multifunctional workroom/office/schoolroom/laundry
I’ve been focusing on “Home” this month and let me remind you that if you’ve been doing any home projects—organizing, redecorating, cooking, gardening, etc—that you’d like to share, please link up tomorrow for “Home. On Purpose”.  This is a year long series where we live our lives with purpose, focusing on a different area each month.  (Just a little hint, May is all about Women, which goes perfectly with the series I’m working on about feminism.  I’m hoping to release a new installment of the series each week.)

One of the most asked questions about our new rebuild is how I’m liking the workroom.  Does a multifunctional room really work as well as it sounds it would?

The concept of a multifunctional room like this is fairly new so I didn’t know anyone personally who had one.  I collaborated with Darlene to turn this fairly small space into a powerhouse of a room.  It functions as an office/homeschool room/laundry room/art room/coffee-drinking room/study room/bill-paying room/library.  This room works harder than any room in our house, though it may, in fact, be the smallest in size.  The room is roughly 12×16 and I’ll let you peek at a sketch of the floor plan, sketched by Darlene.EdieW Workroom floor plan


Here’s what I said about the room, after living with it for two weeks:

The multitasking type of room has long been a dream of mine.   A room that’s like me—–that reads and does laundry and blogs and dabbles in paints and maps and printing and child-rearing and bird watching.  We’ve only lived here two weeks but I can’t even  count the hours we’ve already spent in here.  My girls’ new favorite pastime is to watch nail art videos and make their art come true whilst listening to me read “Gulliver’s Travels.”  It’s the first room we use in the morning and the last room we leave in the evening.   It never looks this clean.   There’s usually books and nail polish and writing projects strewn about.   We clean the green table off 27 times a day, only to make room for more art.

Up until about a month ago, I would have had absolutely nothing negative to say about this room.  It has functioned exactly like I thought it would. We have lived hard in here—we’ve learned how to translate Latin,  dabbled in mixed media art and watercolors, read Homer and Shakespeare and Virgil, painted our nails hundreds of colors and folded 867 loads of laundry.  We’ve knitted and crocheted and danced and sang and laughed, until it seemed like my heart might burst.  But, this season of having girls at home is a season.  And as my girls began to talk seriously about wanting to go to *real* school, I began to mourn the loss of all the things that this room has come to stand for.  And I began to wonder if creating a room like this was a mistake in the long run.  Maybe we would have been better served by a traditional dining room.  Maybe I should have been more practical. Maybe the perfect, multifunctional room is only so in theory. But at this point, if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t change a thing.

If we didn’t homeschool, does this room still fit within our lifestyle?  (Homeschool post forthcoming someday but my heart can only take so much;)  Well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see to know for sure but I can tell you this— I wouldn’t trade anything for the time I’ve spent in this room with my girls.  If they do traipse off the real school next year, I hope to be using the big green table as a workspace for reading and writing and bird watching.

Here’s my advice if you’re considering a multifunctional room.

1. She will be a busy room.

A multifunctional room can be a little like having 27 browsers open on your computer at the same time.  The laundry’s going, someone’s painting, someone’s trying to find a book, someone’s using the table as a ballet barre.  She’s the perfect companion to female industry and productivity but she  probably wouldn’t work well as an work office if you needed long stretches of quiet time to get work done, or at least not at my house.

2. She can get cluttered fast.  

There are paints and pencils and books and paint brushes and protractors and wide-ruled paper and the list goes on to infinity.  Keeping the supplies at bay can be daunting.  AND?  Our workroom has two glass doors, so leaving her a mess is not an option.  Unless it is.  But I don’t like that option.

3.  She stands as an icon of female strength and grace.

I love how the beauty of this room is undaunted by how hard she works.  She’s the perfect woman.  She invites you in, inspires you to create, beckons you to new frontiers of learning, and never seems to tire of your endless projects.

She’s everything to everyone all the time.


