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How To Master Dual-purpose Rooms

Posted by The Canningvale Team on


The average floor area of Australian homes has been on the decline since 2009 (if you love numbers and diagrams, you can read more about it here), and more and more Australians are choosing apartment living over freestanding houses (again, if you like numbers, have a gander at this report). Both these trends point to the same thing: smaller homes.

While our homes are still big by international standards, modern buildings often have less generous floor plans than the houses we grew up in, leading us to get creative with how we fill them. Dual-purpose rooms are an excellent example of this creativity, allowing us to have two functions in the same space, like a guest-room-cum-home-office, or kitchen-cum-dining.

As with all interior decorating, there is a fine art to getting it right and creating a room that’s equally fit for both purposes. After all, it’s probably a bit of a stretch to call your study a guest room if part of the transformation involves squishing your desk into an unusable position in the corner to make room for an inflatable mattress. Here’s everything you need to know to make your next dual-purpose room a roaring success.

Invest in double-duty furniture

Furniture choices play a key role in the success of any dual-purpose space. Because you’re working with a smaller area, furniture that’s flexible or transforms in some way is your best bet as it allows you to maximise the room’s function. For example, sofa beds or daybeds work wonders in a space which doubles as a guest room, stools that slot easily under benches are perfect if you want to turn one side of your kitchen into a breakfast bar, and side tables that also work as desks are great for a living-area-cum-study.

Give new life to old nooks

Looking for the ideal place to add a desk or create a cosy reading nook? Go through your house and look for unused space, paying special attention to those areas that are typically never afforded a function, such as that little space under the stairs. Take inspiration from this BuzzFeed article when considering what’s possible: you could end up with a tidy new office space, wine cellar, or cosy seating area. Other great areas to investigate are unused cupboards (seriously - if you don’t believe us, believe Pinterest), laundries (which can double as excellent craft studios), and formal dining rooms which rarely get used.

Remember to decorate

One of the most common mistakes people make with dual-purpose rooms is forgetting to style them, focusing instead on the ease with which they can transform the space between uses. Sure; it might be slightly more effort to make up the sofa bed if you need to remove a throw and a handful of cushions before you fold it out, and it might be easier to leave your papers and notes on top of the dining table after a couple of hours’ work, but you’ll enjoy the space far more if you take the time to make it look and feel inviting. Invest in some items purely for their aesthetics, as well as some that look nice and serve a function, like wicker storage baskets or a beautiful set of bedlinen. Our gorgeous Bamboo Cotton Collection is currently on sale and comes in a great range of neutrals. It’s silky soft to touch, highly breathable, and incredibly durable, meaning it’s bound to please even the pickiest of guests.

Canningvale Bamboo Cotton Collections

Think outside of the box

As we mentioned at the start of the article, designing dual-purpose rooms requires some creativity. While most of the examples we’ve mentioned so far are tried and tested, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. Are your ceilings high enough to allow a mezzanine floor above your living area, for example? Could your outdoor entertaining area transform into a cinema, with the help of some comfy beanbags and a projector? When executed well, unexpected spaces add a sense of luxury and adventure, making homes much more enticing, regardless of their size.

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