Open Home: How to create multipurpose guest rooms

As Christmas approaches, one more thing to worry about on the ever-increasing list is how to create a multi-purpose guest room for the family and friends who come to stay once a year, without tying up precious space in your home.

But, according to interior designer Meredith Lee, it can happen quite easily.

"Multi-use rooms are the key to doubling the feel of a home," says Lee. "Whether it's sectioning off spaces to create study nooks with creative uses of bookshelves as room dividers or adapting a living space into a guest bedroom at short notice."

She says the easiest thing to do is start with an idea of the main purpose of the room - for example, understanding whether you have a lot of guests coming to stay or just a few every now and then.

Likewise, if you only use the space as a study from time to time, cabinetry that hides away the workspace will help you relax in the room when there's no work to be done.

Furniture designers are also helping in the trend towards more efficient storage options for living rooms and guest bedrooms, such as King Living, an Australian furniture manufacturer that has specialised in innovation, quality and design, superior comfort and enduring performance for the past 40 years.

David Hardwick, global buying manager for King Living, says functional furniture such as the brand's award-winning Delta sofa and multi-award-winning Jasper provide a place to sit as well as storage, making them perfect for multi-use rooms, especially as their modular designs can be reconfigured and have backs and arms that can be repositioned.

King Living has recently released The Reo Grand sofa bed, blending contemporary design, functionality and comfort. It also features Smart pockets on the arms to accommodate side tables that swivel, as well as phone charging, adjustable lights and wireless speakers to make small spaces extremely functional.

"Most customers will be surprised when you reveal this sofa bed as the form helps to mask the function hidden within," says Hardwick. "A 15-stage adjustable headrest complemented by the streamlined aesthetic and deep-seated comfort create what we believe is the most comfortable sofa bed on the market."

King Living's Felix Studio bed is another innovative option, with a quick conversion that only requires the push of a button as it's fully automated. The armless model is also perfect for small spaces without compromising on seating space and King Living products come with a 25-year steel frame warranty.

"When choosing one, it's best to try and operate the sofa bed yourself when browsing various options, and have a good lie on the mattress or press down firmly to see where the lumps might be. Also consider the full size when opened to ensure there is still enough space within the room to move around the bed."

Lighting is another important consideration when multi-purposing a room, and it can be tricky - such as having a bedside reading lamp rather than a floor lamp to provide the flexibility to turn a bedroom design into a living room area with minimal effort.

"It's also about clever use of colour - in bedroom environments blues and greens are more calming and cooler colours make spaces seem larger," says Lee. "You want to keep the guest room in synch with the rest of the house so any patterns, colours and textures are consistent. A guest room should feel different, but not completely different, to the others."

And while it's important to live in the moment, also consider adapting to life stages when you're designing your guest bedroom and what the room could be used for in the future. Just don't make your guest rooms too comfortable. As Benjamin Franklin said: "Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days???"

This story Open Home: How to create multipurpose guest rooms first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.