Designing spaces for dual purposes

Saturday February 1 2020

In buildings, a room can be designed to serve

In buildings, a room can be designed to serve multiple purposes. A living room for example can also serve as a reading room. NET PHOTO. 

By Gloria Kawuma

I have not been secretive about the fact that when my family and I moved into our own home, we did so while it was incomplete.
Some rooms did not have doors. The floor on ground level was still in its rough cast form. Before sweeping, one would have to pour a good amount of water on the floor to reduce the dust that would be raised from this process.
I remember a time when I could not even bring myself to sit in my sofas without first spreading a scarf over them. It was a nightmare.
Because we were living in the house already, it meant that we had to shift everything into one or two rooms, as we waited for the others to be worked on.

When we got some funds, I had the whole of my kitchen (fridge, cooker, matooke, onions, cups and plates), sitting room, dining room in one room. The challenge was to make this room livable for a week.
The considerations one must be aware of when designing a space for dual purposes like studio flats or remodeled garages are:

The space that will be least used should be positioned at the rear/far end of the room. This means it will not be the first space that we walk into and walk out of everytime we leave the room.

The furniture that is going to be used in this space should not be compromised. It should be durable enough with tough surfaces. For example the dining table can also serve as a kitchen worktop. The bed may at one point be used as seating space, especially when entertaining.

Floor length curtains
Floor length curtains will not be necessary as they may become a hindrance by getting entangled in other items or accessories that will be stowed below the window siu.

Store items in boxes
Only put out the items that are going to be used very often. The rest, no matter how costly or sentimental they are, should be neatly tucked away in boxes until an appropriate time and space avail themselves.
Try and shy away from patterned or heavily designed accessories like curtains, beddings, wall art and chair fabric.


The floor should be durable enough to withstand the heavy traffic in this room. Plastic carpets, wood flooring may wear out much quicker than porcelain tiles or terrazzo floors. Finally, ensure that you have sufficient lighting. This way, you will have a clue about where different things have been kept or positioned for easy reference. Remember a well lit room brings some brightness into what would seem an overcrowded space.