Multipurpose Spaces that Work
Flex space, multi-use, dual purpose—whatever you call them, more and more people need homes with spaces designed to fulfill a variety of needs.
From guest rooms that double-up as gyms and offices to living spaces that entertain one minute and become virtual classrooms the next, getting the multipurpose space right can be a challenge. But it’s not impossible, and definitely worth the extra effort when done correctly. Here’s our tips for making a multipurpose space work for you.
Determine the purpose of each space: In order to actually function as a multipurpose room, you need to figure out the intended purposes of each space. It seems obvious, and yet two years of pandemic living has taught many homeowners the difference between flex spaces and unmanaged clutter.
Is this room going to function as both a home office and a gym? A playroom for kids during the day and an entertaining space for adults during the evening? A guest room and a study space? Whatever you need a space to be, it’s important to determine that before finalizing your new construction or renovation plans.
Create zones: Once your plans are finalized and the purposes of each space are identified, it’s time to start planning the visual cues that will help differentiate each “zone.” These visual cues can be as significant as a half wall or partition that physically creates a separation between the gym and office area, or as subtle as changing the wall color.
Other ways to create visual zones:
- Using furniture placement to indicate the difference between the food prep/dining areas and the living/lounge space.
- Strategically placing area rugs based on where you want people to congregate. Think a large area rug in communal spaces and smaller rug for the reading nook.
- Incorporating different types of lighting options that can be turned on and off or dimmed based on the activity or purpose being fulfilled. Bright lights for the home office with a dimmer for movie nights, etc.
Think outside the box: This is especially when remodeling a home, but applies to new builds as well. Is the “traditional” way of planning your space the most functional for your needs? Yes, a space may be designated as an office now, but what else can it be? Is the closet in your guest room best suited for storage, or could it be reconfigured into a study space or mini-gym?
If you’re building a new home, be open to creating a floorplan that’s better suited to how you use your home. Does having a separate dining room really work for you, or is it just what is considered “standard” by the builder?
Solutions with both form and function: Make sure the multipurpose spaces in your home are well-equipped for all their intended uses. If you plan to use the large kitchen island as both a dining space and study station, make sure there are plenty of outlets and usb ports available. You might not need them while rolling out dough, but you will need them when all the kids need to charge their devices at the same time while doing homework.
Built-in storage is also a crucial component for multipurpose spaces since they prevent clutter and maintain the overall flow of the home. Remember, if your living room is also your gym, but you don’t incorporate enough storage for your equipment, your living room will always look like a gym.
Be flexible: It’s important to find the balance between designing a home that suits your needs now, and one that still functions in the future—especially if you plan on eventually selling your home. Work with your designer or architect to create spaces that can adapt to changes in circumstances.
Yes, a space might be a playroom now, but can it be updated to an office or guest room later? Can the storage created to house your gym gear work for linens in a guest room? What are the options for elderly parents should they need to move into your home after the kids move out?
This is where the expertise of experienced architects, designers, and contractors becomes invaluable. Fortunately, Home Planning Hawaii can help connect you to the right professionals for your needs. Contact us today to get started, and check out our free online estimator for help determining your budget.