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45 bonus room ideas to add value to your home

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Extra square footage is a bonus for any homeowner, but sometimes it can be hard to envision what to do with it. If you’re working with a bonus room that’s a blank slate, it’s in your best interest to turn it into a finished room that will add value and functionality to your home. To help you get started, we’ve come up with a list of 45 of the best bonus room ideas to inspire your next home improvement project.

Before you embark on any remodeling or renovations, remember to check your homeowners insurance to make sure you’re covered for any damages that may happen in the process. Once you know you’re covered, feel free to get inspired by our infographic below.

What is a bonus room?

A bonus room is typically defined as a room that doesn’t meet the requirements of a habitable bedroom. To be habitable, a room must have the following:

  • A minimum floor area of 70 square feet
  • A minimum of 7 feet in any horizontal direction across
  • A minimum of two exits: a door and a window
  • A window that is a minimum of 20 x 24 inches with a minimum opening of 5.7 square feet

Any spare room that doesn’t meet the above requirements and is not a kitchen, bathroom, hallway, living room or closet qualifies as a bonus room. They are most commonly located above the garage, in the attic or in a basement and they are typically unfinished.

Bonus rooms come in all shapes and sizes, with some lacking windows, a door, a closet, a connected HVAC system or even four complete walls. Adding some of these structural features or functional amenities to a bonus room will take some logistical planning, so make sure you speak with a contractor to talk about the cost and feasibility.

How much value does a finished bonus room add?

If the idea of additional living space wasn’t incentive enough, a finished bonus room is also a worthwhile investment that can add between $10,000 and $30,000 to the value of your home. When finishing your flex space, it’s important to turn the room into something useful but unique.
This way, if you ever plan on selling in the future, your finished bonus room will likely be attractive to prospective buyers.

Adding value to your home may also leave you underinsured at the end of your project. Before you begin a bonus room renovation, make sure you speak with your insurance agent to check that your current policy will be enough to cover your home. As your home value rises, it’s important to cover the replacement cost in case your house is damaged or even destroyed during construction. This will help you to rebuild in case your renovation project goes awry.

You can also consider purchasing builders risk insurance if you’re planning on doing major construction to the structure of your bonus room. It will help protect you if you have a significant financial stake in the renovation and cover damages sustained to your dwelling’s structure or materials, equipment and supplies.

 fixing-up-bonus-room

Small bonus room ideas

Bonus rooms are typically smaller than a normal bedroom, and it can be difficult to envision how to use such a small space. Check out our ideas below for turning a small bonus room into one of your home’s biggest assets.


1. Office

Who needs a corner office with a view when you can turn your flex space into the ideal office with all the comforts of home? Enjoy the quickest morning commute ever as you stroll from your kitchen with a cup of coffee to your new home office.

Renovation tip: Deck the room out with smart home office technology, like noise-canceling headphones to boost work productivity. You can even try a daylight lamp if your space lacks a window or you just work long hours.


2. Guest bedroom

A guest room is another practical idea for a small bonus room. It will function as a place for loved ones to stay when they visit, which means that you’ll get more time to spend together under the same roof.

Renovation tip: Try a space-saving futon or murphy bed to provide a place to sleep at night and a lounge spot for the day.


3. Walk-in closet

Whenever you run out of room in your closet, you can look to your bonus room for extra storage space. Convert a small bonus room into a spacious walk-in closet so you can put your whole wardrobe on display.

Renovation tip: Use shelving to maximize your storage space, especially if your bonus room is oddly shaped.


4. Laundry room

You’ll enjoy doing laundry after you transform your bonus room into a beautiful and organized laundry room. Install a foldout table or ironing board that tucks away neatly into a cabinet for a place to easily fold clothes after they’ve been washed and dried.

Renovation tip: Introduce a color-coded bin system to separate out lights and darks before washing.


5. Nursery

Are you a new parent preparing a space for your bundle of joy? Transform your bonus room into the perfect nursery to welcome your baby home. As your child grows, you can always update the space to better fit your family's needs.

Renovation tip: Choose a convertible crib that will fit your baby’s nursery and can also be used as they become a toddler.


6. Craft room

Fix up your bonus room so you can enjoy crafting someplace other than your dining table. Whether you like to crochet, scrapbook, create jewelry or make your own candles, a craft room will be the place your imagination can run wild.

Renovation tip: Invest in a crafting table with a large work surface and ample storage for the best use of your space.


7. Library

Book lovers will delight at turning a bonus room into their own personal library. Add bookshelves to house your full collection and don’t forget comfortable seating to settle in with a story.

Renovation tip: Install bright overhead lights for optimal nighttime reading.

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Light-filled bonus room ideas

Having extra space that’s filled with natural light is always a benefit. Below are some ideas for turning your light-filled space into somewhere you’ll want to spend all your time.


8. Green room

Try creating your own green room by filling your bright flex space with an assortment of house plants. Whether you grow philodendrons or stick to succulents, a green room will be the perfect place for your plants to thrive.

Renovation tip: Don’t have enough plants to fill a room? Try propagation to start rooting new plants from cuttings of old ones.


9. Study room

If you have school-aged children or teens at home, a light-filled study room provides a productive space to get homework and projects done. Organize individual desks so everyone has their own spot to concentrate and stock each one with all the necessary supplies.

Renovation tip: Place a whiteboard on the walls so your kids can work out problems or doodle on a study break.


10. Exercise room

Never put off going to the gym again when you have an exercise room at home. Stock your home gym with your favorite exercise equipment or invest in some smart fitness technology for the ultimate workout experience.

