Convertible furniture isn’t new; most of us have lived with a shape-shifting futon or sofa bed at one point or another. Sometimes, though, a small abode cries out for much more than an extra sleeping surface, and designers have been racing to the rescue with innovative setups that completely transform living spaces.
Some reach up, like this floating platform that rises to create a whole new room, while others stretch outward, like these smartly designed windows that double as a balcony. We’ve also spotted a sofa that turns into a comfy bunk bed, and a handcrafted wooden chair with dozens of configurations. These shape-shifting elements are just the tip of the iceberg of inventive solutions to small space dilemmas.
Six transforming furnishings that make the most of small spaces |
A smart sofa that changes shape
The Lift-bit furniture system is unlike any sofa you’ve seen before. Designer Carlo Ratti created this unique transformable couch for Vitra, a Swiss furniture company. Made from a collection of upholstered hexagonal stools, the sofa can be reconfigured into countless shapes and setups, all from a smartphone app that controls the motors in each stool. Through the app, users can create a winding sofa for party guests, a cozy chaise lounge and even a bed –
A room multiplier that doubles usable space
The most important design tip for small homes is maximizing vertical space, but that’s easier said than done. Enter this clever room multiplier that turns a one-bedroom apartment into a cozy two-bedroom home. Designer Simon Woodroffe’s Yo!Home is an elegant solution to an age old problem. After all, students in college dorm rooms have been clumsily lofting their beds for decades to make the most of a small floor plan. The Yo!Home is that same idea, all grown up. The floating platform can be raised and lowered on demand, enabling residents to get the most out of a tiny space.
A sofa that turns into a bunk bed
Having an extra bed for guests is always nice, but sometimes a sofa bed just doesn’t cut it. For folks who occasionally need to put up two visitors, bunk beds are a logical solution. Bonbon Trading’s Doc unit is a super smart answer, as it begins as a humble sofa and swings upward to create a cozy bunk bed setup. The bunk comes complete with a ladder, making it easy to climb up and snooze atop this crazy space saver.
A ‘home in a box’ that expands at the flick of a wrist
Science fiction fans know that in the future everything will be controlled by the simple wave of the hand, or flick of the finger. That’s the aim of the CityHome, a motorized and compact “home in a box” that can make a 200-square-foot space feel three times larger thanks to built-in sensors, motors and LED lights. The shape-shifting room expands and collapses with a wave of your hand or the sound of your voice, revealing different elements when they are needed and hiding them when they’re not.
A curvy chair that takes on dozens of positions
Sometimes, you don’t need to transform your entire apartment in order to use the space efficiently. A super smart transformable chair might be all you need, especially if it can take on dozens of different configurations. The Exocet Chair is one such seat, with natural curves and an overall design vaguely reminiscent of a clothespin. It can be flipped, turned, twisted or folded to create any number of different shapes perfect for lounging, reading, resting, stretching or simply sitting. Handcrafted from birch wood, chair is like a beautiful sculptural piece that just so happens to serve up tons of seating arrangements, with nary a straight line in sight.
A skylight window that becomes a balcony
When is an upstairs window not just a window? When it folds out to create a balcony where there was none! Fakro’s super cool skylight window provides fresh air and sunshine, as windows do, but also opens outward in a unique way to create a platform capable of holding up a human or two. With innovative slide-rail construction, the lower panes transform into a small balcony, while the upper panes tip out at a 45-degree angle to maximize airflow. When closed, the window seals the home’s interior from heat and hides its super powers by disguising itself to look just like any other window.