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kitchen dining room

Lack of space getting you down? No worries, you can make any room do double duty with decor tricks.

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Living in small spaces has benefits and drawbacks. You own less stuff, you spend less on utilities, and you focus on having experiences. However, you get less space to do the things you need to do: eat, sleep, work, relax. And some people need separate, defined spaces to do any or all of these things.

So what to do if you have a small space but still need an office, a dining room or a separate living room? Using the wonders of home decor techniques, you can get double-duty rooms that work the want you want them to, when you want them to.

Let’s have a look.

Living room + office

A natural combination, the living room + office still needs defined, specific spaces. It doesn’t need to be much–a bookcase, a desk, a screen behind the office chair–but to work effectively, it’s helpful to have a space that’s dedicated to work.

Transitional Living Room by Frederick Interior Designers & Decorators Meredith Ericksen

Even if it’s just a small desk or table, if you can easily identify the workspace when looking at the room as a whole, it’s a good chance you have a good combination.

It’s also helpful to put your “working” back towards distractions like TV, so that you’re not tempted to just turn it on while you work.

Eclectic Home Office by Austin Interior Designers & Decorators Scheer & Co.

Of course, a living room + office combination requires some self-control not to just sit in front of the TV all day, so any kind of decor techniques you can use to minimize the temptations can work.

Living room + dining room

Here I’ll cop out to one thing I do that I shouldn’t do: I eat all my meals in the living room, despite having a dining table in the kitchen that I bought for just that function. (It ends up as counter space or my sewing workspace, so it’s hard to eat there anyway.) But you can actually make an effective living room + dining room combination with a few clever decor tricks.

Contemporary Dining Room by Quogue Architects & Building Designers Austin Patterson Disston Architects

In some cases, you can keep the dining area to a corner of the living room using a long, narrow table with a bench. You can use the extra space for sofas, chairs and media electronics.

Another way to manage a living room + dining room is to have banquette-style sofas that are just as comfortable for eating as they are for watching TV. Get a lightweight table that you can move from a corner to the centre of the room when needed, and pull up chairs around it for extra seating when guests come around.

Hallway + hobby room

Having a wide, spacious hallway isn’t always a bad thing–you can actually transform it into a hobby room (like music, painting or even reading) with a little forethought. Please not that narrow hallways don’t work especially well for this; you need some room to add furniture or bookcases.

Transitional Hall by Dallas Architects & Building Designers L. Lumpkins Architect, Inc.

We often think of hallways as just empty spaces connecting other spaces in the home, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Using nooks and corners, you can easily add functional space for reading, playing music or practicing other hobbies out of the way of other members of the family going at their daily activities in the kitchen or living room.

Transitional Staircase by New York Architects & Building Designers studio PPARK

Take your measurements, try a few things, and you’ll quickly find something that works for your hallway combination room.

Bedroom + living room

The sleeping/living space balance is always a good question when it comes to living in open studios or lofts. How do you avoid sleeping in the living room, or watching TV in the bedroom when there is no wall to separate the two?

Contemporary Bedroom by London Interior Designers & Decorators Black and Milk Residential

Sleeping and sitting areas can transform into each other easily with sofa-beds. A clever panel to hide the television at night can help separate the functions when it’s time to go to sleep.

Industrial Bedroom by Chicago Photographers Janet Mesic Mackie Photographer

You can also hide the bed behind a partial wall, with a panel or with drapes. This indicates different spaces, letting you sleep and relax in “different” parts of your apartment.

Double-duty rooms and your space

Because no home has infinite space, we all have to deal with the physical limitations walls and ceilings. When faced with a severe space problem, sometimes going double-duty is the best way to make your room work for you.

Have you ever tried double-duty rooms? What’s your experience living in them? Let me know in the comments!

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Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is a freelance writer, writing teacher and blogger. She spends a lot of time at home, so she likes to make sure that it's cozy and nice, especially in her reading nook. In her free time, Anabelle knits, walks and learns how to write stories.