January 19, 2011

Multipurpose furniture

Yesterday I gave you my take on moving items around your house.  I do move things around a lot, and I have found that there are definitely some pieces of our furniture that can function more easily in a variety of places.  So today I thought I would give you some examples of four types of multipurpose furniture and how they can be used throughout your home.


Small tables
 A small table can serve many purposes (and by "small" I mean a table of about 48 inches or less in diameter).  When you are first starting out, a small round table can serve as a dining table in a teensy apartment.  However, the round size means it can also work neatly in the corner of almost any other room.  Possible uses: holding stacks of books and magazines and a tall lamp in the corner of a living room or centered in a large entryway and serving as a drop-off spot for keys and mail.  A few examples of this type of table:


This cute white table is doubly functional because of the two shelves underneath.  They could store extra cookbooks or mixing bowls in a kitchen.  If you used this later in a family room, they could hold board games or a basket full of kids' toys.




Silverado round table - $279
If you are looking something that won't take up much visual space, this glass and chrome table is perfect.  It also adds a bit of modern design and some sparkle to a more traditional room, which I always think is a good combo.




Arcadia pedestal table - $999
A small table can also be used as a desk in the corner of a living room.  Just add a lamp and a decorative vase or box to hold writing utensils and you can type away on your laptop or pay bills while still interacting with the rest of the family.





Antique English mahogany Victorian table - $900
Antique tables are great multipurpose pieces.  I like ones with drop-leaf sides so that you can open them up for a working on a big homework project or seating dinner guests and then flatten them up against the wall as a console table the rest of the time.  I see this type of table on sites like eBay or Craigslist all the time.  You can find one in excellent condition or an inexpensive one if you are looking for a restoration project.



Benches
I really love benches.  I know they're not extremely comfortable for sitting on for long periods of time, but they are great for seating children at a dining table (you can fit a lot of kids on one bench!) and are also useful for providing a place to sit down while taking off shoes (in the foyer or by the back door).  A bench at the end of a bed will get a lot of use when you're getting dressed in the morning or for holding extra linens or clothes.  And depending on the style, you can even use a bench in the living room, either as extra seating or as a makeshift coffee table.


Kilim dark sheesham bench - $238
I like this bench with its kilim-upholstered top and the brass casters on dark turned wood legs.  I would top this bench with a rectangular woven tray to make it into a functional coffee table.


Colette bench - $599
This bench matches Crate & Barrel's popular upholstered "Colette" bed, so you could use it in the bedroom for a really coordinated look or underneath a window anywhere else in the house as a pretty place to sit.



Andalucia leather/walnut bench - $168
This bench would be comfortable seating due to its generous size and the tufted leather pad.  I could see it pushed up against a wall with a large-scale piece of art hung above it.



Jenny Santa Fe blue upholstered storage bench - $190
I really like the blue ikat fabric on this bench; it would be great for storing linens or clothes in a bedroom (or in a large closet), or you could use it in the living room as a chic way to store toys or reading materials.


Console tables
A console (or sofa) table is usually narrow and slightly higher than an end table or coffee table.  As the name suggests, they are ideal for placing right behind a sofa, particularly if you have a sofa floating in the middle of the room and don't really want the solid back of the sofa to be so visually dominant in the room.  Because they are narrow, they don't take up too much floor space.  Here are a few great console tables and ways to use them in the living room and beyond:

(Also available in black-brown and white)
The muted grey color of this table is pretty, the price is reasonable, and the cubbies make it an excellent choice for a foyer (just put bins in the top cubbies and use them to store mail, dog leashes, etc.).
This console table in the classic Parsons shape comes in white as well.  Because it is open underneath and has two drawers, it could also function as a narrow desk if you are cramped for space.





Antique pewter and dark walnut console table - $160
This console table is a nice combination of metal legs with a wooden top.  In front of a sunny window, it wouldn't block much of the view, but you could fill the wooden top with houseplants or a few pots of herbs to make any room feel a bit more like a greenhouse.


Stools
 Stools are definitely the cheapest type of multipurpose furniture.  They are also small and usually lightweight, which makes them ideal for moving around the house.


(Also comes in black, white, and pink)
This stool is so inexpensive that you can buy multiples to use for extra seating at a big dinner or even to use outdoors for a barbeque (bring them inside afterward).  They also stack, which makes them easy to store.  The colors, shape, and price make them kid-friendly too, so consider using one as a makeshift nightstand in a child's room to hold a few books or as a place to perch while coloring.





I would probably change the fabric on this stool and/or paint the frame, but I like the design.  A pair of stools in front of a fireplace wouldn't block your view of the fire, but it would provide guest seating that could easily be moved around if necessary.



You can find ceramic garden stools in many places: big box stores, online, and stores like Homegoods or T.J. Maxx.  These ceramic stools can work beside a chair to hold a drink or magazine, but are also handy in the bathroom to hold toiletries or extra towels beside a bathtub.  Again, a pair of them adds some symmetry to a living area, where they can be used for seating or as footstools.  Of course, you can use them on the patio too.




This well-priced stool would be an inexpensive way to incorporate a bit of the industrial look that's so popular right now.  I like that it's adjustable for those of us who are a little on the short side!

2 comments:

ezagent said...

Ikea had a folding step stool that no longer seems to be in their catalog that works as a chair, mini-ladder and side table.

Thanks for the leather bench idea.

You didn't mention folding tables or futons. A folding table can be stashed like folding chairs, another versatile item, when not in use.

Nicole @ one half world said...

ezagent, I think I remember that IKEA stool. Yes, a folding table or futon would be versatile as well. Thanks for mentioning those too!

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