Rooms can serve dou­ble duty

The Hamilton Spectator - - REAL ESTATE -

Many homes do not have space for guest rooms, kids’ play ar­eas and home theater lounges that are pos­si­ble in homes with sub­stan­tial square footage. But they may not be miss­ing out at all.

While large homes re­main pop­u­lar, many peo­ple are em­brac­ing the ben­e­fits of smaller res­i­dences. Small homes help home­own­ers save money, re­quire less main­te­nance, have smaller en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, and re­duce the temp­ta­tion to ac­cu­mu­late “stuff.”

Own­ers of small homes or apart­ments can still en­joy the ben­e­fits of larger spa­ces, they just need to equip rooms to per­form dou­ble duty.

LIV­ING ROOM/GUEST ROOM

En­ter­tain­ing guests is eas­ier when there’s a ded­i­cated space where vis­i­tors can feel at home. When fur­nish­ing a liv­ing room, keep the guest room in mind. A sofa that opens up to a bed or a con­vert­ible sec­tional can be a com­fort­able place for guests to lay their heads. Side ta­bles pro­vide guests with places to store their be­long­ings, and an empty stor­age chest can house bed linens or guests’ cloth­ing.

DEN/PLAY­ROOM

Chil­dren tend to ac­cu­mu­late toys and games. And as kids grow from chil­dren to young adults, their list of must-have items — from video gam­ing sys­tems to other elec­tron­ics — grows along with them. Stor­age can make a room func­tional for both adults and chil­dren. De­vote an en­tire wall to a closet or drawer sys­tem where toys can be stored out of sight when nec­es­sary. Stor­age ot­tomans can be used for ex­tra seat­ing while also pro­vid­ing some­where for home­own­ers to stash stuffed an­i­mals or games for easy ac­cess. When choos­ing fur­ni­ture, look for fab­rics that are re­sis­tant to stains and mod­u­lar pieces that can be moved around as nec­es­sary to cre­ate room for play­ing or en­ter­tain­ing.

BED­ROOM/HOME OF­FICE

In 2015, 24 per­cent of em­ployed peo­ple in the United States did some or all of their work at home, says the Bu­reau of Labor Sta­tis­tics. Bring­ing work home means men and women will need a space to work. In tight quar­ters, bed­rooms may be the only avail­able area. An ar­moire-style desk will blend in with the decor and can hide pa­per­work and elec­tron­ics be­hind doors. Oth­er­wise, a makeup van­ity can serve the dual pur­pose of pro­vid­ing a place to get ready for a night out and a ready space to house a lap­top dur­ing the day.

In smaller homes, home­own­ers may be forced to turn rooms into dual pur­pose ar­eas. (MC)

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