Box room ideas: 10 ways to give an unallocated room new meaning 

These box room ideas will help you to breathe life into a previously neglected space.

Often neglected and underappreciated, box rooms can easily be left to languish as storage spaces full of clutter – or half-baked rooms whose purpose is never fully realised. However, especially in smaller properties, it’s not a space that many of us can afford to leave unused.

To make the most of yours, it’s all about maximising the potential of every inch of this room, rather than being put off by its smaller size – be that via space-enhancing colour, clever lighting, multi-functional furniture, or considered furniture placement.

Green-blue room with grey sofa and shelf with vasesCredit: Zinus
A box room can serve as anything from a study to a bedroom to a second sitting room

But if you’re struggling to know what the purpose of this space can be, these are the best box room ideas to help you transform the room into a place you love spending time in.


1. Create a single guest bedroom

Choosing a suitable bed is key

When converting a box room into a spare bedroom for friends and family, the main consideration should be the addition of a suitable bed.

Anna Elkington, interior designer at Melody Maison, says: “You may not have the dimensions for a large bed in a box room, so a good trick is to incorporate a tall, but sleek, headboard. This does the trick by creating the illusion of a larger bed, so it’s a great option for making a small bedroom look bigger.”

A sofa bed is also a great, multi-functional space-saver. “This can then be folded away when not in use, to make the most of the space,” Elkington says.

Make sure there's somewhere for clothes

The only other necessary elements in a spare box bedroom are a bedside table and a small space for clothing. Elkington suggests: “Built-in wardrobes are perfect, creating ample space for your spare clothing or linens when guests aren’t around.”

The great thing about going built-in and bespoke is that you can make the most of any awkward alcoves or eaves space that’s often encountered in a box room. But if your budget is tight you could consider a small clothes rail.

2. Work it as a home office

Use wall-mounted storage and lighting to save space

Attic room with white built in office furnitureCredit: Sharps

In a post-Covid era, home offices have become more vital than ever. And even if you no longer work from home, turning your box room into a study could provide you with a handy place to read, write, video call, or complete admin, away from the main hubbub of the home.

Turning your box room into a study requires creating a feeling of light and space. Interior design expert at HomeHow, Sylvia James, says: “Smart storage and a clever use of lighting can help you open up the space visually, as well as be useful for completing your tasks. For example, using wall-mounted lights and shelving can help to preserve desk and floor space.”

If you can, she also suggests, “increasing the natural light in the room by replacing the window with a Juliet balcony, which can create the illusion of a much bigger space. It also alleviates the sense of being shut into a confined area.”

3. Turn it into TV room

It could also work as a listening room

Always arguing about what to watch? Why not use your box room as an alternative living room?

A more practical set-up is required if you want to create a cosy nook to watch TV and movies in, or to play video games. Your first consideration should be locating your available plug sockets and considering whether a television would work in the position the socket dictates. If not, an extension cord will be necessary.

Then, think about whether there is enough floor space for a TV bench – and if not, consider mounting the set to your wall to save space.

You’ll also need comfy seating; consider a two-seater sofa, or a small corner sofa to maximise seating capabilities. Finally, paint the room a darker colour, which will allow the colours on your TV screen to pop.

Mounting your TV to your wall? Don’t strain your neck

“For a comfortable viewing position from a nearby sofa or armchair, it’s best to mount your TV so that the centre of the screen is around 107cm (42in) from the floor,” says homes editor-in-chief Amy Cutmore.

4. Indulge in a dressing room

A box room makes a great walk-in wardrobe

We’ve all dreamed about a walk-in wardrobe – and a box room is the perfect place to make this dream a reality.

Making your box room a comfortable place to get ready in the mornings should be a key consideration. “A dressing room needs lots of mirrors, which will help balance the small footprint. A ceiling-height mirror, in particular, will help create the illusion of space,” founder of AMC Design, Ann Marie Cousins explains.

“But don’t forget to add character, too, or the space could feel quite utilitarian.” To do this, Cousins says, “I would suggest adding details like colourful wallpaper or a fabulous fabric for the curtains or blinds.”

It’s also an important room in which to create the most flattering light possible. “Allow for the fact that the wardrobe doors will cast shadows if lights are too high or low,” Cousins explains. “So, think about backlighting the wall above the wardrobe, or using ceiling spotlights; but sparingly, on a dimmer.”


