When you think about the ideal home, the house you’d love to live in if you could, what do you see? We’re guessing you imagine a separate room for each major function.
Perhaps you’d have a bedroom for each family member; a large, well-stocked kitchen; a family dining room; a living room and a family room; a home theater room; an office; a craft room; a library stocked with your favorite books and more; and a workout room.
Alas, few people can afford to live that way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have places to cook and eat in comfort, to watch movies, to work, to exercise, and so on.
Instead of thinking in terms of rooms, we need to think in terms of functions. Then, we can make a few rooms in our homes multifunctional.
What Sort of Spaces Do You Need?
On top of the usual functions or the rooms in your home, what do you need? For example, the bedroom is for sleeping, the kitchen is for cooking, and the living room is for watching television and spending time with family.
These days, most of us need office space, meaning a desk for a computer. You probably have a hobby or two, so you may need room to practice an instrument, to draw or paint, or to sew.
You may like a special spot to sit and read, with sufficient space to exercise, or a safe place for your young child to play with toys. When you know what sort of spaces you need for your lifestyle, it will make planning them easier.
Next, think about what rooms are compatible with these functions. Let’s explore this.
For your office, you’ll need room for a desk that accommodates your computer plus some space to write notes longhand.
You may want a separate stand, table, or short bookcase for your printer. Of course, you can also put books you reference for work on the shelves.
Room for stacking trays on your desk is a good idea, too, and you can use these as your inbox and outbox, a place to put your bills, contracts, and so on.
Your office area can be against a wall or in a corner of the living room, a bedroom, or even the dining room.
This is an area where your young children can play safely with you in the room. There should be a soft carpet and age-appropriate toys.
A great place for this is wherever you have set up your office space.
You’ll just want to make sure that if you have anything unsafe, that you keep it in a child-proof cabinet. You may also have the play area near your reading nook, which will allow you to relax and read while your child plays.
You’ll be able to spend some time playing with your child, too, and you’ll have a nice spot where you can also read to them.
Combine these areas in your living room or bedroom.
While it would be amazing to have a separate room with a few gym machines and some free weights, most of us are more likely to actually use them if they’re somewhere we’ll see them every day.
Set up a stationary bike or treadmill and some weights in your living room. Face the machine toward the television so you can exercise while you watch your weekly shows and you’ll hardly realize you’re exercising at all, while still getting in great shape.
There are so many craft hobbies and anyone who practices one can tell you how enjoyable and meditative they are. I print and paint miniatures and play guitar when I’m not writing.
You may sew and need a separate desk with a sewing machine. Perhaps you draw or paint pictures and need a slanted table or easel. Maybe you sew or crochet and need room for your supplies like yarn, and a comfortable chair to sit in.
For these and other hobbies, a corner of your room, living room, or dining room can be perfect.
Using the Dining Room
If you don’t need a separate full room to eat in, your dining room can become an all-purpose space.
These days, many kitchens have either an island in the middle of a counter in-between it and the living room or dining room area, like a bar. If you live alone or with just one or two other people, you can eat at that island or bar.
That frees up the dining room which will be sufficient at least for office space, and possibly for a play area, a reading corner, and a space to exercise or do some crafting.
You can also set up your exercise equipment in a section. We do suggest you keep the workout area away from your child’s play area for their safety.
Use Multifunctional Furniture
Save space by using furniture that serves several purposes. You can sit in a comfortable office chair at your desk and while you sew or paint.
If you want to make extra space in your bedroom, you can get a comfortable sofa bed or futon, creating space for your child’s play area. Plus, the sofa or futon, folded into a seat, can be a perfect place to read.
Use Your Vertical Space
When you think about really using your space, think beyond what you can set on the floor. You also have the space on your walls available.
This is vertical space, and it can give you a surprising amount of room. For example, you can wall-mount your work inbox and outbox just above or beside your desk.
Bookcases also count as wall space, and you can use them for more than just books. They’re also good for various craft supplies, like paper, yarn, and paint.
In a closet, hanging shoe-organizers are great for storing more than footwear. You can also use them for pens, jewelry supplies, paint, and a lot more.
We hope this gives you some great ideas for how to make rooms in your home more multifunctional so you can enjoy life, work, and hobbies without feeling like you need more space.
If you still need more room, consider renting a self storage unit as a place where you can keep your off-season wardrobe, sports equipment, sales inventory, and more.