As much as we all would love to be young forever, life has a way of switching it up on us. Kids are born, they grow up, they move out. You go from a 9-to-5 in a downtown skyscraper to a home office. You have family stay with you for extended periods (this might even be those kids who moved out and boomeranged right back again). And when life changes, your home should be able to keep up.
That’s where a flex room comes in. Rather than having spare rooms, you can take your existing home and repurpose the space to serve different needs. This allows you to make more use of a smaller home, and smaller homes can save money on heating, cooling, and mortgage payments – not to mention being less work to clean.
Choose Your Flex Room
Whether you’re buying a new home or choosing a room in your existing home to convert to a flex room, there are a few features you may want to consider. The more options you have in your room, the more ways you can use it.
- Lots of natural light. Natural light makes a room feel larger, and means you won’t have to put up as many lamps to make it useful during the day.
- Multiple entries. Obviously, if you want a room to be a guest bedroom, you’ll need a door – but for more flexibility, look for rooms with doors to the back yard as well. Now the room could be a mud room, a day room, or a second living space for more privacy.
- Good closet space. A large walk-in closet may be just the thing for storing overflow clothes, but you might also be able to convert it to a mini-workspace or office. You may be able to slide the treadmill into it when company comes over or install outlets to make it a laundry room.
- Versatile materials. Thick carpet may be nice on your feet, but it’s harder to clean than hardwoods or tile. If you’re going to use the space as a pet room or nursery, having smooth floors will make it a lot easier to keep odor-free.
Use Your Flex Room
The only limit on using your flex space is your imagination (and potentially your budget). Not only that, but there are many different ways the room could be flexible. Maybe it’s a nursery for a few years, then a child’s room until college, then a workout room or home office. That’s long-term flexibility, where the room can be repurposed over time. On the other hand, you may want to make the room so flexible that it serves multiple different needs in the same day.
For instance, you could have a home office that doubles as a workout room or guest bedroom. You could have a theater room that is the ideal place for crafts. It could be a laundry room and dining room. The trick is in choosing what you put in the room.
The first place to start is with the bed. Consider a TV room with a futon – you can enjoy some video games in the evening, then convert into a bed when your friend stays over. Even better, a Murphy bed will fold right up into the wall, allowing you to use the entire room as a home gym and just sliding the exercise bike out of the way if you need the room to sleep. Even better? There are many Murphy beds that turn into sofas or tables when the bed is stowed. Now that is flexible.
The bed isn’t the only place to maximize utility, though. An ottoman could hide storage space. Fold-out desks could disappear into built-in bookshelves. Wall-to-wall cabinets could hide washing machines and dryers. By making sure to buy multi-use furniture and décor, you can maximize the usefulness of the room and get lots of use out of a single space.
Make Your Own Flex Room
D.R. Horton offers a few different ways to get yourself a flex room. Possibly the most obvious way is to simply have us build you a home and customize it. Many of our communities offer homes with multiple elevations within a single floor plan. Consider Seacrest Pines in Barnegat, NJ. The Arlington floor plan (just by way of example) comes with numerous options for construction, such as an optional second floor with loft and fourth bedroom. The Faringdon floor plan in Dowlin Forge Station (Downington, PA), has a wealth of options, so that you can design your flex room just how you want it.
If simply having a versatile spare room isn’t enough to fit your needs, you might also check out MultiGEN from D.R. Horton. These homes have entire secondary living suites that can accommodate returning college kids, aging parents, home offices and a whole lot more. These are perfect for creating flex rooms, since you’ve got the room to put together an entire suite of flexible space.
Flex rooms are trending now all over the nation, and setting up the room to your tastes could prove far more useful than the square footage would normally suggest. They’re a great way to get the most out of your home, whether you adapt an existing space or customize your own.