Dressing Up: A Better Use for “Spare” Rooms

vanity and wardrobe illustration

One idea to convert your unused spare bedroom is to make it into a separate dressing room from your bedroom. What will a space like that require? Take a look here.


One of my popular posts this past autumn was ideas for converting your “spare bedroom” into a room that can add actual value to your life, as opposed to sacrificing it for the sake of occasional visitors.

Among the reader comments came two folks reporting that they’d converted unused bedrooms into dressing rooms, and raved about how much better it made their lives. Let’s talk about that, then. How can you turn a spare bedroom into a dressing room, and why should you do it?

The Idea

Think old-school and purpose-driven space. A vanity table with a mirror where you can do make-up or basic grooming. Considerable room for storing clothes. Space to iron, lay out the next day’s wardrobe. An area for the dirty laundry to be piled neatly. This room is all about clothes, laundry, and getting gussied-up.

The Pros

Gone is the clutter from your bedroom. If you’re not even undressing in the bedroom, it’s hard to get pants or skirts and shirts tossed all around, isn’t it? All you have to do is make your bed, and poof, your room is fine.

Without the laundry in your bedroom, or your work clothes for the next day, or even the additional dust that can be found on your clothes, your bedroom becomes about three things only: Sleep, sex, and relaxation. All three of them, guaranteed, will improve without the hassle of clothes and all the clutter of dressing accoutrements scattered around your boudoir. Not too shabby, right?

The Cons

I’m sorry, I don’t understand. “Cons?” Uh, it’s a separate dressing room that you have actual space for. How can there be any cons?

Picture it

What are things you have that you need to organize? If you can afford custom cabinetry, oh, you’re so lucky. Try including things like shoe storage so every pair is easy to see, hat racks that display yet keep your hats in shape, tie and belt holders, sunglass racks, a clothes tree for the next day’s wardrobe. You’ll need mirrors to preen yourself in, space to iron or steam your clothes.

Maybe you’ll want a television there so you can entertain yourself while you’re ironing and gussying your wardrobe up. Think of a laundry-organizing section with a divided hamper, say something like this one where you can chuck your lights, darks, and mediums, along with a separate bag for dry-clean only.

You’ll want as much sensible shelving with cubbies and hanger areas as you can find. They don’t need doors to cover it all up, because this room is all about making it easy and fun to get dressed every day. Instead, you want to be able to see everything, know what you have, and have fun putting your outfits together.

The Payoff

With a separate room for dressing and preparing every day, you’ll keep the panic to a minimum before work. You’ll be more organized, more efficient, less flustered, and you’ll get off to a better start every single day. You’ll keep your bedroom spotless.

Who knows? With great built-in shelving, you might even add some value to your home for the right buyers.

People who’ve made these kinds of space allowances in their home report that it makes them feel better about themselves. They’re taking the time to really get ready for the world, they’re focusing on themselves. There’s nothing around them to distract them as they get ready and dressed.

The big payoff is in separating getting-ready and sleeping areas. The less you have in your bedroom, the lighter you’ll feel. It’s hard to understand until you’ve enjoyed the bliss of a decluttered, spacious bedroom, but trust me, it’s a thing. You’ll be consciously aware of your rooms (and days) feeling better, more focused. You may even sleep better without all the clutter of clothes around you.

If this idea makes your heart pitter-patter, you have the space on-hand to do it, then it’s something you can make happen even if it’s just a matter of rearranging stuff a little and picking up some temporary solutions. At least that way you’ll learn whether you think it’s going to be worth investing more time and effort into doing a more permanent, more expensive built-in solution.

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