My office needs new meaning in life!
July 29, 2007 9:04 AM   Subscribe

What should I do with my office/second bedroom? I don't use it and would love for it either generate revenue or be useful to me.

I live alone in a wonderful, beautiful 2 bedroom apartment. 1 1/2 bedrooms you might say. The second bedroom is 6 1/2' by 8', has it's own thermostat and one window but no closet. It's separated from the kitchen by a pocket door. The location and neighborhood are awesome, the landlord is awesome, newly renovated, new appliances, washer & dryer, and I have a driveway parking spot I don't use.

I'm open to getting a roommate, and have not posted on craigslist or anything yet, but have shown it to a few friends enthusiastic about living with me... until they saw the actual room. So I'm nervous that nobody would want to rent the room. Is there a particular demographic that I should target? Please don't say undergrad students, I really don't want a kid living with me. I'm 28.

But maybe there's another creative solution? Aside from getting a roommate to live in it, would someone pay me money to use the room? How can I find that person?

OR! If it's not likely that I am going to generate any rent from the space, what should I do with it, how can I best enjoy it? The apartment has great, large common spaces, every room is big: the living room, the gorgeous dining room (my favorite room) my bedroom, and the kitchen. I have lots of storage already (big utility closet, closet & built in hutch in the dining room, and bedroom closet.) Right now I have two desks, one in the dining room and one in the office, and I use the one in the dining room because it's a pleasant central space. And I don't really do any desk work anyway except pay bills.

I love my apartment, I feel like I'm wasting my office.
posted by palegirl to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe an artist would like to use it as a workspace?
posted by kitty teeth at 9:15 AM on July 29, 2007

I once rented a room in a big Brooklyn apartment to use as an office (at the time I lived with my husband in a cramped 1-bedroom, and we both needed extra space to work as freelancers).

So maybe you could advertise it as a work space for a freelance writer or designer. Obviously you'd want to find someone with similar compatibility/trust elements you'd want in a roommate, but likely you wouldn't see this person very often (especially if you work elsewhere during the day).
posted by lisa g at 9:16 AM on July 29, 2007

Take up yoga or Tai Chi and turn it into a relaxing space for doing figures?

Furnish it simply and offer it up to people on couchsurfing who are coming to your area (assuming yours is the kind of area people come to)--that way, you'd get to meet new people and help them out at the same time. Couchsurfers would generally be pleased to get their own room, so they wouldn't complain about the small size. It wouldn't generate revenue but it would generate good karma.

Line the walls with bookshelves and turn it into a walk-in library?
posted by jacquilynne at 9:48 AM on July 29, 2007

Ooh, I love the library idea.
posted by mdonley at 10:04 AM on July 29, 2007

You could get an exercise machine or two, possibly slap in a TV, and call it a gym.
posted by TheClonusHorror at 10:10 AM on July 29, 2007

Response by poster: I love the idea of having a freelancer use it as their daytime office, but can't figure out how to solicit for that, how do I post that on craigslist?

Do you think I could rent it out as a storage room? How would I go about doing that?

I appreciate the ideas everyone's suggesting. I don't need to work out at home, I don't think I'd appreciate it as a library, can't imagine setting it up for tai chi or meditation. Reading those type of ideas made me think that maybe I should turn it into a walk in closet/dressing room. I don't really need that though. Hmmmm...

By the way, I live in the Boston area, and my rent is definitely a stretch for me.
posted by palegirl at 10:33 AM on July 29, 2007

• Plants (if it gets good light)
• Arts/crafts/hobbies (space for leaving things out to dry, or arrange it so as to be distraction-free for writing or thinking)
• Media room (for watching movies, playing video games)
• Guest room for visitors
• Study (put up posters of the things you're learning + desk + study music + aromatherapy)
• Party room (lava lamp, music, disco ball, futon, throw pillows)
• Shrine dedicated to your idols
• Theme room arranged to evoke a particular place or time-period
• Dressing room (vanity, beauty lighting)
• Showcase a collection (antiques, creepy dolls, Star Wars figures)
posted by xo at 10:39 AM on July 29, 2007

Aside from the room, you might consider renting out your parking space separately. That could generate some income. We have friends who live near a train station in the Chicago suburbs and they rent out spaces on their driveway for $65 a month. If you live in an area where people are paying to park in garages, or competing for spots on busy streets, you might be able to bring in some extra income that way, and it's easier than having an actual person in your home.
posted by Kangaroo at 10:56 AM on July 29, 2007

We have a similar second room, and initially turned it into our library: every wall is lined with bookcases. We use what little wall clear wall space there is to display my partner's baseball memorabilia and my vintage postcards and games.

Recently, we cleared the books from one bookcase and made it our bar. The kitchen is too small to accommodate a proper bar, and this way we can keep all our nicer glassware next to the liquor, where it's handy.