If you’d like a full tour of the room and a huge list of sources, visit the workroom page.

multifunctional workroom/office/schoolroom/laundry
multifunctional workroom/office/schoolroom/laundry

Wanna know something else cool?  There are a few images of my house (I think one of the workroom?) that made it into Kelly Edward’s Design Book.  You can purchase her collection of gorgeous designs by clicking on the icon.  (I’m not ashamed to say I bought one.)  Or leave a comment on this post before midnight tonight and I’ll give a copy away.


So, did I leave anything out you’ve been wondering about?  Would you like having a room like this or would it drive you crazy?

And don’t forget to link up tomorrow with your home projects!


p.s.  Can I express my heartfelt gratitude for your care and love for me after this weekend’s post?  I don’t know what to say, except that I’m so blessed to be taking this journey with you. 

Love you and thank you.  Maybe the lump in my throat won’t be permanent 🙂

Affectionately yours,



65 comments on “Living With a Multipurpose Room:: Workroom, pros and cons and a Giveaway”

  1. Just recently found your blog (from the BH&G article – while waiting in my doctor’s office!)…I have loved catching up on your past blogs (the ones of your fire are heartbreaking – I can’t even imagine losing everything!). The multi purpose work room in your new house is I think genius – not only is it a great place for dong so many things, from laundry to reading, but it is also so pretty. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love this post… even if your girls do go off to “real” school, they’re still going to need a place to do homework and art projects and all that kind of stuff.

  3. Hey Edie! I would LOOOOVE to win a copy of Kelly’s book. And I love the idea of your multipurpose work room. We’ve recently moved and said goodbye to our “homeschool/craft/sewing/office” room and I miss it DEARLY! (Though we were on the cusp of outgrowing her.) I have yet to figure out the best spot for homeschooling in our new digs. We are currently using the dining room table (which is also the only spot for a table and chairs in our house) and I am hauling baskets of books every morning and every afternoon and I’m thinking this is just not a good long term solution. We’ll see what we figure out over time. Anyway…love getting a peak at your creative juices. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for the giveaway! We have a multi -unction room, but not on purpose. School, sewing/crafting, storage happens there…and not in a very orderly fashion! This gives me new thinking…

  5. I love this room and you can “reinvent” it for any future purpose. 🙂 I can see it as the “parlor” in the future. Or the “grandchildren’s playroom.” 😉 It can be whatever you want it to be!! 🙂

  6. love the room…i just realized i have a multi-functional room sort of unintentionally in my home…with a desk, farm table, crafts, my husband’s music equipment, tv, toys, etc…and we spend a ton of time in there…currently bringing it into cutehood with some updates…if I get some pictures I will link up and join in…love your inspiration, words, sharing, etc…nice to know we are all so alike in so many ways…as crafting, studying, cleaning, cooking, organizing, thinking, loving mother hens:) mandy

  7. I love your multi-purpose room! I have converted our “dining room” into an office/playroom/library and we even though it is small, too, we love it 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. Here’s something true: A month ago, I pushed two desks back to back in my office. Then I pulled in my favorite fancy chair. I was attempting to use what I had to create a space where I could write or sew and my niblets could work on homework very much like your workroom. Ok. I was trying to copy you.

    My son loves it. He loves to have a quiet place away from the hubbub of the house and I love that I can sit in there with him. It seems much better used this way. So maybe that’s good news? With two children in public school, I see homework time as the first fruits of my day with them. It’s different but it’s sweet in its own way and it just feels right to have a quiet corner.

  9. I love your room. I dining room kinda works like this, computer room, homeschool room, dining, bill paying, etc…, but not even as put together or pretty.

  10. I love your workroom. I am turning our garage into a version of your room out of necessity to have a future homeschooling space and playroom for our 4 kids (4 years old and under) in our modest-sized home. Your space is inspiring! I would love to win a copy of the book, and am grateful for your Christ-centered and honest posts. Thank you!!

  11. I think your workroom is AWESOME! My kids go to “real” school and everyday we have clear off the kitchen table for homework and then clear it again for dinner and then clear it AGAIN to build Legos so the idea of your “everything room” just appears genius to me. I would love to win a book with any pics of your home in it!

