Design Dilemma: Creating a Multipurpose Room

Whether you have a small room that needs to serve double duty or an oversized space that is a catchall for activities, creating a multipurpose room that effortlessly accommodates a variety of tasks can be challenging … but we think it’s a welcome challenge.


A spare bedroom can easily serve as a guest room/home office with a little planning. And a great room will quickly become a combination living/dining room if you know what furnishings to mix. Of course we can help; here are six quick tips for creating a fabulous multipurpose room in your home:


Room Plan


1. Measure first. The first step is to measure the dimensions of the space and create a room plan. For a room that is multipurpose, this is a vital step. Be sure to note where windows, doors, fireplaces and nooks exist so you can make the most of your design. Art Van Furniture offers a free online tool that will help you get a bird’s eye view of your space. Click here to get started.


multipurpose futonmultipurpose home office

2. Understand your scale. Now that you know the size of your room, you can make decisions about the scale of furnishings you will need. If you are designing a guest room/home office, forego the queen size bed and consider a daybed or futon that will double as seating. A sleeper sofa is another option. You’ll want to match the scale of your desk to the scale of the bed, so one doesn’t overpower the other. For example, if you choose a sleek futon, consider a writing desk in a similar size and style.


multipurpose palette dining  multipurpose living area

3. Choose your palette. When creating a multipurpose room, choose furnishings and accessories in a similar palette and finish. You want the room to look put together not “hodge podge.” Things don’t have to perfectly match, but the style of the room should have an overarching feel. For help, be sure to check out our blog posts on Pantone’s Home Design Color Collections. You’ll also want to avoid too many busy patterns; instead, choose patterns work well together, such as florals or geometrics and stripes. For smaller rooms, consider neutral colors on the wall, fabrics, drapes and upholstery that will give the room a more spacious feel.


multipurpose divider  multipurpose screen


4. Define areas. For large spaces that share tasks, create the feeling of two rooms by using furnishings that define areas. Bookshelf dividers can create two rooms from one. You can use the back of a sofa as a divider. Or simply use a rug to mark off areas. In a smaller room, create a similar feeling by using floor screens that give the feeling of a floating wall and hide private spaces.


multipurpose lamp multipurpose desk lamp


5. Think about the lighting. Multipurpose rooms need a mixture of lighting types to serve the different tasks that take place there. Use a combination of overhead, table, task and wall lighting in your room. Task lamps are great for reading and writing letters. Table lamps and wall sconces on dimmers can help with lighting during bed times.


multipurpose filemultipurpose desk close


6. Consider your storage needs. Finally, if you’re combining a guest bedroom with a home office, the room will have two different storage needs – a place for guests to put their belongings and a place for you to keep your supplies. If you have a large enough closet, you will be able to divide it into two useful areas. You might also want to consider a desk with a hutch that closes so you can keep paperwork tucked away when guests are in town. Or look for multipurpose pieces, such as a decorative file cabinet that can serve as a nightstand. Too much clutter will make your multipurpose room look busy, so be sure to plan for storage needs.

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