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  • Featured Edits Team

How to design the perfect multifunctional living space

The world of interior design is in constant development. With new ways of living and global influences on the rise, new trends emerge in contemporary society to accommodate the shifts in our lifestyles. Home offices and coworkings are now part of our daily lives, meaning the line between living spaces is blurring.


The Coronavirus pandemic, the rise in single-person households and the housing shortage are minimising the space we have available for our households. People are increasingly moving closer together, making boundaries shift towards sharing and living in multifunctional environments. Since living spaces are both limited and costly, more and more home makers are looking to optimise their homes, providing more space for a wider range of activities simultaneously. With this in mind, design has followed with a new concept of multifunctional furniture.


In terms of saving space, multi-purpose furniture isn’t a new thing. Humans have always been looking for ways to make products more versatile and homes more space efficient. As the name suggests, multipurpose furniture designs are innovative, most commonly modular furniture designs with at least two functions. Such pieces come as an ideal solution for making use of small spaces. The so-called renaissance of this type of furniture, however, comes to cater for the 21st century world in which styles are not only made with practicality in mind, but are also beautiful to look at.




Combining this with tech innovation, the hype for biophilic design and sustainable thinking, contemporary spaces can easily provide a feeling of openness and closeness to nature, yet serving a variety of purposes through smart furniture designs. For tips and inspiration on how to incorporate this trend into your own home, keep reading!


Small design choices can transform the way we interact with our home environment and create a well thought out, multi-purpose space that is both highly functional and visually pleasing. Maximising the functionality of your living space should be done in such a way that the new configurations of rooms are nicely combined in terms of style, colours and shapes. But above all, your space should still feel homey and comfortable.





ACCESSIBILITY, COMFORT AND PURPOSE



WHERE TO START?

If you’re wondering how to begin your multifunctional design project, deciding on how you’re going to use the space is a good start. We know it can be difficult to imagine a space that can serve multiple purposes. Whether you're attempting to maximise a small space, create a versatile bonus room, or make an open floor plan more functional, the most important thing you need to make a decision on is what the purposes of the room are going to be.



LAYOUT

Look at the shape of the room and consider how people will move through it. You can start with the biggest wall, and from there plan how you’re going to lay out the furniture. You can also designate separate areas for each activity if the space allows it. The important thing is to make sure each area has easy access and provides the needed comfort for all your tasks.


PLAN WITH UNIVERSAL DESIGN PRINCIPLES

Although small changes can bring great results, it's best if the space is planned with universal design principles in mind from the start. Make sure the design can accommodate a wide range of preferences and diverse abilities; that’s it’s easy to understand and it can be used efficiently. Think about sizing and make sure that reach, manipulation and use are considered regardless of the user’s mobility and size.





DUAL-PURPOSE FURNITURE

There are many alternatives to the regular furniture pieces that accommodate various tasks. Incorporating dual-purpose furniture is key to making a room more functional, but it's especially important if you're working with a limited space.


LIGHTING

To provide the appropriate lighting for your multipurpose room, add layers of lighting as these types of rooms often need different types of lighting—overhead, task, and ambient.




OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN EACH ROOM



  • An open-plan kitchen can improve the flow in a space - In the case of kitchens, a slew of new technologies have emerged to improve the comfort and efficiency of our daily spaces. As a result, its functions are multiplied, and the available surface is better utilised. A kitchen island can be both a workstation and a dining room.


  • An office can also be a guest bedroom - A lot of people nowadays have an extra storage space in their homes that usually serves a guest room, but it can be transformed into a home office. When guests stay with you, you want them to feel like they have their own personal area.


However, if your guest room/home office is dominated by a large desk, they may feel as if they've invaded your personal space. A smaller workstation will make the space more welcoming to visitors. Also, a folding bed/sofa can be a good choice for furniture, if the space is primarily used for an office area.


  • Indoor play areas are great when the outdoors isn’t suitable for children to play - Consider the vertical spaces that your rooms offer – Include ladders and shelving. Climbing, sliding, hiding, bouncing, constructing, drawing, and making a mess are all activities that children enjoy, thus the bedroom should be divided into zones to accommodate these activities.




WAYS TO IMPLEMENT


There are a variety of tricks and techniques that you can use in order to unfold the full potential of your living space. Here are some ideas on how to create the utmost multifunctional area.



  • Standing Desks - Health and relaxation are highly important, thus you can use height-adjustable desks, as they have been given a new lease of life with the start of the coronavirus pandemic, if not before. Standing workstations are a great method to counteract the many hours spent sitting by eliminating commuting, virtual meetings, and coffee breaks without coworkers. Hidden features like fold-out neck supports on seating furniture also contribute to the required level of comfort.




Large pieces of furniture, such as sofas and dining tables, can also be used as anchors, positioned according to the flow of the room. Take the kitchen island, for example. It can be used to prepare food, store items, or serve as a breakfast bar. It's also a cosy area for small parties, especially if your kitchen has an open plan. Combine it with a dining table to create a seamless surface for food prep and dining.



  • Walls - Coating walls with chalkboard paint creates a writable surface for notes and messages, or a canvas for doodling when inspiration strikes. You can also use vertical space, such as shelving and cubby holes, to showcase your knickknacks, as well as larger goods like a bicycle. This chevron-panelled movable design serves as a feature wall, display case, and storage area all in one. A clever sliding door conceals the contents for a sleek, clutter-free appearance.


  • Furniture that can be moved around - Wide tables for dining and working, as well as multipurpose items like benches and coffee tables, provide comfortable seating for relaxing, waiting, and enjoying the social spaces.


  • Storage - Built-in shelving or cabinets are the ideal storage furniture because they can be customised to fit items such as computer equipment in a home office or video game consoles and toys in a family room. You can also use under the bed, the highest shelf in a closet, or up the wall, which are often missed.




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