How to Reconfigure Your Home for a Lodger
Thinking about renting out your spare room? Discover the savvy design tricks for a harmonious modern house share
So just how do you divvy up a modern home in style to make sure everyone has all the space they need, as well as enough privacy? Both are key considerations for domestic comfort, so try these practical but beautiful interiors ideas to help you and your new cohabitee live in stylish synchronicity.
In an age of open-plan living, it may not be immediately obvious how to accommodate a new person with their own timetable and social life. Clever zoning, as seen in this project by TAS Architects, is key: consider how you could rearrange your communal space so it will comfortably accommodate multiple activities and inhabitants working, resting, eating or cooking in harmony.
If space is tight, look out for small-scale furniture – lots of brands now have a dedicated range of compact or flexible pieces. And shop creatively – a small round metal garden table can easily double as an affordable dining or laptop spot for one. Comfy armchairs are good, too, since you may not always feel like sharing the sofa.
Room dividers or internal doors – like these ones in a project by ROCK + POPPINS – that can separate rooms or areas should also help to create zones in larger rooms or open-plan spaces, to allow different members of the household to do their own thing. Some kind of divider can be especially brilliant if you each have friends over at the same time.
Of course, the larger your home – especially if your communal spaces are generous – the more options you may find you have. But in smaller areas, even a simple portable screen, shelves on wheels or a cabinet topped with tall plants could do the job.
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With that spare room that held loads of your stuff now unavailable, you’ll need to create additional storage in the rest of your home. High-level shelves can be helpful, or shelves over doors, since they won’t impact on the room too much.
If you’re in the market for some new joinery, consider something like this bespoke option in a project by West & Reid. The shelving goes right up to the ceiling, maximising the available space. Below there are closed cupboards to stash even bulkier items, and the unit also holds the TV – and all on one wall.
More: 23 Media Units That Create a Stylish Focal Point
Where else could you carve out space for more storage? Look beyond the obvious places to add bookshelves: the littlest room in the house can sometimes pack in a surprising amount of shelf space. This dinky-sized library by Sara-Int Renovations makes use of the void created by concealing the loo cistern, below, giving it a streamlined look.
Even a small change, such as adding a sofa or a cushion-topped bench to the kitchen, can create two distinct living areas, so you and your lodger aren’t on top of each other.
In this coastal home designed by Thorne Wyness Architects, there’s a small dining table at this end of the kitchen and a semi-concealed, compact seating area at the far end of the cabinet run.
With a view like this, you might not want for entertainment, but elsewhere, adding a TV to a little lounging nook is a good idea, too, if you’re not in an open-plan space – it removes the risk of fighting (or nurturing silent resentment) over the remote.
If communal space is very limited, it could be worth moving out of the best room in the house and turning it instead into a luxurious, multi-use space for your lodger, like this one designed by Laura Jayne Design. Make it somewhere he or she will actively want to hang out.
Consider how you could incorporate a TV, a desk, a lounging area and even an en suite or kitchenette.
Whether or not the all-singing, all-dancing bedroom is an option, there are plenty of ways to unlock more space in even the smallest of rooms. Here, in a bedroom put together by interior designer Rachel Usher, what could have been dead space at the end of the bed is instead a multifunctional unit for a TV that includes generous storage.
At the other end, the headboard doubles as a shelf, allowing pictures to be displayed without the need for holes in the wall.
When planning your new room or reconfiguring the rest of your home, do factor in somewhere for your lodger’s bulkier items to live, too – they’re bound to arrive with a suitcase or large bags, for example.
Whether you or your lodger work from home, or just need space to catch up with emails and admin on a laptop, standalone desk space means you don’t all need to be typing on the sofa, kitchen table or bed. Here, in a project by Nelson Design Studio, a small landing has been put to practical use.
An old-fashioned bureau that hides desk paraphernalia with a flip of its top can also be handy for work/life separation, especially if the bedroom is the only place for it.
You don’t need a huge home – or, indeed, a standalone desk – to make space for a little work perch. Tuck a desk-height shelf into dead space and breathe life into a previously unloved corner.
You’re planning a big dinner party while, unknown to you, your lodger has pencilled in a romantic night in with his or her partner… Such clashes can cause unnecessary discord. A stylish wall planner or blackboard will help everyone to create the space to do their own thing.
Do you share your home with a lodger, or even extended family? Share your tips for stylish communal living in the Comments.