  12. I love your room… it seems so full of possibilities:)

    I’m sure, being a fan of CIRCE, you know about the Association of Classical Christian schools; my boys attend an ACCS school and we have been so pleased. Andrew Kern came and spoke at our auction this year- so great. Anyhow, just a thought since it sounds like you are mulling over the girls’ educational future.

  13. I love that multi purpose room. I bet that even if the girls do go to school next year, you’ll find you will still congregate in that room for craft, chats, homework and life 🙂

  14. Edie, I enjoy reading your blog. Each morning while I drink my coffee and try to wake up I look forward to checking in with you to see what you have to share with us. You truly inspire me, make me think of things in a whole new light. Keep on keeping on girl.
    Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  15. I would love a room like this! I agree with Alexandra,the girls can always do their homework in there if they decide to go to regular school..

  16. I just picked this book up at my local library today!! I was so excited to see photos of your home and I said “wait a minute…I know that blog…I know that room.”
    You have a lovely home and I pine over your workroom often.

  17. I just love the idea of a workroom. Your entire house is just so lively and colorful, especially the workroom, it looks amazing! I would be so glad to have a copy of The Design Cookbook!

    • The person that I am replying to is me. But I used the wrong email in the first comment! Haha. Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. I worked in my sewing room/study today trying to organize. It’s so hard to keep things in good order! This book sounds wonderful. How nice that you are featured! I would be thrilled to win! Thanks!

  19. On my first tour of your blog, I remember thinking “I LOVE THIS ROOM.” I only love it more after hearing its story. Thank you for the opportunity for the book!

  20. i think i would really dig having a work room like that. not sure where to hang my wet delicates (?) but otherwise it would be superb.

  21. I, too, am “home on purpose.” I always refer to myself as a happily, or gratefully, unemployed wife and mom. I’m also making sure my home is a place I love. Even though I’m leaving it in a few short months, I am still decorating, updating, and rearranging like its my forever home. This is a new revelation for me. As a military wife, I have had quite a few homes in the last decade and I’ve always held off on too many projects because it wasn’t a permanent spot for us. I look back and realize how ridiculous that was! You didn’t know your house was going to be taken by that fire, just as I don’t know that the same thing might not happen to me. Or that my husband could get extended and we could stay for another month, year, or forever in this building that holds so many memories. Thank you for helping me see the importance of making it my own.

    Can’t wait for your words on feminism. I, too, believe in (mostly) traditional female roles. I think it’s a gift from God to be the chosen gender to care for and love our family in that way. Maybe it’s my Lutheran upbringing 🙂

  22. I so love the idea of the workroom. I could see myself and my kids in a room like that. I just love your workroom and visit it a couple of times a week (loving the green table). I’m warming my husband up to the idea of a workroom for our very under used living room. I just received Kelly Edwards book on Saturday and I love it especially the images of your home.

  23. Love your workroom – I think it is very practical and fun! I think it makes much more sense than a dining room – most people have dining rooms that are rarely ever used. I have a workroom of sorts sans laundry, in what would normally be an extra bedroom or possibly the dining room. I live in an old house where each room is connected to the next – so my workroom is on the front of my house next to my living room – the table can get really junked up fast. It was originally supposed to be my special room, but right now I’m sharing table space with my husband – it’s working out ok…

  24. Love, love,love your hard workin’ workroom! We turned our dining room into a homework/Bible study/hangout/etc room & our family uses it to death! After 7 years we had only used our dining room 3 or 4 times & felt it was such a waste of space. Now we are in that room all the time …

  25. I love this series and learning about how you use your home…it gives me such fun ideas and thoughts about ways in which I can better create a home with purpose for my family. Thank you for this!

  26. I’ve the comparison of your workroom to a hard working woman. I think your multifunction room is spectacular. I can see why it’s the most used room in your home.
    Would love a chance to win this fab book.

  27. I have looked at your house over and over in BHG paper and the digital version and I’ve also surfed your site extensively since I found your blog just recently. Your house is so beautiful and oh how I would love to take an actual walk through it! Your style is like no other I have ever seen and I would love to have your “flair” and creativity. Love your blog, love your words and inspiration! Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  28. Ok, a few things…first off, I LOVE your blog! Thank you for being such an inspiration! I look forward to your posts and so love your home. I tried the pizza dough yesterday. We doubled the recipe as I have four hungry kiddos and it was awesome!! We also tried the honey garlic and WOW! You weren’t kidding! LOVE!
    On another note, I would love the book to add to my small, but growing collection. Thank you again for sharing your family and home each day!

