5 Inventive Ways to Get the Most Out of Small Spaces


Double Duty

Ottomans like these can provide extra storage and seating space.
Ottomans like these can provide extra storage and seating space.
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When space is at a premium, furniture must serve more than one purpose.

A futon can play couch during the day and bed at night. Need a coffee table or end table? Fix up an old trunk that also can be used to store items. Want an ottoman for extra seating? Get one that includes a storage compartment. Instead of a table in the middle of the kitchen, have an island with lots of storage as well as a counter. Don't just put a table or bookshelf under a window: Use a trunk or chest to make a window seat that doubles as storage.

The other way to make your furniture part of the solution is to get it out of your way when it's not needed. The classic example of disappearing furniture is the Murphy bed. The Murphy Bed Company still makes beds that fold into the wall by day in a range of styles, sizes and prices.

For futuristic folks on an ample budget, a number of manufacturers offer modular furniture; furniture that hangs on the wall when not in use; furniture that folds and beds that slide up to the ceiling during the day. Kenchikukagu sets are compact cabinets that open to provide a bedroom, office or kitchen set [source: Home Interiors Zone].

On the next page, we have some tips for using hidden spaces.