Five Flex Room Designs with Really Smart Tips You Can Implement Today
Interior spaces boomed during lockdown, but the opportunity to maximize space in a creative way gives this hybrid trend staying power. More time at home made us reexamine our spaces—how we use them, how they function and what can be improved. Here, we dive into five converted rooms that serve several needs of their respective dwellers, and share how you can create a hybrid space of your own.
Homework, crafts and everything in between
The goal: Create an area for crafting (one of the homeowners is an avid knitter), a homework space for the couple’s small child and a hangout space appropriate for kids and adults alike.
“Space planning was key,” said Kirstin Moehlig, architectural designer for Terracotta Design Build, a woman-owned firm based in Decatur. “We broke things up into smaller focused areas: a large rug and couch delineate the TV space, the crafting area has its own table, there’s a reading area against the windows and the homework space is tucked over where the computer is.”
One game-changing facet for almost any flex space: storage. The Terracotta team stocked stylish storage options for homework, gaming consoles, craft supplies and more.
Pro tip: To successfully create a multi-purpose room, Moehlig says to get specific.
Ask yourself: What exactly do I want this room to be used for? What activities do I want to happen here? Getting specific and granular can help you focus on the design details that, in her words, “will bring it to life.”
A third-floor hallway with a functional facelift
The goal: To turn a third-floor hallway, once used mainly for storage, into an organized homework headquarters and office hall with dedicated workspace for each family member.
“The home is on a hill and looks out at the tree canopy from a second story,” explained Becky Vocaire, Studio Vocaire founder and principal designer. “It made me think of creating an office in the clouds.” Due to the family’s modern aesthetic, clean lines were a must.
The main goal was to take back the square footage in a generally unused corridor. Vocaire’s team maintained its functionality while giving every member of the family a dedicated desk space. Her trick: “I used mobile files as a way to define these spaces, but because they aren’t built in, the space can shift as the family’s needs grow and change.”
Pro tip: On that note, design with the future in mind. “I love the flexibility of this space to shift and change with the family,” Vocaire says. “Maybe down the road there needs to be more filing for the household, [so you] add another mobile pedestal. When kids need more help with homework, you can shift the pedestal down for a double workspace.”
A breakfast room with a bar and lounge
The goal: Turn a blank-slate new build into the ideal multifunctional home for a young family, each space with its own unique style and vibe.
The biggest transformation included morphing the breakfast room into a bar and lounge area. The homeowner opted for a coastal, tropical aesthetic that the team at Little Black Fox, led by principal designer and creative director Shelby Adamson, brought to life through bold colors, uplifting pattern play and textures galore.
The elements in the tropical wallpaper led to the addition of a brass pineapple cocktail table and a fun pineapple wall hanging. Adamson juxtaposed the rich wallpaper with rose velvet swivel chairs, creating the perfect perching spot to enjoy a home-shaken cocktail.
Pro tip: This Old Fourth Ward home is a prime example of the fact that you shouldn’t feel bound to the intended uses of your space. You can transform a guest room into an instrument practice space, a sunroom into a workout studio or a breakfast room into a lively bar area. As Adamson says, “We like for our clients to get their own feel of their home and decide how they would like to live in it.”
Creative, outdoorsy dining
The goal: Create a handful of creative flex spaces that bring the outdoors in, and vice versa.
“In the mountains, because we have such a good climate year-round, [we really wanted] to do an indoor-outdoor space,” explained Lucy Small, owner and designer of State & Season, the home design and supply company that built The Blue Mountain Oyster Homestead in Blue Ridge. They created many, but the “lunch-and-Zoom counter” is our favorite.
The long countertop is made from Dekton, a maintenance-free surface that can withstand the outdoors without fading or sagging. Bi-fold accordion windows (from German company NanaWall) allow for maximum unencumbered views and bypass potential water intrusion that can come with other window styles.
Pro tip: When creating an indoor-outdoor space, Small advises keeping climate top of mind. “If you’re in an area that’s too hot or too cold, or if you’re sitting in a valley with more bugs around, this would be a waste because you’re not going to screen a bifold opening,” she explains.
A peaceful gable roof workspace
The goal: Transform a second-floor add-on into an elegant and calm home-office nook.
Working with CleverHouse by Watershed and Rick Blanchard for building and architecture, interior designer Perry Walter of Walter Studio brought this Avondale Estates space to life using a minimalist approach. “The wood ceiling planks were white-washed to brighten up this unique room,” he explained. “A sense of calm was achieved with a soothing monochromic color scheme, and the antiqued mirrored desk gives an elegant vibe contrasting with the rustic wood plank surround.
We incorporated a velvet side chair and abstract rug for layers of luxury.”
Calm is contagious—Walter’s client (a real estate agent) shares this cozy nook with her teen, trading the main floor’s hustle and bustle for quiet time to tackle work tasks or study sessions.
Pro tip: Walter recommends gathering all of your furniture pieces, then measuring twice to confirm everything will fit properly in the space. “Sometimes less is more to allow for a calming and peaceful home office.”