When a child leaves home for college, you’ll finally be able to reclaim that extra bedroom.
Whether you need to use it as a home office space or you want to upgrade it to be a more grown up guest room, it’s time to start planning now—before they get home for break.
With a few tweaks, you can make the child’s former bedroom a home office that doubles as a guest room for visitors.
You’ll be able to use the area every day, and your college student will still have a spot to crash during breaks from school.
1. Choose the Right Bed.
Another strategy is to use your child’s bed.
“If the room is being changed from a teenager’s room, then the bed in the room just needs to be moved against the longest wall in the room,” explains Julie Finch-Sally, managing director of The Duster Dollies. “This way the wall becomes the back of the sofa.” Place cushions along the edge where the bed meets the wall.
“If the bed has legs allowing space beneath, then that space can be used for storage,” adds Finch-Sally.
2. Decorate for Dual Purposes.
To maintain an atmosphere that can function as an office and guest room, stick to neutral, calming tones on the walls and decor. “Sandy colors and sea-foam blues and greens work well,” notes Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparz, a brand editor at House Method.
Hang a full length mirror on the back of the door, or place a small mirror on a table that can double as a nightstand for guests.
3. Maintain a Neat Look.
Make sure the desk is not in a state of disarray when visitors come.
“There’s nothing as unwelcoming to a guest as feeling like they’re sleeping in someone’s office,” says McCrary-Ruiz-Esparz. “Closing cabinets and beautiful folder organizers are your friends.”
When you’re getting ready for a guest, tuck away all work-related gear and add knock knacks or candles to create an inviting scene.
4. Share the Closet.
If possible, leave plenty of room in the closet for guests to store clothes and shoes. Place items you want to keep in the room, such as books, an extra printer, headset or paper, on a low shelf. Small items for the office you want to keep on hand can be placed in baskets and stored on top shelves.
Leave several empty hangers for guests who might want to hang clothes or jackets. And if you’re short on closet space, try an adjustable shelving unit. “When you don’t have guests, you can use it as an overflow or seasonal storage spot,” says Rebecca Nocheck, communications specialist at Organized Living.
When visitors come, you can adjust the components to make room for baggage and clothing.
5. Use Smart Storage Strategies.
“Keep blankets, handicrafts, magazines, remote controls and other things in ottomans with a hidden storage,” suggests Katy Brut, interior design consultant at NY Furniture Outlets.
A bookcase can be divided to fit multiple needs. Lower sections work well for guest clothing and bed linens, while the upper shelves are a great spot for books and office supplies. Add baskets or bins to facilitate storage.
6. Make Office Supplies Mobile.
A work station on wheels can be rolled to a different part of the room or house when overnight visitors arrive. Also look for creative ways to remove office items you might keep out, like pens and files.
“Use a flexible storage system where you can organize things in a drawer or file drawer when guests arrive,” suggests Nocheck. If your file drawer has wheels, simply move it into another room when guests come to visit.