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You don’t have to limit your design skills to the interior and exterior of your main house. Spaces away from your home make great design projects. Whether you already have a guest house attached to your property, or you’re thinking of adding a gazebo or a storm-safe room, here are some tips for designing those extra spaces.

Upcycle for a guest house

The interior design of your guest house presents a great opportunity to practice your DIY skills. If you’ve got old furniture cluttering up your main living space, try giving it a little love and use it to furnish your guest house instead of throwing it away. Upcycle your old kitchen utensils into unique accent pieces, or use leftover paint from different painting projects to give one or two rooms accent walls.

Thrift shopping is another great way to get affordable items to furnish your guest house. Go shabby chic or eclectic with your decor, and have fun piecing together odds and ends into great interior design.

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Use light colors in an above-garage apartment

You can turn your above-garage apartment into a guest or rentable space. Either way, you want to start with a neutral, clean look. However, that doesn’t mean you need to put in white tile and paint the walls white. Stick with light colors to keep as much natural light in the space as possible. You can also get a little creative with light yellows, tans, or greens.

Garage apartments tend to be small — the bathroom space is usually the smallest — so install space-saving hardware like a pedestal sink and convenient on-the-wall storage.

Add an atypical gazebo

Gazebos are a wonderful addition to the backyard, but you don’t have to be stuck imagining a six- or eight-sided white gazebo. Consider one with four sides and a trellis on top, so you can grow beautiful vines and flowers in the sunny months. Or, think about a minimalist design with panels of outdoor material hanging from it.

Add sleek outdoor furniture and create a spot perfect for entertaining guests on breezy spring nights. If you love gardening, close your gazebo in with glass and turn it into a mini greenhouse.

decorated gazebo

(image: Goatling)

Landscape around the tornado-safe room

Preparing for disasters is an unfortunate necessity. If you live in tornado country, it doesn’t mean your tornado-safe room has to be a dark and depressing space. If your space is an underground cellar or a freestanding structure with an external entrance, paint the door and do some landscaping around it. Use pretty plants and stone paths to cheer up the space.

Your design skills to use

Put your interior design skills to good use for the spaces away from your main property, whether it’s a space to keep you safe from a storm or a guest house for your in-laws. Stay green and upcycle old items you may not use in your main house anymore, and use leftover materials from your DIY projects to make your extra spaces really shine.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.