Multi-Purpose Furniture Offers Style at a Reasonable Budget
A typical downtown studio often does not allow a traditional dining room and elbow room to co-exist. Convertible coffee tables allow dinner guests to eat comfortably.
People downsize for many reasons. Empty nesters may be inspired for a more carefree lifestyle while young professionals move to the cities for more career opportunities.
Reality of Downsizing
As simple as it may sound, downsizing can be a "physically exhausting and emotionally draining experience" according to an article jointly presented by Ohio State University Extension and Ohio Department of Aging.
Unless budget is not a concern, many people moving from suburban or sprawling communities to major urban centres will find that their money does not go very far for rent or mortgage. In addition to sticker shocks, feeling cramped is also a common phenomenon when old furniture pieces are being hung on to and jammed into small spaces.
It is difficult to part with items that have been in the family for a long time, well used and treasured. However, if they do not fit into a 500-square foot apartment, they are going away. They don't have to be trashed. They can be donated to those in need, given to family members, or even sold for cash to buy new furniture. The good thing is that it does not take much to furnish a small space.
Going paperless to fullest extent can minimize the amount of paper work and storage boxes required. Bills, statements, tax returns, brochures, instruction manuals and even recipes are a few easy steps to start with. Make sure the electronic files are backed up periodically.
The New but Small Space
Not enough storage, dinner guests having to put their plates on their knees and having to work in the bed or on the sofa are some of the common complaints of many new dwellers of small living spaces. With the recent trends of urbanization in cities like Vancouver and San Francisco following the European urban planning models as discussed by Carol Lloyd on SFGate.com, many furniture manufacturers provide sleek and affordable multi purpose furniture to allow residents to enjoy their new small living spaces as well as their vibrant urban neighbourhoods.
Platform beds or storage beds are perfect solutions for storing items not needed frequently such as seasonal clothing, spare bedding, and house deeds. They free up valuable closet space in tiny bedrooms and are particularly useful if there are more than one person in the household.
New platform beds with storage no longer resemble the clunky beds found in many mobile homes. Koolhaus Design, with stores in Vancouver and Calgary, features a line of sleek and zen-inspired platform beds with storage on its website. In fact, the company only features such beds on its website.
Entertainment Centres and Work Stations
The entertainment centre and work stations can easily be housed in the same unit. IKEA's BESTÅ series offer an affordable solution with many different shelving options for different needs: TV cabinet, AV equipment storage, slide-out trays for laptops, drawers with organizers for CDs / DVDs / stationery, and slide out frames for hanging files. The series also offer sliding doors so the work stations can be covered or hidden when it is time to enjoy HD programming on the flat screen. That "flex space" with no window staged by many condo developers as an office can now be used as a pantry for the chef in the house or a hall of fame for sports equipment for all four seasons.
Room & Board's Custom Linear line offers a more expensive version but its solid wood selections (oak, walnut, cherry, or maple) will help make a statement in the new space downtown. The company only has about 10 locations in the U.S. but it ships nationwide in the U.S. and to Canada. The company also clears customs for Canadian deliveries.
Convertible Coffee Tables
Convertible coffee tables embody the essence of multi-purpose furniture. They are particularly useful when dinner guests are infrequent but comfortable dining is important when company is over. A seldomly-used dining table takes up useful space in a one room living / dining space that can be used to accommodate a sleek sectional sofa in which both people can spread out and lie down while watching TV.
Convertible coffee tables are not easy to find. Calligaris, a furniture manufacturer from Italy, offers 4 coffee tables that can be lifted hydraulically and expanded to accommodate upto 6 or 8 people. They offer wood and glass surfaces in different colours. The company's products are carried by its own stores and other dealers around the world which can be located on its website. Although they are more expensive than a regular coffee table or a dining table, they may not cost more than what you would pay for 2 tables separately from other furniture makers.
Dwell, a furniture retailer in the U.K., offers a slightly less expensive version. Dwell has about 15 stores in England and Scotland. Although it delivers to most parts in the U.K., it does not ship overseas. or try www.hf4you.co.uk for some great furniture ideas if you are on a budget.
A New Beginning
Although it is difficult to get rid of valued possessions, downsizing provides an opportunity to exercise creativity, to simplify living, and to create new memories.