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Downsize It: The Furniture Edition

This week has been all about getting more (and paying less) by cutting back, so we’ll return to a familiar theme — that “design makes a difference [www.sundance.tv]” — to help illustrate the point. Smart design can help save space, save resources, and, ultimately, make your life better and your (smaller) space more functional.

1) Murphy beds — the ones that fold up into the wall — are a great way to make life more livable in a small space; you don’t need a bed when you’re awake, and you don’t need the floor space when you’re asleep, right? We’ve seen some very chic [www.treehugger.com] models; some even offer dual sofa/bed [www.treehugger.com] functionality and even some more conceptual options, like a bookcase/bed [www.treehugger.com] combo.
2) Transformer furniture [www.treehugger.com] — the pieces that rotate, slide, fold or otherwise move to create different utility — is another great space saving option. Whether it’s a work/play combo like this desk/entertainment center [www.treehugger.com], something as oddly appealing as a suitcase that turns into a chair [www.treehugger.com] (below) or something as wacky as the world’s fastest sofa [www.treehugger.com], transformers are always more than meets the eye.

3) Multi-functional furniture — transformer’s cousin that does more than one thing without necessarily “transforming” — is another space-efficient way to go. From a desk and bookshelf together [www.treehugger.com] to a chair [www.treehugger.com] that comes with its own reading light to a reading chair [www.treehugger.com] that comes with its own bookshelf, these guys answer the question “Why have two when you only need one?”

4) When it comes to design, though, it doesn’t always have to be a fancy, morphing, slice-and-dice maneuver that makes it smarter. Things like a modular dish drainer [www.treehugger.com] that you can modify to fit the need of each load of dishes, a dining set [www.treehugger.com] (pictured below) whose chairs totally fit in to and under the table (making a tiny footprint when not in use) and a tea infuser [www.treehugger.com] that, while not furniture, exactly, still helps by brewing better tea (and insuring you’ll never throw away another bag) can all lead to a full, fun, functional life with a smaller footprint.