Double-duty rooms use every square inch

  • By Melissa Kossler Dutton Associated Press
  • Tuesday, November 19, 2013 2:27pm
  • Life

Washing clothes in the bedroom. Sending email from the laundry room.

Busy Americans are demanding more from each room in the house, and with the holiday (read “guest”) season upon us, there is a definite need for multipurpose rooms.

Wendy Danziger, owner of Danziger Design in Bethesda, Md., has helped clients create rooms for eating and watching television; housing guests and working from home; sleeping and doing laundry.

Some homebuilders have added space for seating, desks and charging stations in the laundry room.

Furniture manufacturers, too, are helping to make every square inch count, said Pat Bowling, spokeswoman for the American Home Furnishings Alliance in High Point, N.C. Modern pieces include end tables that double as file cabinets, coffee tables with adjustable heights to accommodate working at a computer or eating, and chests with docking stations for electronics.

“Today’s furniture is multitasking furniture that can help you stay organized, stay connected and keep clutter at bay,” said Kim Shaver of Hooker Furniture in Martinsville, Va.

“In versatile styles and silhouettes, these pieces fit any room — from the kitchen to the bedroom and from the family room to the entry hall or foyer — and provide multiple functions in each room.”

Danziger says a console table with hinged leaves is a good option for a TV room that sometimes needs to become a dining room.

When guests come for dinner, just slide the table away from the wall under the television and extend the leaves to create a table that seats up to six people.

Nesting tables — stacking tables of different sizes — also help increase the functionality of a space, she said. She often puts them on wheels so they can easily be rolled to another area of the room for another use.

“Once home offices were the rage,” she said. Now, “it is not unusual to see living spaces where people eat, sleep, work and play games just for the sake of living in a city where one can walk to everything, including their office.”

Frank Pitman of Frank Pitman Designs in Orange County, Calif., also has seen the trend. “There’s a lot of dual-purpose space happening,” he said.

He has had a growing number of clients putting laundry facilities in their bedroom closets. “They are already storing the clothing there. Why not wash the clothing right there?” he said.

Some of his clients like having a room’s secondary use come as a surprise: Television or computer screens that seem to “appear from nowhere” are good examples, he said.

Murphy beds, which are stored vertically in a cabinet along a wall, or Murphy desks, which slide out bookshelves, are another way to keep a space’s other function hidden.

Often the need to get more use out of a space arises when an elderly parent joins the household, a grown child returns home or a young family hires a live-in nanny, said Amy Albert, editor of Custom Home Magazine in Washington, D.C.

“Multiple generations needs multifunctioning space,” she said.

More in Life

Bob Jepperson’s Wild Love Story

A perfect circle of sounds, pictures and storytelling from the Anacortes author.

‘Shape of Water,’ ‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globe nominations

“The Post” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” also collected a number of nominations.

Mukilteo Police Chief Cheol Kang is known for his people skills

The city’s top cop’s calm demeanor and holistic approach earns him the nickname “Yoda.”

Three posh places to escape this winter in north Puget Sound

Whether it’s wine country, backcountry or the seashore, a relaxing retreat is close at hand.

Getting a glimpse of what’s coming as we age

Everett Public Library reading to help you understand the changes ahead in your elder years.

This author is throwing a virtual party for book lovers

Jennifer Bardsley is hosting a Facebook get-together for young-adult book authors and readers.

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Taylor Johnston waters a philodendron at her home on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Three guidebooks to help the novice houseplant gardener

Indoor plants are popular again — and we’re not talking about your grandma’s African violets.

Bustling Dublin offers big-city sights and Irish charm

The dynamic city has a great story to tell, and people who excel at telling it.

Most Read