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Creating Bonus Space In Your Home


Modern living can be challenging, especially in a small space. Once your children hit a certain age, your home essentially becomes appropriated by a never-ending stream of friends who invade every last nook and cranny of your home. Oh, sure, it starts off innocuously enough as “play-dates,” but if you are not there already, brace yourself for the pre-teen years when your entire home becomes commandeered for endless rounds of hide-and-seek and nerf gun wars. You are far from alone if you have said to yourself: “If only we had just a little more space!”

The reasons you may need new space can be varied and are certainly not limited to prepubescent war mongering. Our clients have asked us to find or build additional space in their homes for a variety of reasons. Common reasons include:

  • Playroom
  • Dedicated Media Room
  • Home Office
  • Exercise/Games Room
  • Arts and Crafts Area
  • Library/Music Room
  • Pre-teen/Teen Hangout Room.

A new room in your home, created in a non-traditional manner, is widely referred to as a ‘bonus room.’ The term ‘bonus’ refers to the fact that the added space is ‘found space’ that was not part of the original plans for the home. Almost unheard of prior to the 90s, bonus rooms have steadily risen in popularity, to the point that many builders now include ‘bonus rooms’ as part of their standard design plans. Indeed, one recent poll we found in Calgary indicated bonus rooms were the most used room in the house, right behind the kitchen! Bonus rooms can become so popular simply because they are tailor-made to fit the specific needs of the family.

Today we will briefly touch upon the common ways our clients have managed to create new space within the envelope of their home.

Bonus Room Features:

Due to the fact that Bonus rooms are non-traditional additions to the envelope of your home, they tend to be highly customized based on location and budget. Often, they do not include many of the features you are used to in other rooms. For example, bonus rooms may not feature any windows, any closets or storage space, and may not even include a door. Depending on the location and building limitations, bonus room ceilings may be lower than in other areas of your home. These limitations depend mainly on the location chosen for the bonus room, and of course, the budget desired to achieve the room’s goals.

Bonus rooms do not necessarily need to be spartan. Many Bonus rooms include features that can transform your space into an inviting and family-oriented destination. Custom ceilings, fireplaces, sunken floors, and custom windows can all be planned to provide extra impact and functionality to your space. Again, due to the non-traditional nature of the space, Bonus rooms can be designed to meet the specific needs of the family designing it, limited only by the space selected and the design budget.

Where Can I Find Space for a Bonus Room?

The most common location for a bonus room has traditionally been unused space above a garage. Look around and you’ll likely find a handful of these in your own neighbourhood. This essentially involves adding a second floor to your garage that can be converted to your ideal use: games/exercise room, media/theatre room, home office, teenage hangout, or even guest suite to name a few of the most common.

Other common bonus room locations include:

Attic: Many older homes have plenty of attic space, typically used for storage. With the addition of gabled dormers, many attics can be converted into modern and comfortable living spaces for a variety of uses, including a home office or as a secluded master bedroom suite!

Basement: Similar to a basement refinishing job, basement bonus rooms (as is the case with most bonus rooms) are generally borne out of a need that can no longer be fulfilled on the main floors of the house. While we don’t have room in this post to go into details on each, typical bonus rooms for basements include refreshment area/bars, games rooms, home theatre, a guest suite, and teenage homework/breakout space. Each basement is different, and especially in older homes ceiling height is a critical consideration when deciding on the ultimate use for the bonus space.

Porch: Many homes were built when the front porch was a much used area. Front porches can be transformed into bonus space in a variety of ways, including enclosing the space or simply rethinking the use of the space to integrate better with family preferences and activities.

Outbuildings: Many homes feature older sheds or backyard garages that are no longer in use. Depending on the original construction, many outbuildings can be repurposed to serve your family as a special backyard hangout for years to come.

What’s Ideal for Your Space?

At CHART few things satisfy us as much as finding personalized solutions that unlock the potential of a home’s unused space to add functional family value. If you’d like a professional eye to examine your space to determine viable options that will meet your family’s unique requirements, we invite you to Contact Us for a free initial consultation. Whether your intention is creative or functional, whether your home is relatively new or an older home, CHART has the skills and experience to properly assess the possibilities to offer you viable solutions based on the solid craftsmanship and your local building code. Call us today to find out more!


Family-Owned and Operated for 40 Years

Canadian Home and Renovation Team has 40 years of experience as renovators and builders in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph.

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58 Woolwich Street North Breslau, Ontario, N0B 1M0, PO BOX 324
Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge-Guelph - (519) 576-0937
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Professional designers, craftsmen and renovators in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and surrounding area since 1980.