Creating a multipurpose office isn’t simply about packing two separate rooms into one or splitting one room down the middle.
As you eke out a productive space to work from home – which so many of us are doing now – prioritize and allocate your space according to how you intend to use it.
For instance, if you only host overnight visitors occasionally, why dedicate an entire room and buy a large spare bed for guests if they’re rarely there? If your dining room only gets used on holidays and special occasions, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate the purpose of all that square footage for the rest of the year.
To best utilize your space as well as create an efficient, multipurpose office, select furnishings and accessories that not only support your professional demands but also make it easy to transform your office into a comfortable dining area or nook for guests.
Here are five helpful tips to guide your transition to a multi-use space that includes a home office designed for productivity and style:
1. Give style and personality to your home office
Even if you’re incorporating your new home office into another space, it should reflect your personality and style – a space where you’ll want to spend time!
Your office is, after all, your home-away-from-home; where you’ll spend the bulk of your day. Your multipurpose office should have a homey feel, no matter how many other ways you’re using the space. You don’t want your dining room to feel like an office cubicle, nor do you want your office to feel like a guest room.
Include things you love and accessories that reflect your interests — photography, artwork, other decor items – yet that remain suitable for the alternate use of the space (i.e., guest or dining room).
Don’t be afraid to play with color! Paint is an inexpensive way to complement your decor and add significant impact to your room and workspace. Mix ’n match vibrant shades with neutrals to design a space that serves all the purposes of your room. This will also create a space that can be enjoyed by anyone using it.
For cohesion, maintain consistency between your color palettes and your furniture style. Even if your choice of wall colors helps to delineate the space, be sure that your colors are complementary to avoid sensory overwhelm.
Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms are now a part of many a workday, so be sure to consider where you’ll conduct your videoconferences and decorate that corner or wall accordingly.
2. Minimize knick-knacks and extras
When you design a room or space that will be serving more than one purpose, it’s crucial to avoid overstuffing or cluttering it with extra furnishings, knick-knacks, and tchotchkes.
Keep in mind that you don’t need much more than the basics to achieve function and style, regardless of how you use the space.
Any guests you host probably won’t need an enormous dresser. You probably don’t need to display every award, memento, or piece of kids’ artwork you’ve received either. Keep it to the essentials – thoughtfully choose the items you’ll include in the room’s decor to avoid cluttering and overcrowding your multipurpose office.
3. Choose efficient, space-saving furniture
The primary tenet of multifunctional design is, ideally, to utilize multifunctional furniture. When you opt for foldaway or adaptable furnishings, you don’t have to choose between a guest, family, or dining room and your office. Select pieces designed specifically for multi-use rooms – modular furniture that can convert, move, or fold away easily. These double-duty furnishings can transform into other useful pieces or free up floor space when they’re not in use.
If your furniture performs more than one task (a wall bed that transforms into a desk or sofa, for instance), make sure your furnishings still match your decor and style, regardless of the configuration in use.
Don’t try to stuff a small room with a king-sized bed, a dresser, and a desk. Unless you host regularly, a day bed, a trundle bed, or a cabinet bed to accommodate your guests should suffice nicely. If you need a larger bed, consider a stylish and convenient Murphy bed, which is specifically designed to create multifunctionality in any space. They often include handy built-in storage options, too.
A home office that is properly functional and geared towards productivity will include a thoughtfully designed desk that is all at once stylish, efficient, and practical. There is no shortage of modular desks to choose from that offer multi-use functionality – leaves that fold or collapse, for example, that help minimize the size of the piece when you have visitors. If, however, the room that contains your office is often used for visitors, a small desk in a coordinated style as the other furnishings will allow the space to feel cohesive and comfortable.
4. Look up!
Don’t overlook the vertical potential of your room – ask any designer who specializes in small spaces!
The full height of your room offers terrific opportunities to expand the real estate of your space. Walls aren’t just for hanging photographs and art; they can be used for practical, space-saving purposes too.
Hang your bike, install a fold-down desk or table or a Murphy bed, fit floor to ceiling shelves. All of these wall options help to minimize the amount of floor space you use, offering square feet to dedicate to other things: exercise, hosting guests, or a proper home office desk and workspace. Don’t forget the back of your doors — every square inch counts and can be put to use.
5. Keep it clean and tidy
The only downside to a multifunction space is that additional clutter results from the various ways you use the room – it gets much more use than a single-use space.
Keep your multipurpose office clean, tidy, and organized with creative storage options: baskets, shelving systems, cabinets, wall hooks, and, of course, the closet. For instance, pair a space-saving Murphy bed with floor-to-ceiling shelves (which may be equipped with drawers, bins, and baskets) or cabinetry to create a seamless and stylish built-in.
Critical to the organization of your space: everything needs to have a place. Put things away directly after use and tidy up at the end of every workday.
As has been made so apparent during this pandemic, remember to regularly sanitize surfaces like your keyboard, mouse, and mobile phone.