Homes aren’t like they used to be! Before plumbing, outhouses were our only restroom option. Formal dining rooms were a necessity in the ’50s to keep clutter under control and to serve as a place to entertain. Rooms are now larger, more open and functional for a variety of reasons. One room alone may serve as a kitchen, dining area and lounge. But what about older homes with smaller rooms and less open area? No worries! Turn those unused spaces into functional, multi-purpose rooms designed for practical everyday use. Think outside of the box and change it up with the seasons. Read on for tips to turn unused spaces into favorite places!

An entryway can become a catch-all for everything coming and going. Control clutter and turn your entryway into a functional seating and conversation area. Install hooks along the wall beside the door. Place a bench and cubbies for extra seating and storage of shoes, backpacks and more. An end table or sofa table serves as a place to add extra lighting and store keys easily and within reach as you are walking out the door.

Gone are the days of the formal dining room, but not functional dining rooms with additional seating for family and guests. Dress up that dining room table with bright, floral, fun tablecloths and runners. Remove a few chairs and install a bench for the little ones. Place a few functional, comfortable chairs in the corners and add splashes of color. Voila! Your formal dining room becomes a place the whole family wants to hang out, whether it’s dinner time or not!

Extra Bedrooms are often the most unused spaces. Turn that extra bedroom into a craft or sewing room. Find cabinets and counter tops at discount home improvement stores for additional storage and functionality. Remove the bed and put in a sofa sleeper for double duty. You’ll still have room for guests and can use the room any other time you’d like a quiet place to read or work.

Chances are if you live in an older home closets are sparse – and likely packed full. But if you have the luxury of an extra closet or two, turn that closet into a craft space, office area or homework nook.

Don’ t waste a room with a view! Install a window seat to turn it into your favorite place in the house. Throw in some houseplants to freshen up the air, and give it texture and beauty. Add additional storage shelves to conceal clutter when not in use and allow the kids to enjoy the view with you. Turn the room into a lounge and entertaining area, without television of course. With a view like that, who needs TV?

Every room in your home can and should be functional and usable. Try these tips or come up with some of your own. You know your home and your habits. Let them be your guide. Change is good. It provides new perspective. Change with the seasons, family events or just because you think it’s time to do so! And by all means, stop by one of the two Connell’s locations in Mt. Vernon and Newark for ideas, inspiration and beautiful home furnishings!