It seems no matter where we live — whether in a single-family suburban home or a one-bedroom urban apartment — we all invariably need more space. Luckily, you don’t have to up-size to get the added utility you need; with smart space-planning and a little creativity you can pack a ton of function into the tiniest of spaces.
Creating a multi-purpose room may feel like a daunting task at first, but chances are you’re probably already using one! Whether your dining room also acts as your home office or your guest room doubles as your weight room, most of us already try to squeeze as much function as we can out of our existing spaces. The trouble comes when our homes lack organization and thoughtful design; without the right storage tools and design strategies, we quickly find ourselves feeling trapped in a chaotic, cluttered mess.
Here are our top tips for creating and maintaining an organized, functional multi-use room:
It may seem obvious, but the very first rule of multi-functional design is to utilize multi-functional furnishings: pieces that fold away neatly to free up floor space when they’re not in use, or double-duty pieces that transform into something else entirely.
You probably don’t use that desk sitting in your guest room when the in-laws are over for an extended stay; so why should your workstation take up so much valuable space when it’s only put to use a fraction of the time? Instead of using a traditional freestanding desk, why not go with a fold-away desk that disappears into your wall — or better yet, a wall bed with an integrated desk. When the guests are gone, simply close up the bed to reveal your desk, and — viola! — your home office has appeared in its place.
In fact, multi-functional wall beds come in every variety imaginable. Plain wall beds completely disappear into your wall, multiplying the size of any given space; wall beds with integrated sofas and sectionals, meanwhile, allow your living room or den to double as a guest room; and wall beds with integrated desks or dining tables provide needed table surfaces where they couldn’t otherwise fit. Because wall beds are specifically designed to create a multiplicity of use in any space they also feature a ton of built-in storage options.
There is an incredible amount of space hiding in your home, no matter how tiny it may be — you just need to know where to look for it! Corners, for instance, are often-overlooked and under-utilized storage spots. The addition of a simple L-shaped corner desk or corner shelving unit can instantly multiply a room’s storage space, freeing up your floors and closets for other functional uses.
Corner desks are especially great pieces for dual-purpose home offices, as they keep all of your work items at arm’s length without taking up the real estate that a traditional desk would. Their distinctive L-shape also creates a sense of separation or delineation from the rest of the room so you will still feel as though you have a designated work space even if you are working out of a multi-purpose space, like a guest room or living room.
Ask any small-space designer, and they will tell you: vertical expansion is key to organizing any multi-functional room. Walls are extremely valuable real estate in your home, not merely places to hang pictures. Use your walls for practical purposes — hang a bicycle, hang your folding chairs, even hang a fold-down table or desk. The less floor space these items occupy, the more square-footage you have available for other purposes, whether that’s entertaining guests, exercising, or working from home. If you’re stretched for wall space, look to the backs of your doors as an alternative.
Multi-functional rooms need to store a whole lot more than your average, single-purpose space. Keep clutter at bay with creative storage options. Resource offers storage solutions to suit nearly any space need — everything from walk-in closets to shallow cabinets, shelving systems and wall hooks. You can easily pair a full-height shelving or cabinetry system with a space-saving wall bed to create the appearance of a seamless, wall-to-wall built-in.
If you’re not ready to install new cabinets or closets, there are plenty of low-tech storage options, too. Is your floor an obstacle course of children’s toys? How about tossing those toys into open wire bins hung up on the bedroom walls? This is a great way to teach young kids how to tidy up after themselves, and it doesn’t eat up valuable under-bed storage or closet space. You can even hang up colorful tote bags on the back of your children’s bedroom doors for quickly stashing toys after they’re done playing.
Whatever storage options you choose, the key takeaway here is that everything in your multi-functional home needs its own designated storage spot. When every item has its home, it’s much easier to keep your space clean and find what you need in a pinch.