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What To Do With A Bonus Room You Don’t Really Need: Spring 2019 One Room Challenge

Spring 2019 One Room Challenge: Bonus Room Turned Family Media Center #oneroomchallenge #ORC #bonusroomideas #playroom


Lest you should think that every space in my home is always picture-perfect, I’ve got a real show-stopper for you today! Here’s my completely haphazard and untouched bonus room in all its real-life glory. It’s a hot mess right now, but we’ve got big plans to turn this space into a media center and playroom that the entire family can enjoy!


This space is massive and completely unorganized. When we moved into this house, two years ago, we basically plopped down our existing furniture and called it a day. This room, situated at the very end of the long hallway we transformed during last season’s ORC™ (that project is here), has gotten literally no attention. Aside from an occasional vacuuming and stashing of toys, we’ve failed to touch this space in any way.

Because of that, you probably didn’t even know it existed in my home. Sure, there were some occasional glances, like this one:

Hallway Makeover: You can peek into the bonus room from this end of the long upstairs hallway.

You can peek into the bonus room from this end of the long upstairs hallway, but notice I’ve kept it intentionally obscured. That’s because it’s really nothing to write home (blog?) about.

Bonus Room Updates: For this season's One Room Challenge, we're making over an unused family room to create a media space the entire clan can enjoy!

The carpet in this room is tattered and stained. In fact, there’s even a piece of the old hallway carpeting still on the stairs! The walls have never been painted but have been patched so that’s looking super cool. And the paint colors? Well, it’s an interesting choice from the previous homeowners to paint half the room yellow and the other half mocha. It’s as if they were going for every paint color that could possibly date this house as quickly as possible.

A haphazard bonus room gets a fresh facelift during this Spring's One Room Challenge.


As for purposes served by this space, there’s actually not much going on in here on a daily basis. Christine has a desk in here but we’ve moved her work items downstairs into the office (appropriate, right?!). So now she just sits up here by herself to pay bills. Poor Christine. She really gets the short end of the stick.

It was once a playroom of sorts but our daughter doesn’t really play in here anymore since we moved all her toys into her closet to prepare for life in a smaller home (more on our downsizing plans here).

The giant windows were great for over-wintering my plants but now that the weather has improved (thank you, short Tennessee winters!), I can start dispersing them back around the house and outside on the patio again.

The only real function this space maintains is hidden behind a door you probably haven’t even noticed.

bonus room updates: we have great storage in this space but still haven't figured out the function

See that disgusting pet door? Yep. That was there when we bought the house and we were so glad to see it because it’s made our lives here a lot fresher.

The room behind that door is an unfinished storage space and it also serves as our cats’ bathroom. Not in a gross way. We don’t let them just go wild in there. It’s just where we house their litter pans.

An unfinished storage room makeover - we're revamping this space to add extra square footage when we sell.

Oh. And it also houses all our sins, as you can see from the photo above.

Every item we want to hold on to but don’t have a dedicated spot for gets thrown into this giant storage room with absolutely no organization or planning. Sentimental artwork? Our daughter’s old toys? Cat furniture we bought and then they never used? A completely unprotected Christmas tree? Just throw it in there. That’s my motto!

Speaking of artwork, you may notice a complete lack of it in this space.

our bonus room is getting a complete facelift!

For a family who loves art as much as we do, we sure haven’t shown it in this room. In fact, nothing about this room really reflects our personalities at all.

That’s gotta change.

We have a lot of sentimental art and home items that we’ve been storing in the cats’ bathroom, errr … unfinished storage space … for two years. It’s time to bring it all out and give it a proper home!


Vision board for our bonus room makeover


install new carpet
paint sidewalls – neutral beige
paint accent walls (pitched) – navy
install wallpaper / acoustic treatment on “stage” wall
install curtains
organize media center
install new door in hallway
replace sofa cover
build “stage” area for dress-up play
add dress-up clothing storage

I really wanted to add a rock-climbing wall like this one from Emily Henderson:

But then Christine, fearing this would be a hazard on the inspection report when we sell, said “no”.

So now I’m trying to come up with a new plan to make this space super fun and unique for parents and kids. Stay tuned. I think there may be a swing involved. How about a slide? Should I go full “tree house”???

Eh. Who knows what I can conjure out of this whack brain??

Here’s the plan for the Storage Space (I have to stop calling it the cats’ bathroom):

bonus room plans.jpg


install vinyl tile over plywood
install drywall
paint drywall
install new track lightning
install shelving for better organization

I’m hoping that, by finishing this storage space, we can count it as additional square footage when we go to sell. Either way, it needs to be finished off in order to really make it a functional space for our buyers. So I’m happy to do the work for them.

peek into the bonus room we are updating for the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge

We certainly have our work cut out for us, especially since this space has to be completed before we can list this house.

That’s why we’ve chosen to update this room as part of the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge™! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the ORC™ and how it works, I’ve written an entire post about this event and you can see that here.

The gist is that this is the biggest biannual event of the design blogging world. It’s an opportunity for designers and bloggers to come together and cheer one another on as we all simultaneously tackle updates in our own homes or clients’ spaces. The catch? We all have only six weeks to complete our spaces! That’s also what makes it super fun! Who doesn’t love a challenge?!

Each Spring and Fall, twenty bloggers and designers are chosen to be Featured Participants in the event. You can see the list of these Featured Designers here.

Then the rest of us are invited to add our own six week projects to the mix, in the form of Guest Participant link-ups. There are typically hundreds of people participating, which makes it so easy to find new bloggers and designers to follow for inspiration and tutorials. You can see the full list of Guest Participants’ spaces here.

I’ve been a long-time follower of the ORC™ and I’m always a little humbled and sentimental that it’s still around for me to participate in. So if you’re looking to kickstart a DIY home project or you just want to take a peek into the reality of renovating spaces, I highly encourage you to check it out.

Thanks, as always, to Linda Holt for bringing this event back every season! We love it as much as you do. And a super huge thanks to Better Home and Gardens and all of the amazing sponsors who keep this event going! You can see the full list of official sponsors here.

This time around, I’ve even got my own list of sponsors to show off. I can’t wait to tell you about each of these brands that has made my participation in this event possible. So stay tuned! That is, after you go check out all the other spaces.






Commenting on this post is disabled after 24 hours so I can focus on our upcoming projects + client designs. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to hear from you. Send me your questions and comments on Instagram by either commenting on my latest post or sending me a direct message. I really love to chat it out! xoxo

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  1. It is a great space and I sure you will make it look fabulous! I’m voting for a treehouse in there 🙂

  2. I’m so excited to see how your plans for your bonus space progresses. We had a bonus room similar to yours in our TN home so reading your post brought back lots of good memories. Oh and I’d totally buy your house with the rock wall. Who are these people that wouldn’t want a rock climbing wall in their bonus room!!

  3. This is such a great space to work with! I love the ideas you have and look forward to following along progress. Good luck! – Tee

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