A Home Office That Doubles As A Guest Room

We originally wanted to include a few shots of the office as it looks when it’s converted into a guest bedroom in this morning’s post, but we just snapped too many pics to squeeze it all in! So here’s a p.s. post of sorts, with photos of the little tweaks and twists that we implement when we need it to work full time as a guest bedroom for our friends and family.

Here’s the full-sized sofa bed all folded out and dressed for company (with linens that we already owned from the full sized bed that used to exist in the space before the room was converted into a two-person office). The pillows are from Pottery Barn and the quilt is from Bed Bath & Beyond by the way:

We use the bigger sofa cushions to create a headboard of sorts behind the fold out bed (and the two smaller sofa cushions that are removed in order to fold things out get stashed under the bed so they’re out of the way). We also toss our files and paperwork into the open desktop cubby or our file boxes underneath the desk when guests come to stay. And we move one of our our laptops out into the den (since we still have a small desk in the corner where I used to work full time).

Our other laptop can be slipped right into the bottom cubby to free up some nice tabletop space for our guests (and to make it feel less like they’re sleeping in a cubicle).

It’s easy to wonder how much spare space is in a small 10 x 10.5′ room that has to house a slim two-person desk and a fold-out full sized bed. The answer: not much. Admittedly we would love to have more than a foot of space between the bed and the desk, but our guests have all said it’s still easy enough to squeeze through if need be (luckily there’s not much that they need access to on the other side of the bed anyway). Frankly we’re just happy that the bed can fully fold out without hitting the desk since a standard depth desk wouldn’t have worked out as well.

We always believe in offering some sort of a nightstand drop zone for guests to remove jewelry, charge their cell phone, place a glass of water, etc. So we quickly tweak this nightstand-height bookcase shelf that can easily be reached from bed. Here it is before the guests-are-a-comin’ edits:

And here it is after we get it all ready for friends and family:

We just stand the books up to make room for a coaster and a glass of water along with a charging cell phone (there’s an available outlet nearby as well). We also like to switch out the photo in the frame with one of us and our visitors if we have a moment.

Here’s another when-guests-aren’t-coming photo, this time of the closet:

But when guests are in town all the bedding is on the bed, which frees up the shelf for any luggage that our visitors may have (and leaves more room for hanging up clothes that might otherwise get wrinkled).

We also love to leave some Richmond related maps and magazines out so people who are here from out of town can get to know our beloved city. It’s also nice to leave some other mags that might suit your visitors’ interests, so we try to grab something that seems like it could be up their alley (like a gossip mag, a gardening glossy, or a parenting pub) and toss it into the mix as well. Note: stay tuned for more info on those two patterned boxes on the top shelf below- we’ll be back with a tutorial soon!

Oh and we can’t forget that we erase our to-do list on the mirror (which we write with a dry erase marker) and throw up a welcome message for our guests instead.

And since this room definitely has three functions as opposed to just two- here it is in all of its playroom glory:

We love that we have lots of room on the rug for Clara to spread out and do her thing. And we really look forward to her playing with the magnetic wallflowers and interacting with her flash card clothesline above the sofa. Safety note: twine, wire, or ribbon can be strangulation hazards. Hanging things out of reach and keeping an eye on children who may get hurt is always advised!

Plus the bookcase dedicated to all of her toys, books, blocks and blankets really helps control the chaos (along with the $27 ottoman that we snagged from Target).

We’re just psyched that we were actually able to wrangle three separate functions into one small space where we spend at least 80% of our time (believe me, we had our doubts). Check out what the room looks like every day as an office right here. Do you guys have any guest bedroom tricks or toy-storage secrets to share? We’d love to hear how you make people feel right at home when they’re visiting or how you keep the kid clutter to a minimum. We’re definitely still learning when it comes to that…

Oh and don’t forget to check out our decorative clothespin tutorial over on Babycenter today!

Psst- Wanna follow the entire office/guest bedroom/playroom makeover? Click here for the intro post, here to read about the big sleeper sofa hunt, here for the DIY desk play-by-play, here for the homemade light fixture project, here for our hacked Ikea bookcase, here for the file storage we built, here for how we squeezed in some toy storage, here for how we picked out some DIY art that we could agree on, here for how we wrangled our wires, here for the play-by-play of creating our postcard art wall, here for our magnetic wallflower paint project, here for our closet overhaul, and here for the whole shebang big reveal post.


