How To Create A Living Room–Bedroom Hybrid

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Living in a small space can require some innovation and thought especially if rooms need to have more than one function. A studio apartment is hardly a comfortable situation for having long-term guests or even weekend visitors. Thinking creatively about how to make a stylish and creative one-room cabin function for several rooms takes some planning and a little ingenuity. Creating a hybrid space that will function as a living room and bedroom without feeling cramped or jailed is possible, and it can be chic.

Several living situations that often require a hybrid living and bedroom space range from studio apartments, loft spaces, cabins, bungalows and cottage spaces. Even large homes will sometimes need to double up for large families or celebratory situations when company outnumbers the amount of beds and couches available.

An air mattress can usually suffice for company or short-term guests most anywhere, but for the long haul it will become tiresome very fast. Transforming second bedrooms into potential living areas or vice versa can range from as simple as purchasing a futon couch or creating beds from lounge pieces. Moveable or sectional couches allow a comfy den to become a chic bedroom where bookcases can be used as dividers from another bed area. In addition, storing linens, pillows and blankets can be as easy as opening a trunk, which may serve as a coffee table. Many ottomans serve as storage space, which is a useful living and bedroom hybrid solution. Several options are available to create space ideas for a feeling or look of two separate rooms within one room.

  • Using screens, dividers or partitions are practical and an efficient use of space especially in one room living areas.
  • A Japanese Shoji screen as well as sectional dividers and partitions do not have to be permanent structures.
  • These pieces can be moved around for any desired look. Dividing a living room and bedroom will create a two-room effect.
  • Depending upon the space such as a small cottage or bungalow, which may have no additional rooms, sliding screen doors are an option to creating a whole new room.
  • Another option for dividing a room or separating beds from couches in a space is a ceiling mounted curtain.
  • Often a chic addition to any room, a mounted ceiling curtain can create a mood and feel for a hybrid space that is alluring.
  • Several options to mounting curtains on ceilings include bolting a track or using a rod and curtain on the ceiling as you would for a window treatment.
  • A bonus to a curtain is using as much or as little material as you like to hang and the curtain can be changed out for any desired look.

Bookcases are not as easy to move around in a small space, but they can be a permanent solution as dividers for a hybrid bedroom and living space. Bookcases can double in purpose when used as a space divider. For privacy, using bookcases with solid backs can help create a wall on the bedroom side and a library and or storage on the living room side. Bookcases do not have to be floor to ceiling allowing more space for storage on top as well as keeping a flow of light in a small space. Also, one bookcase can be flipped around for books or storage space on the bedroom side and a nice spot for walling hangings on the living room side. When choosing dividers in a small space to create a hybrid living and bedroom, make sure light is available from windows or fixtures and not cut off.

Interior decorators specialize in creating the feeling of large space through décor and color schemes, which you can do too.

  • Defining the function of the space through colors is possible through the furniture you use and the décor chosen for wall hangings and accessories.
  • Certain colors will provide a feeling of spaciousness when applied to a bed, couch and window treatments.
  • Use of lighting will also open tight quarters.
  • Hanging fixtures, track lighting and any type of ceiling light will help with opening up space.
  • Keeping lamps and floor lamps to a minimum is best when space is at a premium.

Flooring and floor décor will also assist in the illusion of two rooms in a hybrid living room and bedroom space. Rugs can define a space and separate the two living areas. However, rugs should not overtake the floors but be more of accent than a carpet. Light wood floors or tile designs will also bring an element of spaciousness to a small living area. They reflect light.

Other ideas for utilizing a hybrid living room and bedroom space are hanging items on walls or from ceilings. Hooks for walls, cabinets on wheels or a shelf that attaches to a bedpost are all small items that can provide space and comfort. Other space savers are to forgo tables for credenzas and storage places and use folding chairs and tables for extra furniture when needed. Creative use of furniture is half the battle of making a comfortable and functional hybrid living room and bedroom space.

Last Updated: October 20, 2011
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About Sabina Dana Plasse Sabina Dana Plasse holds a bachelor's degree in history from Bucknell University, a master's in liberal arts from Johns Hopkins University and a master's in film and video from American University. She is an award-winning writer and editor living in Sun Valley, Idaho. Besides writing on fine arts, lifestyle, home and garden, entertainment, philanthropy and business, she enjoys teaching film and writing screenplays. Sabina has served as the arts and events editor and living writer for the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper, a twice weekly national award-winning newspaper serving Idaho's Wood River Valley. Sabina adores mountain town living where she is an active snowboarding, skier, mountain biker, hiker, supporter of the arts and an avid seeker of practical living ideas.  

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