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Why multi-functional living is here to stay

Our houses are our havens but, with recent times calling for them to serve as home, office and social space combined, our tranquil, restful living spaces have been sorely tested. However, the truth is that even pre-pandemic, the way we live in our homes was changing.

Partly due to the gradual reduction of average house sizes, a preference for open-plan layouts was already well underway, replacing the traditional “one room, one use” approach as we sought to enhance space and flow. In turn, our desire for open-plan has evolved – thanks to the catalyst of Covid – into a need for more versatility and adaptability.

According to Ikea’s recent ‘Life at Home’ report, “60% of people agree that they have had to significantly change the way their home is organised to do the activities they wanted to.”

The many benefits of hybrid living

While we’d all love a dedicated home study, cinema room or games room, the reality is that many of us simply don’t have the space available. Enter multifunctional, or hybrid, living.

Truly multifunctional spaces offer many benefits to homeowners, chief among them being that, by having a room (or rooms) serve more than one purpose, you maximise space throughout the entire house without the need for costly extensions or conversions.

Not only this, but smart hybrid spaces allow you to cater for different needs, hobbies and interests with minimal fuss, offering more balance and wellbeing for the family as a whole.

“The activities we do for ourselves at home are particularly important for our wellbeing. They allow us to learn about ourselves, build our identities and engage in self-expression. Just over a quarter (26%) globally say that doing hobbies or personal projects is important for helping them maintain a sense of mental wellbeing at home.” Ikea’s 2021 “Life at Home” Report

In no way limited to large floorplans, clever multifunction is equally effective in smaller rooms, making the most of every available inch to add purpose and hide clutter. And best of all, increasing the flexibility of your home adds real value – not only to your family’s experience, but also to potential buyers should you decide to move on in the future.

Fitted furniture – the key to multifunctional living

Multifunctional spaces need multifunctional pieces. The real key to adding versatility to your home is choosing furniture that helps you compartmentalise your space – either by allowing more than one activity to occur at a time, or by letting you switch seamlessly from one use to another.

This kind of transformational furniture is illustrated beautifully by this stunning design from our Senior Designer, Jen Porter.

Home Office by day, stress-free sanctuary by night; our client asked for a study with a multifunctional purpose and Jen has delivered in true Neville Johnson style.

“The client wanted to go from laptop to conference call with ease, and then at the end of the day, relax to read under an illuminated area.” Jen Porter, Senior Designer, Neville Johnson

Maximising every inch

Even a small room can feel big if the space is well thought out. In Ikea’s “Balance Starts at Home” report, 28% of those surveyed said that space was one of the things that had grown the most in importance.

Without extending, the best way to create a sense of roominess is to ensure that you maximise every available inch, making the best use of both the floorplan and the ceiling height that you have available.

This is where our designers excel, and our bespoke furniture comes into its own. The beauty of choosing bespoke is that every element of it can be configured to work perfectly within the area you have available. For example, if you want to switch easily from work to rest, it’s important to ensure that the furniture doesn’t dominate and the desk itself doesn’t look too “office-y”.

In this beautiful room, Jen designed the cabinetry to wrap around, going high up the wall and over the door frames to save valuable floor space and make the room seem as big as possible.

Meanwhile, the desk, while expansive, is unobtrusive – with cabinetry in the same deep, restful tone for continuation and surfaced with a gorgeous dusted oak from our extensive choice of high quality wood finishes.

Colour lovers

It might seem tempting to shy away from bold colour in a small space, but don’t be afraid to be daring! Here, because the furniture has been carefully planned not to dominate the room, the homeowner was able to choose a colour-loving scheme that combines the deep, rich Charcoal finish of the cabinetry with a restful sage green and a brave pop of bright orange to stunning effect.

“The rich Charcoal painted finish adds a luxurious feel to the room and compliments to original Victorian period property perfectly.” Jen Porter, Senior Designer – Neville Johnson

Multifunctional living offers us flexibility, versatility and adaptability that greatly enhances how we experience life in our homes – and that’s why it’s here to stay! Why not discover how our expert designers could bring beautiful, bespoke multifunction to your home?

Book a free design consultation today, or request a Neville Johnson brochure for inspiration.