Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Multifunctional Furniture

When designing and building a small space, functionality is vital. Each piece of furniture in our tiny house was designed, re-designed and then tweaked again before we installed anything. It took us nearly a year of living in the house to finally figure out what we thought would be the best living space we could have in La Casita. Our style throughout the house is heavily influenced by boat living. Cedric lived on his parents’ sailboat as a young child and as an adult he re-built a small sailboat and lived in the Ashley River in Charleston. His experiences in that particular tiny living community have inspired much of La Casita’s design. Our built-in furniture is a further testament of that fact.

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When drawing out our seating arrangements we knew they needed to be multi-functional, allowing for reading, eating, relaxing, working and sleeping. We were asking our living room to do quadruple duty since space is so limited in the house. Below is our bench seating. To the left we have drawers that pull out and act as a storage space/dirty laundry hamper which helps keep our entire house more orderly. Two little drawers make all the difference in a tiny house!

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Under the seating you’ll notice a small hole in the flooring. That is where a stainless steel tube fits into our floor which allows the transformation from bench to dining table. The boards mounted to the wall stabilize the table and keep it from shifting during use. We had the hardest time figuring out how to attractively stabilize the table so that it was functionally sound but also visually appealing. We also wanted to keep as much room as possible available under the table for our long legs. The pipe was left over from our kitchen counter set-up and all the wood you see in the pictures was reclaimed. It ended up costing us nothing to build which was a plus!

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We are really enjoying the use of a dining/work table!

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Sleeping on the converted bench is a bit like camping. Cedric and I have both tried it out and it’s not quite as comfortable as we would like so we will probably continue to tweak the design. We want a space where a guest could sleep comfortably and not feel quite so cramped. Lengthwise it’s fantastic but it is so narrow it makes sleeping through the night a bit challenging.

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All in all we’re pretty happy with the results of our efforts. It’s truly made our house feel more like a home. The space will continue to evolve and we’ll continue to challenge our design but that’s part of the fun of living in a tiny space. It doesn’t take much time or money to recreate it if you want to change an aspect of your design.

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Your Turn!

  • What’s your favorite multi-functional tiny house design idea?
12 Comments
  1. I love multifunctional furniture! There is a company called Resource I think that makes some pretty stylish multifunctional furniture, although seems more apartment sized than tiny house sized.

  2. I too am a fan of Resource Furniture but not the prices. I also like seeing how tiny home builders create built-ins like your bench seating with drawers.

    Flip-top tables are neat, limiting stacking on horizontal surface area. I love the trundle used as storage in a daybed. That way it is a bed, sofa, & dresser all-in-one.

    Good luck on new configurations on your guest bed area.

    • I’ve never heard of Resource Furniture but I’ll definitely check it out. I’m always on the lookout for inspiration!

  3. I’m a big fan of things that tuck out of the way but are simple to deploy. I’ve planned a narrow pantry that pulls out and also has slide-out work spaces so my kitchen will expand when I’m working in it but will be out of the way when I’m not. I like slide-outs better than flip-ups for the most part, kind of like the old fashioned bread boards. I also like having a permanent counter top with the drawer and cupboard sections on wheels underneath with their own work surfaces. If you don’t need them they stay where they are but you can increase work space when baking or whatever. My sewing area will have a permanent surface with a cutting table that stores underneath and has storage capacity in it as well. A DIY version of an Ikea Hemnes storage daybed will work well for sleeping and lounging. I’m still on the lookout for the perfect office chair for my computer armoire/desk that also works as a comfy chair for just sitting around.

  4. My favorite piece of ‘hand built’ furniture is our ‘sofa’. It hides our dishwasher, a Craigslist find Here is the link: My family and I live in 320 square feet

    I have a question; in another post you spoke of your stainless steel shower pan. Do you have a photo of your shower? Also, where did you get the shower pan, and how much did it cost? I am in the process of building another tiny building, and have been crazy trying how to figure out a very small shower. I think you have the solution :)

    • I don’t have a good picture of the shower. I was planning to do an article on our bathroom soon. Cedric found the stainless steel at the junkyard. It was from a kitchen counter. It was about 12 hours of work. He used our friends machine shop to fold the sides and cut it to size. It was not cheap but it was well worth every penny. Just materials was $500 but we don’t regret spending the money. Our shower is wonderful and we definitely got what we paid for.

  5. I just adore your house!

    • Thanks Debra! It’s my favorite place I’ve ever lived!

  6. This is great! Would love to swap tiny house photos if you are interested. I live in a tiny house on wheels (about 135 sq/ft) that I designed and helped build over the past year and a half. Just moved in this November and absolutely love it. I’m curious about all the creative solutions people have come up with to maximize and diversify the use of their limited space. My partner is building one this summer and we are always on the lookout for ways to improve upon my design for her house.

    Cheers,
    Jenn

    • Hello Jenn! Thanks for commenting! Check out the creative solutions of the boating community, sailors especially have fun ways to store space and create comfort in exceptionally small spaces! I’d love to see pictures of your home. Email me if you get the chance!

  7. Hurray for multi-functional furniture! I’m in the midst of planning my own tiny house and will begin construction next spring (2014). I’m in research phase till the end of the month, then in March I’m working with a friend to create blueprints. It’s all so exciting!

    I’m in love with the unique needs of tiny space living, and have found so many wonderful types of furniture and ways to organize on pintrest that I started my own board for it! (you can check it out here: http://pinterest.com/hysana/tiny-house-furniture-organization/)

    One of my favorite finds has been these chairs:
    http://vimeo.com/19410149#at=0

    It does double-duty as artwork & seating — and really gets out of the way when not in use! I haven’t figured out how to build a pair myself though. It will happen though!

    Thanks so much for writing up this post. Love it! :-)

    <3
    H.

    • Hi Hannah! Thanks so much for the links! Definitely keep in touch as you continue to plan and build your tiny house. I’d love to see what you come up with!

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