Our Guide to Designing Multi-Purpose Spaces



If there is one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that we previously underestimated the versatility of our homes! Never before had we spent so much time at home and therefore, we never had to think beyond the assigned function of any given room. A living room was a living room, a guest room was a guest room and so forth! In a previous post, we touched upon the topic of multi-purpose spaces when we discussed 5 Tips for Designing a Home Office but beyond the home office, there are other opportunities for multi-purpose spaces. Here’s what to keep in mind…

Examine Your Least Used-Spaces

The best place to start is by examining the least-used areas in your home. A guest room, for example, is an obvious choice. Guest rooms tend to make particularly good areas for the aforementioned home office but they are also a great place to workout! We’re not suggesting a decked-out gym complete with a treadmill and pilates reformer but a discrete stack of dumbbells, a basket for resistance bands and a couple of yoga mats will do the trick for most at-home workouts. These are all items that can be neatly arranged in a corner or will take up little room in a closet. Unused closets, be it a walk-in or something narrower can also be surprisingly useful if you consider installing wall-mounted folding desks, nice lighting and some mirrors to brighten things up and create the illusion of space. Depending on your lifestyle and how much you drive, your garage might be a great multi-purpose opportunity. We’ve seen garages get converted into multi-use gyms, art studios, COVID-friendly entertainment spaces and more! Pictured above is a sunroom that was rarely used prior to its artful conversion to a gym meets meditation space meets reading room.

Our Client's Multi-Purpose Family Room

Look at Your Heavy-Traffic Areas & Think Beyond Their Current Use

Most of us don’t have the luxury of extra, unused space but rather are scrambling to find places to put things away. The pandemic seems to have brought about the pitter patter of little baby feet in many of our client’s homes and, as a result, we are often called upon to get creative to design multi-purpose spaces. For many clients (particularly those in condos), the family room is exactly that – a room for the whole family. This means finding a way to make it safe and fun for little ones but still chic and enjoyable for the parents. It’s normally a matter of carving out a corner for the kiddies with a padded play mat, some mini furniture and a lot of baskets to conceal toys. Pictured above is a stunning example in our client’s Forest Hill home – a room that whole family can truly enjoy. In addition to family time, these rooms are also a great place to stream your favourite workout so adding smart storage solutions will allow you to conceal or elegantly display any equipment you might need.

Find Individual Pieces that are Multi-Purpose

In order to have a multi-purpose space that still looks tidy and stylish, it’s helpful to find pieces that can perform more than one function. Sleeper sofas, for instance, have come a long way! These once hideous pieces of furniture that looked like they belonged in a Holiday Inn Express are now sleek and artfully designed, while other beds come with functional yet discrete storage drawers under the mattress. The right credenza will also serve as a desk and a carefully selected occasional chair can be pulled up as an office chair. Many elegant wall-mounted mirrors open up to concealed shelving and poufs and benches often serve as both seating and storage. To boil it down, in most cases, creating a multi-purpose space is about finding smart storage solutions so that at first glance, the room looks like it’s designed for its intended purpose and remains tidy but in reality, is so much more!