pictures of home office, guest room, library all in one?

huangoJuly 16, 2009

Hi there,

I hope you can help with some design advice and pictures for a multi-purpose room.

My home office is only 12'x12' with a closet (8'x1.5') and 2 windows.

It's also used as a guest room about 1-2x a year for ~1-5nights (my father-in-law can't climb stairs to the guest room).

And we have a lot of books, so I need to use it as a library.

Am I asking for too much from such a tiny room?

I'll try to post a layout soon, but I need storage solutions for my storage problems.

Stuff I have to fit in:

- 2 large 4-drawer metal file cabinets (not pretty),

- 2 shorter 2-drawer metal file cabinets (not pretty);

- 1 fax/printer;

- desktop and monitor;

- laptop,

- 2 tall bookcases

- shredder,

- trash, and

- recycle bin.

Would love to see what wonders you did with your home office/library/guest room.

Thank you,


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You've given yourself a big challenge. I think the combination guest room / library works well, since I think most people would not find it a problem to relax while looking at shelves of books. They might even pick one off the shelf to read while they drop off to sleep...

But office / guest room? I think the view of the computer would keep a person from ever dropping off. But you said it only gets used a few times per year by your father-in-law, so maybe he can adapt. I'd still want to find some way to put the office stuff inside a credenza if possible.

What is in the closet now? Can you put the "not pretty" file cabinets in there? But then, where would your guest put clothes? You probably don't have room for a dresser. Is it possible to paint the file cabinets with nature motifs? That might make them prettier. Or maybe it's not enough, considering all the other office stuff that will be near them.

Our own library / guest room isn't much to look at now. It is still a work in progress. Fortunately, it only sees about one guest every two years, which was why I got rid of the king size bed, which dominated the room, and replaced it with a day bed with another twin size mattress that rolls underneath. I also have a writing desk in there, which is currently covered with books that need shelves. I keep telling myself that I could go write letters in there, but I have to find a place for the books before I could ever do that. The room has accumulated stuff that has no other home. It is the most problematic room in the house right now. Like I said, it still needs work.

Good luck with your project. I'm curious to read what others have to say.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 8:14AM
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Good luck with the project. I too have similar issues. Getting rid of king sized bed in guest room that is seldom used makes a room seem larger. I'm combining guest with some books (over flow books from our library, yes we love books) and the other room into a suite. Or so that's the plan. Make it work how you want it to work.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 8:41AM
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There are a lot of books and mag articles on such a topic, and I have come across lots of features in my years of taking too many magazine subscriptions, so you might browse a bookstore or search the net for great photos.
The closet might be able to be outfitted as the actual "office," if you use the right doors and really outfit the inside. There are lots of decor features on that approach. That is more important, I think, if you and your nuclear family want to use the room more often as a cozy library/study and can then close the doors on printer, FAX, etc. but also is a great way to maximize floor space, since you can use a closet as an "indent" in a room for office equipement and desk, but can't sleep in the closet!
Sofa bed vs. Murphy bed can be space-saving. There are furniture lines for installing Murphy bed and associated cabinetry. This approach is more for if you yourself don't need the sofa and want to preserve more floor space and a clean-lined look. Otherwise, a compact sofa bed would serve you and your family for library.
Shelving is key and you should be prepared to design and install it so that it works for you--(or have done professionally). That goes for the whole room--by that I mean, draw your floorplan and wall views with windows, doors and really brainstorm on different ways to use the space. For example, you might be able to surround a sofa bed with built in shelves floor to ceiling for a great library look, whereas a lot of free-standing shelves would take up space. Or, you might be able to find free-standing shelf units you can pair and connect with a bridge. Lots of ideas like that. Of course you have a budget, but try to think outside the box and be prepared to buy a new item if it will really make the space work better--so if your current file cabinet doesn't work well, you might budget for one that fits better or is more streamlined, or maybe you need 2 matching and put over them a desk top.
As in first paragraph, there are huge numbers of ideas on multi-tasking furniture for these purposes--file cab as bedside table or under a table top and skirt; rolling file or printer stand that rolls under desk top; storage containers that might let you "remove" a few items temporarily when guest using the room and needs place for luggage, and return later.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 11:54AM
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Hello - I just found this board and am very excited to have found it! I'm usually on the kitchen or home decor board.

