Making Multi-Purpose Rooms Work for You

By Ellen Gefen

Gone are the days when a room served a sole purpose. Think about it: a bedroom might be meant for sleeping, but many people work from that space, too. A work-from-home mom might find it’s easier to work from her living room, where she can keep an eye on her young child. Or an attic might serve as a storage center and also function as a makeshift bedroom as well. That’s when you have to decide how to make a multi-purpose room work for you and your family’s needs.

Case in point: kitchens aren’t just about cooking these days. In fact, they’re typically the largest and most multi-functional rooms in our homes. However, even in the largest homes, kitchens aren’t the only multipurpose rooms. When you have a room with multiple identities, it’s easy for chaos and clutter to creep into that space. So whether you’re tight on space or simply need a room to function in various ways, these ideas can help your multi-room retain its original function as well as others–and be stylish, too.

Know The Need

Some rooms can quickly become catch-alls if you don’t watch it. So pay close attention to how your rooms are used and how your family interacts in them. If your kids constantly complain when you use your treadmill while they’re trying to watch TV, either the TV or the treadmill is in the wrong location. If your den is a common family spot, spend a little extra time and effort getting everyone’s buy-in before you make any changes. Figure out what the space needs to accomplish and then outfit it with the furniture and design to make it flow better.

Lose The Labels

Sure, there are rooms in your home that are intended for a specific purpose. But don’t get stuck believing that “Bedroom #3” has to be a bedroom. In fact, it can become a sitting room, or a closet, or even a home gym. Your dining room can become a home office if you never use it as a dining room. My sister-in-law actually transformed a bedroom into a large closet and laundry room – and she loves it! Forget about what the intended idea for the room was and repurpose it for the needs of your family.

Figure Out Your Furniture

Remember that multipurpose rooms aren’t just about furniture, but about ease of use and mobility. If your home office is in the guest bedroom, what do you do when your mother-in-law is visiting? I’ve seen a great storage piece that looks like an ottoman when it’s closed but transforms into a desk when open. It has wheels so it can easily be moved out of the guest room when visitors arrive. So look for pieces that are as diverse as the room so that it can become whatever you need it to be

Give yourself permission to think outside of the real estate listing box. Rooms are just boxes of space – be creative about making them work for you.

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