Tips for giv­ing your fur­ni­ture mul­ti­ple uses

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Front Page - Chris­tine Brun

Dual-func­tion fur­ni­ture is the ul­ti­mate se­cret weapon of mi­cro-unit liv­ing. Think about how de­sign­ers have used yachts or mo­tor homes as a clas­sic start­ing point for cre­at­ing su­perb func­tion in tiny spa­ces. We’ve all seen the din­ing ta­ble that con­verts into a plat­form for a sin­gle mat­tress. Marine-style de­sign is all about things hing­ing, fold­ing away or pop­ping up in or­der to get at least two uses out of each piece.

In re­sponse to the cur­rent shoe­box hous­ing move­ment, de­sign­ers are in­tro­duc­ing more and more mul­tiuse fur­ni­ture to the in­ter­na­tional fur­ni­ture mar­ket. This coffee ta­ble, de­signed by Marco Poz­zoli, is called the Markus Multi-Func­tional Ta­ble. The com­pany, Ozzio, is an Ital­ian fur­ni­ture man­u­fac­turer ded­i­cated to car­ry­ing an ex­ten­sive range of cre­atively de­signed fur­ni­ture, which is per­fect for lim­ited space. The ta­ble has a gaspow­ered struc­ture that lifts and di­vides, quickly trans­form­ing the ta­ble into a com­fort­able desk with an ex­tra bench and seat­ing. It makes for a su­perb of­fice desk or din­ing ta­ble right in your liv­ing room. Made from oak, it has a strong metal frame made of matt graphite, as well as an ex­tra white trans­par­ent glass leg that al­lows the piece to ap­pear like it’s float­ing above the area rug!

In or­der to coax max­i­mum func­tion out of very lim­ited floor space, it is nec­es­sary to an­a­lyze your space in var­i­ous ways. We need to mea­sure the square footage of the floor space and the ver­ti­cal space be­tween the floor and the ceil­ing. In some cases, a com­part­ment is cre­ated below the floor so that fur­ni­ture can col­lapse and be stowed away. Then, the space can be used as a home of­fice or child’s play area dur­ing the day. Hy­draulics and state-of-the-art hard­ware make this pos­si­ble.

As we be­gin to see more and more mi­cro units in ma­jor cities across the globe, we will also see more unique fur­ni­ture de­sign so­lu­tions. Th­ese types of liv­ing units are very pop­u­lar with mil­len­ni­als who are at­tracted to an ur­ban life­style and spend most of their time out­side of their abode. Min­i­mum stan­dards of square footage vary from city to city in the United States, but in gen­eral, the small­est spa­ces are around 250 square feet. A sin­gle car garage, by way of com­par­i­son, is about 200 square feet. An of­fi­cial waiver is usu­ally re­quired for th­ese smaller size units. For ex­am­ple, New York City de­clared a 400 square foot space as the le­gal min­i­mum size in 1987, which re­mains in ef­fect with­out ex­cep­tions.

The size of hous­ing made specif­i­cally for mil­len­ni­als is shrink­ing. Many mil­lenials use their homes pri­mar­ily for sleep­ing, as most of their lives of­ten take place in lo­cal cafes, bars, clubs and stores. They may not con­sider liv­ing in a boat-sized space a sac­ri­fice be­cause group ac­tiv­i­ties hap­pen in com­mon spa­ces or in pub­lic places.

De­sign­ing highly func­tional tiny spa­ces is the most chal­leng­ing and de­mand­ing task for de­sign­ers th­ese days. When ev­ery sin­gle square inch mat­ters, each de­ci­sion is crit­i­cal; what hap­pens be­tween the floor and the ceil­ing is hugely im­por­tant. Stor­age, ap­pli­ances, bath­room fix­tures and work space must be pre­sented in an at­trac­tive but very func­tional man­ner.

When de­sign­ing a small space, it’s crit­i­cal to con­sider each in­di­vid­ual’s needs. Mur­phy beds are still pop­u­lar. For ex­am­ple, the space be­neath a stair­case can be­come as stor­age draw­ers or a sleep­ing com­part­ment. Ta­bles with rolling cast­ers are use­ful. Wall racks, stor­age above doors and stack­ing con­tain­ers are com­monly used as well. Where space is pre­cious, choos­ing fur­ni­ture that has at least two uses is the way to go.

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