I am working on a similar setup, except my room is 12x14. We recently moved into the house, so this room is the junk/storage room right now. It's a disaster right now, but I do have plans for it.

We had built-ins done inside the closet - there's a desk, cabinets, and upper oven shelving. We have a large 60" storage console on one side (which could be replaced with bookshelves if you needed them). My plan is to get a sofa bed for another wall in the room. I'll try to take pictures of the junk room when I get home.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 1:27PM
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OK here goes.
First paint your filing cabinets black or dark brown or beige or a color to blend in the room. I'm assuming your large ones are high enough to be made into a desk. You want the desk to be about 30 inches tall. This plan requires a bit of building

You didn't say where your windows were so I am assuming they are in the center of one wall. Put the cabinets to be made into a desk in the corner running toward the windows and fit a top on them. Leave enough room beside one file cabinet for your desktop. Have the desk extend in front of the window and to a bookshelf on the other end. if that is possible. Fit under the window with doors. You can buy just doors at most department stores or check out habitat for humanity resale stores. Here is where you hide all your office equipment. The fax can sit on top.

Alternatively you can build just the desk have the second small file cabinet as a fax stand and hid the rest on the floor of the closet.

A decorative screen can sit between and moved to hide most of the computer stuff when being used as a bedroom. You may even have a bit of room for a small armless chair

I'm hoping the opposite wall is one long wall. Put the bed sideways in the corner against the opposite wall and use one of the small file cabinets as a night stand and the other bookcase should fit at the end. A bunch of pillows could make this into a couchlike seating area.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 10:03PM
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Took FRANKIE's advice and did some research about office-in-a-closet. So I came up w/ this revised plan: it's more of a library with the office-in-the-closet, and space in the middle of the room for when we set up the bed (we bring it down from the guest room for Father-in-law).


With the bed.
The wall above the bed area will be for all of my pictures/frames:

The ?shelf? between the bookcases will be cushioned seating.

I got the idea for this wall from this, so my wall will be the same color as the bookcases:

The office will be in this closet.
I intend to get something like a ?Japanese screen to cover/separate the 3 metal file cabinets.

Got the idea from something like this:

Eaglemom: can you share pictures of your library? My next concern is lighting, so I'm curious how you're lighting the library, besides table lamps.

Maryliz: "The room has accumulated stuff that has no other home. It is the most problematic room in the house right now."
You nailed it. My room collects all the crappola that doesn't have a home when I "clean up for guests".

Mom2reese: Oh, I know your kitchen VERY well. It is totally kitchen porn for me; I can't get enough of it! And the rest of your house: oh, my, I love those plantation shutters. Because of you, I'm desperately searching a way to include those shutters in my home!
Yes, please share some pictures.

Any pictures? Anyone?

Thanks bunches,

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 10:27PM
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oilpainter: I must have been posting when you posted.
It sounds like we're on the same wavelength.
So what do you think of my layout/color scheme?


    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 7:10PM
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i hope it'll work - cause I'm planning one also. it's about 12 x 12 - that includes the closet tho.

I'm gonna try to put the ugly file cabinet into the closet so it isn't seen much.
on the west wall I'm putting my desk in front of the window and bookcases on each side of it. then the dresser to the bedroom set on the north wall - for extra blankets, out of season clothes (not much in AZ). I have decided tho not to even put the bed up. I so seldom get over night company that I'll either get one of those air mattresses or they can sleep on the sofa in the tv/computer room.

i also have a few chairs and a rocker to put somewhere. not all 3 in there tho. it'll just depend on what looks right once the other things are in place.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 5:21PM
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