  29. The room is gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing with us weekly and love your transparency. You are such an inspiration to all of us who stalk your blog.

  30. We have a multi-purpose room of sorts- After finding you last year and seeing yours, I’m praying for the willingness to re-do a section we just RE-DID about 5 years ago- to add the washer & dryer- That is a great idea!!! Thanks Edie & Darlene
    PS- It was while we were on vacation this time last year that I discovered your blog.
    I have loved every single thing you have written and shared- Thank you for ALL you have brought to my life this past year 🙂
    I hope your girls choose staying home with you over “real” school…
    Julia- Enjoying you and the beach this week 🙂

  31. I would love to have a beautiful multi-function room like yours to share with my family. So cool to have it featured in a book!

  32. Hi Edie- I want to be YOU when I grow up! Hehe…. I am grown up, but don’t always feel like it. But I like that. It’s my first time commenting here, but had to say that this is probably my fave room in your house and My fave thing has to be the sign ” I like big books & I can not lie” dying laughing here every time I see (sing) it.
    Also, I almost died when I saw you and the Nester spent a girls’ weekend in NC – my home state- together! Y’all are two of my favorite blogs! Thanks for all the inspiration.
    Redoing our master bedroom now thanks in part to your master bedroom post in the 31 days series. We deserve it, right?! Almost 19 years of marriage & 2 kids 🙂 love ya!

  33. You are such a delight! I love, love, love your inspiring blog!! It’s addicting! Ha! The multi-functional room is ah-mazing and would be a must have if I were building my dream home. The way you have styled it is glamorous! You would never know how hard she works based on her glam!
    Tickled to have a chance at winning the book!

  34. If I had my own home I would ADORE a multipurpose room that would function as a library, music room, reading nook and craft area among other things. Sigh. A girl can dream. I’d be pretty happy if I get a free copy of the book though 🙂

  35. Hey Edie–
    So exciting to have pictures of your house in a publication! Checked out the book on Amazon and saw a pic of your beautiful kitchen. Thanks for a chance to win the book!
    On a separate note, I, too, was essentially abandoned by my father and have some issues trusting men to this day. My mom was a strong woman who took care of us, our home, mowed the lawn and raked the leaves–I know how hard it was for her and am sure how isolating that chapter of her life was, raising two young girls on her own without much help. She did it, and I can say that my sister and I are two of the most responsible, productive members of society. I am always still sure that a woman could do it better, but it is awful fun to have a male partner of your own. Love your blog and all you do!

  36. I love the fun of this room. I know that it would be wonderful to have a beautiful, organized place to homeschool. I have been homeschooling for fifteen years and I have ten more to go. We have always been at the dining room table.

  37. Ooh, barely making the midnight deadline. I knew there was a good reason to be online at this hour! 🙂 I love your multipurpose room and would love to peruse the book – thanks so much for sharing your thoughts & ideas!

  38. Love this…as always. I always seem to learn or gain something every time I “stop by”. I love when I read things & think she thinks at least a little like me. I finish your post feeling that I’ve been enlightened or encouraged yet once again. Thanks Edie!

    Our old school room was a multi-purpose room. It was our home office before it was a school room, it was 12 x 12 with a huge, massive, really big antique roll top desk, that seem to take up at least a quarter of the room. I didn’t have laundry but we had the rest. It was a place to wrap a gift, pay bills, paint a picture & learn to spell, we did a lot in that room. Sometimes it worked & sometimes it didn’t, but I think it was mostly good. Mine went back to real school (still makes me sad, but excited for the opportunities that they have) when I go in that room to work I find myself daydreaming about what was & even what could still be tomorrow if need be.

