Small Multipurpose Guest Room Ideas

If you live in a small house, then space is at a premium. Most of us like to have a guest room, but need to be able to use it for something else when guests aren’t there. Which is where these small multipurpose guest room ideas will come in handy.

How to fir 5 functions in one small multipurpose room

A while ago, I shared the process I went through (the good and the bad) in redoing my den/home office.

This week I want to describe all the functions this room has in my home.

My house is small, only 700 sq. ft., so each room has to have a clearly defined purpose and no hassle functionality.

Not only must the decor please me, the transition from one use to another within the space must be easy to accomplish.

I achieved these goals very successfully in the new office makeover. I now have a space that performs the functions of 5 rooms.

Keep reading to find out how to fit 5 functions in one small multipurpose guest room.


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A library table is a multi function piece of furniture that gets used as a desk and a dining room table

The main function of this space is an office/library.

So it needs to have a desk.

But that desk needs to be flexible to accommodate everything I want to use it for in this room.

A library table that folds up and also has leaves to extend it is a multi function piece of furniture that is perfect for this situation.

I have my laptop computer set up on this fold-down library table and do the daily crossword, email and other correspondence, on­line research and shopping, bill paying, and make business calls here.

A rolling file cabinet fits under the table

A wheeled filing cabinet is stored under the table for easy access to current files and office supplies.

Small guest room used as an office with a built-in wall unit, a library desk and a rocking chair

I keep records and information pamphlets in labelled binders in a built-­in buffet (made from IKEA kitchen cabinets), and store other office-related accessories in these DIY custom storage boxes.

The large counter space has room for my printer.

While the open shelving has my decorating books and dictionary handy for convenient reference.

I love to sit in the old oak rocker (which came from my grandmother’s home) when I’m talking on the phone or reading a magazine. There is a small refurbished table handy to hold my tea or coffee cup.

Wall sconces above the table provide excellent work lights without taking up any table (or floor) space.

Dining Room

Adding a table cloth makes the desk into a dining room table

Because I try to keep the surfaces relatively clear of clutter, I can transform the den into a dining room with minimal effort.

The laptop fits on top of the filing cabinet which stays under the table.

Then, all I need is a pretty tablecloth or place mats to set the table for lunch.

Small side chairs are at hand.

Adding an extra leaf in the table converts the guest room into a dining room

If I am having people over for dinner, I remove the rocking chair from the room, add another leaf to the table, bring in more side chairs, and place the office chair at the end.

The top of the buffet makes an excellent serving space.

I love the fact that the room is separate from the rest of the house.

This allows me to set up in advance.

When guests arrive, they can relax in the living room with an appetizer and be seated at the table when I am ready to serve the meal.

I find that, as the hostess, this arrangement makes me less flustered when entertaining because I feel very organized.

No worries about last minute table setting or where to put guests as they arrive.

The guest room set up as a dining room

I can comfortably accommodate up to 6 people for a sit down dinner, ­­a cozy and intimate arrangement that happens a few times a year.


The wall unit set up as a buffet in a small multipurpose guest room

About once a year, I have an afternoon tea party to which I invite many friends and their children.

It is a casual and fun event and I set up the “den” as a buffet.

Then we clear all the surfaces and add two leaves to the table, extending it along the wall under the mirror.

Chairs are removed as necessary.

The table and buffet top are arranged with cups, tea, scones and dainties for my guests to help themselves.

Sewing Room

Small multipurpose guest room used as a sewing room

By expanding the table with one or two leaves, I have a perfect cutting surface for sewing.

The sewing supplies are handy in plastic containers in the wall unit storage ensemble and my sewing machine is easy to set up on the table.

Because the room does not impact the rest of the house, I like the convenience of being able to leave the project out until it is completed.

Again the sconce lighting makes it easier to see detailed work.

Spare Bedroom

A Murphy bed built into the wall

The most complicated transformation occurs when I have an overnight guest.

