You don't need to live in a small apartment or tiny house to appreciate multifunctional furniture. Pieces that serve more than one purpose — say a storage ottoman or a space-saving coffee table that hides away extra blankets — can reduce clutter, save money, and maximize the square footage in any home. And the good news? There's no need to sacrifice style in the name of practicality because today's multipurpose furniture options are equal parts chic and hardworking.
According to Kathy Kuo, interior design expert and founder and CEO of Kathy Kuo Home, multipurpose furniture has long been misunderstood and unnecessarily villainized, but while offerings are changing, so too are perceptions. "I think there's an assumption out there that 'multifunctional' means either super futuristic, like something from The Jetsons, or super clunky, like the gigantic sleeper sofa from your grandparents' basement. [But today], the best multifunctional pieces are very elegant and subtle. They are pieces you can easily move from room to room depending on your needs or pieces that convert in very graceful ways to offer additional configurations."
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And according to Kuo, the world of dual-purpose furniture is your oyster. "Multifunctional furniture is really just like any other type. The biggest factors should be whether you love it and whether it serves a purpose in your home," she says. "If you're unsure about where to start, keep in mind that multifunctional can be as simple as a side table that goes in your entryway [or] a media cabinet that you also use for off-season shoes, or it can be a desk with additional storage space built into the sides."
Kuo adds that the key to finding the right pieces is "taking stock of your space and determining what needs aren't being met." Once you know where the opportunities are, you can then look for individual pieces that meet multiple needs.
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Keep the space around your living room sofa streamlined with this multifunctional table. Is it a floor lamp? Is it an end table? Who knows. The adjustable shade on this handsome fixture ensures maximum illumination while the attached pint-size side table features a catch-all rim and even an integrated USB port. A timeless combination of reclaimed wood, brass, and marble makes this a no-brainer for a range of design styles and rooms — think: home office or den.
As far as space-saving furniture goes, this Murphy bed-style desk is hard to beat. It's there when you want it and disappears into the wall when you don't. This workhorse fashioned from steel and pine gives your workspace an industrial edge that's easy to coordinate with other pieces as well as plenty of accessories (sold separately) to help you get and stay organized. Even better, it doesn't eat up a lot of floor space.
Coffee tables with storage are likely to top any list of the best multifunctional furniture ideas. And why not? They're an excellent way to clear up the clutter while keeping your must-haves close at hand. We're swooning over this white coffee table against a black sectional sofa that's guaranteed to pack a sleek punch in any room.
Sure, bedside tables are another opportunity to drive home your personal style, but in small spaces, every item you add must be purposeful. In the end, nightstands can be clunky and cumbersome and can eat into the precious square footage that you just don't have. Not to worry — we have the perfect solution. Reminiscent of a daybed, this midcentury-inspired platform bed is chock full of storage solutions. It has a ledge wide enough to house nighttime necessities, and the open shelves make an excellent bookcase.
As far as multifunctional pieces go, this dining table nails it. It's a table for quick weeknight meals, an island with plenty of room for holiday baking, and a wine rack with extra storage — not too shabby for a bump over $200, wouldn't you say? And while this table will sit comfortably in any kitchen, we can see it adding a little something to the interior design of your dining room too.
At the foot of a bed, in a kitchen, or gracing an underutilized nook, benches have moved indoors and we aren't mad about it. This pared-down option is constructed of powder-coated steel, is available in an array of fabric or leather colorways, and has an approachable organic shape. In addition to the extra seating, the convenient lower shelf is a prime storage space for stashing shoes or holding baskets.
A mirror equipped with a series of hooks and a petite shelf functions as a handy catchall for hats, jackets, purses, and other oft-used accessories. This industrial-inspired design made from steel and mango wood pulls double duty, allowing you to give yourself one last look before walking out the door.
Keep reading material tidy and close by with a magazine rack that also works as a table. This sculptural beauty is made from unexpected materials, including metal, burlap, and leather, giving it a sophisticated yet organic feeling that introduces a winning combination of texture and character to both muted and colorful spaces alike. It's proof that functional items need not be void of personality and warmth.
Corral entryway clutter (and possibly never misplace your keys again) with a multitasking storage solution. This practical hall tree showcases rustic undertones and has multiple hooks (six, if you're counting), shelves, and a small bench perfect for putting on shoes. Its slim size makes it an ideal tool for small-space living.
This lift-top coffee table is anything but square. It'll beautifully do its job as a coffee table, but with fluid functionality, it doubles as a desk and pulls triple duty as a bookshelf (or extra open storage for any of your WFH gear or tchotchkes).
Futons may steal the show as the kings of easy transitions, but no one wants furniture for college kids sitting front and center in their home. If you're looking for something just as multifunctional but a little more grown up, try a sofa bed — the next iteration of your trusty futon. Checking many of the same boxes, these masters of disguise provide seating from day to day, but there's a bed in your living room, and no one is the wiser. For a budget-friendly option (as far as sleeper sofas go), IKEA has it covered with its Friheten Sleeper Sofa; it's minimalist, it's sleek, and it's under $1,000.
Who needs a sleeper sofa when you have this roomy chair that converts into a twin bed? The clever piece of furniture makes it easy for renters and homeowners to welcome overnight visitors in comfort even without a designated guest room. The petite yet ample frame is the perfect addition to any living space, and the peach hue imparts a warm and cheery vibe.
IKEA is the master of small spaces, and its Fredvang bedside table that doubles as underbed storage is a great way to maximize your space in a small bedroom. This sneaky storage piece is on wheels, so blankets can be out of sight and out of mind during the warmer months, but if you need to keep a glass of water or your book at the ready, it rolls out easily enough to accommodate.
A modular sofa is a must-have for busy homes and small spaces alike. With unparalleled versatility, you can pull the pieces together on movie night for a grand sofa effect, recline in the corner chaise lounge for an afternoon nap, or rearrange everything on a random Sunday just because you want to shake things up.
This desk may have a slim profile but don't let its size fool you. It can handle big things in any home. Whether you need some sneaky space for surprise guests at dinner, an impromptu workspace from time to time, or extra storage day to day, it's a fab addition to any room.