Home Projects

Before and After: A 100-Square-Foot Room’s Redo Fits in a Gym, Office, and More

published Mar 10, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Before: 10x10' empty office with popcorn ceilings and white walls

In the past year, multifunctional spaces are getting more of a workout than ever. Rooms that used to get part-time action on weekends for hobbies or crafts are now on overdrive as homeowners and renters try to squeeze in gyms, offices, and other features to make every square inch of their homes as functional as possible.

Katherine Thewlis’s (Haus Matter) home is no exception. This room, a tiny 10-foot-by-10-foot space with popcorn ceilings, was a spare before 2020; in a post-coronavirus world, though, it had a lot to do. Katherine, a designer, suddenly needed a home office to meet with clients, and her kids needed room for all the crafting and projects they were doing to keep themselves busy at home. Plus, the family needed a place for Zoom calls, a gym, and a homeschooling room. “This room needed to wear a whole lot of hats, and with it being just 10 feet by 10 feet, I needed to make sure I utilized every square inch,” Katherine says.

Katherine started by scraping off the dated popcorn ceilings, then added picture frame molding to all the walls before painting both them and the ceiling the same light gray. The all-over color makes the small room seem bigger and more airy. (A new flush-mount light with vintage style helps, too.)

A couple IKEA KALLAX shelves fit perfectly under the window and make lots of functional storage space. For games, crafts, work, and school, there’s a round vintage table in the center of the room; storage ottomans serve as seats and provide even more functionality. “My favorite part is the antique table as a desk,” Katherine says. “It’s unexpected and totally functional. I just love the coziness of a round table — it practically forces all who sit around it to connect!”

Katherine wallpapered the inside of the room’s only closet with black and tan wallpaper from Spoonflower, giving what could have been a dull utilitarian space some much-needed oomph. The set of drawers inside hold her design materials; she also added a plug-in sconce for better lighting.

And what’s behind the folding velvet screen? Katherine’s treadmill! It folds up when not in use so she can place it behind the screen and keep it out of her Zoom backdrops.

“I am so happy with how this room turned out because it’s a space our whole family can utilize,” Katherine says. For others who are trying to figure out how to make their multifunction spaces more practical, Katherine has some advice: “Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box — if there’s a will, there’s a way!”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.