Attend office meetings from the comfort of home; Exercising in the living room and making sure the kids complete their homework, but in the dining room – as chaotic as these situations may seem, the pandemic has led us to a point where the walls separating the different rooms have almost disappeared. Urban residents had to stay indoors all of a sudden they learned to manage multiple tasks from a common area. This led to the re-emergence of the old concept of multifunctional spaces.
This versatile, post-COVID indoor trend is essentially a setting where one room serves multiple purposes. With these spaces, designers attempt to create dual-purpose areas – office spaces that are efficiently used as exercise areas, libraries that double as a gaming area, and so on. Rahul Mistry, Lead Designer, Open Atelier Mumbai, explains the importance of this diversity of areas, “With today’s real estate space crisis, multifunctional spaces are an approach – an approach to deriving design creativity in a narrow space that can result in an elaborate experience.”
Distinctive and perfect
Born out of necessity during the pandemic lockdown, the idea of mixed-use spaces – in a post-pandemic world – only ensures optimal use of space while meeting the needs of working from home. Aside from mainstream combinations like a kitchen room turned dining room, Rishabh Kapoor, founder of Vasant Kunj-based Design Deconstruct, suggests making the most of clutter-free spaces.
“In areas combined with an open living and dining area, you can define a quiet and bright corner as a home office by defining it with an area rug or lighting above the desk. Likewise, you can use a kitchen island or breakfast table for office work. All you need is a clutter-free space with a desk lamp. Good for focus.” Kapoor also advocates designing the space in a distinct way – you can rearrange the furniture, use various color palettes, or install area-specific lights to create different zones – so as to assign separate functions to a common space.
For commercial projects such as a retail showroom or offices, Mistry believes that one can offer sliding walls, movable partitions, movable pieces of furniture, etc., in order to build “a symmetrical balance between prescriptive requirements and changing functionality to ensure complete integration and configuration”.
Minor tweaks, big impact
In most homes, open spaces are areas that can be used to multitask by making slight modifications. Ritu Gupta, Director of Pramod Home Design Group, notes, “Open-plan spaces create free-flowing spaces that feel expansive while containing many functional areas. Any brightly lit corner in your living room, dining or bedroom can be used as a space desk or study nook. If you have a study desk or at home, it can turn into a gym or yoga space after work.”
Other easy solutions include using breakfast tables for dining or as a work station; guest room as a home office or temporary gym; The deck can be a place for meditation, etc. There is no hard and fast rule that must be adhered to; The idea is to keep it functional, neat and clutter-free. Kapoor points out, “The room can be designed around its primary function, as a lounge or guest bedroom, but with some modifications, it can also be used for a secondary purpose or even a third purpose.”
For those with a home office, designer, and entrepreneur, Lipika Sud recommends materials that are easy to maintain. She concludes, “Furniture made of laminate can be really easy to maintain because it can be wiped. Stain-resistant fabrics are also good options.”
Functional yet sustainable
Here’s how you can switch to multifunctional spaces by keeping the sustainable element the same:
With a conscious approach to saving space and reducing energy consumption – one can certainly look at the derivation of sustainable design. Sustainability can also be implemented through multi-functionality and reuse of materials and furnishings.
– Rahul Mistry, Principal Designer, Open Atelier Mumbai
The design should follow the motto of “utility first, vanity later”. Clients are often not clear about what they want, they may just come up with some great reference photos. The focus of designers should be to recommend the best possible solutions.
-Rishp Kapoor, Founder of Design Deconstruct
Simple yet comfortable desks or foldable desks can be added to the available corner space to create a workstation. Add functional, light and aesthetically pleasing furniture. Use natural light optimally so you don’t have to rely on electricity.
– Ritu Gupta, Founding Partner of Pramod Group
Adding mats and bean bags is an inexpensive and sustainable way to create multifunctional spaces. It can be made of bamboo mat and cane or jute material. Beanbags are available in colorful fabric-based materials. Floor pillows are a great choice for low seating. This does not spoil the room much.
-LIPIKA SUD, Interior Designer, Lipika Sud Interiors