Lifestyle and Living
Jan 2023 | By Jo-Ann Capelaci
With the increasing price of housing, and more of us working from home at least part of the time, it has encouraged designers, architects, furniture manufacturers and homeowners to look for ways to create multi-purpose spaces. Multi-tasking has now become an important consideration in design. Are you looking to create additional room in your existing space? Or perhaps you are downsizing and looking for ways to create more versatile use of space in a new home. Let’s look at some of the ways we can do so.
Look for Nooks, Alcoves and Unused Corners
Often, there are unused spaces that can be captured to use for an office area, or homework station. If that space has a window, it will be a bonus. Adequate light in corners provides task function and visual interest. Keeping small spaces neat is important.
If you have a two-level home, an often-forgotten area is under stairs. This area can be used effectively for a desk, reading nook or a place to have an informal meal. One useful piece for these areas is a drop leaf table that can open-up quickly and easily to work or dine.
Adding a built-in desk to an unused alcove is a perfect way to increase your footprint. Pretty it up by adding artwork and lighting.
Use Partitions and Shelving
If you have one large space, it may be helpful to use zones in a large room. Some ways to create zones are with area rugs, lighting, and partitions.
Is a spot for your laundry appliances causing you grief? With the emergence of good-looking appliances, hiding them in a dedicated room may not be necessary. You may be able to use a partition to segment a laundry area, partially hidden and still looking attractive.
Or there may be a bathroom or mud room where you can add some shelving to and embrace that the machine and the room’s multi-uses are part of the décor.
Furniture, partitions and shelving can be used to help divide areas and increase storage or general usability of an area.
Remember to Use Vertical Space
Another way to help increase the ability of multi-purpose spaces is to utilize vertical spaces. Think about your unused wall space. If you need a work area, consider adding a desk and shelving to a wall. TVs and furniture pieces use up less space when mounted to a wall. Any bedroom may be used for sleeping, working, and relaxing.
Using vertical areas in children’s rooms can be particularly effective. A bunk bed may allow for sleeping, storage, display, a place to hang out, and a children’s play area. There is so much unused room on walls, especially rooms with high ceilings.
Using vertical space and a nook area will really increase your available space. Add a mirror to your desk area and you have an alternate spot for grooming. You may want to add a feature wall to accent the area.
Hide Appliances or Make Appliances Part of the Design
Evolving in kitchen design is hidden appliances. If you can hide your appliances and add more hidden storage your kitchen can be incorporated into your open space because your cabinets will look more like furniture pieces.
Or think of ways to incorporate your appliances so they are part of the design. Adding a dining table to an island makes for functional design, looking good and allowing for a dining table using less square footage.
Use Outdoor Areas If Possible
Your outdoor space can be utilized by enclosing it. Sunrooms and outdoor sheds can add usable space for all or part of the year, depending on where you live and how they are built.
Use Furniture in Unexpected Ways
Think of ways to use your existing furniture in unexpected ways. Can you use night tables or under a bed for added storage? A console may work as a breakfast bar, for example, creating an eating area in a small space.
Or a dresser may do double duty as a media center and dresser, all in one. The space pictured below may be a guest room or a living space. The sofa could pull out for sleeping. The chair can provide a reading and relaxing corner. The dresser looks good and provides storage. And a TV for entertainment.
Many are using their dining room to double as a home office. The dining table can be used as a desk, conference table and for dining. A storage piece can be used to store office materials and then to serve from when dining. A feature piece of art provides a great backdrop for online meetings. Having adequate storage is key to make this transition work well and look great!
Maybe you have a large bedroom, and you can locate your bed off the wall. Can you hide a workspace behind the headboard? This effective use of space is both beautiful and multi-faceted. A bookcase at the end of a bed acts as a bench, storage and display.
Creating multi-purpose areas in your home can open the door to fabulous design ideas, increasing your home’s footprint and providing visual interest. Some questions to ask are yourself are; what functions do you need to perform and who will use the space? Be mindful to have clean, uncluttered spaces when adding multi-purpose areas.
Jo-Ann Capelaci is president and principal interior designer of Colours & Concepts Inc. The award-winning company specializes in model homes and colour and upgrade selections for builders. They have been helping new home buyers choose finishes for their homes for over 25 years. Jo-Ann is dedicated to helping new home buyers create a model home feeling in their new home. Look for future articles on other topics to assist in decorating and designing your new home.