Your home should be a sanctuary where you can be your truest self — whether it’s expressing your personal style or making room for the things you love. But it’s often easy to feel like your home has become a storage area for clutter that prevents you from building out your dream home gym, music room, art studio or hobby space.
At the end of the day, your passions are worth making space for. And whether you’re working with limited square footage or have a spare room that you can transform, we’ve provided tips and strategies below to help you carve out a special area in your home that lets you embrace and enjoy your passions.
1. Decide the Focus of Your Space
You may already know exactly how you want to make room for your passions at home. But if you need ideas or inspiration, use the following suggestions as a way to jumpstart your creativity and create a solution that meets your needs and interests.
- A home gym
- A hobby room or craft room
- An in-home art studio
- A home office or area for your small business
- A yoga, meditation or tai chi space
- A performance space for music or a home recording area
- A workshop
- A media room or home theater for movies and games
- A space to showcase your collection
- A library or reading nook
- A mini wine cellar or wine storage area
- A backyard she shed or man cave
- A game room in your basement
2. Get Inspired
Once you’ve decided on the theme or focus of your space, it’s time to create a mood board for how you want it to look. These days, finding inspiration can be as simple as turning to social media. Platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok and YouTube contain troves of helpful ideas and styles, showcasing examples of how others have ingeniously transformed various corners of their homes into personal sanctuaries. These examples are often accompanied by practical tips and DIY tutorials that allow you to easily replicate the same results in your own home.
3. Create the Space
You don’t need to convert a garage or backyard shed to create an intentional space — though both of these are certainly options. If you live in an apartment or small home, there are still endless possibilities for creating a space that allows you to pursue your passions. For example, a closet can be transformed into a mini office or a crafting station, while an under-the-stairs nook can become a place for reading or making music.
Once you’ve decided which part of your home you’re going to use for your passions, you’ll need to declutter, reorganize, and rethink your storage solutions.
The first step to making a new space come to life is decluttering — i.e., getting rid of items you no longer use or need. However, decluttering to create a new area in your home is a little different from general home decluttering. Professional organizer Peter Walsh recommends fully emptying the space you’d like to transform or repurpose, then creating a vision for your new area in that newly empty space. Use tools like Pinterest, We Heart It or Mix to create a vision board and brainstorm.
Now that you’ve got a solid concept in mind sort what you took out of the space into “in” and “out” piles. The “in” pile is for items that will stay and the “out” pile is for items that can be moved to other rooms or a self-storage unit. Truly consider each object one at a time and whether it adds value to your life. The less clutter, the more flexible the area becomes.
Whether you’re creating a music room or a home gym, organization is key. For furniture, pulling the big stuff — like seating and tables — inward (rather than lining the walls) can instantly create new space, while moveable furniture like ottomans or lightweight chairs can allow you to convert your space when you’re ready to use it for your passions. Opting for slimmer designs rather than bulky sofas and chairs can also help free up room.
As for the objects you display on your furniture, Makeover by Monday’s Jenni Yolo recommends putting only “the pretty stuff” on display while storing the rest out of sight. If you have linen closets or under-sink cabinets, by all means, utilize those for storage. However, if you’re tight on space, incorporating storage into your decor is both aesthetically pleasing and highly functional. Which brings us to:
Maximize Your Storage
Getting creative with your storage is key to creating space for your passions. Go beyond closets, drawers and bins with methods like:
- Benches with built-in storage or mudroom benches with storage pegs
- Skinny console tables that fit behind the couch
- Beds with built-in storage or under-bed slide-out storage compartments
- Storage ottomans
- Desktop storage cubbies
- Slim corner hutches
- Floating shelves and wall niches
- Kitchen hooks for coffee mugs or suspensions for pots and pans
- Modular storage cubes
- Rolling kitchen carts
- Shallow behind-the-door shelves
- Expandable cabinet shelves
- Over-door bookshelves
Use a Self-Storage Unit
When you’ve maximized your storage options at home, turning to a self-storage unit is a convenient and surefire way to make space for your passions. Even a 5’ x 5’ climate-controlled unit offers enough space for a walk-in closet’s worth of boxes and small furniture, while a 10’ x 30’ at the top end can keep an apartment-sized secure stash, making space at home for virtually any dream project. Think of off-site storage as adding square footage to your home.
4. Furnish Your New Dedicated Space
Now, it’s time to build out your passion space. The key to furnishing it is to choose items that aren’t only functional but also space-efficient. Start by identifying the essentials for your passion — whether it’s a foldable easel for painting, a compact writing desk, a guitar stand or a small media console for your vinyl. Use some of the space-maximizing storage tips above to find creative ways to conceal or store your hobby items.
If you’re making room for your passion in a multifunctional area (like a living room or bedroom), consider leveraging furniture arrangements to divide or clearly mark your space into different zones. For instance, in a single room, a cluster of chairs clearly marks a conversation space, while an L-shaped desk in the corner of the same room creates a cozy office area. The furniture itself can also help divide space, with the backs of couches and chairs making a “border” to an open hobby space. You can also get easily foldable or rollable room dividers like a wavy bamboo screen or shoji screen to keep your passion space out of sight.
Now, all that’s left is to take a look at your home and create your dream passion or hobby space! For more tips on organizing and making room for the things that bring you joy, explore the SmartStop blog.