5. Set aside a room for hobbies

Indulge in your passions in peace

Whether you play an instrument or are getting back into watercolours, box rooms provide an enviable slice of space that is ideal for enjoying your creative passions in peace.

“In a hobby room, lighting is very important, as many hobbies require some intricacy,” Elkington explains. “But box rooms can often struggle with lighting, so it is a good idea to include a large mirror placed in a position that will reflect light around the room. Placing your desk near the window is another tip for making the most of natural light.”

If that isn’t possible, though, choose a paint colour for your walls that reflects light as much as possible, such as white, or a pale pastel yellow.

In this space, consider storage for all your materials, too. “Transparent plastic boxes, for example, let you find exactly what you are looking for quickly,” James suggests.

6. Cure washday blues with a laundry room

A utility area can work just as well upstairs

Utility rooms might be more commonly found downstairs, but converting an upstairs box room can make laundry easier than ever. “Having your utility room upstairs will save you taking all your washing up and down the stairs all day,” Sophie Clemson, design director and co-founder of The Living House, points out. It can also free up much-needed kitchen space.

Creating this type of room upstairs, in a previously empty space, can be slightly tricker in terms of configuration, though. Clemson explains: “You would need to consider ventilation in the room if you’re drying clothes, and access to water and waste pipes for the washing machine.” If you live in an apartment with a downstairs neighbour, you might also want to consider whether the placement of the washing machine is likely to disturb those below.

In a smaller space like this, however, you’ve also got full licence to go vibrant with your decor. “It can be a space to go bold with the paint colour and wallpaper, be it a dark green, or a bright floral, a bit like a downstairs loo,” Clemson suggests.

7. Carve out a space for younger guests

Keep visiting children happy in their own bedroom

Creating a child’s room in your box room requires you to have different zones that they can sleep, play and relax in. Elkington suggests adding a high bed, if possible. “A high bed allows for added floor space, which is perfect for creating a larger area for children to play with toys and games. Plus, these beds often have ample storage,” she says.

And if that’s still not enough storage, install floating shelves in the room; an easy DIY project. “Not only is this a practical way to use your wall space, but it works aesthetically as a fun feature to display a child’s favourite toys, too,” Elkington says.

To give the room some personality, Clemson suggests colour-blocking (a bedroom design staple), which, she says, “can be a great paint technique for smaller spaces, adding interest and a focal point to the room. Painting around and above the bed in a darker colour, for example, can provide a comforting, cocooning feel for little ones.”

8. Dedicate the room to storage

But make sure it doesn’t become a dumping ground

Sometimes, the most useful way to utilise a box room is to use it to store excess items, be it books, linens, photo albums or Christmas decor.

But to prevent the room from becoming overrun with clutter, plan out your storage options, and maximise every inch of space. “Deciding what you are going to store in the room will determine the most appropriate storage,” James says. For example, book storage will require multiple (ideally fitted) bookcases, whereas those looking to store excess pairs of shoes would benefit from using clear storage boxes within open shelving.

“In many cases, floor-to-ceiling storage that is fitted in the room will help you get the maximum storage space,” she confirms.

9. Convert it into an extra bathroom

It could add value to your home

Given that box rooms tend to be located upstairs, converting this space into a spare bathroom can be especially helpful – and may even increase the value of your home if you still have bedrooms to spare.

In a small box bathroom, be sure to stick to clean lines, neutral colours, and plenty of mirrors to create a feeling of space. Wall-mounted furniture can also help to create extra floor space, James says. “Opting for a shower rather than a bath will save you floor space. And wall- mounted toilets are unobtrusive as the cistern is hidden and the floor space is left clear, as are wall-mounted sinks.”

Be sure to utilise wall space for storage as much as possible too, via towel rails, hooks, and open shelving.

10. Make a multi-functional space

Your smallest room can also be your most efficient

If you’re clever about your plans, a box room can work hard to become a space that serves two functions – be it an art space and a work space, or a spare bedroom and a home office.

If this is your goal, first and foremost, “consider furniture and storage that is multifunctional,” Clemson says. For example, a sofa bed is a great option, and you might also want to install a wipe-clean desk, that doubles as a work space for you, and a fun art station for when grandchildren visit.

If you want to separate work and play, Clemson also suggests an easy trick. “Use a partition screen that you can simply fold away.”


Written by Amy Hunt she/her