How To Design A Multipurpose Guest Room

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You want a comfortable space to offer out-of-town guests, you need a home office, you want a playroom to keep the kids busy and you would love a den where the family could spend time together, but you only have one room to provide all those functions? That's a common dilemma in today's home, but with a little planning and attention to organization, you can design your hybrid room to serve all those purposes.

Office Space

Even if you don't work entirely from home, you would probably benefit from a designated home office. A space to use your computer, store files, pay bills, and work on correspondence makes organizing easier, as well as prevents your kitchen table from becoming heaped high with paperwork.

You can convert a standard closet into a useful office quite easily.

  • Remove the sliding doors, and install folding doors, or simply hang a curtain rod and cheerful curtains that slide to one side while you are using your office, and then pulled shut to hide it from view when you are done.
  • If the closet space does not have electrical power, have it wired to provide good lighting, and at least two outlets.
  • Hang a small fixture to light your work area. Pick a small chandelier, a stained-glass fixture, or something bright and colorful to make your new office a welcoming spot.
  • Create a desk by using a couple of two-drawer filing cabinets for the base, and a board or countertop for the working surface. Measure carefully before purchasing these, to be sure you don't pick cabinets that will stick out too far.
  • Install shelves above the desk area, with plenty of crates or baskets for storage.
  • A comfortable chair with wheels that can be rolled up to the desk is a must.
  • Complete your set up with organizers for pens, a stapler, tape, a dry-erase board for quick notes, and a small trash basket, and your home office is ready to go.

Vintage Lighting Vintage Lighting Vintage Lighting

Couch for Sleeping

The most obvious need in a guest room is a spot for your guests to sleep. A regular bed is impractical in a hybrid guest room, as it takes up too much space. A better choice is a sleeper-sofa that pulls out to a bed, or a daybed that is a couch by day, bed by night. Be sure to purchase a good quality mattress whichever you choose, so your guests can get a good night's sleep.

  • Choose a couch with a durable cover that will hold up to heavy use if your hybrid room will also be serving as a playroom or den.
  • Keep a set of nice linens and comfortable pillows to make up the bed for your guests.
  • Make the pullout bed more comfortable with a memory foam mattress-topper.

Provide Storage

Guests need a place to store clothes while visiting, and a dresser not only provides drawers for their use, but can also be used as a television stand.

  • Position the dresser so the TV can be viewed from the couch, allowing your family to curl up and watch a movie together, or your guest to enjoy watching the news while in bed.
  • A storage trunk with wheels makes a great table, can keep toys and other items out of view, and is a convenient spot for your guests to set their suitcase for easy accessibility.

A playroom needs storage for toys, and an armoire is an excellent choice for your hybrid room. Select an armoire designed for clothing, with drawers, shelves, and a hanging bar inside.

  • Store the children's toys inside when the room is not in use by a guest.
  • Empty the toys out during a visit, so your visitor can hang their clothes on the hanging bar inside, and use the shelves.

A shelving unit with baskets is the perfect answer for providing storage for toys and clutter, and allows you to quickly remove the baskets to make room for your guest's belongings.

  • Large wicker baskets are great for storing the videogame controllers and accessories that will most likely accumulate in your hybrid room.

Little Touches

Little touches make a big difference in a guest room. You want your visitors to feel welcome and be comfortable.

  • Position a small table with a lamp near the sleeping area, so your visitors can turn the light on or off without having to get out of bed.
  • Hang a full-length mirror on the wall so your guests can check their appearance before heading out for the day.
  • Set some books or magazines on topics that you know interest your visitors on the side table.

Lack of space doesn't mean you have to turn away out-of-town visitors, nor does it mean you can't have a functional, attractive home office. It just means you need to pay attention to details, and plan a room with an eye for versatility. You truly can have it all.

Last Updated: August 9, 2011
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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