The Rising Popularity of Flex Rooms

Media room. Study. Office. Flex room. Regardless of the label architectural renderings assign to these “TBD” spaces, homebuyers are welcoming the opportunity to transform available square footage on their home’s main level into something that fits their precise needs.

“Flex rooms offer options and flexibility, and that’s something buyers crave in their homes today, as it allows them to craft spaces that work for them now and down the line,” says John Gallagher of award-winning Chicago area homebuilder Gallagher and Henry.

A kitchen, after all, is a kitchen. A flex space, however, can be, well, just about anything.

Among the six homes in Gallagher and Henry’s Lifestyle Series, five plans feature dedicated “flex spaces” that homebuyers have used to accommodate children, adults, and guests alike.

Sandie Kanakes, sales manager at Gallagher and Henry’s Farmingdale Village community in Woodridge, has watched buyers turn their flex rooms over to children. For households with younger children, the flex spaces have become play areas consumed by Legos, dolls, and other little-kid favorites. Unlike a finished basement playroom, the flex room play space puts children close to adults in the kitchen, family room, or another main-level living space. Others have turned the flex room into a comfortable study for school-aged children, spots where tweens and teens can tackle schoolwork and parents can more easily supervise computer usage.

Kanakes had one young couple transform their flex room into a wine bar area adorned with plush seating and a pub-style table and chairs. A few buyers, meanwhile, have added extra windows and transitioned the flex space into a sunroom, creating a peaceful in-home spot for cozying up to a book or enjoying a morning coffee.

In Homer Glen, Kingston Hills sales manager Alice Burgston recalls helping one buyer add additional windows to the flex room to create a vibrant art studio.

Other Gallagher and Henry buyers have turned their flex rooms into game rooms, home offices, and craft or hobby rooms. Still others have utilized the square footage as a breakfast area or second dinette, a move that, in many plans, enlarges the home’s family room. There’s even those who have converted the flex room on two-story plans such as the Briarcliffe and Calysta into a related living bedroom to accommodate long-term guests as well as those with mobility issues.

“Homebuyers are getting creative and using these spaces to drill down on their precise needs,” says Laura Ritchie, sales manager at Gallagher and Henry’s Covington Knolls community in Lemont. “They’re taking the flexibility these spaces offer and running with it.”