Bonus or no bonus room?

Real Estate

The ‘bonus room’ makes a comeback
NEW YORK – Oct. 3, 2017 – Home builders and designers say demand is increasing for flexible living spaces, giving rise once again to "bonus" or "multipurpose" rooms. These rooms offer extra square footage for owners to use any way they wish to create a space that fits their lifestyle. Baby boomers, for example, are showing interest in bonus rooms that could potentially serve as part of a first-floor master bedroom or suite.

Out of the 20 top-selling floor plans on, 13 include bonus rooms, according to the site. However, only 14 percent of all plans the site offers contain such rooms.

Bonus rooms are usually located off the entry hallway near the main living space and a bathroom – a location that makes it easy to transform the space into an extra bedroom, if needed. Bonus rooms also may be located above the garage. Homeowners can use these extra spaces for anything from an in-law suite to a home theater.

Some designers say real estate professionals shouldn't label bonus rooms with a specific purpose when showing a home to their clients. If they allow buyers to imagine a use for the space on their own, it could make the listing more appealing to them.

"When you name it 'dining room,' they will always see it as a dining room; they will never get it out of their mind," says Mark Mathis, co-owner of Hattiesburg, Miss.-based design firm House Plan Gallery. "We have found that labeling this type of area as 'flex space' on our floor plans best allows home buyers to decide how a particular space can be used to fit their specific family's needs."

Source: "Forward-Looking Homeowners Want Rooms That Do Double Duty," The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 28, 2017) [Log-in required.]

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