Solutions For A Living Room Design Dilemma | west elm

What can you do when your small living room suddenly needs to double as a bedroom-by-night?

When Debra’s son moved back home unexpectedly, she came to us on Twitter with this exact design dilemma. That’s when the Home Stylists at our Birmingham, Boston, and Philadelphia stores pitched-in with their solutions.

Read on for their practical styling advice about what to do when you really need to live in a living room!

Nook Storage Coffee Table | west elm

#1. The Bookcase Divider

“You can strategically place an open bookcase to give your son a private space of his own while also providing storage.”

“For example, our Rolling Storage is open to both sides and large enough to act as a room divider. Inserting square woven baskets in several of the openings creates hidden storage for belongings while also creating more privacy.”

“Bonus feature: This piece is on wheels so it can easily be moved to the side during the day when privacy isn’t need.”

Laura Wilson, west elm Philadelphia

Rolling Storage | west elm

#2. Make It Multifunctional

“Focusing on using only multifunctional pieces can help two people live together comfortably in a 1 bedroom comfortably without stepping on each other’s toes.”

A sleeper sofa would be ideal. It allows you to keep the integrity of a true living room and the comfort of a full-size bed.”

“Look for a coffee table that has hidden storage – like our Rustic Storage or Nook Coffee Table. This way, your coffee table can double as a nightstand + place for your son to to hide an alarm clock, books, and any other basic necessities.”

Whitney Harris, west elm Birmingham

Rustic Storage Coffee Table | west elm

Sleeper Sofa by west elm

#3. Style A Temporary Solution

“You can’t make your living room any bigger – but there are temporary ways to make it look and feel bigger.”

“One way to make your son’s area feel like its own space is to add an area rug. Even if that means overlapping with an existing rug, this gives any part of the room its own distinct feeling.”

“Folding screens are easy to set-up and store away as needed. west elm carries this Patterned Upholstered Screen + this Fretwork Screen. Depending on your + your son’s style, consider looking for different types – such as shoji screens – at vintage shops in your area.

Jessica Klein, west elm Fenway

Patterned Nailhead Upholstered Screen | west elm

Do you have a design dilemma? Schedule an appointment with our free Home Stylist service at your local store!

Get the Look

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shelley Scales

May 18, 2014

The exact same thing happened to me recently! My son moved back home, we are both interior designers. Luckily I had a day bed he slept on and his clothes and bedding were stored in a cedar chest at one end. Good thing he is neat and tidy. We did move into a place with a second bedroom for him. We have learned to not accumulate “stuff”. Vertical shelving is my best suggestion for stuff in a small space. Five good book cases in an apartment should be a minimum.


May 19, 2014

Good call Shelley! Storage is important – but a “stuff”-free apartment is definitely the ultimate goal.

Bea Del Rosario

July 28, 2014

I live in a small studio apartment. Its boxy, has two random windows, and honestly, is a great space except its not long like many other studio apartments. The nice thing is that my kitchen is separate, but too small to fit a dining area in there. My dilemma is creating space and utilizing the extra space in the room without making it feel like i randomly placed furniture. Currently, have my bed centered as a focal point and my dining area on one side and tv on the other. It really isn’t too bad but i would love to have an area to lounge around and not be on my bed aka, couch space/living room.

Sharon Alexander

December 6, 2014

I would give him the bedroom, and I would take the Living room. you can put a very nice king size bed set with a loveseat as a sofa and get a room diver for private time. This is a look like no other

I think you will love it

Chill Kydes

March 27, 2015

He’s an architect. Let him give interior design a try!

Related Posts