Maybe you’re making room for a new baby’s nursery or that cave of collectibles you’ve always wanted. Or maybe you just like living small. No matter what your motivation is for maximizing your space, the best way to do it is by combining two functions into one room. Here are five classic double-duty room combos we see all the time, proving that when it comes to a thoughtful layout, you can kill two birds with one stone.
1. Dining Room + Office
Eating and working don’t always go well together. But as long as you don’t get crumbs in the keyboard, combining these two lesser-used spaces makes sense (just check out the Brooklyn home of graphic designers Jeanette and Mike Abbink from Dwell magazine for proof). An expansive desk can transform into a bar or sideboard for parties, or make the table your desk with a beautiful portable office cart.
2. Living Room + Dining Room
In the era of open floor plans, this room combo isn’t exactly unexpected (even in bigger homes). That doesn’t make it any less of a challenge to style. Use furniture to define the separate spaces while keeping a good flow, like in the Dupont Circle apartment of Sara from Style MBA.
3. Living Room + Office
Without a dedicated home office, the living room seems like the best spot to clear out a workspace (as shown in Naseem Alizadeh’s Boston apartment). Work-from-home types can benefit from getting things done in an open and comfortable space that folds their office into the living room. One has to be diligent about carving out personal time to make this work, though, since you never really leave the office.
4. Bedroom + Living Room
Studio dwellers forced into this arrangement are always looking for ways to separate the two spaces. But they can be elegantly combined without curtains or false walls, too. Just make sure the bed is styled right along with the rest of the room, like in Emily’s Brownstone Studio.
5. Office + Bedroom
Whether we’re talking about the guest room or master (ahem… only) bedroom, fitting a desk next to the bed for occasional web-surfing or bill-paying makes sense. You can even make the desk work as a bedside table, too. Decorating the “office” section of the room with personal trinkets and live plants (like this room designed by Audra Canfield) keeps the whole space feeling cozy. Just remember to shut off all the tech before hitting the sheets to get a good night’s rest.