Space-saving, doubleduty furniture helps maximize every inch
When space is limited in your new home or condo, consider multifunctional furniture that's designed to be stylish and smart. We checked in with three innovative companies offering great solutions.
As a student in Hong Kong, Adam Joubert was forced to figure out how to live in a tiny space.
“I was surprised there weren't many wall beds or other space-saving ideas,” recalls Joubert, who then moved back to Vancouver to co-found Expandfurniture.com in 2012. The company ships its products across Canada.
“Every home can use extra storage, so double-duty items like lift and storage beds or wall beds with a desk make a huge difference, especially if you're in a studio where a bed takes up a huge portion of the area. Since the pandemic where everyone was working at home, I think it's becoming more and more necessary to have these types of pieces.”
Joubert notes that a lift and storage bed like his Pratico Queen offers ample hidden storage space under the mattress, making it a great choice for a condo with a small primary bedroom that won't fit a large dresser.
EXPAND YOUR DINING AREA
If you love to entertain but wonder how you'll squeeze people around your tiny table, an extendable version provides the perfect option. At its smallest, tuck it against the wall to hold plants or décor and expand it so a houseful of guests can enjoy a meal.
Transformer Table in Pointe Claire, which designs and produces modular furniture, has a dining table that comes assembled as a console unit with five panels. The telescoping mechanism grows the table from 18 to 118 inches, so you can seat up to 12 people. The matching dining benches expand from 28 to 128 inches and can be paired with stackable dining chairs.
“Today, our furniture needs to adapt to our changing needs,” says design director Andreas Montoya. “Modular furniture gives customers the freedom to play with different design options and gives them endless ways to configure, rearrange and assemble their furniture for their space.”
Dining tables are not the only space hogs. Expandfurniture has expandable seating options such as the Flexyah Bench and Seat Pack, which easily transforms from a sleek one-person bench to a wraparound solution that seats 10.
Several companies are also making adjustable coffee tables that can be lifted to dining height, freeing up valuable floor space if you don't have room for a full dining room set. Expandfurniture has lift-top coffee tables where you can stash books, throws or cushions, and the table itself lifts to form a dining or game table when needed.
MODULAR LIVING ROOM FURNITURE THAT EVOLVES WITH YOUR NEEDS
Forget your parents' bulky sectional, which was too big to ever be moved out of the basement.
Montreal start-up Cozey.ca specializes in upholstered chairs and modular loveseats, sofas and sectionals that come in separate boxes
small enough for one person to carry into any narrow doorway, elevator or stairwell. Bonus: The furniture can be assembled without any tools.
“Because of how easy they are to transport, these boxed items become an essential option in any small space, whether it's a mini house, a condo, or a leased studio with limited access. For example, a six-seater sofa can easily fit in a loft where the hallways to get to it are tricky,” says product Marjorie Lebreux.
On Cozey's website, home or condo owners can use augmented reality to place the furniture in its future environment and ask for advice from customer service before selecting the size, colour and style of arms and legs. Buyers can also choose from refurbished pieces when they're available. But before going on a furniture shopping spree, Lebreux suggests first-time homeowners take accurate measurements of all their rooms and decide on a budget.
“Evaluate the number of seats needed according to the room's frequency of use,” she adds.
“Consider the room's architecture and attractions you want to highlight, including the outside view, the fireplace or a painting.”
Joubert notes that investing in modular furniture is a great way to future-proof your purchase long after you've moved on from your starter home or first condo.
“With our modular sectional sofas, you're not stuck with the chaise on one side because everything's transformable: You can move the chaise to the other side or add on extra pieces. You can also break apart a four-piece sectional into two sections when guests come over. It's all adaptable,” he says.
MAKE A POP-UP GUEST ROOM
If you don't have the luxury of a dedicated guest room, a wall bed is way more comfortable than a blowup mattress on the living room floor. And if you also need a home office, select a wall bed that also has a desk when it's flipped up.
Other genius space-savers include a wooden bookcase with a built-in seat made by Kidkraft, which is perfect for tiny children's bedrooms. Or a magazine storage system designed by Offi that flips on its side to become a portable laptop stand.