Realtors will tell you that snagging that condo in Soho or the studio overlooking Biscayne Bay is a prize unto itself. Location is everything. However, if you want to entertain in a small space you may have to opt for a fold-up card table and a roll-away-bed that fits in the closet during parties. That is assuming you have a closet!
Urban living often means leasing an efficiency apartment, studio or condo with limited floor space. One option to gain more floor space is to use dual-functioning furniture like Murphy beds. Custom built beds often have a second feature—like a dining table or extra storage—built in as secondary furnishings. These unique furniture pieces are decorative and functional. They allow you to fold up one furniture element to reveal another whenever it is needed. Options range from budget friendly to high-end custom quality, complete with a matching price tag.
There are numerous options for beds that are built on a storage platform, eliminating the need for chests-of-drawers and dressers in cramped quarters. Ottomans often serve as extra seating with a cushion and occasional tables without their cushions. Hinged-top coffee tables double as storage and provide extra seating. One furniture designer built a beautiful sidebar that expertly hides play space and walk through sleeping quarters for feline family members. The possibilities are almost endless.
Most people envision a Murphy bed as a wooden cabinet that holds a double bed mounted on a wall. This gives you floor space, but lacks personality. This same retractable bed can be built into a base that has 18 to 24 inch deep drawers from top to bottom in a variety of widths. The additional storage is priceless in a small apartment. The drawers are equipped with custom fasteners to keep them secure when opening and closing the sleeping compartment. Styles are available with a frame that has storage above and beside the mattress. When the mattress is folded up, the cabinet resembles an armoire or may display artwork in custom frames.
One design has a fold out dining table that is attached to the bed closet. Height levels can be adjusted to fit your personal seating preferences. You can choose a low, oriental style table, a standard dining height or even a bar height table based on your home decorating style and theme. Speaking of tables, you will find antiques and new designs that have multiple expansion options from folding flat against a wall to retractable leaves that transform a work desk into a table large enough to seat ten comfortably. A Murphy bed can be used as a room divider wall in your loft if you need to define space in an open concept floor plan. There are also cabinets for sleeper sofas and chairs that convert to a single bed. These cabinets provide storage around the sofa or chair and reveal a bed at night.
These are only a few of the multi-functional furniture pieces available. Roll around kitchen islands often provide storage underneath. The list is limited only by your imagination. A fantastic way to jump start your creativity is to explore the options used by shipbuilders and recreational vehicle designers. During the maritime era, ship builders utilized every square inch of living space to their advantage. Today, modern designers use the same techniques in their RV’s. Many antique desks feature slide out writing spaces and hidden compartments as safety boxes. If you are artistic and crafty, browse flea markets for inspiring pieces you can rebuild and repurpose. You can furnish your small space beautifully, whether you buy a dual-functioning piece of furniture, build your own or have one custom built.