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Unless you regularly host overnight guests and require an extra bedroom, you can make the most of a spare room by turning it into a guest room-home office combo.

By Paige Block

These simple design tips can help blend the room’s multi-functional space into one fluid area. We’ve developed a few tips to make sure this multi-use space functions and looks its best.

Home-Office Elements

When designing a home office, a desk is virtually non-negotiable. If space is limited, opt for a long, narrow desk, and remember that while you may not have room to spread out, you can always expand upward. To do this, add floating shelves for an on-trend and convenient way to store important work materials as well as decor items. Floating shelves are a great option when desks are small and don’t have drawers. However, it’s a good idea to have a cabinet or set of drawers to keep paperwork in—it will allow you to keep the room clutter-free for guests, as well as keep important documents securely stored.

If space permits, a leaning desk with bookshelves on either side can serve as both a place to get work done and a place to store books without encroaching on the rest of the room. This arrangement is great for capitalizing on vertical space. Add a desk lamp with soft lighting to tie it all together.

Next, you’ll need a lightweight desk chair that can be easily moved out of the way when company stays overnight. A rolling chair is a great option because it can be easily pushed aside when the need arises. For smaller spaces, consider a well-designed folding chair.

To make the work environment more welcoming, don’t forget to add little touches, such as framed artwork and family pictures that will help blend the functions of the room together.

Guest Room Elements

For smaller rooms, acquiring a daybed or sleeper sofa should be your first order of business. A sleeper sofa is a great way to maximize space and functionality. It does double duty, providing a place to sit with a laptop and unfolding as a bed for guests. Both a sleeper sofa and a daybed can be dressed up with chunky throw blankets and decorative pillows for a put-together look.

If you don’t have closet space, be sure to equip this room with a storage ottoman or cabinets to store bedding when not in use. The ottoman can then be moved toward the desk for a comfortable spot to kick your feet up while you work.

There’s nothing worse than staying somewhere and not having a mirror, so be sure your room has one for your guests. A full-length mirror is ideal, but if space is limited, mount or hang one on the wall or door. If space permits, a standing or leaning mirror can be a dramatic focal point.

Layout Considerations

Visualize which function the room is likely to serve more often than not. If you’re hosting overnight guests more than you’re working from home—or the other way around—arrange the room to reflect that. A murphy bed with a built-in desk can double as a workspace and sleep space, but will be more convenient in a room used mostly as an office.

If the space is generous, use other furniture to divide the room, such as a bookcase or small sofa, to give guests the feeling of privacy. A large room will also allow you to include a larger bed, creating optimal comfort for your guests. But regardless of the room’s size, make use of vertical space. Wall art, statement chandeliers, shelves, framed photographs and mirrors all put the finishing touches on any room.

Paige Block is a writer for Crate and Barrel. She specializes in sharing her style-savvy tips on DIY and lifestyle blogs.

Photo courtesy: Crate and Barrel