the Peloton or Mirror. Use the bedroom closet to house items that get occasional use, and add shelving to keep smaller items organized like jump ropes, resistance bands and gloves. Add a plant to improve the room’s air quality and install wall hooks to hang towels or spare clothes. Avoid a trip to the kitchen to grab a cold cup of water with the purchase of a mini fridge, which can be tucked into a corner of the room.

3. Design an Area to Wind Down in Your Flex Space

Create a designated space in your home that you can retreat to at the end of a long day — not tied to work, but where your long-time passions are fuelled. “Start by identifying your form of relaxation to determine which items to layer into the room — be it a piano, bookshelf or comfortable seating,” says Lockhart. No matter what your wind-down area looks like, the fundamentals of creating a relaxing space are the same. Never ignore the value of a soft carpet, plush pillows and an extra deep sofa or chair.

4. Transform Your Outdoor Shed Into a Home Office

When the home is filled with distractions like the sounds of the TV or the clanging of pots and pans, don’t you wish you had a quieter room to work from home? Your outdoor shed might be the solution. With a desk, a comfy chair, and a sprinkle of decor, you can transform this under-utilized space into a function-oriented room. Paint the interior in a neutral shade, and use a darker colour on the floor to ground the space. Install a glass door to let in natural light during the day, and add light fixtures to create some ambience within the room at night. For ultimate comfort and sound absorption, add a rug underfoot.

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What’s next? Learn more about the 10 decorating tips every design enthusiast should know; discover the best design apps to help you furnish your home; and jot down these 20 designer-approved ideas to refresh your home’s decor.


*Model home designed by Nancy Rae Interiors. Image courtesy of: Better Homes & Gardens (Shed Home Office).


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