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A Room with Two Functions: Some Design Tips

A Room with Two Functions: Some Design Tips

I recently completed a “mini redo” for a client and I thought you might like to take a peek into the process.

My client needed an upstairs bedroom to function as a guest room AND an occasional weekend office for her husband.  So here was a design challenge that probably a lot of us face: ONE room, TWO functions.

If you remember nothing else, remember Tip #1Pick one picture that is THE inspiration for the room you’re going to decorate.  It’s so much easier when I have one picture that keeps me focused – I don’t get distracted along the way.

For me, this was THE picture.  This captured the “feel” (and the color scheme) we wanted in the room:  blue and white inspiration


I don’t know about you, but when I see this room I think, “Calm.  Masculine. Simple”.

In this particular room, we didn’t want the bed to overwhelm the room, screaming “guest room!”.  So it had to be “chill” and sit quietly and majestically in the corner.  On the flip side, we didn’t want the office part of the room to make the whole thing feel like a corporate cubicle.

So knowing all this, I created a Pin Board and just started dumping a thousand ideas there. Which leads me to Tip #2: Anything you find interesting and a possibility for your room, no matter how crazy or dumb the idea, dump it on a Pin Board so you have it all in one place.  Many of you already do this, I’m sure.

I believe that this totally wild, creative part early on in the process is really necessary!  Here’s the Pin Board I created for this project, just to give you a sense of how all over the place I was at first.

From there, I narrowed down my choices and created a design board on Polyvore to give a feel for the room (my client had already painted the room a moody navy blue so we went with that):

Client Office & Guest Room


Ellis Desk by Room & Board // Ottoway Chair from Lulu & Georgia // Dash & Albert Rug // Tilt Cone Sconces from Cedar & Moss // Navy Ikat & Chiang Mai Pillows from Etsy // Low Upholstered Headboard from West Elm

I decided to keep the office part of the room warm and design-friendly (no “corporate cubicle” here!), and about the bed – I decided to “lean in” to the blue – seriously, is there anything better than Navy & White pillows?  I just went with Navy and kept all the other colors neutral (Oatmeal, Gray, White).

Which leads me to Tip #3:  when a room requires two functions, keep the colors and patterns mellow.  Don’t go crazy with different colors and patterns – all the different furniture is already already providing enough stimulus.  Keep it neutral.

The room is coming along nicely!  Here’s a quick sneaky peek I snapped of the bed today (I’ll try to get a shot of the whole room later!).

gali guest room pillows (1)

So now you know how most of my design projects happen!  I pick a picture for inspiration, I Pin like no one is watching, and at the end I create a design board to see the final decisions all come together.

What’s your process?  Any technology out there that I’m totally missing out on?



  • Lauren Brickman

    June 25, 2015 at 4:53 PM Reply

    Looks great so far- can’t wait to see the finished room. I love the pillows!

  • Bonnie Joyce

    June 25, 2015 at 3:31 PM Reply

    I am looking forward to more pictures of this room! Thanks for the tips.

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