The set-up feels a bit retro, but is tremendously convenient. When we have a party, we set out an ice bucket, some mixers, and chilled non-alcoholic drinks all together, and simply tell people "The bar's in the study*; help yourself!" If we have just one or two guests, hey, there's room for a guest to come in with me while I fix his drink! This would be a tight squeeze in our kitchen.

* If we were genteel impoverished P.G. Wodehouse characters, we could say the bar is in the library, but we aren't so we can't.

We also have a spare futon pad we can throw down on the floor for (undemanding) overnight guests. So far, guests have generously described it as "cozy." Boy, is it nice to have someplace people can crash. (When accommodations are primitive, describing it as "crashing" rather than "staying" or "sleeping" appears to produce expectations more suited to the room. )

Years ago, I was blown away to visit a friend and discover that she had devoted an entire room to her art projects: one wall lined with cases housed her paints, another had numerous small bureaus for collage materials (photos and images filed by subject!), another held all her drawing supplies, and the fourth wall was for textiles: cloth, thread, knitting and embroidering supplies, etc. In the center, she had separate work surfaces, so she needn't put a project away every time she took a break or shifted focus. It was awesome.
posted by Elsa at 11:21 AM on July 29, 2007

I'm turning my second bedroom into a dressing room/closet. I'm gonna do it in pink/white/black Victoria's Secret style. I'm really excited about it, but I also have a LOT of clothes, even more shoes, and I'm just that kinda girl.
posted by clh at 11:24 AM on July 29, 2007

Oh.. also, don't try to rent it out as a storage space. You don't want to mar your beautiful apartment that you love with someone else's crap that they don't want in their own place.
posted by clh at 11:26 AM on July 29, 2007

Home gym!
posted by mendel at 11:32 AM on July 29, 2007

If you either rent it (for money) or loan it (for free) to someone else for the purpose of storing their stuff, make sure to think about the insurance implications.

Someone else's belongings would not be covered by your renter's insurance, but it might not be covered by their insurance either if it's stored at your house.

If you had a burglary or fire/water damage, the stuff-owner might try to make you pay for his/her losses. Or you'd have to lie to your insurance company and say it was your stuff in order to get it paid for, and that would make your premiums go up.

Just something to think about. Also, I second the idea about renting out your parking space.
posted by mccxxiii at 1:26 PM on July 29, 2007

As far as the storage space, I agree with clh, but here's another take on it. I once rented out a (small) garage over the summer while I was out of town (and in between apartment leases). When the woman I rented from advertised the space on Craigslist, she stated that she only wanted to rent to someone who wouldn't need to be accessing it very frequently (the driveway led to a small garage with 3 separate spaces, one of which she used for her car).

If you're not averse to the idea of having someone store their stuff at your place, you could try stating in your ad that you're looking for somebody who needs medium/long-term storage (e.g., over the summer, during a long trip, etc.). That way, you could make the extra cash you're looking for, but wouldn't have to deal with someone other than when they're dropping their stuff off and picking it up.

Also, the parking space rental sounds like a great idea to me...I wish people in my current neighborhood would do that!
posted by splendid animal at 1:44 PM on July 29, 2007

You can probably find someone to rent the room as a housemate, but you will not be able to charge as much in rent as you would for a larger room. Be very clear about how large the room is in the ad, give the dimensions and something to compare with -- many people can't seem to translate dimensions into an idea of the size of something. Mention how much sharing of the common areas you want to do -- maybe some of the utility closet is available for storage.

A grad student might be a good person to occupy the room. Often they have an office for studying, don't spend much time at home, and need to find a lower rent.
posted by yohko at 1:58 PM on July 29, 2007

A room next to the kitchen, separated by a pocket door? That's a pantry. Not that the original use of the space is necessarily the best for you, though I would kill for a pantry.
posted by cali at 3:31 PM on July 29, 2007

clh beat me to it. When I move into my boyfriend's place later this year, I'm going to have to turn one of his spare rooms into a walk-in closet/dressing room/lounge/MY SPACE. There's really not alot of space in his current closet for both of our stuff (he's a bit girly that way - he has more clothing than I do)... plus, I'd like to have a room that's just Me, and not Me+Him, since it's HIS house.

I vote for dressing room/closet.

Oh, and rent out the parking space.
posted by damnjezebel at 7:17 PM on July 29, 2007

Response by poster: Parking in my neighborhood is actually not difficult. I know, crazy for Boston!
posted by palegirl at 8:15 PM on July 29, 2007

I think a grad student might the best bet assuming you're fairly close to a school. Of course the price should reflect that the room is tiny, off the kitchen, and closet-less. But I could see a hard sciences student who spends tons of time in a lab being comfortable with a small and cheap place that's perhaps a step up from a dorm.
posted by 6550 at 12:07 AM on July 30, 2007

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