How three UAE-residents without live-in maids have utilised the box room in their home
For those of us who don’t have a live-in maid, the box room that comes as part of most properties here is often un-used, or at best, a junk room. But how do you make the most of a room with such little square footage? And what exactly should you do with the space? We caught up with three UAE residents to find out how they transformed their maid’s room into a practical area that works for their needs.
The home office
Interior designer, Lindsay Crafts transformed her Al Zeina maid’s room into a home office during the pandemic.
Working from home during the last year has been tough for us all. My husband and I needed somewhere other than the dining table or spare room that we could work quietly and leave our work out without constantly tidying it up. We also needed a quiet and zen like space to think productively and hold zoom calls.
The room is an L shape so I had a wardrobe placed in the narrowest part, to hold the items that were stored in the room when we used it as a store space. I had a desk made that was smaller but still allowed ample working space and I put in a comfy chair for when we are able to sit and have phone calls. It has become very versatile and great for us as a family as we continue to work from home.
Use space judiciously
Think about how much can you get out of the space. There are storage options that are practical and don’t compromise the design. I have a glass cabinet from JYSK that holds pretty things, but practically has storage for stationery and books. Clever storage, like stackable crates, are great for storing pens and pencils.
Own multi-purpose furniture
The desk legs are removable, they just pop out, which means if we did require it for anything else we could fold the desk up and the room will be pretty versatile again. Having the ability to have a guest bed in the room helps when visitors come to stay. If you have a chair in the room, look at getting a bed chair or one that has built-in storage so that you can hide bits inside.
Lighting is key. Our space doesn’t have a window, which is often the case with these rooms. So I have a daylight bulb that I keep on at all times. When I’m focusing at the desk, I like to use my task lamps for extra support.
Interior designer and full-time mum, Ildiko Takacs created a ‘happy place’ within her Arabian Ranches 2 Villa.
As with most villas, our maid’s room was quite small, but I decided to maximise the area by turning it into a happy place. I’ve always wanted a space where I can hide and escape – a place that I can get some alone time – so I decided to transform the maid’s room into my happy place.
The room size is 6m2, which is pretty small, so I had to use the space wisely. I knew I wanted a bed, a desk, and a little chest of drawers. In order to make the room feel more spacious, I decided to put up some wallpaper which opened up the space with a refreshing forest pattern – giving the room a bit of depth.
Use the technique of scale and proportion
Small space is all about getting the furniture sizing right, so avoid using heavy and weighty furniture. Pieces with skinny legs work well, as they allow light to get in underneath them. I found all the furniture at IKEA – the small bamboo desk is the perfect dimension for the small space.
Add biophilic designs
Green, leafy and refreshing nature helps to bring a relaxing feel. The living plants help to create an inviting and relaxing hideaway. There is a small connecting bathroom, where I used matching green colours for the shower mat and towels.
Feel free to use light fabrics and colours
Bright shades and natural fabrics are key elements in small rooms, but do have fun as your home is a reflection of you.
The home gym
Dubai Hills residents, Jonathan and Samantha Njenje turned their maid’s room into a home gym.
By creating a small home gym, we can exercise whenever we want. As parents, it is convenient, cost-effective, and practical. Plus, walking past a treadmill when we enter the house is great motivation! We placed the treadmill against the back wall and fitted in a weights rack, gym rings, and boxing man punch bag, enabling us to have a mix of cardio and weight training.
My main advice is to put mirrors in front of, and behind, any gym equipment. That way, when you’re working out you won’t be looking directly at a wall and it makes the space feel larger than it is. Mirrors are also useful when checking form so it’s a win-win!
Keep it simply creative
You don’t need to spend a huge amount to create a fitness area in your home. The padded wall and gym flooring are both Dragon Mart bargains, and the storage is from IKEA. It’s about finding the right size products for your space.
Use of minimalistic designs
With the decoration, go for minimal yet effective designs. Black and white photos are elegant without drawing too much attention so that it makes the small space look too busy.
Now you’ve been inspired by the maid’s room, check out our dreamy inspiration for the pantry