Now Is the Perfect Time to Turn Your Guest Room Into An Actually Functional Space

published Feb 15, 2021
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Dominique Gebru's guest room

When my partner and I bought our first condo together last summer, I knew a second bedroom was a non-negotiable. At that point, it had been about four months of living, working, everything in our small Washington, D.C. apartment, and we craved breathing room. I hurried to set up a basic office for the two of us, and the rest of the room quickly became a dumping ground for assorted random objects. 

Spending what feels like an endless amount of time in the same small space can be, as many have learned during the pandemic, simultaneously frustrating and inspirational. Now, this isn’t a revolutionary idea, but I made the choice to turn the second bedroom into

Make room for relaxing

Sofa beds are brilliant, plain and simple. In the case of our do-it-all room, the Oneira Sofa from Article checks all of the boxes: a petite footprint, a cozy velvet fabric that my dog is obsessed with, and a price that’s on par with non-sleepers (though full disclosure — I received mine gratis in exchange for a review). Sure, this piece will come in handy when we host overnight guests, but for now, the bed function makes for one impressive movie night set-up. Plus, with so many home decor companies operating with massive COVID-19-related delays, it was nice that the sofa actually arrived when it said it would.

If your space is too small for a full-sized sofa, try a daybed like the Lubi Sleeper Daybed from CB2 or a twin-sized version such as the Paidge Chair and a Half Twin Sleeper from West Elm. The ultimate guest room is one that you can enjoy too, especially while many of us are confined to our homes. 

Create visual separation 

Before I had a proper desk, I worked at my kitchen table, and I always made a point of packing up my laptop at the end of each day. It’s a way to unplug from the workday, yes, but honestly, I just hate looking at electronics all over the place! The same is true in this multipurpose room, but with this work area now more permanent, I needed to find another solution for obscuring the tech. In this case, I used extra-long curtains from H&M paired with ceiling tracks from Room Dividers Now (an apt business name if I’ve ever heard one) to create a sectioned-off office corner. Honestly, it’s really more of a “slice” of space, but it’s all we really need. 

My desk setup, which includes a SKARSTA sit/stand desk from IKEA, an extra computer monitor, and podcasting equipment, can now stay right where it is at the end of the day. Initially I was a little apprehensive about watching TV in the same room I worked in all day long — degrees of separation are important — but I happily close the curtains and leave the emails behind.

Make it fun 

Most of our condo is open-concept style, and part of my post-COVID dream is to use that space for big dinner parties. For that reason, moving our only television into the multipurpose room made a lot of sense. No more TV-centric living room! Plus, the weather in D.C. lately has been particularly appropriate for hunkering down at home for movie nights… at least that’s how I’m spinning it during month 11 of the pandemic. 

I added layered lighting, including a vintage task floor lamp, to support a wide range of activities, from reading or working on a puzzle to staring into the void with a hair mask on. My partner and I are both big readers (who remembers our former apartment’s book wall?), so a comfy spot to read was a non-negotiable. Stackable stools, also from IKEA, stand in as side tables (I have a bunch of these to facilitate my large dinner party dreams). A cozy rug makes the room feel whole. Oh, and this puzzle board is on my list for the aforementioned puzzle activities!