With today’s busy schedules, families need their homes to work harder for them. That means some rooms may need to do double duty — and sometimes even triple duty. Here’s a five-step guide to make sure the rooms in your house mirror your multitasking life.
Step 1: Decide function and location. Going through your house room by room, decide what activities will occur in each. What items are needed in each space to accomplish those activities? What times of day will the rooms be used? Experts suggest thinking of each space as a zone because spaces and activities will likely overlap.
Step 2: Use color to define spaces. Color is one of the most powerful design tools. It can unify a space or define separate spaces. If you have a large great room, a coordinated color palette can harmonize and pull things together. But if you need to create distinct zones for various functions, you can distinguish them with color. For example, if you have a home office area set up on one side of a large living area, choose an accent color to define that space. Or, use color variations in your flooring to define different zones. Area rugs work well for this purpose. If you prefer to keep your colors consistent, try changing textures instead.
Step 3: Make your lighting work. Lots of light can make a space feel airy and large. If you’ve got a lot going on in a room, this is important. You want the entire room to be lit in layers. But light can do more than that. It can help distinguish specific spaces. Use different kinds of lighting, including multiple types of ambient light (overhead, sconces, recessed), as well as task lighting that supports your functions. A great table lamp can serve as accent lighting as well as a task light for a desk.
Step 4: Choose great furniture. This may be the most important step because the right furniture piece will allow a room to change from one function to another with ease and save space at the same time. The perfect ottoman can function as a coffee table, footrest, or even additional seating for guests. A sofa in a study or playroom can fold out to accommodate overnight guests. You can hide a home office or an entertainment center in an armoire. A murphy bed can fold away completely leaving floor space open for other furniture or play. Also, furniture with casters allows you to rearrange as needed for your different activities.
Step 5: Maximize storage. The more activities you do in a space, the more stuff you’re likely to have in the same area. The last thing you want is chaos. The easiest way to keep things neat is to make the most of storage systems. One way to do this without losing square footage is to leverage a room’s height. Take shelving all the way to the ceiling. Not only will you gain storage, you’ll make the room look bigger. When you purchase a piece of furniture, look for styles that include drawers or other space-saving features. When purchasing an ottoman, for instance, select one with a removable top for storage or consider repurposing a low trunk as an ottoman.