Attend office meetings from the comfort of your home; working out in the living room; and ensuring children complete their homework, but in the dining room, even though these situations may seem chaotic, the pandemic has brought us to a point where the walls separating the different rooms have all but disappeared. Forced to stay inside our homes, the urban population suddenly learned to handle multiple tasks from a common area. This led to the rebirth of the ancient concept of multifunctional spaces.
This versatile indoor post-COVID trend is primarily a setup where a room serves multiple purposes. With such spaces, designers attempt to create areas that serve a dual purpose: office spaces used efficiently as training areas, libraries that also act as a play area, etc. Rahul Mistri, lead designer, Open Atelier Mumbai explains the importance of such versatile spaces, “With today’s real estate crisis, multifunctional spaces are more of an approach, an approach to derive design creativity in a confined space. which can result in an elaborate experience “.
Distinct and ideal
Born out of necessity during the pandemic-induced lockdown, the idea of versatile spaces, in a post-pandemic world, only guarantees optimal use of space by satisfying our work-from-home needs. Aside from prevailing combinations such as the kitchen transformed into a dining room, Rishabh Kapoor, founder of Design Deconstruct based in Vasant Kunj, suggests making the most of clutter-free spaces.
“In compact areas with an open living and dining area, you can outline a quiet, bright corner like a home office by defining it with a rug or light above the desk. Likewise, you can use the kitchen island or breakfast table for office work. All you need is a tidy space with a good desk lamp to focus on. Kapoor also supports the style of the space in a distinct way: you can rearrange furniture, use various color palettes, or install area-specific lights to create different zones, in order to assign separate functions to a common space.
For commercial projects such as retail showrooms or offices, Mistri believes that sliding walls, movable walls, movable furniture, etc. can be introduced in order to build a “symmetrical balance between mandatory requirements and interchangeable functions to ensure full optimization” .
Small changes, big impact
In most homes, open spaces are areas that can be used for multiple activities by introducing small changes. Ritu Gupta, director of the Pramod Group home design team, says, “Open-plan spaces create free-flowing spaces that appear expansive while containing many functional areas. Any bright corner of your living room, dining room or bedroom can be used as an office space or study corner. If you have a home office or studio, it can turn into a gym or Yoga space after work.
Other simple solutions include using the breakfast tables for dining or as a work station; guest room as a home office or makeshift gym; the deck can be a place for meditation and so on. There is no hard and fast rule to adhere to; the idea is to keep it functional, elegant and free of clutter. Kapoor points out: “A room can be designed around its primary function, as a living room or a guest bedroom, but with some modifications, it can also be used for a secondary or even tertiary purpose.”
For those with home offices, designers and entrepreneurs, Lipika Sud recommends using easy-care materials. “Furniture made with laminates can be really easy to maintain as it is washable. Stain-resistant fabrics are also good options,” she concludes.
FUNCTIONAL BUT SUSTAINABLE
Here’s how to switch to multifunctional spaces while keeping the sustainable element intact:
With a conscious approach to saving space and reducing energy consumption, one can definitely try to derive a sustainable design. Sustainability can also be implemented through multifunctionality and the reuse of materials and furnishings.
-RAHUL MISTRI, principal designer, Open Atelier Mumbai
Design must follow the mantra ‘utility first and vanity after’. Often customers are not clear about what they want, they can simply come up with some imaginative reference images. The designers’ goal should be to recommend the best possible solutions.
-RISHABH KAPOOR, founder, Design Deconstruct
Simple but ergonomic or foldable desks can be added to an available corner space to create a work station. Add functional, yet aesthetically pleasing light furniture. Use natural light optimally so you don’t have to rely on electricity.
-RITU GUPTA, co-founder, Pramod Group
Adding mats and bean bags is an affordable and sustainable way to create multifunctional spaces. These can be made from bamboo mats and cane or jute material. Sack bags are available in colorful fabric-based materials. Floor cushions are a great option for a low seat. This doesn’t clutter the room too much.
-LIPIKA SUD, interior designer, Lipika Sud Interiors