Space-Saving Furniture: Make Your House Feel Bigger

Space-saving furniture helps you simplify and live more efficiently by creating multipurpose rooms in your home. Live large despite cramped surroundings.

| August/September 2013

  • Tiny Home Interior in Snohornish, Washington
    A drop-down table, storage bench and shelves are space-saving features that improve the livability of this 140-square-foot home in Snohomish, Washington.
    Photo By Christopher Tack
  • Exterior of Chris and Malissa Tack's Tiny Home
    Chris and Malissa Tack live in this 140-square-foot tiny home in Snohomish, Washington.
    Photo By Christopher Tack
  • Murphy Bed Unfolded in a Small Apartment
    Murphy beds fold up behind shelves or inside cabinets when not in use, creating efficient, multipurpose rooms, such as in this Washington, D.C., apartment.
    Photo By Jennifer Hefferan
  • Murphy Bed Folded Up
    The cabinet at right conceals a fold-down Murphy bed to quickly convert this small living space into a bedroom.
    Photo By Jennifer Hefferan
  • Wall-Mounted Desk
    Empty walls can be put to work with space-saving furniture, such as this drop-front desk from
    Photo Courtesy
  • Kitchen With Open Shelving for Storage and Display
    Shelving offers opportunities for both storage and display, and packs a lot of function into a small space in this 648-square-foot home in Franklin, Maine.
    Photo By Brittany Courville
  • Log Home Multipurpose Room
    Sleeping, dining and cooking each has its place in this cozy log-cabin room.
    Photo Courtesy Ralph Kylloe/The Log Home Book

  • Tiny Home Interior in Snohornish, Washington
  • Exterior of Chris and Malissa Tack's Tiny Home
  • Murphy Bed Unfolded in a Small Apartment
  • Murphy Bed Folded Up
  • Wall-Mounted Desk
  • Kitchen With Open Shelving for Storage and Display
  • Log Home Multipurpose Room

Efficient home design will never go out of style because of a condition that prevails in most households: The amount of stuff coming in exceeds the amount of stuff going out. Clutter is especially problematic in small homes or apartments, where it can build up rapidly and defeat the efficiency of small-space living. The solutions are to reduce the number of objects you own and use specially designed small-space furniture to better organize what you keep.

Home Storage Solutions

The following five-part plan is based on my years of experience finding extra storage space for clients, most of whom were challenged by tight budgets. Every one of these steps can help declutter your home and solve your storage and organization problems.

1. Multiply Your Multipurpose Rooms

Getting double duty from a single room makes a huge difference in any size of house. Some of the best space-saving furniture to help you create multipurpose rooms was designed and built hundreds of years ago, when living spaces were really small. The drop-leaf table is an excellent example. This classic convertible can be a freestanding piece of furniture, or designed to attach to the wall (see Image Gallery). Either way, the table takes up little space in its dormant mode. But a living room becomes a dining room when the leaves are extended.

You can add an office to any room with the right piece of furniture. Locating a drop-front desk in a corner gives you a small office that can be closed up easily when the room is needed for other purposes. Even better, a wall-mounted drop-front desk folds up into a small, inconspicuous cupboard (see Image Gallery). And a desk on wheels can be pushed out of the way when not in use.

Multipurpose rooms can be created anywhere in the house using furniture for small spaces. If recessed into a wall, an ironing-board cabinet takes up no space at all when it’s not in use, but quickly folds down when needed. One of the most dramatic ways to get double duty out of a room is to install a Murphy bed — a bedstead that folds up into a cabinet when it’s not being slept in. Basically, you construct a recess that holds and hides the bed by building cabinets or shelves that are installed against a wall. A friend and I installed a Murphy bed a couple of years ago in a tiny room that needed to be a home office as well as an occasional bedroom. The special hardware required to counterbalance the weight of the bed isn’t cheap (about $200 for a single bed; see “Space-Saving Furniture Plans” later in this article), but it’s important for safety, and it comes with easy-to-follow instructions.

3/30/2016 6:12:09 PM

What a great Tiny House! Wish I had a couple of acres of land here in Virginia and I'd be good to go! Me, my hubby and the 2 dogs would be quite happy here, especially since we don't have much anyway. It would work for us much better than the rent on this Tin Can!! LOL (Mobile Home that depreciates and falls apart.. ) We're used to small spaces. I adore the Tiny House projects.

5/20/2014 12:47:58 AM - Lakeland Furniture specialise in Breakfast Bar Stools, Eames Chair, Eames Office chairs. - we provide a complete start to finish service with quality durable furniture at competitive costs. - UK based Quality office furniture store with a huge range of office furniture including office desks. - Sealy Mattress Collection including Single, Double, King and Super king size Beds and Mattresses. - Meridian Interiors Process - Office Fit Out Planning, Design - A project is only complete when our client is successfully working in their new.

1/4/2014 12:29:09 PM

I once had a studio apartment that had a Murphy bed with a different "twist." The bed was on a pivot; you rotated the wall (which had a fake fireplace mantle with a mirror and shelf when the wall was closed) and then pulled the bed down. That would work well with bookshelves, etc. not having to be emptied out to use the bad. Also, the space behind that bed was deep enough that a closet rod ran the width of the opening and my closet space (and a shelf) was behind the bed when closed; rotating the bed halfway gave me access to my clothing, etc.



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