The average family needs plenty of space to sleep, work, create, relax, cook, dine, entertain, and store their personal belongings in, but not everyone can live in a three-bedroom single-family home, especially in the middle of a big, expensive, highly desirable city. How can three people possibly coexist comfortably in just 215 square feet, which is smaller than the average master bedroom? You can play Tetris with everything you own, “KonMari” your way to a monk-like apartment, or make peace with a life of cramped and disorganized chaos. Or, you can make use of the next best thing to a magic wand.
Transforming, space-saving furniture is a lifesaver when it comes to living in a constrained home. If you need a single room to perform multiple functions but don’t want to sit on your bed while you cook, it’s pretty much required. We’ve featured dozens of all-in-one solutions here on Dornob, from modular and mobile designs to built-ins that take full advantage of every inch of vertical space. Portability is a plus if you move a lot, but furniture systems that are tailor-made for a particular space are definitely more effective. Too bad they tend to come with a price tag so high, they’re often out of reach for the people who need them the most.
This genius setup by architect Angel Rico is the best of both worlds, using modest, budget-friendly materials to make an “impossibly” tiny apartment in Barcelona comfortable for a couple and their child. While it was designed specifically for this space and includes a bathroom renovation, it also provides some serious small-space inspiration for portable transforming furniture that could work in another rental, too.
Made primarily of wood, this built-in system allows the family to enjoy a full kitchen and enough space to host up to eight dinner guests. It also hides a child’s bed and includes a room divider to separate it from the pull-out couch in the living area. The couple could even accommodate two overnight guests in a small loft above the bathroom. The woman, who works at a hospital, says she uses it regularly for naps and to “chill out” after a long shift, sleeping on the pull-out couch only because her husband doesn’t like climbing stairs.
The wooden cabinet opens to reveal a sink, cooktop, microwave, and all of the family’s cookware and dinnerware, along with some cabinets for additional storage. Slide the dish rack over the sink, and you can pull down a child-sized Murphy bed with shelves and built-in lighting. The cabinet on the right swings out into the space to provide privacy and offer a bedside table. Small components on wheels pull out to become side tables.
If you didn’t know it was there, you might not even realize that the home has its own bathroom, since it’s hidden behind another furniture panel that contains a closet, linen shelves, and even a small washing machine. Have you ever seen an apartment of this size with its own laundry facilities? That in itself is impressive. It’s also pretty cool to watch the client pull extra dining chairs and dining table sections out of a hidden storage compartment above the balcony. All in all, this apartment’s design is a smart, well-organized, and fun way to adapt to the modern urban lifestyle.