For New York City residents, multifunctional furniture is a must. Here, the average home is barely 1000 square feet, so Robert and I understand the challenges of small-space living, especially since we work from home, enjoy entertaining and have seven children to write our life story with. It was often difficult for us to find pieces that serve two or more purposes, in order to pinch inches and maximize our home’s livability — at least ones that were stylish and durable enough for our large, energetic family. So we began creating our own sturdy, beautiful, multi-use pieces in Cortney’s Collection by the Novogratz.
After all, design should never be about squeezing family, friends and clients in around the pieces we require. It’s important to make the most of each room without sacrificing style or comfort. When you understand how to choose, place and design with multifunctional pieces, it’s a game-changer for how you and your family store, organize, relax, work, host, live and love in your space.
What Is Multifunctional Furniture?
Each piece of multifunctional furniture serves two or more purposes, kind of the way a foldable survival multi-tool — consisting of, say, pliers, a mini saw and corkscrew — acts as a compact, all-in-one handy camping item. Similarly, think of multifunctional furniture as small-home survival tools. Such versatile furniture should help you not only weather cramped spaces but enjoy them in style.
1. Multifunctional Beds and Placement Ideas
The right multifunctional bedroom furniture makes small personal spaces more useful and enjoyable. But plan before you purchase, considering the room’s layout. For example, a wall bed might have a built-in desk underneath that you can access when the bed is in the upright position, serving as office space by day. It’s an OK option, but rearranging the room later will be a challenge. A living-room sofa bed, with storage, might make a more practical guest bed, especially if you frequently change rooms around (and repaint walls) like we enjoy doing.
Another option is a bed with drawers along the side for storage; you’ll need to position it far enough from the wall on the drawer side that you can open them to access what’s inside. If space is tight, you can consider a storage bed with drawers on the end, where more floor space is typically available. For inspiration, check out the Wooster Queen Storage Bed With LED Light Headboard — having a headboard with built-in lights, this bed offers three functions.
2. Multifunctional Furniture in Kids’ Spaces
Children’s rooms are especially important, since each person needs personal “me” space, even if it’s just a little nook or corner of a shared room that they can call their own. Our twin daughters Tallulah and Bellamy have always shared a bedroom. Their beds reflect their uniqueness, as each of them has a different headboard.
Whether or not your kids share a room, they should have somewhere to express their creativity, do homework or get ready for whatever the day brings. A piece of multifunctional furniture that can handle all this and provide storage is the Perry Vanity With Lift-Top Mirror. It plays several roles, maybe a makeup station by day and a homework and craft desk by night, with storage zones for small devices, art supplies, delicates or personal products, for starters. A second multifunctional option is a chest with a desk, designed for small homes, like our Perry 3 Drawer Apartment Chest.
With a vanity or desk stool like the Vesey 18″H Vanity Stool in my exclusive and elegant Midnight Black or Regal Blue Flower Garden fabric, you have extra seating to pull out when guests show up. Beyond that, and maybe most importantly, this grouping is a timeless design that works for any age, from school years to retirement bliss. You know, furniture longevity is about how durable a piece is and how long it should stay in style, so choose wisely. Elegantly simple furniture — compared to overly dramatic or theme-heavy pieces, for instance — is best, especially as children mature and their interests and preferences change.
3. Multifunctional Ideas for the Adult-Alone Zone
Years ago, my mother-in-law taught me an important life lesson: Take a little time for yourself, every day, even just a few minutes. Moms and dads around the world know what I mean when I say that parenting is a huge, beautiful responsibility, so get used to rewarding and recharging yourself on a daily basis, despite cramped quarters.
Maybe it’s a master bedroom, small den or quiet niche area carved out for a soul-soothing power recliner like the Gotham Power Motion Recliner, in which you can ease back for an afternoon breather. How is this multifunctional, other than the fact that it’s a sanity saver and a meditation, reading and napping station? Well, in the upright position, it’s somewhere to put on your shoes for the day ahead, and in the reclined position, it’s somewhere to kick them off and unwind whenever you need those few precious moments. The armless design is ideal for a small bedroom (or tight living room), allowing more visual space as the eye passes easily over it.
Don’t think you have room for bedroom seating? Consider trading the floor space of a wardrobe for a great chair, opting for a lift bed to store seasonal clothing, extra pillows and bedding. If possible, position a recliner near a side table or the low end of a multifunctional dresser-and-vanity combo, for somewhere to put a reading lamp and to set a warm or cool beverage of choice.
4. The Multifunctional Living Room
You have plenty of multifunctional furniture options for a small living room, and this is often where you need it most. For starters, there’s a sleeper sectional sofa with lift-top chaise; a statement-piece ottoman with storage; a coffee table with large drawers like the Downtown Wooster Square Storage Coffee Table, which has a raised glass shelf above for visual space or the idea of a low-profile piece; and even a sofa table with seating for when guests arrive.
5. A Small Dining Space With Multifunctional Pieces
I don’t know how you use your dining room, but in our case, it could be more frequently used than our living room. Our dining table is where we all gather to work, research, do homework, collaborate for inspiration, enjoy meals and so much more.
To maximize a small home’s efficiency, consider a dining table with drawers or shelves below and a dining bench with storage inside.
Even unconventional pieces work here. For example, you might include a side table as a compact dining-room sideboard or buffet, one with a drawer for cutlery, shelves to set dishware or serving platters on and an open shelf below for a lidded basket to hide whatever extras you may want handy near the table — stationery, craft supplies, a corkscrew (survival tool?), even household tools or junk-drawer items. Display decorative dining-room accessories on top, like candles or an oversize flower arrangement, and hang art or a mirror at a level suitable for a seating area — a little lower than eye level in the standing position; a mirror bounces light and gives the illusion of more space, which is important for making small rooms appear more grand.
More Design Inspiration From Our Family to Yours
Regardless of square footage, improving your home’s function, organization and storage with multifunctional furniture can be life-changing for every member of your family. But there’s much, much more to creating the home of your dreams with quality pieces at reasonable prices. I hope you’ll follow us on Instagram for inspiration.
SourcesPeople — Bob and Cortney Novogratz Blog: 6 Easy Ways to Turn Your Home into an Entertaining Space