Quite often clients come to me wondering how they can make the most use of their space, especially when they are dealing with a small space and need their space to perform many functions.
Small spaces can be challenging, however even small spaces can be designed to function for you in order to take full advantage of the space you have. The first thing you should do is assess the space and determine what is working for you and what is not working for you. Determine your needs so you can include them in your plan. Many small spaces can be designed to serve several purposes. For example, you may require office or work space and do not have an extra room to house a desk, files, and other materials. This is a common problem for more and more people who are working from home. Don’t worry; there probably is a solution to your dilemma. The first thing you want to do is look at your current floor plan and determine how it can be changed to accomplish this multi-tasking space. Can you rearrange the main pieces of furniture to open up a space for the new office and still keep the floor plan open and functional? There may be a corner or wall that is not being used to its maximum advantage that you can incorporate into your plan. Keep your options open. Draw your plan on graph paper before moving anything to be sure it works. Remember your traffic patterns and minimum allowances for walkways. Ideally you should leave a minimum opening of 36 inches. With smart planning you won’t require a lot of room for your new space. Be sure you design your office space to flow nicely with the rest of the room using the same style and colors and giving it a residential feel. Avoid industrial, office furniture. Instead choose similar style woods and materials for your office furniture that complement the rest of the room. Choose an upholstered Parsons side chair instead of a standard office desk chair. Take advantage of vertical space and install shelving or cabinetry up the walls. Use the shelving for your files to get them up and out of the way to free up maximum desk space. Keep magazines, notes and clippings in a uniform collection using magazine files which will look neat on the shelves and keep you organized. You can also use attractive baskets to store supplies. Complete the space by adding artwork, accessories, an interesting area rug and another comfy chair if space allows.
This same concept can apply to any room. An extra bedroom can double as a guest bedroom and office using the same principles. Keep the furnishings non-industrial and choose pieces that complement the style of the bedroom. If space is really at a premium, consider a Murphy bed which folds up onto the wall when not in use to give you the full use of space in the room for other activities.
When space is limited and you need your rooms to be multi-functional a little planning can go a long way. Just remember to tie the areas together by having the same feel for the spaces rather than making them look distinctly different. The result will be an attractive, functional space. As always when in doubt consult a professional Interior Designer for ideas and inspiration.