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How to Make Living With a Roommate Work

03/30/2015 04:30 pm ET | Updated May 30, 2015

Kate Burt, Houzz Contributor

One effect of the recent recession is the rise in roommates or live-in landlords. But how do you divvy up a modern home in style to make sure everyone has the space and privacy they need? Both are key considerations for domestic comfort, so try these practical but beautiful ideas to help you and your new roommate live in stylish synchronicity.

Create zones. In an age of open-plan living, it may not be immediately obvious how to accommodate a new person with their own timetable and social life. Clever zoning is key. Consider how you could rearrange your communal space so it will comfortably accommodate multiple activities and inhabitants working, resting, eating or cooking in harmony.

Look out for small-scale furniture if space is tight -- lots of brands now have a dedicated range of compact or flexible pieces. And shop creatively -- a small round metal garden table can easily double as an affordable dining or laptop spot for one. Comfy armchairs are good, too, since you may not always feel like sharing the sofa.

Split your space. Room dividers can also help to create zones in larger rooms or open-plan spaces to allow different members of the household to do their own thing. These are especially useful if you each have friends over at the same time.

Boost living room storage. With that spare room full of your stuff gone, you'll need to create additional storage in the rest of your home. High-level floating shelving that stretches from wall to wall looks great -- painted the same color as the walls, it creates an architectural detail. And it can stash heaps of books, magazine holders and good-looking storage boxes without compromising space.

Seek out a shelf nook. Where else could you carve out space for more storage? Look beyond the obvious places to add bookshelves: the littlest room in the house can sometimes pack in a surprising amount of shelf space. This dinky-sized library looks cute, too.

Make your kitchen multifunctional. Even a small change, such as adding a sofa to the kitchen, can create two distinct living areas so you and your housemate aren't on top of each other.

Adding a TV to a little lounging nook is a good idea, too, if you're not in an open-plan space. It removes the risk of fighting (or nurturing silent resentment) over the remote.

Create the ultimate bedroom. If communal space is very limited, it could be worth moving out of the best room in the house and turning it into a luxurious, multi-use space for your housemate. Make it somewhere he or she will want to hang out. Consider how you could incorporate a TV (in the end of the bed, as here?), a desk, a lounging area and even an en-suite or kitchenette.

Include hardworking furniture. There are plenty of ways to unlock more space in the smallest of rooms. Here, a headboard becomes a bedside table, storage unit and shelves in one, with space behind for a hanging rail.

When planning your new room or reconfiguring the rest of your home, factor in somewhere for your housemate's bulkier items to live too. They're bound to arrive with a suitcase, for example.

Find space for a desk. Whether you or your housemate work from home or just need space to catch up with emails and admin on a laptop, stand-alone desk space means you don't all need to be typing on the sofa, at the kitchen table or in bed.

An old-fashioned bureau that hides desk paraphernalia with a flip of its top can also be handy for work-life separation, especially if the bedroom is the only place for it.

Shelve your space. You don't need a huge home -- or, indeed, a stand-alone desk -- to make space for a little work perch. Tuck a desk-height shelf into dead space, and breathe life into a previously unloved corner.

Streamline your social lives. You're planning a big dinner party while, unknown to you, your housemate has pencilled in a romantic night at home with his or her partner. Such clashes can cause unnecessary discord. A stylish wall planner or blackboard will help everyone create the space to do their own thing.

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