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Style Magazine

Be Our Guest

May 28, 2010 05:46AM ● By Style

When my brothers and I moved out of our parents’ home, one by one, my mother turned what could have been a melancholy succession of events into multiple reasons to celebrate.

Suddenly, she had three new rooms and endless possibilities at her fingertips. “What will it be,” I imagined her conspiring from my first apartment on the other side of town. “A sewing room? A home gym?” Of course, my father beat her to the punch and announced they were moving to a smaller house, but in the end she did get one extra space to work with in her new abode. My mom’s situation is one that many empty nesters are confronted with after a child leaves the home for good: what to do with the extra room?

For many, the answer is obvious...a guest room. And that’s not a bad choice since you never know when your kid’s going to come back knocking on the front door with a suitcase in hand. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own and diversify the room to accommodate more than an extra bed. Here are a few suggestions for turning an ordinary guest bedroom into a multi-purpose living space.

  1. If you covet more options, start with a sofa bed. I’m sure the mere mention of a sofa bed will produce multiple groans from readers. But, be assured, not all retractable beds are created equal, and some don’t even retract. Take the day bed. This nifty creation functions as a bed and sofa without even moving so much as a cushion for transformation. Plus it makes a wonderful place to curl up with a book or take a catnap. If you do end up going for the traditional pull-out sofa option, give it a test run before committing. There’s nothing less inviting to a guest than a thin and lumpy mattress.
  2. With all that space, why not co-mingle with a home office. The beauty of a home office or studio is that both really only require a nice desk and a few functional shelves to get the job done. A little creative arranging and you can double your guest room with a quiet place to get some work done, whether it be on a computer, a drafting board or an easel. Plus, the addition of a few bookshelves can be the start of a great little home library.
  3. If you’re already set up with a couch, why not install a fantastic home theatre system and create a screening room. To keep walls clear of heavy equipment, try hanging a projector from the rear of the room and project on an empty wall. Clever placement of a speaker here and there, and you can have a private place to watch movies and cuddle on the couch with some popcorn.
  4. Or just go and create the guest bedroom of your dreams. Sometimes it’s better to keep it simple and make a guest bedroom a TRUE guest room. Designers at heart will love picking out the furniture and décor of a second bedroom, anticipating the comfort and needs of future guests. Enjoy it; you know your visitors will!