Sitting rooms located off the master bedroom make peaceful retreats when used. But when they are not, they become wasted square footage.
"I think just the name 'sitting room' has a bad stigma," said Niki VanEch, of VanEch Studio. "Clients typically think they want the chaise and look of relaxation, but rarely do the spaces planned out that way get used. If well thought-out, these spaces can give a high return on the square footage."
Todd Carter, co-owner of Herndon, Va.-based Tailored Living, said a sitting room is generally a large space with many options for storage. He transformed one client's sitting room into a luxurious dressing room with enough space for a chaise lounge.
"Sitting rooms often fall into the same category as formal dining or formal living rooms," Carter said. "They look beautiful but are used very infrequently. A closet or dressing area, on the other hand, is used every day."
As more people telecommute or take work home, a sitting room is perfect for additional office space. Carter said he has helped clients turn the spaces into a combination home office or hobby and craft space.
"The location of a room directly adjacent to the master bedroom does not limit its use as a sitting room only," said Jodie Rosen, of Jodie Rosen Design. "This space can be utilized as a work space, a reading nook, a small gym -- the possibilities are really in what the homeowner is comfortable with seeing from their bed."
Rosen created a glamorous home office and sitting area, bringing in a sofa and additional storage so the room would remain "clean and tidy."
"The clutter that can accompany an office is what you want to avoid in this kind of scenario, so providing ample storage is an important element to this layout," Rosen said.
By incorporating a chaise lounge and side table, the owners of this project retained the elements of a sitting room with the added benefit of an office.
"This space is not for entertaining, so it shouldn't be treated as such," Rosen added.
Using a clever layout, Forma Design configured a master bedroom suite and adjacent dressing, lounge and TV room.
The key was creating "clearly defined areas that coexist," said architect and designer Andreas Charalambous.
"They are both united by the custom Sycamore-paneled wall, that houses a fireplace on axis with the bed, a TV in front of the lounge/dressing area, and which incorporates cabinetry housing both AV equipment under the TV and clothes storage cabinetry in the rest of the wall," Charalambous said.
Area rugs distinguish the two areas. A master bathroom suite is right off the lounge area. "This entire layout was based on the owners' waking up, showering, dressing and watching the morning news daily pattern," Charalambous said.
That's the beauty of a sitting room. It's like a blank canvas. It becomes whatever homeowners need it to be.