Too Much Wasted Space

How many of you have thought at one time or another that your house is too small and just doesn’t work for your family anymore? Many people have this problem of wasted space in their house, making them feel crowded and overwhelmed. One of the most common areas of wasted space is the Living Room/Dining Room combination. The living room collects dust and knick-knacks, while the dining room only gets used once or twice a year – maybe! But it doesn’t have to be this way; you can reclaim wasted space by doing a room conversion on this area of your home.

In Vicki’s case, the living/dining combination of their house was not very useful. It had white carpet and fancy furniture, which did not mix well with their young kids! She and Trevor took the room and did a complete overhaul on it, turning it into what is now called Kid Central. They tore the carpet out, made room for the kids to play, and created a space to facilitate home schooling their two sons. As you plan your room conversion, there are three things you need to think about: features, aesthetics, and purpose.


Once you’ve decided the overall purpose of your room conversion, think about what features will be important to accomplish that purpose. For the Norris family, it meant replacing the carpet with workroom flooring so they weren’t worried about the kids making a mess. They also discovered openness and a big workspace were critical so they could host their home school co-op and have ample room for projects. To accommodate those goals, Vicki designed the room with a peripheral floor plan with all the furniture around the edges of the room instead of taking up space in the middle.

For your room conversion:

  • What features will make the room most functional?
  • How can you design the room to work well?


Turning a living/dining room into Kid Central is a bit unconventional, and Vicki had to get a little creative when designing the space to keep it visually appealing. Since the room is partially visible from the kitchen, it was important to create an aesthetically appealing view into Kid Central. This was accomplished by placing a cozy chair, lamp, and decorative pillows in the part of the room visible from the kitchen.

For your room conversion:

  • How can you make your converted room still flow well with the rest of your house?
  • What will make the room visually appealing and inviting?


The purpose of your room will determine what categories of your belongings will live in the space. In the Norris home at Dream Acres, Kid Central houses craft supplies, books, and homeschool curriculum. The organization system for schooling materials was designed to be modular so that as the kids and their library grow, the storage can grow too.

For your room conversion:

  • What categories of “stuff” need a home in your room?
  • What system will work to organize that stuff and remain flexible for future needs in the space?


It’s completely possible to turn the home you have into the home you love! Simply converting one of your least-used rooms into a functional space for your family can completely change your perspective on the house you live in. Even if it’s “unconventional,” don’t be afraid to change things up and create a space your family will love and use.

For more information on Room Conversions, see Vicki’s article “Make the Home You Have the Home You Love with a Room Conversion” Here.

Watch Vicki’s segment about Room Conversions on More Good Day Oregon below!


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