Home Truth

How to Make Mixed-Use Spaces Work Extra Hard

Interiors maven and master house-flipper Becki Owens is here with her third (and final!) round of tips gleaned from magazine-worthy home-makeover projects. Thankfully, she’s well-versed in making do in less-than-ideal situations like many of us are working with, including a walk-in closet that has to double as an office space or a first floor that feels a little too open. If you missed out on her first and second bits of wisdom, grab those while you’re at it as well.

Q. Though it would be great if we all had dedicated offices and dining rooms in our homes, that’s just not the case. How do you tackle an area that has to live a lot of different lives?

A. “Sometimes, especially because I live near the ocean, I work on homes that are limited on space. For example, one of my first and favorite projects has a master bedroom with a gorgeous view of the ocean, but the client wanted a place to work in the house. We created a small office space with a lucite desk, a pretty chair, and a tall potted plant near the window of that room. The clear desk didn’t distract from the view, and the space was functional enough to use on a daily basis.”

“In open spaces, I like to the keep the foundation of the large area clean and minimal. Rugs are a great way to define a space, so if you’re trying to carve a dining room out of a living room area, place a rug under the table and a distinctly different rug near the sofa and chairs. This will give you a starting point for designing the two spaces in terms of color and texture. I also like to use a pretty statement light over a dining table. This will help anchor the table and distinguish it from the lounging space.”