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Patrick Landrum, Interior Designer,
PL&D/Patrick Landrum Design

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Multi-tasking doesn’t work…unless you’re a room



Multi-tasking...The buzzword of the 90’s and 2000’s has gotten a bad rap these days. According to many studies, (google it and you will find them) multi-tasking just doesn’t work, in fact it makes your tasks suffer…unless you are a room!

Today’s home is a place for relaxing, entertaining, playing, studying and increasingly working. Of course we can’t forget sleeping, bathing, overnight guests and the list goes on. What to do with all these activities often occurring at the same time? Does the space have to be dismantled for the next use? That’s not very practical is it…

Everyone is familiar with the desk in the kids bedroom, the sofa bad in the guest room, and the pool table in the family room, but is that it?

Today we are going to review some wonderful options you might want to incorporate within your own spaces. Your first task (one at a time remember?) is to take inventory of all the things you do or would like to do in your home. Then, without regard to the logistics, or remoteness of the existing options, where would you and your family like to do them.

Next review the room combinations and photos below and see if any of these multitasking ideas resonate with you. See anything you like? Now go back to your list start looking around for options within your spaces. There really are no rules, as long as it works for you!

  •     Living/Game rooms- Obviously the pool table comes to mind, but having a small table with chairs in a corner or behind a sofa, can double as a game table or tea table for visitors and study table too. Add some bookshelves and you've got a library too!
  •    Home office/craft room- Using built-ins and pullout drawers to hide sewing machines, art supplies, and more can keep the spaces neat
  •   Closet work centers- Hidden study cubbies, with dropdown writing surfaces, computer stations, and file drawers are an easy fix and can still incorporate typical closet functions if planned well. Think pulldown rods, and back of door storage.
  •     Living spaces with different views- Have a gorgeous view and a fireplace too? Or even the dreaded flatscreen TV!  Don’t try to capitalize on both at the same time. Create space within space with different seating areas for each.
  •    Kitchens with breakfast bars are a longtime favorite. Consider comfy upholstered seating instead of the typical bar stools. You might want to stay clear of some fabrics if the dining surface is close to the range to avoid airborne cooking oils!
  •    Guest room/Media/Home office- This is a favorite also. Daybeds can function as sofas, and sleeping, and the sleeper sofa has come a very long way. For something different think Murphy bed, you won’t believe what’s out there! Check out some basic styles at www.bedderway.com
  •    Dining room/Library- My personal favorite, a bookshelf lined dining room can feel downright luxurious, and when you add leather lounge type host chairs it doubles as a classic study/library.
  •     Stairs and stairwells- The walls surrounding the stairs, and the spaces underneath them lend themselves to shelving very well. In particular book shelves, allowing use of high wall space, and otherwise awkward shaped spaces.
  •    See more options in the photos below!


Nothing new in the above photograph. The billiard table has always found a home in the family room.



The ubiquitous flat screen TV is now in every room...nicely camouflaged here. This bane of designer's existence...should only be the focal point in a home theater or media room. Correct placement and attention allows for a room to function around the TV instead of being owned by it.

                                                                                          Colorado Kitchen Designs

The breakfast bar another favorite- this element can be at counter or bar height as it is here.


Check out this home office/lounge/sewing room!


Separate seating for fire or water...."multiple" groupings can "multiply" the functions of any room!


The utility room in a bath can be a real space saver!


The modern home office disguised as a console table


Clever use of a hallway windows- Bookshelves obstruct minimal light while effectively storing the owners library.



This wonderful dining room doubles as study/library. The large upholstered chairs act as host/hostess chairs and also provide lounge seating.



The stacked living room library with spiral stair access and catwalk is not only functional but is highly dramatic.


Under stair space can be used for a mini library


or converted into a home office/study nook


Guest suite complete with a living area and shoji screen divider


This lower stair landing holds the home library, and is also a music room with soaring ceilings and wonderful acoustics


Whimsical home office off the foyer also acts as a sitting room


This niche looks more like an appealing decorative vignette than a home office station



Believe it or not that gorgeous armoire in the corner hides a queen size Murphy bed



Freshome Bookworm's Paradise
via Freshome Design and Architecture

This is a remarkable library/staircase in wood. Books on all surrounding walls, and beneath the stair. Be sure to click on the link to see the entire staircase...it even includes a cantilevered reading nook flooded with natural light!


And as an added treat check out this little video from Resource Furniture showing some of the most innovative offerings in space saving, and mutli-tasking furnishings...



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