How To Create A Home Office And Guest Room Combo

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall
Credit: Shutterstock / Ground Picture

If you’re like a good chunk of today’s workforce, you spend a hefty amount of time working from home. A home office makes things easier, and creating a room that does double-duty makes a lot of sense. A popular combo is to combine a guest room and home office into one functional space.

Use a drop-down or flip-style desk, so it tucks away when you don’t need it. A Murphy bed, futon, sofa sleeper, or day bed provides a place for guests to sleep or seating when in office mode. Hide office supplies with clever and creative storage. If there’s a closet, stow office things on one side and leave space for guests’ belongings on the other side.

Maybe you’re a remote worker for your job, have your own business, or do freelance work. Or you might just want a dedicated space to handle basic household tasks like paying bills, meal planning, or researching vacations or renovation projects. A guest room-home office combo could be the answer for you.

11 Tips For A Guest Room And Home Office That Share Space

If you plan to set up a home office in your guest room, or vice versa, it’s all about creative space planning and smart furniture choices. You want the room to be functional, feel cozy as a bedroom, and encourage you to be productive as an office.

It’s also important to set the room up in a way that makes it easy to transition between the two different spaces. When it’s simple to do, you’re more likely to maintain a tidy space and fully commit to each look.

Here are 11 tips to help you create a home office and guest room combo that works for you and your visitors.

1. Incorporate A Small Desk Into The Guest Room

Choose a small-scale desk for the space and a slim chair. It’s easier to fit a more minimal piece into the room. Your guests can use the desk as a desk. Another option is to add a make-up mirror and tray to the desk to transform it into a vanity.

If you’re limited on space, consider using a small rolling desk that easily moves out of the room when you have guests. A rolling desk provides the added advantage of moving your workspace to another location temporarily.

2. Use A Hideaway Desk

If you’re working with a small space, fitting a desk in the room when the bed is in position might be asking a lot. In this scenario, use a drop-down or floating desk or a wall-mounted folding desk. When the room is acting as a guest room, you can fold the desk away and have more space for the bed.

3. Use A Bed That Converts Into Seating

A guest room needs a place for people to sleep, but a standard bed doesn’t work well in a home office. Instead, utilize a sofa sleeper, futon, or day bed. It acts as seating for your office space and turns into a bed when it needs to be one.

Another option is a Murphy bed. You can even find some Murphy beds that become a desk when the bed is out of sight. Other styles also incorporate storage or shelving into the design.

4. Hide Office Items Out Of Sight

Don’t give guests any indication that they’re staying in your office. The idea is to make your home office disappear for a few days. Therefore, whenever possible, use solid containers or keep supplies behind closed doors.

If open shelving is your only option, use a standing screen or hang a curtain to hide files or office supplies. If you keep files and papers in trays or magazine holders, turn them backward. This way, guests see the pretty pattern on the container instead of a messy jumble of loose papers.

5. Consider Your Electronics Carefully

A bulky desktop computer (or even a streamlined one) won’t work in every guest room. Sure, you may have some guests who don’t mind a computer in their space (they might even welcome it). But it definitely takes away from the cozy vibe a guest room should have.

If possible, consider a laptop for your home office use. It’s also easier to move it to another room when you relocate when you have guests visiting.

6. Keep Spare Linens In Decorative Baskets

If most of the storage space in the room is devoted to your office necessities, use a decorative floor basket to hold spare linens. If floor space is slim, mount a shelf above the door frame. Place spare sheets and towels in a pretty bin or basket that sits on the shelf.

7. Have A Work Plan For When You Have Guests

One drawback of utilizing a guest room as your home office is figuring out where you’ll work when you have guests. Therefore, avoid confusion and missed deadlines by having a backup plan in place.

Discuss with others in your household where you’ll work while your visitors stay with you. To remain productive, decide how you’ll keep work separate. Adjust your schedules if necessary to ensure you get the time and space you need.

If space is significantly limited, consider spending a couple of hours each work day elsewhere. Do you have the option of going into an office for your job? If not, utilize your local library, a coffee shop, or a similar setting.

8. Go With A Simple Design Scheme

Keep the design of the room simple. Don’t cram too much stuff into the space, and avoid using too much furniture. The simpler your space, the easier it is to transition it between a guest room and an office.

9. Set Up A “Later” Bin

Sometimes, you might not get to finish your current work project before guests arrive. You don’t want to leave all of your business strewn about the room. However, you can’t stow it all away, since you still need to work on it.

Have a designated basket or bin for the items you're currently working on to make it easy to gather them into one place quickly. It also makes it easier to move these things to another location to work on them as needed.

10. Split A Closet

If the room you’re using for your home office-guest room combo has a closet, divide it in half. Devote one side to office storage and leave the other side empty for guests. You can also use the guest room side for storing spare linens, blankets, towels, and other essentials.

The office side will likely be mostly shelves, and the guest side might be a combination of shelving and a clothing rod. If you prefer to have open shelving when you use the room as an office, remove the closet doors and hang a curtain instead.

11. Create A Reading Nook

A cozy chair in the corner with a lamp and side table works well in a guest room and your office. Other options are building a window seat in the space or using a comfy storage bench or chaise.

A nook gives you a comfortable place to read documents, review notes, or brainstorm new ideas. Your guests will enjoy the additional place to lounge or sit as they read a novel or enjoy a cup of tea.

A Multi-Functional Room That Works And Welcomes

A simple design, clever storage, and double-duty furniture make it easy to create a guest room and home office combo. A desk that folds away, a sofa sleeper, or a Murphy bed are examples of how to transition the space smoothly.

It’s also essential to have a backup plan for where you’ll work from home when you have guests. Movable storage for your office necessities and a laptop make a temporary relocation more manageable. With thoughtful and intentional planning, you’ll end up with a cozy room for guests that doubles as a productive home office for you.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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