How to make a room multi-purpose

Short on space? Renovating on a shoestring budget is all about selecting what area of your home you need to upgrade for your required end purpose, and channelling your money there. Sometimes it’s as simple as using the space you already have in a clever way


Making a space multi-purpose

It may be creating a shared sleeping space (two kids in one room), a daybed doubling as drawers, a laundry-cum-craft room, or scullery/laundry. Rethink all the rooms in your home and establish if you can use the space more efficiently.

Here’s what the experts say

The architect, Natasha Markham

-Lighting is a great way to create zones in a room used for multiple activities. Pendants can help to make lofty spaces feel more intimate and bedside lamps can help to draw the room in around the bed as well as providing lighting for late-night readers. If the room is doubling as a study, good task lighting is essential over any workspace.

A top priority for multifunctional rooms is good storage,

particularly if spaces are small

The House Doctor, Nadia Sakey

-If you have a small budget and limited space, make it work for you by creating a ‘smart room’. First, carefully evaluate how you will use the space, what you need it to do, and how often you will need to do it. Portion up your room according to the percentage of use you allocate to it. For instance, my home office is used 70 percent of the time, but it also needs to transform into a guest bedroom 20 percent of the time, and it needs to be a TV room 10 percent of the time. In this case, the office space becomes the priority, with a focus on flexible furniture and pieces which can perform in multiple ways for the other occasions.

Multifunctional interior design in a contemporary style

is one of the latest trends

The Builder, Lee Brandford

– An efficient layout can save space and money, so plan the position of every aspect of the room to maximise every space.

– Add a mezzanine bed in a small bedroom to allow for more storage/living space in the room.

– If storage isn’t an issue but you need a workspace, design a ‘cloffice’ – a closet with a built-in desktop and shelving.

– Fit a space to your building materials – eg if you are putting up a wall, make it the exact size of two sheets of plasterboard rather than two and a fraction, so you save using an extra sheet.

When the budget is tight

re-use materials wherever possible

The Financial Planner, John Bishop III

– Don’t over-capitalise, eg don’t put money into fancy cabinets for a house with a sagging foundation; or a high-efficiency heat pump in a house with no insulation.

The Resource Planner, Alex Findlay

– Get good advice up front to save unnecessary costs down the track. Spend money finding out about the existing condition of your home to assess if there are hidden problems that need to be remedied as part of any building work.

Top tips for making a space multi-purpose

– Invest in smart pieces of furniture like a fold-away wall bed or a multifunctional sofa suite such as the award-winning Jasper by King Living.

– Vertical space can be cleverly used for shelving, extra storage or creating a mezzanine level.

– Storage is key for multifunctional spaces. Instead of letting lots of small pieces of furniture eat up space, devote one entire wall to storage. A floor-to-ceiling storage wall can be customised to contain everything from books to a media centre, or even a pull-down or hidden desk. If you already have a wardrobe – convert it to contain a hidden desk and shelves. Wire in some power points including one for a multi-device docking station.

– If the room is multifunctional (eg a bedroom and a study) consider furniture size and layout to ensure one use doesn’t impede on the other. Allow space for access and movement around furniture.

– Use a smart TV as your computer monitor or invest in a large computer screen that can double as a TV screen if you use the space for TV/film-viewing too.

– Consider the scale and placement of furniture. Large pieces could serve as room dividers in a big room. Small spaces need smaller furniture.

Create the home of your dreams with Shop Your Home and Garden