Over the last several years, homeowners and renters have increasingly reimagined their underused spaces, creating multipurpose rooms to meet the influx of new activities and work-from-home challenges. While this initial shift was born out of necessity, the idea of creating multifunctional flex spaces has only grown in popularity as people seek homes that more effectively suit their daily lives. If you want to better utilize your home, read on for our tips for creating the ideal multipurpose room.
Transform an Underused Closet
Depending on its size, an underused closet is brimming with possibilities as a part of a new multipurpose room. For example, a spacious closet in your bedroom or guest room could easily be transformed into a work-from-home office and an extra storage area for supplies. If the closet is shallow but long, consider dividing the space with a closed system for storage on one side and your workspace on the other. For this type of workspace, Melissa Warner Rothblum of Massucco Warner suggests to Martha Stewart Living that people add a small desk, a comfortable work chair, and additional lighting (if necessary). Rothblum also recommends integrating “’a few wall-mounted shelves for extra storage, or hang artwork to personalize the space.’”
Is there an extra closet near your entertaining space? Consider removing the doors so that it is open to your room and create a customized bar. Marcus Mohon tells Martha Stewart Living that this can be done simply by “removing the shelves and adding a chest, cabinet, or bar cart to store your bottles and barware.” Bring in some mood lighting in the form of a pendant light, and you are ready to host your next dinner party or cocktail soiree.
If you want your bedroom to remain an oasis but need a quiet meditation space that helps you focus, look to that empty closet (or side of the closet). “As long as your closet has a door and provides enough room to sit, Lauren Wills of Wills Design Associates says it can be converted into a mini meditation room,” in an interview with Martha Stewart Living. Redesigning the closet (or dividing a larger one) is easier than you might imagine. Wills explains the details of an ongoing project: “‘We’re removing the lower shelves and the hanging bars to make room for a small lounge chair and having a mural painted on the wall to liven things up.’” Before you know it, your bedroom will be a multipurpose retreat.
Carve Out Multifunctional Kitchen Stations
Has your kitchen become the center of activity in your home? With some quick rearranging and the right piece of multifunctional furniture, you can create a station in the corner of your kitchen that can easily change as your needs do. My Domaine adores the idea of adding a mini desk/kitchen counter, like one from Arbor & Co., to make a corner of a home’s kitchen or dining area into the perfect multipurpose station. Position the mini desk/counter in the corner, preferably under a window, and add a stool that can be hidden away when not used. With this simple addition, the Magazine raves, “the desk where you take Zoom calls in the morning can evolve into the countertop where you roll out the dough in the afternoon into the table where you work on a jigsaw puzzle in the evenings.”
Design a Multipurpose Guest Room and Workout Area
Do you have a sleeping loft or guest bedroom that rarely hosts visitors? It may be time to invest in a Murphy bed. Long the darling of small apartments, Murphy beds are making a comeback as people are converting underused sleeping spaces into much-loved multipurpose rooms. One of My Domaine’s favorite redesigns comes from Marie Flanigan Interiors who explained to the Magazine that they installed a Murphy bed into an upstairs sleeping loft “so the bed can be tucked away, opening up floor space for a workout area.”
It’s also a terrific idea for studios where you need to create a living, dining, and sleeping space in minimal square footage. Simply put up the bed during the day and wheel over storage footstools and a fold-down table when it is time to entertain.
Make Your Dining Room Do Double Duty
Formal dining rooms took on new life during the pandemic, and they will likely stay the spot of more than just family dinners. While they worked well initially, you may be tired of moving paperwork and computers whenever you want to use the space for dining. If you can spend the time and money, wall-to-wall cabinetry might be the answer. Custom cabinets can house a hidden workspace with a fold-down desk or a crafts studio with a retractable worktable and plenty of shelves for supply bins. Games and puzzles also can be stored here. And if dinner parties are in your future, save one of the cabinets for specialty serving platters, dinnerware, and table linens you don’t use daily.
If you don’t have the time or space to install wall-to-wall cabinets, consider bringing in a convertible armoire that opens to reveal a workspace with charging stations, lighting, and storage for your essential files. When the day is over, close the doors and move your chair out of the way, and the dining room can be restored for a relaxing family dinner with minimal hassle.
Create a Hidden Laundry Room
Are you hoping to invest in a new laundry set up in your home? If your bathroom has a spacious closet or an underused vanity area, it might be time to convert it into a multipurpose bathroom/laundry room. As you already have water running into the bathroom, this room and the kitchen are often the most accessible places to add stackable (or even side-by-side) washers and dryers. If your bathroom is large enough to accommodate the units, designers at Southern Living love the idea of installing double-louvered doors to effectively create a separate room for the appliances when they are not in use. They also advise that “keeping the bathroom and laundry spaces the same color creates cohesiveness and allows them to function as one room.”
Transform a Large Laundry Area
If your home is blessed with a larger laundry area than you need, this may become the perfect multipurpose room. Southern Living recommends assessing the site to determine if shelving, cabinetry, or an island or table can be added to the laundry room. One of their favorite laundry redesigns created a “well-organized multipurpose laundry room [that] designates separate areas for gift wrapping, odds and ends storage, and laundry.” Once the cubby storage was put in place, the homeowners chose “canvas cubes all in the same shade of blue [to] keep the room looking spick-and-span.” And if you do ensconce a table or island in your new laundry room, you’ll quickly find that it’s ideal not just for gift wrapping but for family craft projects, studying or working-from-home, and as a home improvement task station, when not in use for folding laundry.
Invest in Multifunctional or Convertible Furniture
In addition to Murphy beds, a range of furniture can make any multipurpose room more functional. Folding tables, like the Driness Drop Leaf Console to Dining Table, act beautifully as slim console tables for daily use. Plus, they can be opened and expanded to transition your living room into a dining room that seats six comfortably in seconds.
Sleeper sofas are a quick way to transform a living room or family room into a guest bedroom. But have you seen sleeper ottomans? These wonders are ottomans with storage by day and, after a simple pull, convert to single beds by night. They are a dream invention for studios or small apartments that thrive on the creation of efficient multipurpose rooms.
Do you love the idea of the cabinet or closet workspace but don’t have the square footage for a full-scale conversion? My Domaine is a fan of turning a part of a space into a multipurpose work/live room by opting “for a convertible piece of furniture like the Fold Down Desk sold in Staples stores.” When you can’t commit a space to a desk and cabinet system, this convertible option works wonders. The Magazine raves: “With storage space for notebooks, pens, and desk accessories, you don’t have to rummage for your supplies at 9 am to then have to break it all down and store it at 5 pm. The front is an erasable white board so you can brainstorm Monday-Friday and then update it to match your décor for when you need that space for entertaining or living your life!”