Downsizing Your Home With Style: Shop These 5 Attractive Multi-Use Furnishings

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Selling your spacious single-family home for a smaller abode doesn’t have to be a one-way ticket to frumpy town. But the biggest challenge in downsizing your home with style is balancing functionality with design.

The good news is: You can make a house of any size reflect your personal tastes and serve the purposes you need it to. In fact, furniture innovators have come up with pieces that are both stunning and practical to serve those following the tiny house trend popular among some millennials. And downsizers should take advantage.

Infographic showing investment in tiny house features.
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The designs of these multi-functional, transformative furnishings trend toward a modern look, however, they’re neutral enough for you to add your own personal flair as you enjoy the practical benefits of their compactness.

Here we’ll introduce you to the latest product inspiration, then show you how to blend any new purchase with your existing decor using basic principles of design and the expert advice of staging professionals.

1) Space-saving dining set

It’s hard to host a large dinner party or play cards with the fam once you’ve ditched your large-capacity dining table for a 2 to 4 seater dinette set. With storage at a premium, too, there’s not a lot of room to keep a backup card table and chairs set, either.

But not all hope is lost. Self-contained dining sets like this one from Amazon ($249.99) neatly store all the chairs in one attractive and compact console table that folds out to seat an additional two or four people.

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2) Multi-height coffee table

TV trays are a convenient way to get a temporary tabletop in front of your sofa. However, they typically come in a set, they’re stored in a bulky storage tower, and the trays themselves tend to be wobbly.

Multi-height coffee tables such as the Fredericks Transforming Coffee Table (Wayfair – $273.99) are not only stylish, they offer a sturdiness that those wimpy TV trays simply can’t match.

Plus they provide a wider surface to work with, too—perfect for a full dinner spread, paperwork organization, or putting together a puzzle.

3) Convertible ladder chair

Every extra item you bring into your downsized-home adds to the clutter. When space is precious, you need to be on a lookout for pieces that can do double duty—like the Franklin Side Chair, a convertible ladder chair you can get for a little over $100.

With one easy flip this simple, elegant hardwood chair can transform into a sturdy step-stool.

4) Pull-out bunk bed sofa

Keeping the grandkids happy is a top priority for many downsizers.

“I’m working with a couple in their sixties, and the hardest thing for them is parting with the things that their grandchildren like coming to their house for, like their massive game room,” says Angela Kittner, a top-selling real estate agent in St. Louis, Missouri.

While you might not have the space for a full-fledged arcade, the grands are sure to love this bunk bed on steroids.

The innovative “Twinny” sofa from Greece-based furniture manufacturer Proteas transforms into a strong and secure bunk bed with minimal effort—giving each grandchild a comfortable (and novel!) spot to sleep when they come over to grandma’s.

Better yet, the Twinny comes in a variety of fabrics and you can order it in every color under the sun to match your personal style, from bright reds, yellows, and oranges, to neutral tans, grays, browns, and blacks.

For pricing information, contact Proteas.

5) Transforming bookshelf table

Got a favorite hobby? Whether you’re into arranging floral bouquets, organizing your fishing lures, sewing quilts, or baking cinnamon rolls, sometimes there’s simply not enough surface space in a downsized home with its small tables and limited counter space.

That’s where Overstock.com’s Transforming Bookshelf ($805.37) comes in. Its clever swivel design allows it to easily transform into a sizable surface suitable for almost any project.

You might be wondering, “What do I do with the stuff on the shelves when I transform it into a table?”

It all depends on what you keep on the shelves. If you cram it with a multitude of loose or breakable items like books or china, it’ll take more time than it’s worth to clear off.

There’s an easy solution to this dilemma, one that’ll also help you get organized.

“The best inexpensive organizational tool that works virtually anywhere: cardboard boxes with lids! Ikea has them in lots of sizes and colors, and hobby stores have them in fun patterns, too,” says professional stager Jenn McCormac with Carousel Home Staging.

Fill this shelf with sizable, decorative storage boxes, and you’ll have plenty of room to stash your little bits like craft supplies, extra dinnerware, even dry-food storage. And it’ll take only minutes to stack these boxes to one side when you want to access the tabletop.

McCormac adds, “And don’t forget your sticker labels—who isn’t impressed by a shelf stacked neatly with containers emblazoned with a Chip and Joanna-worthy label?”

Embrace the power of contrast to mix a variety of design styles

Chances are, if you need smaller, multifunctional furniture to make your downsized home work for you, they’re going to come in a contemporary style.

If you’re worried your current furnishings will “clash” with the current trends—rest easy. It’s possible for downsizers to strike an attractive balance between showcasing cherished heirlooms and incorporating the new, space-saving furniture needed to make small homes functional.

In fact, mixing a few modern elements in with more traditional furniture will actually transform a space from stuffy to chic—if you do it right.

You’ve heard the phrase: opposites attract. Well, that’s especially true in the world of home decor. Interior designers call it contrast.

Designers incorporate contrast into their decor all the time. A dark red throw pillow on a light, white bed. Or an oversized mirror paired with a small bench.

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You can do the same thing with contrasting design styles, too. Such as installing a modern light fixture in a room with a traditional fireplace.


There’s a trick to making this work. You need to make sure neither design style sticks out like a sore thumb by incorporating multiple elements of both styles into the space.

The modern light fixture works with the traditional fireplace because the designer included an antique chair and distressed tables as well. There’s also a modern sofa and armchairs to mimic the contemporary chandelier.

Other items, like the woven rug, blend both modern and classic design elements into one piece.

So when you’re decorating your own downsized home, select those must-keep classical items first. Then go shopping for space-saving modern items that will both complement and contrast those gems you want to show off.

For example, if you’ve got a gilt-framed, floor-to-ceiling mirror you just can’t part with, pair it with a sleek, chrome console table to give it a more modern edge to mesh with your contemporary furniture.

In summary, the designs of these multi-functional, transformative pieces tend toward modern. However, they let downsizers decorate with style while making the most practical use of their limited space.

While you can get small-scale furniture in almost any decor style that will fit nicely into your downsized home—it won’t have the amazing functionality of these convertible pieces.

Whatever path you choose, have fun with it! “I try to get my downsizers excited about the freedom of moving into a smaller villa,” says Kittner. “There’s new neighbors to meet, and it’s a new place to decorate.”

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