    I love your room & I the color. I think I would love to hang out in there & learn while slipping a latte & folding towels. Our room wasn’t decorated in any way. It was odds & ends, this & that with absolutely no thought or planning. Just a place to work & storage for our supplies…function first & last. I was constantly trying to make it better, re-purpose anything I could use from other rooms, rearranging the furniture (except for the old roll top- no moving that puppy), rearranging our book cases & closet to maximize it all.

    Today I find myself looking to see what else it can become or what purpose it can best serve. Back in the old days we had to have a place for the computer, but today not so much. So it may see life as something new, it may get to be re-invented yet once again.

    If they do go to real school they will have to do homework right? Reading, crafts & coffee for you in the am & study time in the pm. That room will be busy & serve its’ purpose for a long time. You’ll find creative & fun ways to use it whenever the time comes that it’s no longer needed as a school room

  39. This is such a beautiful room–though I think all the activity might exhaust me. Still, it makes me think that we’re not using my multi-purpose room quite enough–I really think it needs a comfy chair but I have no idea where to put one!

    It is only 10:32 here–I hope it isn’t too late to be entered into the draw? That book looks wonderful. (I read about it on Darlene’s site, too.)

  40. What a timely post! I have a space (ok, it’s the garage that includes the washer and dryer) that I’ve been wanting to turn into my office. After reading this, I now realize that I need to think of it more as a “studio” used to create, not just sit behind a desk. Now my design wheels are REALLY turning. Thank you!!!

  41. Your room is perfect…however, for me, I would probably not accomplish much as I am distracted very easily! LOL I am not the best organizer and I would have to have wooden doors with locks! I love the wonderful color in there and if I wasn’t so ADHD, it would be wonderful! I told my husband the other day that I needed a one-room house because when I leave one room to go to get something out of another room, I end up doing something in that room and when I leave that room to either put something away or to get something else, I end up in another room and never did finish what I started to do in the first place. So I am looking for a lovely *one-room* house. <3

  42. We built our dream farmhouse this past year and one of the items that made the architect raise his eyebrow at was the multipurpose room. 😉 It is very similar to yours in its functions: laundry, craft, homeschool, office. There are days that I second guess my decision for this room (it usually has to do with noise) but for the most part, I could have written this post alongside you. Yep, she may be unconventional, but she’s a keeper!

  43. I think there is something quietly magical about a room that fulfills several purposes. Add in books, and it feeds the soul. Yours is beautiful!

  44. I love the way your room allows you to all “live” real everyday life together with purpose. Everything in life is temporary and you have chosen to build a beautiful comfortable inspiring home where you and your family can learn create and grow together during the fleeting time while you can hold them close, I simply love it!

  45. For some reason, I didn’t comment when you first wrote this so my comment is tardy. I do want to read more about “real school.” We homeschool too, and I have a feeling that “first” day of school will come to our house too, and I’m already kind of sad.

  46. Popping over from Darlene’s blog. Love your spirit and your story! And this room (well, your whole house) is amazing. Don’t worry that room will still be used for studying putting together projects-all that fun stuff even if the kiddos transition to a traditional school.

  47. I discovered your blog today from a link from Nesting Place. We are house hunting and I’ve been hoping for a space that I can turn into a multipurpose room for a long time. A place to work on crafts and DIY projects, do art projects with my 2 and 4 year old daughters, arrange flowers, work on school work (I teach preschool), laundry, pay bills… Thank you for the inspiration!

  48. I love the workroom! Susan Susanka (author of The Not so Big House)says that rooms ought to have multiple purposes, otherwise it is wasted space so much of the time and I gotta agree! I have been living in a 650 sq ft studio with a (now) family of 7 and am just now moving into a home we have remodeled ourselves. One of my rooms is a long, narrow room that is right off the laundry and I am planning on using it much like you use yours. I was so surprised to find your site as it was such a similar idea! I would love to get a book! Thank you for the giveaway.

  49. I love, love, love your workroom (aka multi-putpose room)! I want one of my own because the computer’s in the kitchen and I lose counter space, the dining room becomes homework and craft central, and my poor buffets have become craft storage and filing. Now if only I could work a dance room into that space (oh yeah, that’s what the living room’s for).

    Thank you for your posts on your recent trip to Nicaragua, very inspiring.


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