Spare Bedroom: Office or Guest Bedroom?

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Spare Bedroom: Office or Guest Bedroom?

Staff Writer · Feb 19, 2010

A spare bedroom can be a blessing. It can provide you with more living space, a room to house visitors, or an office. However, it can be a difficult decision to decide what to do with your extra space when you need both an extra bedroom and an office. Often, the room may not be big enough to act as both a bedroom, or assigning both jobs to the room can be a complicated task.

Analyzing What Is Most Important

In deciding what to do with your extra room you must analyze your living and work needs. If you are constantly receiving visitors and want that to continue, or have a live in caretaker or nanny, a spare bed is a necessity. However, if your job is home-based or requires large amounts of space for the storage or organization of materials, dedicating the room solely as an office may be the best route.

The simplest way to identify your needs could be to make a two column list, recording the positives and drawbacks of having either a spare bedroom or home office in your home. The results of your list may be surprising. Do not make your decision simply based on which column ends up having more positives, though, but base it on which decision is best overall.

Cost Considerations

If you already have the room set up as a spare bedroom, it may cost you money to change the room to an office, and vice versa. Consider the needs of designating either room to a specific purpose and estimate the cost of the change. An office requires a desk, computer, file cabinet and other furniture and items to permit you to function effectively. A bedroom requires a larger sized bed to accommodate couples, a dresser, nightstand and other objects to make your guests feel comfortable.

Tax Considerations

The portion of your house used as an office is tax deductible. If your office needs are large, this fact may encourage you to designate the entire room as an office. Only the portion of your home actually used as an office is deductible. For example, if you can honestly only designate the surface of your desk as actual work space, that is the only deduction you may take on your taxes.  May times you will need to show that your goal from working at home is or was to generate income for entitlement to the deduction.

Decorating Considerations

It is important to consider your long term and short term goals and events. If you are only planning to work from home for a short while longer, changing the room into a home office may not be the best use of space. Check and make sure that the room in question will actually function as either a bedroom or an office. If it will not, there is no need to change the purpose to either specific space.

Switching a bedroom into an office or an office into a bedroom may seem simple at first glance, but its overall effect can be expensive and time consuming. Analyze all aspects of the change and make the best decision for yourself and the room.

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