Remodeling doesn’t have to mean expensive additions; it can be more about creatively using the space you have. Multitasking rooms is a great way to use your existing space to its full potential.
How do you multitask rooms? Well, you are already doing it. You just need to recognize it and make sure each room intentionally supports the activities going on there, rather than functioning by default.
While each family is unique, there are certain areas that lend themselves easily to the concept of multitasking.
Kitchens as the command center
One area is the kitchen, which is now used for more than preparing meals. Today it is the hub for the modern, 21st-century home where families gather, friends are entertained, children do homework and parents schedule lessons and sporting events.
How well does your kitchen handle all this activity?
If it is a large enough space, you may just need to reconfigure the layout to make it more functional. If there simply is not enough space to provide for all the functions that need to go on in today’s kitchen, it may be worth considering taking space from another less-used, adjacent room — say, a formal living room or a spare bedroom — to accommodate all the action focused in your kitchen.
An island is a great example of a multitasking space. One moment it is used for fixing a meal, the next it is covered with school project supplies, and then it is transformed into the buffet for a family gathering.
No wonder so many people dream of a great kitchen island.
Your multitasked kitchen also needs a place to organize the family. At the very least, this means a good bulletin board/calendar area, and more likely means a place for a computer. This also comes in handy for children doing homework, as most families like those computers in a very public space these days.
Guest bedrooms as offices
Another room that lends itself to multitasking is an unused bedroom that can double as an office. Instead of having it set up as a full-time guest bedroom, it will get more use as an office with a hide-a-bed sofa or Murphy bed to take care of Grandma when she comes to visit.
Multitasking formal dining rooms
The formal dining room that is used only once a week (or possibly three times a year — Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter?) is a luxury most people can no longer afford. Any square footage that sits empty and idle for the majority of time is a wasted asset that should be reconsidered. A library is a good companion function to a dining room. Add some bookshelves, cover the table that is already there and use it for school, business or family projects.
When you actually want to serve a formal meal, clear off the table and you are good to go.
Mudrooms are so popular because they help keep us organized and contain messes (boots, coats, sports equipment, etc.) that we don’t want spread all over the house. Is there a space in your home that you can multitask or convert to create a mudroom?
Ideally, mudrooms are placed near the family entry into the home. Perhaps you have a laundry room near your garage that can be reconfigured to allow room for lockers, cubbies, hooks, benches, etc. New full-size, stackable washer/dryer units can free up space which you can repurpose to create a more organized approach to life.
If you don’t have quite this much available space, a hallway can also be repurposed to create a mudroom if it is wide enough to allow the addition of some cabinetry, benches, and/or hooks along one side. Be creative; make use of what space you do have to try to achieve your functional goals.
You will learn a lot about your home if you take the time to observe how spaces are really used (or not used). Watch how you and your family actually live this week, and then give some thought as to what would make your days flow more smoothly.
Most families can find space in their homes that they are not using to its full potential. The answer may not be a large addition, but could very well be a small project or two that creatively uses the space you already have. You will be pleasantly surprised at what a big impact creatively thought-out mini-remodels can have on your daily life.
Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the Principal Architects and co-founders of a residential architectural firm focused on life-changing remodeling designs at RenovationDesignGroup.com. Send comments or questions to ask@RenovationDesignGroup.com