Remodel of kitchen and dining room.

Giving Old Spaces New Purpose: Home Improvement Projects To Make Your Home More Functional

Sarah Li Cain4 minute read
UPDATED: July 25, 2022


The cold hard truth is that in a seller’s market, it may be particularly difficult to find your dream home at an affordable price. There are many home buyers putting in competitive offers, with houses selling for over asking. You have two choices: stay in your current home or buy a new one that’s not exactly what you want, but it’s at an affordable price and make the changes you want. Whatever you decide, it’s good to get some inspiration before putting holes in the wall.

Here are some home improvement ideas to consider that can bring new life to your spaces.

Turn Your Spare Bedroom Into A Kid’s Playroom

Kids playroom Reno with blue walls with stars.

It happens even with the best of intentions — you try to keep your kid’s toys and other belongings contained, and it still ends up spilling to other parts of the house. If you have multiple kids, keeping the house clutter-free can seem almost impossible.

If you have a dedicated space or even a spare bedroom, you can create a playroom so you can consolidate their clutter. That way, you can create a house rule where all your kids’ belongings stay there or in their rooms.

There may not be much renovation you need to do. In fact, purchasing simple items such as bookshelves and a table with some chairs may be all you need. If you’re sectioning off a small space for a playroom, it might be helpful to purchase some shelves to separate the space, or a screen would also suffice.

Get Your Dream Walk-In Closet

Renovated walk-in closet with lots of storage and organization.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could open up your closet and be able to see your shoes, tops and bottoms clearly? Having a walk-in closet would help give you that space, and even give you a bit more storage for seasonal items, like winter hats and shoes.

Creating a walk-in closet will require a bit of renovating like taking down walls and building in shelves. To start, take a look at if there’s any space you can expand into — can the bathroom beside your room stand to be a bit smaller, for instance?

If not, consider using a spare bedroom. Use the same tips mentioned above using shelves, or you can add in a wall or a door, and fill it with custom shelving or whatever organizational items you want.

Working On A Home Project?

Use a personal loan to finance exactly what's needed for turning your house into a home.

Create An In-Law Suite

Large In-law Suite added to home.

Perhaps you’re caring for aging parents or they visit often. You want to be able to give them a comfortable space to sleep. Whatever the reason, creating an in-law suite can help you with your goal.

To start, decide whether you want to create a separate space that’s attached to your home, or create a space in your yard, as that’ll determine what you may need. For instance, if you were to create a smaller separate building, you may need different permits, and if you’re living within a community with a homeowners association, get their permission first.

Then, you’ll need to decide what you want — do they need a kitchenette, or would they be happy with a small living area, bedroom and a bathroom? You may need to work out your plans with a reputable contractor since this type of home renovation is pretty major, so call around to compare pricing and experience before choosing one.

Transform An Under-Used Space Into A Home Office

Home office added into unused nook in home.

While there are many of us who are returning to the office, those who aren’t (or are on a hybrid work arrangement) might welcome a new space to work from. Even if you have had a designated workspace for a while, repurposing an under-used area can help make the time you spend in your home feel less stagnant. Plus, claiming the space as your own work area can help you separate your home and work life.

You may not need to do much else other than paint and move your furniture. However, if you need more specialized items or aren’t sure what you need, make a list of what you’d like to have in order to accomplish your work more efficiently. For instance, if you feel like it’s too noisy whenever you have video conferences, consider soundproofing your new room.

Replace (Or Add) Your Kitchen Island

New kitchen island with granite top.

Your kitchen is one of the most used areas in your home, so why not make it more functional for your needs? If you already have a kitchen island, carefully consider whether it’s working for you. Is there enough shelving, or do you want to be able to make better use of it? Even something simple as moving your sink there and having more counter space elsewhere can make a massive difference.

If adding kitchen island, draw a layout to see whether it will result in less functionality. You want everyone in the house to be able to walk around the area easily.

Add More Shower Shelves

Shower with extra shelving.

A simple change like this one can help you decrease the amount of toiletries you have sitting around the rim of your tub or on the shower floor. And this change is much, much more budget-friendly compared to doing a major bathroom remodel. Sure, you can buy simple shelves you hang from your shower head, but having a glass or tile niche or shelf, for example, looks much more high-end.

Start by heading to your local home improvement store to see your options — you have the added benefit of asking a professional there about the best way to install one for your particular shower.

The Bottom Line: Make Your Home Work For Your Family

Your home should feel like it works for you and your family. That means creating a space that is inviting, cozy and most of all, functional. A smart way to start is to walk through your entire home and make a list of what you want done and in what order. Then, create a budget for your home renovation so you know exactly ahead of time what you’ll need to save up for.

If you end up undergoing a major renovation, consider getting a personal loan from Rocket LoansSM. That way, you can afford to get your project going sooner than later, and pay it off in increments.

Working On A Home Project?

Use a personal loan to finance exactly what's needed for turning your house into a home.

Sarah Li Cain

Sarah Li Cain is a freelance personal finance, credit and real estate writer who works with Fintech startups and Fortune 500 financial services companies to educate consumers through her writing. She’s also a candidate for the Accredited Financial Counselor designation and the host of Beyond The Dollar, where she and her guests have deep and honest conversations on how money affects our well-being.