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Multipurpose room calls for right mix


Q: We're planning to convert a small bedroom into a home office. The space will require shelving, a filing cabinet, desk and TV set as well as a pullout bed for the occasional overnight guest. Some kind of storage compartment will be needed too, since we're going to remove the closet as part of the renovation. The room will then be 14 feet long but only 10 feet wide. Any suggestions for how to make this a cheerful as well as a functional space?

A: That's a tall order, I must say. But your goals can be achieved if you apply some of the techniques used in the similar space shown in the photograph.

Rosalie Krone, a designer in Northbrook, Ill., focused her efforts on the long wall in this multipurpose room, which serves as both a guest room and an occasional office. The Murphy-type bed flips up into the nook where that flower print now hangs.

And because the bed's underside has been covered with suede cloth, it looks like a part of the wall when in its vertical position. The suede blends perfectly with the shelving uprights, which are covered in the same material. Fluorescent-light panels have been built into the storage wall and concealed under the shelves.

The drawers on the left can be used for storing clothes. And on the right, attached to the short wall, is a table extension that can be used as a desk. A many-faceted wall unit of this sort accommodates all kinds of uses without intruding on the limited amount of floor space.

This is clearly a contemporary design, with a strong linear direction both horizontally and vertically. But in this instance, the styling is secondary to the function. In fact, the same multipurpose arrangement could be achieved with more traditional furnishings.

It's important to understand that not everything needs to be stowed away in a space like the one you're planning. The TV set can certainly be left out in the open when not in use, as can a computer, tape deck and whatever additional electronic equipment may be used in the room. No one will expect that a dual-use, 140-square-foot area should look strictly like a guest room when being used for that purpose, or like a home office when no guests are visiting.

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