Claire McEwen, hopeful romantic.

Multi-tasking Furniture ~ Creative Storage, Part Two

I live in a small house with my husband, our Lego-obsessed little boy and a dog named Chauncey. Between us, we have a fair amount of stuff! Our house didn’t come with a lot of built-in storage, so we’ve had to create our own.

To be efficient with space, we’ve tried to find multiple purposes for much of our furniture. For example, this awkward corner of the living room became a comfortable reading corner created with two pillows and a storage ottoman. Lift up the seat of the ottoman, and you’ll find extra blankets.

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Next to Cozy Corner (as my son calls it) is a vintage teacart. The top serves as an end table if you want to sip a cup of tea while hanging out in Cozy Corner, and it holds pictures as well. On the shelf below, there are three decorative, book-like storage boxes that contain supplies for the printer, which is nearby. And on the floor underneath? A cave-like bed for Chauncey. He’s small and, understandably, hates being stepped on. So when things get busy or crowded, he lies under there.

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Next to the teacart is our media cabinet for the TV, along with its receiver, Tivo, DVD player etc. But since we have no home office, we also keep our printer in there. Why not put all those black, rather unattractive objects in one spot? Ideally, the cabinet would have doors on it, but this is the one we owned when we moved in, and with other expenses to deal with, we never get around to replacing it. Someday I will have a cabinet with doors, and won’t have to look at the receiver and all its ugly companions anymore!

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Just to the left of the media cabinet is a bookshelf. The top half is dedicated to dog organization, as you might be able to guess from the photos on the top. We have boxes for leashes, dog toys and dog treats, because little Chauncey (the furry guy in the left-hand photo) still needs lots of training.

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Our multi-use furniture continues throughout the house. A dresser in our spare room holds extra linens, and it doubles as my stand-up writing desk.

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My husband wanted a desk, but we don’t have room for a home office. So his desk is also his bed-side table. It’s not ideal, but it works!

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And I wanted a desk as well. Not necessarily for the storage (I knew I could come up with something else to address that problem,) but because I need somewhere to sit and work when the house gets noisy. So I bought a console table made from raw wood, that I still need to refinish. It has a couple of small drawers for office supplies, and enough space for my laptop and notebooks. Miraculously, it also fits into a weird, narrow space that runs in between our bed and the wall. I sit on a stool that slides underneath, so it’s out of the way when I’m not using it.

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I need to have Chauncey close to me at night, so I can hear him if he needs to get out of his crate. He sleeps in a crate because being a terrier, (or a terror, as we sometimes call him) and a recovering stray, he has been known to get up in the night and make mischief. With an old shelf set on top, his crate now doubles as my bedside table.

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Life in a small house can be a challenge, but with enough creativity your furniture can help you fit in. If you’re feeling crowded in your home or apartment, think about whether any of your furniture can serve more than one purpose.

And if it can’t? We are blessed to live in a time when there are many options for storage furniture, and often at an affordable price. And if you are concerned about spending money, remember to check Craig’s List, consignment shops, Goodwill stores, or yard sales. You can also consider buying furniture unfinished. A new coat of paint can make all the difference, and save you money as well.

I hope you’ve found these ideas helpful. Please leave a comment to share how you find storage space around your house. And thanks for joining me today!

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