Blog Post

How to make your spare room double as a home office

  • Guest bedroom
  • Home office
  • Small Spaces
  • Spare bedroom
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Olivia Lowry
grey winged headboard bed with red and blue bed linen

Bedroom offices aren’t anything new, and if you’re anything like us, working from home is a pretty regular part of life these days. In a recent survey, two fifth’s of the public said they’d prioritise a house with a home office if they were looking to buy*. But what happens if you don’t have the luxury of a separate office space?

We can dream about having a fancy office room at home, but until then, creating a multi-purpose spare room office is necessary. That, or your options are working from the dining room table. Not ideal.  Every inch of space matters, and so does creating a comfortable room for friends to stay over in. In this week’s post, we’ll share some of our best ideas for creating your own dedicated workspace that doubles up as a guest bedroom when you need it to.

Have the desk double up as a bedside

desk used as bedside table

Image: @stylemepretty

Let’s face it - not everyone has the luxury of a separate home office. If you’re combining the two, it makes sense to make furniture multipurpose. Find a lower-height desk and place this next to your spare room bed. This means there’s no need for a bedside, and you still get a great space to work from, without the need to move any furniture around when guests come (just don’t forget to tidy up all those post-it notes you’ve been hoarding before then).

Choose wall art that relaxes

sofa bed with landscape art on wall

Picture this - it’s Monday AM, you log on after a relaxing weekend and see the dreaded “Can we have a chat” message in your inbox. Work life can be busy and chaotic, so it’s important to create a space that feels calming. If your home office is doubling as a spare room for guests, you’ll want to create the same relaxing feeling to get those all-important hosting points. The easiest way to bring a little zen into your spare room/office space is by adding wall art. Choose abstract art pieces in calming earthy colours, or try oversized prints of beautiful landscapes.

Install the right type of curtains

home office spare bedroom

Image: @craftifair

Nobody wants to spend zoom calls squinting and dealing with screen glare. Invest in decent quality curtains that diffuse the light, so you can still take advantage of sunny days whilst working. When your guests come over, make sure your spare room office the right window treatments. Getting these sorted means they’ll be able to sleep soundly, without being abruptly woken up at 6am when the sun comes up. Choose blackout blinds to give your guests the best chance at a lazy lie-in, or opt for light-filtering curtains that diffuse direct sunlight for an equally restful sleep.

Keep your work area organised

tidy desk with laptop stand

They won’t admit it, but your guests aren’t going to feel a homely vibe if they’re surrounded by last week’s expense reports and sky-high notepads. This is why keeping things neat is really important in a spare room office space. Stay organised and incorporate plenty of storage with a combination of drawers, shelves and cabinets. Keep your desk area as clear as possible, and get into the habit of tidying up after logging off. If you’ve got to have some work stuff on your desk because there’s a shortage of space, try desk organisers and under-monitor drawers to keep the clutter at bay. Tidy space = tidy mind.

Consider a sofa bed

red velvet sofa bed

A guest room needs a bed, right? Yes and no. Your first thought might be to add in a double bed and work out where to squeeze the desk into later, but this isn’t always the best option. Floor space is usually a challenge in combined spare room offices, so you’ll want to opt for furniture that can fold away. Use a sofa bed as somewhere different to sit whilst working that can be easily folded out when guests are over. If your space is still too small for this, chair beds are your best bet. Both these options will save you precious floor space for the days your home office is used for emails and admin, and are much comfier than a creaky camp bed or blow up mattress.

Pick calming colours

neutral colour bedroom decor

Image: @remodelista

We’re all victims of the 3pm slump on a work day. You know the one - post-lunch, not quite the end of the day, and usually likely to happen the further you get towards the weekend. There’s loads of research out there to suggest colours can help our focus, but what about if the place you work from also has to double up as a relaxing bedroom? Get this element of your spare room/home office covered by choosing calming colours for walls and decor. Go bright and energising with pastels and neutrals, or head down a more cosy and statement look with warm, dark tones.

Hide wires out of sight

cable management behind bedside table desk

Got guests staying over? Save them from stumbling over laptop wires during night-time dashes to the bathroom. Keep your cables neat in your home office spare room by using trunking and other cable management systems. Fixing cables to walls is a better idea too. There’s nothing more frustrating than a table leg or a desk chair wheel getting caught up in a cable whilst you’re trying to move furniture around for a spontaneous sleepover.  This is why keeping floors free of any obstructions is really important in offices that double up as spare rooms. Paint over cable trunking in the same colour as your walls to help seamlessly blend it in to the room’s overall look - your guests will barely notice it’s there.

Add a mirror

mirror over desk space

Image: @athertable

Yep, we’re talking about that age-old trick of using mirrors to make small rooms feel bigger. Don’t feel confined to using mirrors in just bathrooms and main bedrooms - your guests need somewhere to get ready too. Opt for full-length mirrors to really open up the room and reflect light around. Avoid glare and keep a bit of privacy on zoom calls by placing your mirror anywhere but the opposite wall to your desk. If your guests would appreciate a dressing table, choose a desk that has enough space for a small fold-out mirror that can be added before they come to stay.

Double up with storage ottomans

green storage ottoman with grey bed

In multi-purpose rooms, hidden storage reigns supreme. Hosting sleepovers means getting extra bedding sorted, and there isn’t always space in the rest of your house to store spare duvets and pillows. Storage ottomans are a great option for home office spare rooms for this exact reason. Stow away all guest essentials, and use the ottoman as extra comfortable seating for your desk space when your friends aren’t there. A decorative tray placed on top of an ottoman is a low-effort but high-impact way of creating a beautiful bedside table for your guests. 

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