Along with the pandemic came room reshuffling. Guest rooms turned into offices, kitchens became study spaces and garages places to work out. But as many of us continue to work from home some or all of the time, now may not be the time to ditch the guest room-office combo altogether. Interiors expert Emma Hooton of Studio Hooton explains how a well-designed hybrid room can offer the best of both worlds: the perfect bedroom for guests, and an ideal space in which to study, work or chill.
Double your space with a multi-purpose room
Emma Hooton, Interiors expert, Studio Hooton
While an office study and guest bedroom have distinctly different uses, they can work well together. My preference is to celebrate their unique functions rather than to hide them behind a room partition or divider which can feel a little unwelcoming and disrupts a room’s flow. The trick for achieving the perfect bedroom-office space rests in achieving harmony, which comes from using balance, scale, proportion and repetition through colour, pattern or materials in exactly the right amounts.
Top tips on tricking out your hybrid room
Furniture: Nailing furniture size is important for any layout. Furniture that’s too small in scale will make a room feel sparse and uncomfortable. Too-big pieces will make a room feel small and may even disrupt its circulation. You don’t want to side-step furniture or bump into corners as you climb into bed. Aesthetically, an elegant desk with refined legs and ideally a hidden storage compartment for stationery will flow better in a room that has to function as both an office and inviting bedroom. With the addition of a vanity mirror and light, an attractive desk table can also double as a dressing table when guests stay.
Chair: While the #1 must-have for any office chair is comfort, it also needs to look the part in a hybrid space. A stylish upholstered office chair is preferable to a big and bulky ergonomic chair more in keeping with the boardroom, and can also double as an occasional chair when guests stay. A throw blanket over the back of a chair can also help to create a welcoming look. Be mindful that chairs with high backs can disrupt the visual flow of the room, as will a chair with arm rests unless they tuck under the table. Chairs with height adjustment and modest but sufficient seat depth and width will look best in a mixed-use space.
Lighting: A room needs a mix of light sources – overhead, task and accent lighting. This will enable you to adjust the lighting to suit your mood, function, e.g. sleeping or working, or the light needs of the time of day. A modern desk lamp can be a striking piece of home-office décor, not simply a functional tool for better ergonomics, and if attractive, can serve as a reading light when guests stay. Modern lights with different brightness levels and colour-temperature modes can help you better meet the needs of a multi-use space.
Storage: Having a clutter-free sleep environment is vital to helping you switch off and get a good night’s sleep. Ideally you need enough storage to hide away work items and guest robes and linen, plus a few areas where you can have nicer objects and accessories on display. Nicely labelled fabric boxes are a quick fix way to store everyday clutter if you have open shelves. Fitted joinery however is generally the best way to make the most of any space.
Greenery: Aside from the health and wellbeing benefits of including plants within the home, the colour, shape and texture of plants can help to unify a space and create a consistent visual experience. Plants also bring positive vibes to an office environment while softening the overall aesthetic, making them ideal for a guest room. Choosing the right plants for your room’s light and temperature is important as nothing looks sadder than a sickly plant. Plants such as dracaena, calathea or rubber plants are low maintenance and can survive pretty much any environment. Rounded leafy plants feel softer in a bedroom than spikey or sharp leaves.
Bedlinen: It stands to reason that the bed in your bedroom-office needs to look super neat. Clean white fresh linen will provide a pleasing backdrop and help the bed recede. This will also project a better image in work video calls, though a virtual background is probably best! A quick way to smarten a bed is to drape a gorgeous white cotton bedspread across the entire bed, and to accessorise with a long white bolster cushion in front of your pillows. The bedlinen also needs to look clean and fresh. Adding cushions in pops of colour that tie in with the headboard or curtains can be a good way to further unify the office with the bedroom.
For more tips on creating the perfect bed see How to Make a Luxury Hotel Bed.
Emma is the founder of Studio Hooton which provides residential interior design services across London and south-east England.
Emma Hooton - www.studiohooton.com
Photography by: Martin Gardner - martingardner.com