Renovation tip: Create designated storage with racks and crates to keep your gear organized and prevent accidents at home.


11. Lounge

Sometimes the best spaces in your home are the ones where you can be comfortable and do nothing. Design the ultimate lounge space by filling it with plush seating and soft rugs to keep everyone relaxed and cozy.

Renovation tip: Art in the home has benefits for your mental health, so pick out a few pieces that will help you unwind and relax.


12. Playroom

Get your little ones excited to stay in with their very own playroom. Set up different stations for making art, story time, dressing up in costumes and playing games. Your kids will be thrilled with the endless possibilities of their play space.

Renovation tip: Use easy-to-reach cubbies to keep toys organized and to teach your kids to get in the habit of cleaning up.


13. Meditation room

If you enjoy yoga after a long day or practice mindfulness each morning, a meditation room may be a great use of your space. Fix up the room with a coat of light-colored paint and keep the layout open so you can create a comfortable meditation spot on the ground.

Renovation tip: Keep furniture to a minimum and fill the space with natural light and plants for a relaxing atmosphere.

Bonus room over garage ideas

Oftentimes, the area above your garage will have a bonus space that may or may not be connected to the rest of the house. If there isn’t already a bonus space over your garage, you can choose to convert the space above a single-level garage to get additional square footage out of your property. If you find yourself with this extra space, keep reading for ideas on how to use it.


14. Studio

Your home should be a place where you can engage in activities you’re passionate about. Create a one-of-a-kind studio where you can practice your hobbies or even turn them into a home-based business. Whether you make ceramics or film your own TikToks, the possibilities are endless with your own studio.

Renovation tip: Set your home studio up with the right equipment whether it’s a pottery wheel or tripod.


15. Rental apartment

Thinking about joining the 4 million Airbnb hosts who rent out their extra rooms? Turn your over-garage bonus room into a profitable rental with some easy updates. Some bonus rooms don’t have central air and heating, so keep guests comfortable with portable AC and heaters.

Renovation tip: Add value to your rental with a mini kitchenette consisting of a microwave, mini fridge, coffee maker and hot plate.


16. Crash pad

Need a place to hang with friends? Convert your bonus room into a crash pad that will make it the go-to hangout for any friend group. Try a card table if you enjoy poker nights or set up a widescreen television for binge-watching your favorite shows as a group.

Renovation tip: Add some insulation to the space to keep noise at bay in case you and your friends are a rowdy bunch.


17. Bar

If you like to unwind with a nice cocktail after a long work week, a bar may be ideal for your bonus space. Install a long counter with room for seating so that you can also entertain guests. Just remember to encourage any visitors to drink responsibly and not to drive drunk.

Renovation tip: Pick out a beverage fridge that fits under the counter to save space and keep drinks cold.

 create-spacious-bar

Basement bonus room ideas

If your home has a basement, that’s prime square footage that you can finish up to add value to your home. Use these ideas to turn it into a place that everyone will enjoy.


18. Game room

Add space for fun and activities with the family with your very own game room. Whether you like to indulge in the latest video games or a good old-fashioned board game, you can decorate your game room to fit your needs.

Renovation tip: Invest in good equipment for your game room like high-resolution televisions or convertible tables for games and snacks.


19. Workshop

A workshop is a useful space if you like to do woodwork or just tinker around. Deck out your workbench with your go-to tools and start the projects that you’ve dreamt of trying. If you do have a lot of expensive equipment, it may be best to check that your home insurance covers these items or take out personal property insurance for specific protection.

Renovation tip: Emphasize the safety of those in your home with a door sign that indicates when it’s safe to enter the room


20. Music room

Music lovers can dedicate an entire space to their passion by creating a music room. Display your instrument collection or your favorite records throughout the space to tailor the room exactly to your taste.

Renovation tip: Remember to soundproof your space so you don’t disturb the rest of the house.


21. Home theater

Love a movie night at home? Stream your favorite films in your basement turned home theater. You can either invest in a robust media system with the latest technology or go for something more low-budget with a projector and a Bluetooth speaker.

Renovation tip: Install surround sound to create the perfect movie theater environment.

 escape-in-your-home-theater

Other bonus room ideas

Bonus rooms are flexible spaces that lend themselves to endless opportunities for your home. Think about your wants and needs, and then tailor the room to fit them. For additional ideas, check out the list below.

22. Pet room
23. Gift wrap room
24. Art gallery
25. Sun room
26. Indoor climbing room
27. Breakfast nook
28. Granny pod
29. Makeup room
30. Storage room
31. Yoga studio
32. Sewing room
33. Display room
34. Spa
35. Wine room
36. Dark room
37. Recording booth
38. Pantry
39. Computer room
40. Home science lab
41. Model train room
42. Arcade
43. Massage room
44. Indoor putting green
45. Mud room

Finishing up a bonus room can add tens of thousands of dollars to your home’s value. Get inspired with these bonus room ideas and turn your flex space into your favorite place in the house. Before undertaking any major home renovations, always check your home insurance policy to make sure you have enough coverage for your project.

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Susan MeyerSenior Editorial Manager

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebra a year. She currently specializes in producing research-focused content for The Zebra's Resource Center on topics related to auto and home insurance, personal finance and smarter living in the 21st century.

Susan's work has been cited by the Insurance Information Institute, State Farm, BuzzfeedCBS, Yahoo, Entrepreneur and Business Insider.