Once kitchen islands became a favored eating spot, dining rooms got a wee bit lonelier. Most of us still reserve a table for special gatherings or evening meals, but that underused space can easily handle library or office time, too. Install built-ins or prefab shelving and baskets to stash office supplies. (Dining room lighting is often soft, so keep a lamp on a nearby buffet to bring over as needed.)Tip: Stash casual linens in a large basket for easy access whenever you want to quickly set the table.
Sit and spin
Laundry rooms with cabinets provide a spot to toss in supplies for other light tasks, like sewing, flower arranging, gift wrapping or crafting. Add a small table and chair, and let your creativity cycle through.
How to pull an all-nighter
The floor plan in this Tudor home indicated home office, but the homeowners ignored that limiting label when they needed to carve out space for a college-age child's infrequent visits. A deep window seat in one wall of the office accommodates a twin mattress and shelving. Curtain panels on either side of the nook make a space that might feel like an afterthought as inviting (and private) as a dedicated guest bedroom.
Streamlined and inventive, the breakfast area of this galley kitchen multitasks as an entertaining bar with access to outdoor living spaces. A slim vintage console serves as an island or table without crowding the narrow room like a round table would. But don't let the stature fool you: Its bold design commands full attention from early-morning bagels until the last call.