Create decorative storage. When you’re using the room as a den, the last thing you want is to stare at unappealing office storage. “Use creative storage to store and tuck away papers and binders when they are not in use,” says interior designer Elizabeth Gordon. “These can include attractive built-in or freestanding shelving, decorative bins and boxes, or cabinets with drawer storage.”
Sneak in the television. You want your TV handy for den time, but you don’t want it glaring and distracting when it’s time to hunker down for work. “Incorporate the TV into a built-in cabinet or storage shelving with books and storage bins,” advises Gordon. “If possible, place the TV in a location — say, within a two-door cabinet — that allows it to be closed off from view during work hours but easily accessible when it's ready to be viewed.”
Make use of the walls. Build in your desk or push it up against the wall. This leaves the remainder of your space open for enjoying the den with family or friends. “Keep the desk counter shallow, but bump the area where you sit out a bit for more computer/work space,” says interior designer Debra Campbell. “A long and shallow desk takes up less depth in the room but still allows for plenty of workspace.”
Keep your workspace clutter free. Avoid adding too much stuff to your desk. When the room is in den mode, you don’t want to be distracted looking at piles of work and electronics. Campbell recommends using wireless equipment if possible. “Put your fax and printer on a shelf that slides out within the built-in cabinetry, and hide them behind retractable doors," she says. "This allows easy access while working, yet they can be quickly put away once work is complete.”
Let your furniture multitask. Place an extra-deep console or narrow table at the back of a sofa. “It functions as a desk during the day for work and can be easily transformed into a decorative piece when entertaining or watching TV at night,” says Gordon.
Don’t overcrowd. Focus only on the necessities for both an office and a den. This way the space remains calm yet practical, and you can move between functions without the room feeling chaotic and jam-packed.
Amp up the function of your furnishings. Since you’ll be using one room for two purposes, you’ll want to make the most out of every inch. Look for furnishings with storage: pieces with shelves or hidden compartments. This room features an ottoman that hides necessities. There's a space to store blankets and pillows inside, while casters make it easy to move out of the way.
Light for both office and den usage. Make sure your lighting is appropriate for work and relaxation. “Incorporate multiple sources of lighting in the room that can serve different purposes, including reading, mood setting and entertaining,” says Gordon.