Expert gives ideas on making a dual-purpose room work.
Professional organizer and Mission: Organization guest Liz Witts offers web-exclusive tips.
Define the room.
Evaluate your space to decide what its main purpose is. If you have a dining room that needs to double as an office and library, focus on the main purpose of the room first. It is a space for eating FIRST, and then it is an office, and lastly a library.
Divide the space according to what you will use it for the most. Make dining a priority in the dining room and then create tucked-away space to accommodate office supplies and equipment. Use closed storage solutions for your desk area (like a computer armoire with doors) when it needs to be in an unusual spot, such as your dining room. This will make your office blend in with your room and not stick out like a sore thumb.
Streamline your books.
You may not want to hear this, but f you read it already and don't plan on re-reading it, you need to let it go. I know it was a great book, but it is taking up space on your shelves and potentially keeping out other great reading material. If it was so great, then share it with a friend and let them enjoy it as much as you did.
Reference books are great to have as part of your library IF you are actually going to refer to them. If not, then you know what to do! If you do decide to keep a reference book, make sure the material is current or relevant to the times. Remember, there is tons of available information on the Internet, a very valuable paperless resource.
Make your pieces multi-task.
Don't let your seating be just seating — force it to pull double duty. Install a window seat and gain storage and extra seating, as well as a beautiful, visual addition to your room. Window seats are a great way to disguise items you need to have in a space but don't necessarily want to display. Use them to store larger toys, extra blankets or even the kids' backpacks. When an item multi-tasks for you, it is a winning situation for you and your space!