As much as you want to have the extra footage to add that perfect reading nook and office area in the kitchen, sometimes you just have to make do with a small space. It doesn’t mean completely ditching the extra amenities though. Your kitchen or any room, for that matter, will just have to embrace a double (or triple) duty. In other words, you need to pull off a multi-use space, aka a multi-purpose room. If you haven’t done anything like this before, here are some pointers to remember to overcome this tricky design challenge:

Pay attention to the layout.

It’s easy for the flow of the room, as well as its sense of coherence, to get messed up when you’re dealing with different spaces that have different functions. That’s why you need to consider the layout carefully. To achieve a nice, functional layout, the first thing you should decide on is a balance. Given that multi-purpose rooms have a dominant and secondary (or tertiary) function, the distribution of elements then will follow such proportion. The dominant, for instance, the kitchen, should cover two-thirds of the room, while the secondary — say, the reading nook or the office area — take up what’s left. Mark those areas already. From balance, you move on to the traffic patterns. Essentially, what you’re trying to pinpoint here is the natural movement of people from one corner to another. That imaginary line you’ll be tracing shouldn’t have anything, which can get in the way of foot traffic. In short, pathways should be clear.

Place furniture or fixture to emphasize function.

entertainment room in a luxury home

Aside from the flow and unity, the very function of the spaces you have in the room should be so perfectly clear. If it’s not, the area will be simply chaotic. It will be an eyesore. It will be difficult to use. So emphasizing the different functions of the spaces should be your priority. For this, furniture and fixture are your best friend. Pick a focal point that will ground what the space is for. Let’s take again the example above. In establishing your kitchen space, you can make bold-colored cupboards or a geometric-patterned backsplash the star of the room. Or if you want a trendier approach, go for accent kitchen countertops. Murray-based interior designers recommend using a different material for your kitchen island to really make it pop. As for the reading nook, a wingback armchair and a coffee table can be your focal point. Place a rug or a carpet in that area to make it more distinct from the rest of the kitchen.

Put some color into it.

As much as you want to make the differences among areas in multi-use spaces more defined, it’s equally important not to neglect to tie them together. Otherwise, the entire thing will look jumbled and random. So how do you make pull everything together? Simple: use color. Apply the same color palettes in each of the room. If your dominant area has a dominant gray, then your secondary area should have gray as its primary hue, too. If your dominant area has an accent blue, then your secondary area has to have the same accent, too. Colors blend spaces well.

So, Can You Handle Multi-Purpose Rooms?

When you don’t have that much space at home, the strategy is to make one room perform double-triple duty. Keep in mind these things as you start this tricky, yet fun creative project.


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