Bonus rooms are a delight in plenty of homes, and for good reason: Not only do they add value to a home, but they also grant a flexible space for homeowners who have multiple interests and needs. You might want a space to practice music, a home theater or a guest area for visiting family. All of these ideas are great, but what if you need a space to serve all three functions or more?
Enter the multipurpose bonus room, something achieved through intentional design choices. Whether you’ve got three kids interested in three vastly different extracurricular activities, or you have a passion for playing the ukulele while painting and solving jigsaw puzzles, it’s important that your flex room meets any of the needs you might have. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you design the ultimate multifunctional space.
Divide the Room
Perhaps the simplest and most efficient way of making a multipurpose space is to use furniture to separate the room into different areas. You can use paneled room dividers or bookshelves for a very clear division — think about a see-through or open bookcase that allows light and noise to transfer easily, so neither side feels too crowded or closed off.
The room doesn’t really allow for a bookcase in the middle of the floor? Think about using wall décor to demarcate areas. Use complementary pieces on one side of the room and then provide a subtle yet noticeable contrast to the color scheme on the other side. The eye will naturally view the spaces as distinct due to color association.
Don’t forget to use the room’s features to your advantage. Perhaps there’s a closet or a slightly inset section of wall that would make for an easy desk space. View the room in its entirety and think about how the structure of the walls and ceiling could lend itself to a natural division of the space.
Think About Storage
Another great way to utilize a multipurpose space is to have storage that allows you to effectively hide what isn’t being used at any given time. Are you interested in an entertainment space the kids can also use as a playroom when guests aren’t over? Plan for seating with built-in storage, such as ottomans or couches. Want to also use the space as your laundry room? Installing wall-to-wall cabinets makes it easy to hide the washer and dryer when not in use without making it seem like you’re trying to ignore the pink elephant in the room.
Corners are an often underutilized space in rooms; consider installing corner shelving to show off your passions without using the precious (and sometimes limited) floor space your bonus room allows. Raised shelving — near the ceiling or above doorframes — is another way to capitalize on wall space and storage.
Plan Your Furniture
Whatever your needs or interests, furniture is going to be required. Choose pieces that include storage, as we mentioned above, but also pieces that are easily stored. Think Murphy beds, tables that sink into a hole in the floor, or side tables that can expand for crafting projects.
Want to be able to lounge in the library and have guests over without installing a Murphy bed? Something as simple as a sleeper sofa or bunk beds is a great investment. Having folding chairs that are easily stored in a cabinet or hung on a wall when not in use allows you to open up your entertainment space for yoga in the mornings or evenings.
If you’d like to use your craft/play/guest room as a home theater as well, consider a retractable projector screen from the ceiling or cabinets to hide your TV when not being used. Using a projector on a blank wall has the added bonus of assisting in large-scale art projects!
Embrace the Obvious
What a lot of people worry about — and mainly what we’ve talked about — is how to hide the fact that your multipurpose room is multipurpose. However, don’t feel obligated to keep it a secret! Having a crib and changing table in the corner of the room next to a rolled up yoga mat and a work desk will not be as strange as it sounds, especially if you coordinate color schemes and furniture choices. If dividing the space or hiding some features is out of the question, go for blending the room and all of its functions together with similar patterns and color combos.
No matter your lifestyle, the 21st-century homeowner needs a home as flexible as their interests. Don’t feel like you have to plan a room for every passion you want to pursue and definitely don’t feel inclined to choose which is most important to bring with you into your new home. By being strategic with your design options, you’ll be able to create a space with everything you need.
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Mia Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English, Mia is passionate about the written word and making connections. Outside of work, Mia also serves on the Board of Directors for the Writers’ League of Texas.