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Journal

October 3rd

Make the Most of Multipurpose Space

Unused closet space can become a useful office that can be closed off when you have guests.

It’s not unusual to ask a room in your home to do double duty, whether that combo is office/guest bedroom, family room/play room or sunroom/craft room. Storage is always the biggest concern in a room that has two or more functions since you want to be able to “hide” the room’s dual identity. Here are some tips for how to maximize your storage, including one that might surprise you!

• Of course built-ins that close off clutter are the most obvious way to stash what you don’t want seen. But if custom cabinetry isn’t in your budget, look to simple organizational tools. For example, pretty baskets can be full of toys, scrapbooking supplies or other disparate items, but when they are lined up on a shelf all people see is a neat row of baskets.

Geometric baskets can be filled with toys or other items you want to hide.

• I mentioned hiding the room’s alternate use above — you can do that literally with a large piece of furniture. Toys can be stashed behind a console in your family room, for instance, where they are out of sight but still accessible. A coffee table or ottoman with storage also offers fast and easy ways to conceal lots of items quickly.

• Many of us transform our offices into bedrooms when friends and family come to visit. But it can be awkward to welcome guests into a space where your personal paperwork is available for all to see, resulting in a chaotic rather than restful appearance. Instead, consider repurposing the room’s closet as an office. Add bi-fold doors to allow for complete access to the closet space, and place your desk in the closet nook. Then when guests arrive you can simply close those doors to make the office disappear. Attach a couple of clothes hooks over the closet door for your guests’ hanging clothes.

Would you know this unit is home to a Murphy bed? I doubt it!

• Now, here is the surprise part. Remember those creaky old Murphy beds from years’ past? Well, those are gone. In their place are stylish, comfortable beds that still allow for space savings but not at the sacrifice of your back and arms. Today’s Murphy beds are so easy to pull down and replace that a child can do it. And you don’t need to make a hole in your wall — the sofa bed actually folds into what appears to be an armoire. When the bed is down, the bookshelves on either side serve as nightstands. We’ve also designed this piece as an office so when the bed is flat against the wall you can pull down a desk from it. The finished look is so unobtrusive that you could even install this unit in a formal living room. It isn’t an inexpensive option — perhaps $3000 compared to $1000 or less for a sofa bed — but because it stows away it truly offers you flexibility in a multi-purpose space.

A clever hollow "book" is a great place to store card games.

We are storage and redesign specialists at Style on a Shoestring. Please contact us if we can help you make better use of your multipurpose space.