Create guest space within a full house

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

As I write this, I cannot help but look at the publish date and smile. It is the day that baby No. 2 is due to arrive. Planning ahead for this baby, my husband and I anticipate many of the same highs and lows we experienced with our first, including an abundance of out-of-town visitors.

While we have family and friends here, the majority of our family members live in Ohio. This means that if they want to come meet the baby, they will have to make a vacation out of it. We have three bedrooms — one for us, one for our daughter and one for the baby. Luckily, the baby’s room is big enough to accommodate both a crib and a bed.

With limited space, this room will have to pull double-duty. It will serve as both a nursery and a guest room. In Hawaii, where space is at a premium, it is not uncommon to outfit rooms to serve dual functions, whether it is a nursery-guestroom combo or an office-guestroom. Read on for some tips for making it work in your space.

To start, keep it clean. If you plan to double the space as a home office, keep gadgets, papers and office supplies to a minimum. If possible, add closed storage to keep these things tucked away and out of sight. Try to cut down on trinkets, accessories and over-the-top decor as well. An abundance of accessories will clutter the space and may force you to define it one way or the other.

Of course, it’s always nice if you can provide a bed. You can add a daybed to give guests a space to sit during the day and a place to sleep at night. You could also consider more discreet options like a Murphy bed or a pullout couch. If you need storage, consider a platform bed with drawers underneath. Tuck the bed against a wall so that you can take full advantage of the remaining space.

Next, make some room. Remember that the point of the room, no matter which functions you decide, is to provide a space for people. Give your guests plenty of space to walk around, to place a suitcase or two on the floor, and to unpack their things in the closet. Avoid bulky furniture and place dressers in the closet. Keep some of the drawers empty, and leave space on the closet rods as well.

You can also add a rug. Tie the space together with a large area rug. It should be big enough to go underneath the main furniture items in the space: the desk and bed or the crib and the bed.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.