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.
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.
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.