When buying a house you’re often making a bet that you know where life will take you. You’re betting you can keep up with the mortgage, that the neighbourhood won’t change around you (or will change in desirable ways), and you’re betting that your family won’t grow larger than the home you have. Regardless of your plans and how well you stick to them, many people are in the position of having just one spare room in the whole house.
It’s easy to declare it the Guest Room and leave it at that – but that often means it sits unused for months at a time and only serves a purpose when people come to visit. Many people try to solve that dilemma by using the spare room in other ways – an office, a craft room, or even a storeroom – but this results in chaos when it’s needed as a spare bedroom, and turns it into a cluttered, disorganised mess. The answer is to be a bit more thoughtful about designing the room from the bottom up. Here are a few ways you can make that spare room more multipurpose.
Choosing the Bed
If the spare room has to be the guest bedroom, many people make the mistake of simply buying the largest bed that comfortably fits and making the room up as a bedroom. This means that trying to use the room in any other way is a difficult and unhappy challenge.
Instead, go with a couch that folds out to a double bed; or a futon. This reduces the floorspace the sleeping area takes up and frees up the room to be used in other ways during the majority of the year when no one’s sleeping in it – but allows it to be converted instantly into a bedroom when guests arrive.
Making Everything Serve Two Purposes
With just one extra room in the house you may need the space to play several roles at once. The best way to achieve this is to make sure every aspect of the room has a dual purpose.
For an office space or craft room, use a deep floating shelf instead of a desk. It’ll be shallower than a desk, and when someone needs the room to stay in it quickly becomes a place to put their bag or suitcase.
To use the room as extra storage space when it’s not being used as a guest room, use rolling clothing racks that can be moved out of the space quickly and easily when it’s in use. In fact, any extra furniture that isn’t part of the bedroom set could be on casters and rolled out when needed.
If you want the room to double as an entertainment room, mount the TV on the wall across from the bed and put all of the electronics in a floating cabinet beneath it, with all the wires hidden away.
The key is to keep the floor clear and everything mobile so the room can be easily transformed, allowing you to enjoy the space when guests aren’t. Done right, it’s like building an addition without the work (or money)!