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How to Turn a Spare Room Into a Multifunctional Space


If you've been dreaming of a little reading nook, craft room, or office, but your home only has so much space to spare, you’re not alone. 


Whether you have a spare bedroom, or a few unused areas scattered here and there, it's surprisingly easy to transform them into beautiful, multifunctional spaces that will support your hobbies, work, or even wellness routine. All it takes is a little creativity, a few strategic purchases, and some elbow grease to get started.

In This Article:
  1. Why Multifunctional Spaces Are a Design Trend
  2. Where to Find Space in Your Home
  3. Planning Your Space: What to Do With an Extra Room
  4. Creating Your Multipurpose Room: 6 Spare Bedroom Ideas

1. Why Multifunctional Spaces Are a Design Trend

In a world where space is increasingly at a premium, and our homes are more than just a place to store our stuff, multifunctional spaces allow you to make the most of every square foot of your home. 

With some clever design choices, you can turn a single room in your home into a living space that serves many different purposes. Why is this important — and why now? Francesca, a designer with UK-based Danetti Designs, calls it a COVID-induced trend. People confined to their homes because of the pandemic needed their homes to be more — a bedroom had to double as a home office or study room, for example, or they needed a space dedicated to working out or doing yoga. They learned to incorporate flexibility into their design choices, and found that outfitting a space to serve more than one purpose made their homes more enjoyable and useful.

2. Where to Find Space in Your Home

Once you've fallen in love with the idea of a multifunctional space, the next step is figuring out how to carve out the room for one. Take stock of your home to figure out where you have unused space that could be put to better use. 

  • Reclaim your garage and turn it into the ultimate multi-use space for your family.
  • Transform your basement into the game room of your dreams.
  • Turn your living room into a bedroom for additional space for out-of-town guests.
  • Clear out your storage room and remodel it to suit your needs.
  • Use the spare bedroom abandoned when your child heads off to college.

3. Planning Your Space: What to Do With an Extra Room

You've got a room. Now what? Lay the groundwork by planning for your needs. 

What kind of dedicated space do you wish you had in your home? Do you need office space where you can work undisturbed? Do you dream of a room where you don't have to pack up your sewing machine so you can serve dinner on the dining room table? Has your exercise equipment taken over your living room? Are you looking for space to set up your studio equipment for podcasting or content creation? Do you want a dedicated space for your yoga practice where you won't be distracted by the activities of daily living?

These questions can help you get started and create a true multifunctional space that suits your lifestyle.

1. Assess Your Space

The final shape of your new room will depend on your raw materials — the size and shape of the space you have to work with. If you have design challenges, like an awkward shape, a small room, or very little wall space, get creative in meeting them. 

  • Outfit an unused closet with a desk and shelving to turn it into an office or homework space.
  • Curtain off a bump-out, add a bench and lighting, and create a reading nook.
  • Choose foldaway workout equipment to make the most of limited floor space.

2. Declutter and Clean

Whether you're looking for yoga room ideas, spare bedroom ideas, or trying to figure out what to do with an extra room, it all starts with a cleanout. Empty rooms — and garages, and basements, and storage sheds — invite clutter. 

When cleaning, sort through things you don't need (which you can donate), things you don't need right now (which you can store), and things that you can use in your new space or another space in your home. 

Tip: Consider renting a storage unit for items you want to keep, but don't need in your home every day. SmartStop offers no-contract storage units in all sizes, making it easy to store everything from off-season clothing to the heirloom dining room set you don't have room for right now.

4. Creating Your Multipurpose Room: 6 Spare Bedroom Ideas

Multifunctional spaces that work rely on a few key elements to add functionality and create zones for different uses. 

By creating zones, where furnishings, color, and other elements all reinforce a specific purpose, you can break up a large room, or effectively create the illusion of more space in a smaller room. Chosen and deployed wisely, they'll help you avoid rooms that look disjointed and jarring.

1. Multipurpose Furniture

Furniture that serves more than one purpose not only saves space, but the right pieces can help create a cohesive, harmonious aesthetic. Some of the most popular types of multipurpose furniture are those that provide hidden storage space, reducing clutter and adding functionality to your rooms. Some furniture to consider includes:

  • Day beds that can also serve as sofas during the day.
  • Storage ottomans provide hidden storage and extra seating.
  • Coffee tables with built-in storage help reduce clutter.
  • Tower lamps with incorporated shelving can provide task lighting and display space.
  • Kitchen islands can incorporate storage, food prep areas, and dining space.

2. Convertible Furniture

Furniture that folds away or converts into something else can effectively double your available space. These tend to be higher-ticket items, but their transformational potential makes them a worthwhile investment.

  • Murphy beds fold up into the wall when not in use. Some of the most clever Murphy bed designs fold up to reveal a drop-down desk or table space.
  • Crafting cabinets, such as those designed by Create Room, hide an entire crafting room, with tons of organizational elements, inside a stylish cabinet.
  • Adjustable tables that are designed to store seating make it easy to add a quick dining area to any room.

3. Dividers

Shelves, curtains, screens, and other dividers let you break up bigger spaces into areas dedicated to specific tasks and uses. These can be especially useful to define areas in contemporary open-plan designs and help control the flow of traffic through a room. Some room dividers to consider include:

  • Partition walls
  • Screens
  • A curtain hung between two spaces
  • Bookshelves
  • An entertainment center
  • A table or credenza

4. Floor Treatments

Rugs, tile, wood, and even paint can help break up and anchor sections of your room. Once you figure out where to place your furnishings, use the floor to help define different use zones.

  • Outline a corner of your living room as a play area with a kid-focused play carpet. Add some storage cubbies on the wall and a child-size table set, and voila! Instant playroom.
  • Use an 8’ x 10’ carpet to anchor your sofa and seating to create a conversational nook.
  • Create a yoga space in the corner of your bedroom with interlocking foam floor tiles, or use them to create a base for your workout equipment.

5. Color

Paint, wallpaper, and other wall treatments are other ways to visually separate space in a room. You can use different colors on different walls, add wall decals to plain paint, or use wallpaper to add color and interest while creating a specific mood in an area of the room.

6. Finishing Touches

Finally, add in finishing touches to create the ambiance you want. Play with natural lighting and a mix of light fixtures, such a wall sconces, overhead pendants, or task lamps, depending on your needs. Use wall shelves to add extra storage and design interest. Make use of baskets and storage hacks to free up space and organize your belongings. 

No matter what your needs are, there's unused room in your home that can be transformed into a multifunctional space. With a little planning and some creative spark, you can turn an empty room into a vibrant, useful space that will add value to your home — and enjoyment to your life.

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