I recently saw a Stayz ad that talked about multifunctional spaces, for example living room/yoga studio/home cinema, and so on. In the last two years our homes have had to accommodate more functions. More working from home, more exercising, home schooling and generally more people at home at the same time for extended periods of time. So here are my tips on making multifunctional spaces work.
When I start working with a client, I always ask them what the primary function of a space is. There is always a primary function. For example, the primary function of a dining room or dining zone is dining. The secondary function of a dining table could also be work, homework, arts and craft or other hobbies, even laundry.
The other question I ask is who uses the space, how many people use it and at what times of the day. When people are limited by volume of space or number of rooms, breaking down who uses the space, what times of the day, for what function really helps to select the right furniture and furniture layout.
Sound has always been an issue in an open plan environment. Try watching TV when someone is in the kitchen washing pots and pans and it can be frustrating for the TV viewer. If someone needs to work or do their homework at the dining table, a TV could be distracting.
You might have to adjust what you do and what times of the day based around who else you live with and their routines. Fundamentally, a compromise might be necessary. For example, you might need to watch a TV program on a tablet in a bedroom while someone uses the dining room for work or homework.
It’s important to think creatively about how you can do what you want in your home and fortunately with technology there are some options to consider.
With more people working from home and some people needing to share one home office space, taking private business calls has become an issue. Again, this might mean that one person has to be move to another space to take a private call, for example the laundry.
Privacy is also an issue for exercising, meditating or yoga practice. Generally, people like to do these activities in private without an audience. So, knowing who uses a space and what times of the day as suggested is useful to know for physical activity as a function.
Creating a roster is also a good idea when space is limited and in high demand from a number of people for a number of functionalities. Of course, it is possible to ask a space to do too much. Trying to furnish a space for anymore that two functions is difficult. For example, a home office/guest rooms works because it’s not often you have guest.
But for space with one or more regular functions requires compromise, creative thinking such as the use of technology, or a café to undertake some work or exercise can happen outside. Thinking laterally and beyond the walls of a space, is the key to making multifunctional spaces work.