It’s more common right now to see a Toronto condo listing for a one bedroom-plus-den than a regular one-bedroom. While there can be a lot of cynicism around why den spaces are included when a condo building is designed, those compact rooms are full of potential to be more than an extra storage space.
Here are five creative ideas to turn that den into a cozy, comfortable, functional room and get the most out of your one-bedroom-plus.
The big problem with condos when you’re a big reader is finding space for books—and a den is the perfect place to not just show off your books, but relax and read. If you’re a fiction fan, grad student, journalist, or anyone else who likes to have their library at hand, turning that den into a reading space can be a Pinterest-perfect solution.
Concentrate your bookshelves in your condo den, put down a nice warm area rug, and add a comfortable chair, a lamp, or even just a nest of throw pillows, and that extra room will turn into a cozy, laid-back reading space with absolutely minimal effort.
Puppy’s first bedroom
If you’re in a unit and building that allows pets, turning your den into a dedicated space for your dog, cat, rabbit, or the animal friend of your choice can be a great way to both use that space and make condo living that much easier on your pet—most animals are happy to have a little space that’s their own.
If you’re a dog owner, your den can be a great home for your crate, dog bed, toy box, extra pet food, and a rack for your leash and plastic bags. If you’ve got cats, you can set up Cat Wonderland with a kitty condo, toys, extra food and litter, and maybe even your litterbox if your cats are solidly litter-trained and you’ve got a mat beneath it.
It’s the same drill for pets who are cage-bound or swimmers: Setting up a dedicated space for them can help keep your condo clean, reduce potential damage, and make them more comfortable in their own homes.
The project lab
If you’re crafty—a maker, a knitter, designer, or artist—that den can morph into your dedicated project space. Most condo dens are just large enough to accommodate a sewing machine, pattern table, and fabric stash, an easel, or a set of tools and some hardware.
Hook yourself up with a sturdy table, some storage shelves, a work lamp, and some laminate or plastic mats laid down on the floors to catch spills, and congratulations: you’ve turned your den space into home base for most any creative project you’ve got on the go.
A warning, though: Be careful with any projects that involve paint, solvents, or other things that aren’t great to breathe. While painting in small doses isn’t right out for a condo unit—and with the proper protection for the walls and floors—it’s not great for your health, and ventilation is always key.
If you’re looking to start a family, but not ready to upgrade into a larger space, the den in a one-bedroom-plus can make a solid nursery for baby’s first year or two—all the time before they start needing a little privacy of their own.
Separate your den space off with a paper screen or other portable divider—well-anchored to keep it out of prying toddler hands!—to give yourself some changing-time privacy, and you can treat your condo den just like any other newborn’s room. Just large enough for a crib, changing table, mobile, and toys, condo dens frequently have a closet included, and that can be ground zero for the onesies, towels, and diapers you’ll need to have at hand.
While it’s not the most glamorous use for your den, it’s one of the most practical: Set up your den with some great lighting, your ironing board, a table for folding and sorting your clothes, and a few laundry storage baskets, and kiss the days of hanging wet clothes over your shower pole goodbye.
If your den’s near your washer and dryer, setting up a laundry room in that space can keep your bedroom and bathroom much tidier by taking all the laundry tasks into their own special place. It also means not having to maneuver around the rest of your life to fold and put away clothes, and while it may seem small, has the potential to make a lot of your life that much easier.