  1. Maggie says

    amazing, amazing, amazing! (three amazings for the the three-in-one room! :))

    I love all of your cozy guest tips–such simple, yet thoughtful touches.

  2. says

    Our second bedroom also has multiple functions: it is an office, a TV room, a yoga room, a guest bedroom, and soon-to-be bicycle storage room (we live in an urban two-bedroom apartment, and the second bedroom is only slightly larger than your multifunctional room). While we only moved in two months ago and are still trying to make this room work, for our first overnight visitor I made sure to put my old nightstand with a table lamp next to the futon. I emptied out the nightstand for the guest’s clothes storage. And our futon is convertible into a bed in one configuration, and a chaise in another configuration (perfect for late night reading).

    Your room transformation is very inspirational! I’m going to try to include some of your ideas when setting up our multifunctional room.

  3. Lauren says

    I was wondering how much room you had when the sofa was open! I love all the thoughtful touches to make your guests feel welcome!

  4. Emily says

    Where do you put the ottoman when it is in guest room mode? I didn’t notice it in the pictures, so I wondered if it fit underneath the fold-out sofa or had another place to reside when you have guests. Great post – very inspirational!

    • says

      Hey Emily,

      You’re right! You can’t see the ottoman in the photos here. Too funny! We actually slid it right next to the bookcase to accommodate the fold-out bed and keep it out of the way so it was in the room for those pics, it just was hiding. Hope it helps!


  5. Snickrsnack Katie says

    I LOVE it! I have a bedroom that we use as a media room/office and I want to turn it into a guest room, also. I am going to do something very similar to what you have – even the room is set up very similarly to yours!! Thanks for the great ideas! LOVE your site.

  6. Kali says

    First – I LOVE your blog. I’m a self-admitted cliché groupie. You’ve inspired me to redo my living spaces and I thank you for that.

    Second – This room is incredible. We too live in an older ranch style house so to see it used to it’s full potential is reassuring.

    Third – As for the guest room, the only thing I would add is a reading lamp. Although it’s not far for your guests to get out of bed to shut off the light, not having the leave the bed at all is even better. This is my favorite essential when visiting others. Everything else – spot on!

    • says

      Hey Kali,

      You’re right! it’s such a luxury to have a light near the bed to click off instead of getting off and turning it off on the wall. We haven’t figured out how to fit one in yet, but maybe a wall sconce is a future solution!


  7. says

    holy crap you have thought of EVERYTHING.

    this room is absolutely perfect. i can’t imagine how you managed to get it all in such a little space. looks amazing!

    i want to come be a guest ;-) i always come bearing pretty tasty cookies.

  8. Sophie says

    It truly is an amazing feat to fit three functions into such limited space, you guys did an amazing job.

    (Oh, and my little phonebox postcard much appreciates its closeup in the background of the desk picture!)

  9. Patti says

    Kudos to you guys! You did so much with so little! I have a guest bedroom that I also use as extra storage for the house, an ironing area and my daily makeup area. So when guests come, I clear out all my makeup, make sure storage and ironing is stored and out of the way and they at least have one drawer and some closet space, leave a few books on the nightstand they may like, fresh sheets, a big fluffy pillow and turn down the bed, and last but not least, fresh flowers!

  10. says

    Our guest room/office is bigger than yours and much, much, much more crowded. Help! What am I doing wrong?? I definitely need to use your advice and spruce up my space!

    • says

      Hey Emily,

      Perhaps finding items that can multitask instead of filling the room with lots of one-purpose-only pieces will help! And of course cutting down on clutter and knick-knacks that you have to dust also helps keep it feeling streamlined and open (as well as light paint on the walls and some breezy white window treatments).


  11. says

    Our guest room might get some multi-purposing soon. Right now it sometimes feels like wasted space when we don’t have guests, since we have a queen sized bed instead of a sleeper sofa or a Murphy bed, but even so I’m sure there is a way to better utilize the space when we don’t have guests.

    We like to set up the nightstand with chocolate, a bottle of wine, or magazines to make our guests feel at home. And the attached bath with garden tub doesn’t hurt either (our last guest joke that she was going to spend the entire weekend in that tub).

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