Wasted spaces…ugh.  For so many of us, the dining room is a pass-through or its table ends up as a “black hole” for mail, paperwork, or homework, never full-filling it’s intended use for guests and family meals.  (Please, those of you who use your dining room on a regular basis, raise your hands [or post a comment] so I can see ya!).

I recently stumbled upon a show appropriately called “Wasted Spaces” on the DIY Network. Designer/Carpenter Karl Champley came up with a fantastic solution to his homeowners’ dilemma of needed square footage and wasted use of their dining room:  Convert it to a play/crafts room.  Why not? Why have wasted space, especially when the “convertibility” is so simple.  Here are the steps:

1.) Clear the room of any furniture you would like to keep safe and undamaged (i.e. kid-proof the room)-tables, chairs, side-tables, China cabinets, chandeliers, etc.  You can replace these items with used, recycled, or inexpensive furniture that your kids can “have at” with little damage to your wallet (search for “Habitat for Humanity ReStores” in your city on for some excellent items at very discounted prices! Example: Habitat ReStore in LA).

2.) Cover flooring to protect hard woods, carpeting, or other surfaces with inexpensive kid’s foam floor tiles or carpet tiles-what’s great about these, you can easily cut them (to work around vents), replace them if they get damaged or stained, and you can choose from different colors and patterns to add a custom look to this space.

3.)  Protect walls by providing spaces kids will want to use, draw on, or pin to.  Choose a designated wall to prime and paint with chalkboard paint (No worries!  you can wipe chalk clean, then prime and paint again later when you want to revert back to a dining room). Hang and mount oversized bulletin boards, then line the walls with mounted shelving or crates, fill with baskets for organizing and “wha-la!  You’ve got yourself a craft/play room!

I know for some, this wasted space solution might seem out of the ordinary, decoratively risky, or even inconvenient (yes, it could take a good weekend to make this happen and done well), but when you think about the needs of your family and efficiently using the space in your home, it just might be a good way to go.

A craft/play room is just one idea.  Maybe you’d like a space for a library, lounge, game room, or even a second office!  This is your domain, your palace to do what you wish!  Wasted footage is wasted value… and that’s just for squares!

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