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A multifunctional living room—it's easier than you think

Chloe Hines Chloe Hines
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Whether you feel limited on space or are just craving a change—thinking about functionality in interior design is always important.  Living in a multifunctional way used to be confusing and rather expensive depending on the products you bought—now, this is completely different! Companies and designers alike are realizing the importance of living efficiently and have started to produce products in accordance with these ideas!

First and foremost, consider the layout of your home when making decisions about what will work for you—secondly, it's time to design and shop! Below we will discuss how to make the most out of the layout of your home and products you can either purchase or make that are multifunctional.  Efficiency, organization and convenience are the primary aspects of creating a multifunctional space—we look forward to seeing what you come up with!

The layout

Trust us, the layout of your living room is one of those priorities that is not dependent upon your personal style, tastes and pre-existing furnishings—the layout you decide to use is the most important aspect of creating a multifunctional space.  

Utilizing corners, window space and doors are all aspects of interior architecture that will have to be considered.  Another thing to consider is if you prefer open-concept or a more private, closed-concept with your interior – this will greatly affect your layout decisions.

If you have a smaller living room, make sure to leave the center of the room open to create the illusion of more leg room.  Place a great carpet or rug here and a multifunctional coffee table that can also provide storage compartments. Keep your windows open as to allow for a fresh space and place all furniture on the outer areas of the room, around the walls.

This example shows how these homeowners have taken our suggestions to mind—keeping the middle of the room open, furnishings against the wall (and all furnishings provide ample storage), as well as open windows and lack of clutter!

This example shows how the layout can really be a game-changer!

Skip a conventional sofa

We suggest that when planning for a more multifunctional space that you skip the typical concept of a sofa. Choose sofas that can either provide extra underneath storage space, an extra sleeping area—or both. As seen here, this sofa is rather minimalist and has plenty of room underneath to use small storage bins for books, magazines and even children's toys (if this is a concern for you.)

Sleeper sofas used to lack in their ability to be aesthetically pleasing, however, as designers see their importance, if not necessity, this is no longer true! It is absolutely possible to purchase a sleeper-sofa that is beautiful for almost any taste and style!

Assess your spatial needs

This photograph is a great example of multifunctionality at work!  For most homeowners, this space would be viewed as too small and even cold.  However, with assessing spatial needs the right way, this family has truly designed the interior of their home to properly provide for all essentials.  This is an example of how multiple types of living spaces can be combined by adding multiple levels to give a sense of both depth and height!


Most would view this project as requiring a lot of construction and precise planning, but think again! There are plenty of weekend DIY projects that focus on adding dorm-type spatial elements to homes where space is limited. By working with multiple levels, storage compartments and use of otherwise negative space is one way to utilize the spatiality of your home. 

Look to the ceiling

 Living room by A1 Lofts and Extensions
A1 Lofts and Extensions

Richmond Full House Refurbishment

A1 Lofts and Extensions

Your ceiling can provide a lot more than you think it can.  By adding shelving systems and built in display cases, you can fully realize the advantages of looking up! This example is great because the room is rather high, so to not use the ceiling and wall space would be doing yourself a great disservice.  

Not only are the built-in bookshelves and display cases helpful for added storage and decor, but hanging seating from the ceiling is a great choice too! You can hang a lot more than you think from the ceiling—be it seating, potted planters and hanging shelves! The possibilities are more endless than you think!

For more upper-area storage options, look at the work of Nicole Cromwell, a Hong Kong-based interior designer, here!

Use low seating

Even if you're limited on floor space, consider a sofa or couch that sits low to the ground! One thing this will do is create a sense of height in your room!  Also use floor-to-ceiling shelving systems, low accent tables and coffee tables and a plush rug to create a dimensional space!

This living room is rather large, but this design concept can certainly be realized in any size living room—believe us! It is undeniable that the sense of cosiness this room exudes is unbelievable and for a small living room, this is very important—to make it livable!

Multifunctional furniture

Pictured here is a beautiful, multifunctional piece of furniture by Nordic Function. As home furnishing companies are beginning to mass produce multifunctional pieces and even smaller, local designers are chipping in as well—it is nearly impossible to not find the proper pieces to work with. Here, Nordic Function has designed a perfect, hybrid table/storage bin/foot rest while keeping it simple, sleek and super Scandinavian.

When you find products like these, it makes you realize that design and aesthetic needn’t be lost with multifunctional furniture.  

Hidden storage

Creating areas for hidden storage in your home is really important if you're like most homeowners that have too much stuff that you're not willing to throw out.  Use built-in wall storage, as well as under-stairs storage like seen here.

You do have options when it comes to creating custom storage for you home.  A lot of home furnishing and wardrobe design companies are more than willing to come to your home and personally assess any pesky spaces you have to work with.  Another option is to DIY hidden storage, or hire a local carpenter that could do the work in a cost-effective manner.

If you're concerned about hiding the storage, think about neat fabrics that collaborate with the rest of the room design, or for something more minimal, think about sleek sliding doors!

Utilise corner space

 Living room by FUNDAMENTAL.BERLIN
FUNDAMENTAL.BERLIN

A Few Of My Favourite Things

FUNDAMENTAL.BERLIN

Pesky corner space is one of those things almost no one knows how to really work with.  However, one of our favourite designers, FUNDAMENTAL BERLIN, have clearly solved this problem! These built-in, custom-made wood shelves can be used to hold decor such as figurines, candles, containers, etc; and even any beautiful books you might have to display!

This is also an item that should inspire DIY projects for you!

For more ideas on how to maximise space at home, take a look at these space-saving tips for small apartments.

Have you designed with multifunctionality in mind? Tell us how by commenting below!
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