Great Question. A Multi Functional Guest Room.

Some months back during a Joanne’s Fabric Pinning party, I was asked a great question:
Hi Tiffany!

How do I divide a room into a guest room – office – craft room  while still looking nice and neat? – Antoinette M.

This is a very good question, and a situation that I have seen very few people master. I have some definite guidelines into making the most out of this valuable real estate that is a guest room.

  1. Make your guest room (that gets used 10% of the time), work 100% of the time. 

This simply means that if you have your guest room designed majorly as a bedroom with a small desk in the corner, it is not functioning well for you. Think about it, your guest may come on average 10-20 weekends out of the year. That equates to 5-10% of the calendar. To me, it does not make sense to dedicate most of the room – unless you got the spare bedrooms – to guests and a huge bed.  But hang on…There are some definite work arounds…

    • Get rid of the large bed. This concept gets the most resistance from my clients, like I am asking them to get rid of the TV (a whole other blog post.) Instead of a bed you can do stylishly well with a sofa bed, day bed, air mattress, or my favorite solution, a murphy bed.
Sofa Bed Combo.jpg

By Amanda Nisbit

Murphy Bed.jpg

    • Swap the nightstands / side tables for bookshelves. Since we can agree that you will use the space more like an office, lets treat it like one and add some bookshelves, and the taller the better. If you can find ones with drawer space BAM! Two-for-One. See the below home office I designed for Essence Magazine.
    • Home Office Designed By Tiffany Brooks

    • While we are at it, re-invent that closet. So much opportunity here, so many ideas. Perfect space for hidden storage. Especially the unsightly stuff. For a boost of pattern and color, take down the closet door and add curtains!

2.   Art, color, drapes, wall hangings, and quirky details are a must.

There is nothing sadder than a dull guest room, and a sure-fire way to make it dull is treating the room like the red-headed step child. Put some thought into your window treatments, and wall color. The fabrics should be fun – reckless even. Stuck for ideas on how to maximize the style? My go to in guest rooms is wallpaper. Go creatively crazy – use it on the ceiling, instead of the walls. With the art, amp it up. It is one of the best ways to showcase your personality and make people feel welcome at the same time. No room for art? Use pin boards. Wall hangings and accessories can also be creative. I love putting funky, quirky things on walls.

Have fun with your walls - by Ana Corderio Have fun with guest room:Office Walls using vintage suitcases as shelves

Guest room : office space fun, light hearted and functional the entire year

3.  Don’t skimp on those little amenities! It is a guest room sometimes, right?

I am not talking about free wi-fi and breakfast until 8AM. The aforementioned should be a given, I am talking bottles of water, an ipod speaker, baskets of toiletries and towels, possibly a welcome box filled with snacks. With the exception of the speaker, no need to have this out the 90% of the time it’s an office, just when guest are expected.

4. Keep Your Clutter CLEAN!

This may be an oxymoron; but you have to keep your clutter organized. The office is where we stash EVERYTHING! Bills, letters, read magazines, old books, computer cords, etc. But it is very important that your guest do not see it…because they will secretly judge you! As impossible as it may seem document boxes, cord keepers, magazine boxes, and file cabinets are a MUST! So grab your lists, and pay a visit to the local Container Store.

 From Pinterest Visit Pinterest - Clean

Other tips:

  • Use as much natural light as possible, if you are short on it – use mirrors to bounce it around. Natural light is a mood enhancer, especially in a work space.
  • Use clever storage ideas. Like Chinese take out boxes, cans wrapped in craft paper, and stenciled/painted, glass ware.
  • Always think vertically. Space is usually limited in a guest room / office so use every square inch. including the walls for storage and function.

Your Interior Designer / HGTV Host

Tiffany Brooks

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