Bonus rooms are the hot new thing in home design. Part rec room-part loft-part hallway, bonus rooms are rooms that do not meet local building code definitions for traditional rooms. Codes typically require that bedrooms have a closet, a window, and a certain number of electrical outlets. Bonus rooms might not even have four walls, or a door. They can be oddly-shaped, or placed in an unusual place in the house, such as above the garage, in the attic, or in the basement.
Even with their quirks, bonus rooms are in high demand because they do provide additional space in a home. People use their bonus rooms for myriad purposes: a home office, an arts and crafts/hobby room, a rec room, a media room, a reading nook. This flexibility has earned the room an additional name: the flex room.
Flex rooms and bonus rooms are adaptable, changing with the differing needs of the household. In this way, they are especially perfect for families with kids because the room can grow and change alongside the kids.
Here’s how you can tailor your bonus room to your kids’ needs.
Why You Should Use Your Bonus Room as a Kids Room
First, let’s look at an example of a bonus-room-turned-kids-room. Builder Toll Brothers has included a bonus room in the 2,180 square foot Alcott townhouse design in The Oaks at Lafayette Hill in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. The interior of the Alcott model by Toll Brothers is equal parts rustic and luxurious, but this bonus room screams “kids” and “fun.”
Plus, as any parent will attest, a room dedicated to the kids’ stuff is much preferable to having it tucked into every nook and cranny of your home – or, more accurately, strewn about the house.
“If your living room is on the smaller side or you just don’t want to look at your children’s piles of toys every day, converting a basement or other room into a playroom will save your sanity when you don’t have to look at kid clutter,” says Lauren Fleming of American Freight Furniture.
Plus, the bonus room can grow with your kids. As toddlers and very young children, it can serve as a playroom; as they enter their pre-teen years, it may become a game room;, then eventually, a hangout for teens and their friends. It’s still their spot, but it’s more open and accessible to the rest of the family than their bedroom.
Furnishing Your Kid-friendly Bonus Room
How a bonus room is used depends greatly on how it is outfitted. The best bonus rooms, particularly if they are intended for kids’ use, are adaptable. You probably don’t want to spend a ton of money on furniture or accessories that they’ll soon outgrow.
Take, for instance, the staged Toll Brothers room. Other than the purely aesthetic parts of the room, such as the color-striped walls and ceiling, the pieces in the room work just as well for younger kids as they do for teens:
- The open bookshelf. In this photo, the shelves are filled with artwork and knickknacks, but you could easily use baskets or containers to store small toys and art supplies or books for young kids. For teens, it makes a great place to display awards, photos, collections, board games, or items related to their hobbies.
- Pouf chairs. The pouf chairs are appealing to kids of all ages – younger children will love incorporating the odd shapes into their imaginative play, while older kids will be able to flop down on them with a couple of friends to play video games.
- Wooden table. The table in the staged room is perfect for homework, crafting, or board games. When choosing a table for your kid-tailored bonus room, take into account all the ways your kids will want to use it – a table with a textured top, for instance, doesn’t make a good coloring table; a low table seems fine until your kids are out of elementary school and hit growth spurts.
- Curtains. The staged model room features flat, no-nonsense curtains in this room, not corded blinds or tassels, which can be dangerous for kids. Kid-safe window treatments are a must in open rooms like this where children can wander in and out freely. Non-ornamented curtains, one-touch fabric, pleated, or cellular shades, or even a simple valance are all safe and attractive choices. Plus, they’re classic enough that they’ll carry the room through each stage, from playroom to hangout area.
Liyya Hassanali is a Project Manager and Content Strategist for Kinship Design Marketing, a boutique agency that provides marketing strategies and content for architects, interior designers, and landscape designers. She is a 15+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry, working closely with her clients to provide written content that meets their marketing goals and gets results.
Liyya is passionate about home design and décor and is a confessed HGTV and Pinterest addict. When not providing content writing services for her clients, she can be found browsing home décor sites or spending time with her family.