As someone with a particular way of doing (and organizing) things, I can appreciate an uncluttered and (almost) object-free space. I tend to like clear surfaces, especially in the kitchen. If it were up to me, there would be no appliances on the counters (well, maybe the coffee maker). I like the look of walls with no paintings or art work mounted. The more of the floor I can see, the more comfortable a room feels to me. I’m not a minimalist, but I certainly have an appreciation for minimalism. If I could push a button and hide my furniture until I needed it, I would.
It turns out that there are people who instead of just dreaming about this style are actually living out the idea “disappearing design” in their homes. Everything, including outlets, light switches, and even exhaust fans are subtly hidden and bleed into the rest of the environment. So much so, that the most of a home’s necessary components are virtually invisible. In fact, architects who design these homes consider anything that protrudes from walls to be an intrusion, a form of clutter.
In a recent New York Times article, disappearing design was described as:
…meant to both maximize one’s ground plan (particularly in small urban apartments) and minimize the “visual noise” created by things like bulky knobs, dust-prone vents and the ancient albatross of many decorators: the wide-screen TV.
How do you make a television vanish? Create one that doubles as a mirror when not in use. Clever, yes? While most of us probably wouldn’t take issue with TVs, we would likely appreciate the ability to increase the functionality of an item that is normally used for just one purpose.
When you live in a small space, having multipurpose furniture (or rooms) can help you get the function you need without sacrificing living space. If you’re having overnight guests, a sofa that turns into as a bunk bed means you can still have company over without needing an extra bedroom. No room for a dining or work table? Flooring with folding panels can be transformed into a table, or almost any kind of furniture you need.
Those are very unique multi-purpose pieces, but there are others that don’t require hydraulics and that you can make yourself. This coffee table from IKEAHackers.com was created with KNUFF magazine holders and a stool. When fully assembled, you’ll get a table and storage for your magazines, books, pens (in the center of the table), or even the remote.
Photo of coffee table taken from IKEAHackers
What about using a bookcase for more than just books? Another great find on IKEAHackers is the Billy bookcase that has been enhanced with compartments and a hinged door for hidden storage. The site suggests using it to store bar and drink accessories, but it could be used for office supplies (or anything that you use often). And, if you like the idea but prefer not to make it yourself, Parts of Sweden (IKEAHackers partner that offers free shipping) can do it for you.
Photo of bookcase taken from IKEAHackers
The Paperpedic Bed profiled by the website Inhabitat is fully recyclable, includes storage, and is very easy to assemble. No tools are required — simply fold the paper panels to create a single, queen, or king-sized bed. This is a great option for small homes and would be easy to pack up for a move.
Photo of bed taken from manufacturer, Karton
When you live in a small home, look for multi-tasking furniture pieces that can help you maximize your space. You’ll need less furniture (which means more room to move about) and keep your home uncluttered.