This can be a surprisingly nuanced decision, as it may have both practical and emotional layers. There is no universal “right answer”—the answer is as individual as each Silvernester.

To arrive at your own right answer, figure out your priorities.

Step 1

Start by thinking about every bedroom/bathroom in your home from a neutral point of view.

  • Primary bedroom suite

  • Second bedroom

  • Third bedroom (etc.)

  • Second full bathroom (etc.)

Step 2

Go back to the list and, next to each room, write how it’s currently being used (or not used).

Step 3

Take the list of “current uses” and rewrite them as a list of wants and needs that require some amount of space in your home.

  • For example, if you’re using a second bedroom as a craft room, write down “dedicated craft space.”

  • Add “income from rent” at the bottom.

Step 4

Now, rewrite this list in order of your priorities—from most important to less important.

Use your unique priorities and a little creative thinking to guide your decision-making.

For example, if maximizing income is a top priority, would you be comfortable renting out the primary bedroom suite? You might be just as happy using two smaller bedrooms for your personal space, with one for sleeping and the other as a private sitting room. (You might even end up with MORE space this way!)

If you’re not comfortable renting out the primary suite, there are still plenty of other ways to help maximize rental income.

Priorities that are lower on your list don’t have to be thrown out. But because they’re less important than others, you might be just as happy finding another solution for that activity. Instead of an entire room for guests (who may only visit a few nights of the year), maybe you get a very nice sleeper sofa for your home office or formal living room. Or you decide to dedicate some of your homesharing income to offset the cost of a nearby vacation rental for occasional guests. (Some Silvernesters just specify in their listing that the roommate’s space must be vacant and available to family during the holidays.)

Having a hard time with the idea of changing your kids’ old room? Learn more about managing emotions around change here.

Privacy pro tip: No shared walls. No long bathroom rambles.

If you plan to rent a secondary bedroom and have more than one to choose from, it’s usually best to rent out the one that does not share any walls with your bedroom. If you don’t have a shared wall, your roommate’s alarm clock and late-night TV watching will be far less likely to bug you (and vice-versa). It’s also a good idea to choose the bedroom closest to a full bathroom. The less your roommate has to walk around with a towel on, the better for both of you.

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