FFE Magazine

Do you have modular furniture for modern and compact living?

Whether in the Philippines or in Europe, living spaces in the cities are getting smaller and smaller. For the sake of the money-conscious and the budget-tight, small condominium and apartment units within economic reach are now available in property markets. But leading a wholesome daily life at home cannot be done if your living space becomes too stuffy.


Filipinos have the tendency to collect many things through the years. Though yard sales and giveaways are options for homeowners, an item’s sentimental value often trumps the logical alternative of disposing them. However, there is a way to make small flats more spacious and comfortable.


The answer to the question of how to make a small flat more becoming is sleek, functional and even inexpensive: modular furniture.


Modular furniture are designed in such a way that a fixture system is subdivided into smaller parts (modules) that can be independently used  and adopted to provide multiple functions.


Examples of modular fixtures


The following are just some fixtures and construction techniques you can install or apply in your flat to make your home more functional and spacious:



Seating cubes. This type of chair melds storage, table and seating in one. Think simplified ottoman without the curvaceous and bulky body. Seating cubes are also low maintenance, but can look dignified depending on the material and the colour. There are also seating cubes that can double as a shelf if you’re not entertaining guests.



Fold down bed. Now you see it, now you don’t – the fold down bed traces its roots to ancient Greece. But thousands of years later its functionality is still prized among mini-flat owners. The modern Murphy bed or wall bed can be stored vertically after use. Depending on the number of sleepers or the floor size available in your apartment, you can opt for small designs attached to furniture or big designs attached to walls.



If a fold down isn’t your type, you can also try sofa beds. This comes in four types: the pull-out bed, foldable couch, futon and the corner bed.



Folding or stackable or chairs. Folding chairs are often taken for granted because they do not look sophisticated enough for the home. But there are designs that combine functionality and art, giving you a fresh look and sorely needed space.



Kitchen islands. Rather than get bulky wooden dining tables or flimsy foldable ones, why not settle for the double-purpose kitchen island? Prepare your meals and eat them conveniently in one place.



Nightstand desks. Now that technology allows us to scale all our life’s work down to digital files stored inside laptops, smartphones and tablets, our need for reading and writing surfaces can also be minimised. That said, bedside surfaces can be converted into instant workspaces with good lighting and a planner.




Staircase drawers. Staircases with short or steeper steps have been a solution for some houses lacking in floor space. But turning the steps into drawers is a safer and quirkier alternative. Staircase drawers are also the best place to keep shoes and slippers from bringing in dirt inside the house.



Hanging greens. Owning a small living space doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of the refreshing colours of Mother Nature. If you don’t have the luxury of a balcony to spread a green carpet of plants, you can always buy or make creative and do-it-yourself containers to hang your plants indoors.




Multi-compartment tables. Furniture with hidden compartments may look simple at first glance. But once the storage areas are accessed, they transform into surprising pieces of ingenuity. Tables like these can be used to store a range of items, from books and magazines to small kitchen items, getting rid of the need for larger shelves and drawers.


As living spaces become smaller to accommodate more occupants and to reach more people who have a limited budget, furniture companies are also designing smarter, more functional fixtures that will still make mini-flats very livable. The key is to choose multi-purpose appliances and furniture to maximise every inch of space. Living independently in a small flat can be done wisely if you know how to furnish and arrange your home.


Do you have design tips you can share with us? What do you do to make full use of every nook and cranny in your home? What furniture can be thrown out, and what replacements have you taken in to make your home more spacious? Leave your suggestions below!




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