Multitasking Home Office Advice

Spending a night in your own guest bedroom can help you see what's missing. Then you can add those final essentials so your guests will feel right at home.

Sherry and John Petersik of younghouselove.com offer their advice on how to create a multifunctional home office that can double as an inviting guest room.

Help! We have a 12x13-foot room we currently use as an office (Craig works from home part-time). But with the holidays coming, we need a guest bedroom. Do you have any suggestions for keeping the home office intact while adding a spot for family and friends to sleep? How do we keep it from getting too crowded or chaotic? --Cara & Craig

Sherry: We created an office/guest bedroom in a 10x10-1/2-foot room in our house, so it can be done! After much deliberation, we purchased a comfortable sofa bed with a full-size mattress. When we use the room as an office, it doesn't take up much floor space; when guests roll into town, we fold it out to accommodate them.

John: Other space-saving ideas include a daybed with or without a trundle or a Murphy bed (which folds up against the wall when not in use). We've even seen armchairs that fold out to reveal a twin-size mattress. There are always air mattresses that are both comfortable and inviting with the addition of crisp and cozy linens (some mattresses even rise to the height of a normal bed). So that's an affordable, easy-to-store option.

Sherry: After creating a sleeping space, you'll also want to bring in baskets, bins, and other concealed storage solutions for housing anything that screams office. Tucking away bills, computer cords, files, and other office accessories will make the space feel like a welcoming guest bedroom instead of a corporate cubicle.

John: Although you might not be able to fully hide the fact that the room also serves as an office, play up the guest room aspect of the space. Visitors always appreciate a clock, a mirror, an outlet for cell phone charging, a spot to set down their suitcase, and some sort of night table for jewelry and a glass of water (we clear a shelf on a nearby bookcase for this purpose).

Sherry: And a few extras are always sweet, like hooks on the back of the door with fluffy bath towels, closet space to hang clothing, a framed photo of you and your guests (you can change it out for every visitor), a basket of travel-size toiletries with an extra toothbrush or two, and a chocolate on the pillow.

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