Let’s face it, since COVID a lot of us have spent WAY more time at home than any time in the recent past. Our homes have become our offices and our classrooms. In many cases our homes are just not set up to work in this way. And we are improvising our way through it. No wonder GoodHousekeeping.com sees creating the dual purpose room as a hot trend for 2023.
Creating the dual purpose room could mean that your guest room also serves as your office. Or your open plan kitchen/family room also must be your zoom space. However, creating these dual-purpose rooms does not have to give you fits. There are a few design tricks that can get your rooms working harder and smarter.
“Rooms will be designed for double duty; i.e. dining rooms walls lined with wine storage or books, guest rooms fitted with desks, bedrooms equipped with exercise equipment. As people spend more time in their homes, they expect the spaces to work harder for them.”Timothy Corrigan
The Artful Folding Screen
Dual-purposing can happen quickly and easily if you have the right tools. A folding screen, as an example, can add beauty and height to a room. Interior designers use them all the time for this purpose. The folding screen, when used to set up dual-purpose, can literally be used to “screen” one function from another. Set a screen up in one part of the room. It will hide the unsightly exercise equipment from the couch and chair in the den. Set it up in the guest room and it will separate your office (and your mess) from the guest bed and the relaxation of your company. Use it and fold it when not in use to muffle sounds and create a “Zoom Space” in your open floor plan.
The Joy of The “Secret” Bed
If your room needs to be both a hang-out space and a sleeping space, your best friends will be hidden beds. A trundle/day bed (that looks like a couch, but is actually a twin bed, with another underneath), the Murphy bed (that pulls out from what looks like a cupboard in the wall) or the pull-out couch are worth their weight in gold. All three of these options allow you to use the room most often as a hang out space (den, living room, rec room, family room). And then, voila! the room is a sleeping space. Look for memory foam mattresses and your guests will truly appreciate it. Don’t like your company all that much? Well, there’s always a futon. LOL
The Hard-Working Bookcase
Bookcases hold books and memorabilia. Shelves are a fantastic way to create a dual-purpose room. They can line the walls in an unexpected room, like a dining room, and make it a library AND an eating space. Bookcases with doors on the bottom can make a great craft or workspace in a library or living room. Bookcases that are deeper and more free-standing, like the cubby units from IKEA, can be used in much the same way as a screen. They divide one part of the room from another, one functionality from another.
Chalk Paint For Inspired Creativity
Home-schooling folks figured this one out a long time ago. They use chalk paint on one wall in their family or rec room and have an instantly-defined area for teaching. For use newbies, or folks not pre-disposed to teaching the young, chalk paint can create a distinct space-within-a-space for a crafting area in the kitchen where whimsical quotes or idea sketches can change on the daily or in a workout area in the guest room to provide for a space for a checklist for daily calisthenics. The paint helps to create a different feeling for the room’s other purpose.
The Desk As Console
Those of you who read me a lot know that I’m a big fan of the console table, be it used in the hall, behind the couch or in a dining space. Because of the versatility of this piece, it can also be used a desk in all three of those spaces and more. It can make the room secretly dual-purpose (or not-so-secretly, if you’re a little messier). For other great ideas about carving out a home office, see my previous blog re: Working From Home: How to Easily Carve Out a Work Space.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on creating the dual purpose room. For more information on 2023 interior design trends check out: Hot Trend for 2023: Sustainable Interior Design and 2023 Design Trend: Crafting Room.
And Now For A Little Music Before We Go…
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –Robert Frost
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”