Multiple Personalities: 10 Fantastically Flexible Spaces in Today's Home

Many people today not only live in their homes but also work, play, and entertain in them too, all in the comfort of their favorite place. You can do the same, so long as you don't let your home's size limit its potential uses. One secret to making your home more functional is to create multipurpose spaces—living rooms, dining rooms, and spare rooms—that do double or even triple duty. To get a sense of the possibilities, check out this selection of skilled and stylish multitaskers.

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  1. Triple Duty: Office, Dining, and Living Combo


    This bright and cheery living/dining room makes good use of double-duty furniture, including a dining table that also serves as an expansive workspace. Modular glass-fronted cabinets neatly store filing boxes, books, and glassware. A chair hung high on the wall provides an additional shelf but is easily retrieved when it's needed for entertaining.

  2. Romantic Quick-Change Room


    This multipurpose room switches quickly between office and guest room thanks to furniture that's easily moved and changed. When overnight guests arrive, the two filing cabinets and floating desktop roll out of the room, and the blue desk lamps become bedside companions. The wall-mounted pinboard and file folder rack are smart and compact, attractive for a home office and guest room alike.

  3. Clean Clothes, Clean Dog


    This charming mudroom/laundry room houses a front-loading washer and dryer as well as a handy dog-washing station that makes bathing Rover a breeze. With abundant counter space for folding laundry (or brushing a small- to medium-size dog), the room is awash in natural light and such amenities as a vintage drying rack and glass-fronted storage cabinets. Sensible tile flooring is easy to clean up and a good solution for muddy people and dogs.

  4. A Little Dinner Music


    If your entertaining habits run to intimate affairs instead of large gatherings, consider downsizing your dining table to allow your formal dining room to double as a music room. The high ceilings and polished hardwood floors of this lovely space create a perfect backdrop for a black baby grand piano. French doors, large windows, and a muted rug add to the room's classic appeal.

  5. A Basement Hideaway for Two


    This surprisingly light and airy basement is more than a family room—it’s also a laundry room. The front-loading washer and dryer hide behind white bifold cupboard doors, while laundry supplies are tucked away behind the matching paneled door of the adjoining closet. White walls and a muted color palette, along with a small window, keep the space bright and clean looking.

  6. Clean, Pretty, and Practical


    This spacious laundry room accommodates not only the washer, dryer, laundry tub, and upper laundry storage cabinets, it also has enough space to hold a generous pantry and broom closet. Four large cupboards store dry goods, small appliances, and cleaning supplies behind bright white doors.

  7. A Triple Threat


    This former garage got a multipurpose makeover that transformed it into the perfect man cave. With a built-in entertainment unit occupying center stage in front of the sofa, the room also features a full-service bar and abundant storage, including illuminated wine cabinets and wine fridge. If the TV doesn't keep you entertained, there's always pool, the piano, darts . . .

  8. Work at Home


    This cozy living room and office has everything a work-at-home professional needs—with personality to boot! The L-shaped sofa and work area bring a sense of order and balance to the room, while the white color scheme keeps the small space from feeling cramped. Built-in storage streamlines the look and controls clutter.

  9. Bedroom? Living Room? Office?


    It’s all three. When it comes to creating multipurpose rooms, hotels get five stars. This studio room at Marriott’s Kauai Beach Club in Hawaii transforms from living to sleeping space with a nifty Murphy bed that flips down from the wall. A kitchenette and a dining table that doubles as a desk will make a convert out of anyone who thinks one-room living is unappealing.


  10. A Literary Lunch and Lounge


    This high-ceilinged, large-windowed multipurpose room is a splendid library, lounge, and dining room. Sit with a leisurely coffee and enjoy the street view, then curl up on the small sofa with a favorite book. Dark wood furnishings, artwork on the bookcase, a library ladder, and a lively rug make this traditional multifunctional room a charming place to unwind.

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