Bedrooms and Dining rooms become offices. Or dining rooms become sitting rooms or children's playrooms. Living rooms become studios. Garages are transformed into lanai-like spaces or his man cave get away. Even family rooms have not escaped the alternate room syndrome but have become production spaces for making things or conducting business. Whether we're entrepreneurs, provide home schooling, or simply live our lives "out of the box," we just don't always have the exact space we need. Frankly, I think this is great. So why not l make that alternate room as attractive and as comfortable as possible, as well as truly functional!
Remember my post on the The Man Cave, a garage was transformed into an entertainment haven that featured Harley-Davidson, motorcycle and all. Of course there is a T.V., a sofa, cocktail table, a bar and stools, high stools with table--and the might Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The room is simply loaded with "stuff." Yet, from a decorating point of view, it is very successfully and beautifully done: bold color scheme; functional and fun lighting; and a heavy duty rug. Furnishings are placed with good traffic flow. In the right corner back ground, you can see the heating unit. This underlying success for this man cave is that it is organized.
In an excellent article on 8 Ways To Rethink A Dining Room, Erika Ward of Erika Ward Interiors, takes the idea an alternate room a step further: make it an alternating room!
The idea here is to "repurpos[e] the dining room by removing the table setting and all but one chair. Now you have the home office you've been wanting. Use a couple of drawers in the adjacent buffet for file storage. Return chairs to table when company arrives. Easy. Done." -Erika Ward.
Here's another image from her article that I really love. It's especially suitable for "kid-free" home . A dining room is redesigned into a lounge.
Remember my post on Tips To Make A Room Cozy? Tip #3 suggested a little humor is always needed. Well, you make think this next idea laughable but serious dog lovers and owners will certainly get it. Actually, I had a neighbor who gave her two boxes their own bedroom--and with a T.V.! So you love your dog but prefer not to share your bedroom with her or him. Ever thought of a spare closet? How about giving the "go to place" command when you need her or him out of the way. (see second image)
Looking for more space is always a challenge when there are children in the picture. From toys, to books, to clothes, their delightful presence always fills up a room. Fortunately, there are attractive alternatives. Even when it gets messy, you can have fun with them in helping to "un-mess." Here's a closet that alternates as a reading-nook. The bi-fold doors were replaced with coordinating draperies, a happy yellow on the walls is accented with fun picture, and a comfy bench with storage space was added. Did you notice that the clothes snugly fit into a corner of the closet?
This next idea is truly another one of my favorites. It does require some remodeling. Turn dead stairway space into a play nook. As they grow up, the same space can be converted to a study space, a reading nook or just space to get away for a nap.
Shoshana Gosselin, interior designer in Breiginisville, Pa, and contributor on Houzz.com writes that there are at least 19 different alternatives to using a living room--and get better use of it based on your lifestyle. She offers are many more great ideas, and I invite you to check out her article, but here are a few of my favorites from her article: 19 Double-Duty Living Rooms
Make your living room a library:
Make it a club room:
Or a Reading Nook
Or even a music room:
The take away here is that we can of course alter the use of a home. We're no longer stuck "in the box" that says if the floor plan calls it a dining room, we have to put a dining room table in it. No doubt many of us have already done but perhaps in small ways. Why not make it even more appealing with organization and great decor.
I love the 21st Century, we're limited only by our imagination and willingness to find a way to just do it! So what am I doing about it in my apartment? Well, my dining room is the sitting room with sofa, an over-sized ottoman, and server, etc. The living room is a studio and lounge/T.V. room. And my dining nook is a reading/dining nook. The second bedroom is the office with two closets that store fabrics, finished products and premium inserts. As you may know, I have a display studio at The Artworks-Wilmington (tm), an artists village.
What's your alternative room? Oh please, do tell!!