The Bay Area has some of the most beautiful homes in the country, but many lack in space. It’s not uncommon for a family to use every available bedroom, leaving guests to stay in the living room. If there is an extra bedroom, it’s typically needed as a home office, which still leaves the living room for guests.
The solution, of course, if you have a home office, is turn it into a combination guest room, home office and maybe workout room. But, as someone who works from home, the last thing I need is a cozy/comfy bed in the same room – especially as the 3:00 lull begins to hit. A treadmill would be much more conducive to having a fully productive day.
Is it possible to turn a small extra bedroom into a multi-functional room and still maintain your home’s beautiful decor? With a little creativity, absolutely:
The first step, naturally, is to ask yourself what you really need. Do you have to have two 27″ computer monitors when one laptop will suffice? Figure out what paperwork can be scanned to your hard drive and shredded, to save filing space. Your book collection is part of who you are, but in a home office, limit them to the books you need. In other words, minimize. You have limited space for furniture, so only use the furniture you absolutely can’t live without.
Please yourself first. Unless you have guests more than half the year, decorate for your tastes. Hang pictures you like. Place small but beautiful plants throughout the room. Minimize the knickknacks, but if you collect miniature shoes, display them proudly. They can always be put away when guests arrive, if you want. Remember, a home office/workout space should motivate you.
Think up. Preserve precious floor space by using wall shelves.
Buy space-economical workout equipment. Buy a folding treadmill and adjustable weights. Instead of a bulky stationary bike, buy a spin bike or buy a trainer for your outdoor bike.
But do think about your guests, at least a little. Red is the most motivational color, but it’s not very relaxing. Rather than paint a red accent wall (which I highly recommend in some situations), hang some red artwork and other accents. To encourage relaxation for your guests, go neutral or go green. While red might encourage you to churn out work or power through your workout, green will encourage you to spend time in the room, which is also important for work.
Now for the big question – where to sleep? When you are working with around 100 square feet of space, a bed takes up a lot of room. Smaller than a queen, and your guests are probably not going to be all that comfortable. A daybed is an option, but daybeds tend to look little girlish, unless done right. For small rooms, I recommend a foldout sofa. They aren’t like they were in days past, when a bar went across people’s backs. Invest in an upgraded mattress and your guests will be thanking you. If a sofa takes up too much room, you can always clear a little space come guest time and provide them with an air mattress. They are actually fairly comfortable these days.
Provide some guest storage. At the very least, buy a folding suitcase rack. Put a small dresser in the room and clear out the drawers when guests arrive. Put a small alarm clock (preferably one with a cell phone docking station) and a lamp on one of the side tables.
Lock up personal papers and password protect your computer. No one, even family, needs to know your personal business.
Clean and clean some more. When I am working, I barely notice the clutter on and around my desk, but trust me, guests will. Declutter. Lock your desk drawers and filing cabinets. Dust, vacuum (including the walls) and clean the windows. Fresh flowers will add a beautiful scent and make guests feel at home.