Lately I've been busy shopping for new furniture for several of my clients. Consequently I have been to many of the furniture showrooms and specialty stores in the Boston area, and during my travels I've run across several clever furniture ideas that I thought I would share.
1. Furniture that fits our digital world and our need for electrical power. Does the following scenario sound familiar? You haven’t updated your family room furniture in years, and there’s no way to power your electronic devices when sitting on the sofa or relaxing in your chair, short of unsightly extension cords.
If this strikes a nerve, you might want to take a look at some new low-cost end tables, like the one shown below that has a handy (and hidden) electrical port at the back. I found this end table at LazyBoy furniture when I was searching for a “power” footrest sofa for some elderly clients. This is a simple solution for your family room to keep everyone happy and well-charged. If you look around these clever “powered” tables are everywhere these days.
2. Nesting Coffee Tables. Although this isn’t a new concept, there are now many options for space-efficient and versatile coffee tables, like the round nested tables shown below, on the market. Some even come with marble or stone tops that add lots of versatility - the children can play and do writing projects, and your friends can safely set down a cup of coffee or drink. Yes, after Covid, we will eventually have guests in our homes again! Plus, introducing a stone top provides interest and dimension to your family room in addition to beautiful functionality.
3. Expandable Bench. I came across this clever bench at my local Jordan’s Furniture in Natick, MA, and thought that the idea was just ingenious. They show it at the base of a bed, but I can also envision it in a mudroom or entryway, neatly compacted down like in the last photo. The wood top would be perfect for you and your children to take off winter boots after playing in the snow. Then, when you have company and need to expand your dining room seating to accommodate more people, you can expand this bench to seat at 3 or 4 people. And look at the price Jordan’s is charging, amazingly low for such a versatile bench.
4. Space-saving console table with stools for back of the sofa. A year ago I blogged about the clever “Gathering Island” concept: “Furniture for Gathering in the Family Room”. Below is a photo of a similar concept, that I recently found at Jordan’s, where a flip top panel at the front is a terrific additional feature. You can put this piece behind a sofa that might be floating in the room, and then be able to work on your laptop while sitting higher than your family members who have scored the comfy sofa seats. Convertible furniture is really nothing new, of course, and college students and city-dwellers face this kind of challenge all the time when trying to determine how to live in an ultra-small space. For homeowners, however, we seldom think or look for adding space saving ideas to enhance our existing spaces. Additionally, if we are lucky enough to live in a moderate or large size house, we might not even contemplate googling “space-saving” furniture. (But then that’s what you hire me for - helping you envision the possibilities.)
5. Having it all in a coffee table. Upholstered ottomans in front of a sofa are very popular nowadays. Really, who doesn’t want to put their feet up at the end of a day? But relying on a tray set upon the coffee table to hold drinks and snacks seems like an unstable proposition for everyday use. Here are two coffee tables which combine the ottoman idea with the hard-surface idea. The first is from LazyBoy, with a pull-out table top, and I spotted the second, with a hard shelf, at Boston Interiors.
6. Another versatile coffee table. By now, you can tell I’ve been shopping for coffee tables, right? Here’s a coffee table I found at LazyBoy which beautifully combines the need for drawer storage of TV remotes and such, but still has a glass top for functionality and durability. It doesn’t dominate, but is a happy “supporting player” in a family room.
7. Storage ottoman that converts to a chair. This is a clever piece that I thought would be perfect in a family room or basement play room; found at Jordan’s. I can envision storing throws (or Legos and action figures or dolls) in the piece which would be easy to move around a basement.
I hope that seeing some of these clever furniture ideas energizes you to examine your own spaces, particularly your family room. Let’s face it – we are all spending lots of time at home as we get through the Covid morass, and this is the time to at least identify where you could be more comfortable and productive in your home.
You might not know it, but the furniture industry is booming during Covid - all the manufacturers are working, and interior designers (such as myself) are happy to help you make your home more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing while we ride this all out.
So call me, and let’s do a virtual walk through of your home, or a socially-distanced in-person visit.
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.