The “Slash” Room

…all you British readers, please take note before reading any further: Not THAT kind of slash room, silly!! ;-)

I find that a healthy portion of the designs that I do for singles and couples living in Manhattan are generally 2-Bedroom apartments. There is a Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room or Area, Master Bedroom, sometimes a Foyer, a Bath or two… and then the Second Bedroom. Therein lies the crux of this tale…

This room, which 99% of the time is smaller than the Master Bedroom is often called upon to do quite a multitude of tasks. Many times, a wonderful client of mine will tell me “I would love a guest room-slash-office-slash-den-slash-gym-slash-media room-slash-library-slash-art studio,” or some combination of these functions and ideas. That’s why I named this concept The “Slash” Room.

Now, given that the room is generally 150-200 square feet, sometimes smaller, that gives yours truly a project consisting of hours and hours of fitting quite a plethora of large puzzle pieces together on a small table.

So, what’s my advice and process, you may ask? Well, if we’re not buying the apartment next door to knock down a wall and double the floor space, we’ve got to think smart, and plan, plan, plan! Here we go:

Step 1: Ask yourself, “What am I actually, really, honestly going to be doing in there?” If you’re going to spend 4 grand on a treadmill – like lots of people do, and won’t use it – like lots of people do, let’s just skip that. Better you save the space and just keep going to the gym a couple blocks away. Home exercise equipment usually ends up as expensive places to hang clothes, anyway.

If you only have guests once or twice a year, maybe it’s not the best idea to get a queen size bed. If you’re not going to work from home often enough (at least 2-3 days a week,) a big bulky desk and office center will just take up half the room and not do much to function.

If you ARE really going to work on your computer, and really ARE going to have some guests, and really ARE going to watch movies, or whatever you know you’re going to do, let’s focus on those!

Step 2: Think double-duty and fold-a-way! A big comfy chair or love-seat can fold out to a twin or full-size bed for your guests. There’s not much need for something larger in limited space. Just look and see who’s coming over: if it’s mainly individuals, go for the twin; couples, get a full. Sometimes, you may have room for a larger pull-out, and if you do have guests over a lot (like once every couple of weeks) this may be a good idea for you. If not, a couple can live with a full-sized mattress for a few days.

If you’re not going to use the chair or love-seat when it’s folded in (in what could be a den scenario,) and cold use that space for something else, a Murphy bed is always a great idea to hide your guest bed, and doesn’t take up much floor space when closed!

Step 3: Think Vertical! If you have a seating piece like a large chair or love-seat, think about using the space above it for open shelving or a long wall-mounted cabinet with doors to hide books, paperwork, etc. A tall Armoire can be the perfect place for your computer and office equipment. Many have space for files below, drawers in the middle, and shelving or cabinets above. If the piece is 72 inches high or more, there is space for books, paperwork and accessories on top of the work space.

If you’re library-focused, or if you just have a ton of books (like me) when thinking about open shelving, use all the space right up to the ceiling! Over arches, over doors, everywhere!

Step 4: Review before buying anything! The main thing is to ask, who will be using the room, for what purpose, and what percentage of the time. That last question is the kicker, and will tell you how much of the room (and how much of the budget) should be used for what purpose. When dealing with small spaces, prioritize! Remember, everyone is different, and you know what you’ll be using the space for more than anyone else does.

For more information and photos, check out my website. Have fun shopping for your own Slash Room , and if you need help, you know who to call!

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