There is a Murphy bed built into the wall.  

Table used as a desk with filing cabinet under it

In order for it to be pulled out, the table must be folded into its library size and pushed against the side wall.

This is made easier by brass casters on the legs.

The filing cabinet nicely still fits underneath.

The rocking chair and desk chair need to be removed and some of the pictures on the ‘Murphy’ wall taken down.

Then the bed can be lowered.

The bed linen is conveniently stored in the cupboards above the agate wall art.

I painted them the same color as the walls and hung pictures on the cupboard doors so they blend in with the rest of the room decor.

pull down blind used as a door in a small multipurpose guest room

A roll down curtain blind over the door provides privacy without using up any floor space in the room.

Wall with the Murphy Bed folded up

The guest usually closes the bed during the day to allow more freedom of movement…and you can barely tell there’s a bed in this wall.

Although the room only measures 8’ x 9’, it is certainly in no way wasted real estate!

The space is used extremely efficiently.

The fact that most of the functions are hidden is a big bonus.

If you were to drop by, it looks like a very pleasant, comfortable library…a place where one would love to be.

Other small room decorating ideas you might like

Have comments or questions on how to fit 5 functions in one small multipurpose guest room?  Tell us in the section below.

This post was originally published on July 4, 2016 but was updated with new content on April 9, 2024.

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  1. Hi Wanda,
    Can you tell us about the Murphy bed? Is it custom built or did your Mom diy it?
    Thanks, ~

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Andrea…she had a handyman make it, so it is a DIY job but she didn’t do the work 🙂 He cut a hole in the wall that was about 18″ off the ground and big enough for a twin bed. He framed around the hole with 2×4’s. Then cut a piece of plywood to fit the hole. The bottom of the plywood is attached to the wall frame with a piano hinge. It’s also cut about 18″ from the top of the board and the two pieces are attached with another piano hinge. That piece folds down and acts like legs when the bed is down. Finally, he attached a bed frame to the plywood, not attached to the part that folds down. (I believe the frame came from IKEA but I could be wrong). So the frame sticks out further than the supporting plywood when it’s down but is covered by the hinged piece on the end when it’s up. The mattress fits inside the frame. Then there are barrel bolts at the top and sides of the bed that attach it to the wall so it doesn’t fall down when it’s up. Hopefully that helps.

  2. Thank you so much for showing this. Last week when you mentioned the room as dining room, I could not picture it at all. Now, after your explanation and photo, I can. What a marvelous use of space! And it’s simply stunning to look at, too.

    1. Thanks, Lenora! It took us a while to figure out how to make all this work in such a small space…but now that’s it’s finished we love it 🙂

    2. I am absolutely in awe! Such a wonderful creative use of every inch of space. I recently downsized from a 4000 sq. foot (5 beds/4 bath) very large home. Now hubby myself and our 4 cats and 1 dog are living in 900 sq feet. (2 beds/2 baths) it was quite a transition. But, I always dreamed of living on the beach in an elevated stilt home. This home was built as a vacation home in the 80’s. We purchased it completely remodeled. So it was already updated. But I had to part with so many treasures and large pieces of furniture. We used a few IKEA hacks and did an entire wall of cubbie shelves. Our cats think it’s their castle. Now I’m working on creating an inviting guest bedroom – which is also my studio (I’m an artist) but I need a room for when my (adult) kids to visit. Your post gave me a lot of great ideas. Thanks so much. Love and sunshine from the Texas Gulf Coast

      1. Wanda Simone says:

        Thanks, Melanie! That sounds like quite a transition for you! I’m glad we could give you some ideas that might help 🙂

  3. Christina in FL says:

    WOW!! Absolutely stellar use of space! I am thoroughly impressed with its beauty and function. Thank you for sharing all these details. GREAT JOB creating this space!

    1. Thanks, Christina! We are pretty happy with the way it turned out, too 🙂 I think it’s now our favorite room in the house.