If we could afford a 6,000 square foot house, and I had the time and energy to clean such a palace, I would have a separate room for everything. Two or three bedrooms for possible future children, a state-of-the-art home gym, a luxurious guest bedroom, and a giant art studio. Alas, our three bedroom house will not sprout a fourth bedroom as much as I try to coax it. But with a little creative designing, this multi-purpose room has served all the functions we need it to. Which just goes to show that you don’t necessarily need to have a huge house in order to have a beautiful and functional home.
Our 12×12 spare bedroom serves three purposes: guest bedroom, craft room, and home gym. The rose-colored couch folds flat for guests, and I love both the color and the midcentury modern design. This is one of the spaces in our house where my wife let me go crazy with a more feminine color palette. She hates the color pink, so she must really love me to allow this piece of furniture in our home! I painted the walls a light peach color, and hung a pretty wall tapestry to tie the colors together. A stack of floor cushions provide a nice footrest, and can be moved around to make a comfy spot to sit on the floor while working on larger art projects.
The floor is covered with grey interlocking exercise mats. Most of the exercise mats that I’ve seen are ugly black rubber, but the color of these allow the room to maintain its light and airy feel. I like these because they provide cushion while working out, are easy to clean, and can easily be switched out if one of them gets scuffed (or scratched up by the cat). A large open space in the middle of the room allows us to do our yoga, weightlifting, interval training, etc. Weights are easily accessible underneath the couch.
Now, I realize that my treadmill cushions are pretty silly–I’m sure more practical people than I would find them outright ridiculous. But I hate having an ugly black treadmill in the corner, clashing with the decor, and always staring at you, judging you for not exercising! We use our treadmill a lot, especially during the winter, so it had to stay, and it’s too heavy to fold up and tuck away. Since it’s positioned next to a lovely south-facing window, I started thinking about disguising it as a window seat while not in use. I found a triangular folding floor cushion at Urban Outfitters–it fits nicely on the track, and provides a comfortable spot to sit by the window to read or sketch. The cushions are quick and easy to move when we do actually want to work out, and the rest of the time, I think they make the treadmill look so much more cohesive with the rest of the room.
I wanted a craft desk in this room, but I didn’t want to take up valuable gym floor space by putting the desk against a wall. So we decided to do a somewhat crazy thing: put the desk in the closet! We removed the closet doors and the interior shelves, painted the interior walls a warm mauve, and headed to IKEA for the desk components. We were able to use three of these drawer units for the base of the desk, and topped them with a kitchen countertop, which we cut to the length of our closet. The FINTORP kitchen rail storage system is useful for storing pens, pencils, ribbon, and tools. In place of the closet doors, we hung a pair of curtains so that when the craft desk is a mess, we can easily hide it out of sight.
I also made a cute bulletin board for the wall behind the desk. I started with a set of 6 (12 x 12 inch) cork tiles, and used masking tape and white spray paint to make straight and diagonal stripes. I then glued the cork down onto a large piece of recycled cardboard, and covered the small gaps between each cork board with some burlap ribbon. I used some pieces of leftover white wall trim to frame the piece.
No matter how bright the room, a desk inside a closet will be a little bit dark. So a good desk lamp and some copper fairy lights like these, which I tacked up around the bulletin board, are a must.
To maintain as much storage space inside the closet as possible, we have two shelves above the desk. One of the shelves is in the top of the closet behind the wall, and is only accessible with a footstool, but it is very useful for the random large items that we accumulate, like empty picture frames, fabric batting, and gift boxes. To keep the lower, visible shelf from looking cluttered, I organized things with some water hyacinth storage baskets. Useful tip: these inexpensive plastic bag dispensers from IKEA work well for storing long rolls of wrapping paper and craft paper. We hung them on the wall at the end of the desk where they are not very visible.
In an empty corner, we had space for a couple of baskets to hold extra craft supplies and small exercise items like our gym shoes and headphones.
All in all, this room fits everything that we need it to. It’s an inviting and relaxing space for us to use in our daily activities, and it’s not too embarrassingly cluttered to offer it to guests. I’d encourage everyone with a small or midsize home to think a little bit outside the box in terms of home design– a few simple things, like removing some closet doors and putting some pillows on a treadmill can make all the difference in creating a truly multi-purpose room.
Feel free to share, and happy designing 🙂