Out of necessity, people are looking for new ways to make better use of their available space — and because the bedroom goes unused for most of our waking hours, it’s the top candidate for a multi-functional makeover.
Last summer, we wrote about the trend among homeowners to turn their underutilized formal dining rooms into “flex” spaces: for example, a guest room that doubles as a home office or family/media room when it’s not being occupied by an overnight visitor. That post touched on some of the reasons why dining rooms have gone out of fashion and showcased a few examples of homeowners finding creative ways to repurpose these rarely used rooms.
This Spring, with so many people spending extended amounts of time at home, we’re receiving an increasing number of inquiries from clients interested in designing multi-purpose spaces — and this time, it’s not just to make better use of their seldom-used dining rooms. People stuck at home are starting to recognize that our bedrooms might be put to better use during the 16 hours each day we’re not sleeping in them.
Parents of school-age children recognized it almost immediately with the recent school closures and introduction of distance learning programs. For kids attending school remotely, a bedroom that includes a desk or dedicated workspace would be ideal. But when affordable space is at a premium, it is also a luxury for many. In these cases, the home’s shared living spaces become the classroom, the home office, the laundry-folding station, the kid’s play room, and virtually everything else — cluttered chaos and headaches ensue.
Families living in cities like New York, San Francisco, or Vancouver may have been ahead of the curve here. Long before the pandemic, Karen Salmansohn had already equipped her son’s bedroom with space-saving murphy beds, including one with a built-in, fold-down desk. When he’s not sleeping or studying, he enjoys the maximum amount of open area possible for active play.
At-home yoga studios and exercise rooms have been at the top of our clients’ wish lists lately. A longing to run, stretch, jump – just move – is being felt by everyone currently living under mandated stay-at-home orders. It’s widely understood that staying physically active contributes to our well-being, so making time and space for physical activity has become more of a priority than it has been in the past.
Karen’s inclination toward multi-purpose spaces wasn’t limited to her apartment’s single bedroom. Her murphy sofa bed allows the living room to double as her sleeping area – and when she’s not sleeping, she has enough room for her trampoline and yoga mat.
Karen Salmansohn shows off her Ito reclining sofa wall bed. Thanks to space-saving design, her 1-bedroom apartment has everything she needs to shelter-in-place, including a tiny home gym.
There’s also been a noticeable uptick in the number of Resource clients looking to design in-home studio spaces to indulge their artistic, musical, and intellectual pursuits. And it’s easy to understand why — the innate desire to learn, create, and discover has never been greater (as they say, boredom is the mother of invention).
Carving out a space in your home for your interests and passions is possible even in a small home, with the right design guidance. The key? “Solve for function first,” says designer Zoe Feldman. Rooms are for living in, after all, not for looking at — so your design decisions need to be able to support your lifestyle and goals.
Zoe walked us through one example: a project her firm undertook for an artist who was downsizing to a small apartment and needed to squeeze more functionality out of less space. Feldman integrated a multifunctional sofa wall bed to create a stylish, all-purpose space: home office, art studio, and guest room in one.
Zoe Feldman optimized her client’s 2-bedroom NYC apartment using the Nuovoliola sofa wall bed and the Genie height-adjusting table. The apartment’s second bedroom primarily functions as a home office/art studio, but can also function as a den or guest room when needed.
Like Feldmen, interior designer Clare Donohue of 121 Studio is no stranger to multifunctional design. We showcased her work turning a tiny maid’s room in an NYC apartment into a creative oasis for a budding teenage artist: using transforming furniture and a contemporary modular storage system, Donohu created a cozy, colorful bedroom with desk, ample space for drawing and painting, and extra storage to hold art supplies.
The Kali Board converts from a homework desk/art station into a twin-size bed. Because the desk always remains parallel to the floor, the client’s daughter can leave all of her art supplies in place even when it’s time for bed.
If you are fortunate enough to be unburdened with stressors like illness or job loss during this turbulent time, now may be a good opportunity to ask yourself: is this space adequately meeting my needs? Am I making space in my home for the things that actually matter to me?
If you need help getting started, our team of trained designers and space planners have the tools you need create a beautiful, multi-functional home. Schedule your virtual design consultation today — we’d love to hear from you!