Sunday, 17 February 2013

flexible furniture

Renting can mean moving more frequently and having to adapt to a bit of unpredictability in terms of new space. I'm a great believer in renting unfurnished if possible and purchasing items you love and that reflect your taste, instead of your landlords. I also believe that a few solid, well designed pieces are worth the investment and most of all, I believe that if you are investing in a piece of furniture as a renter, it should be adaptable to more than one function, as you don't quite know how it's going to fit into your next room or flat. 

I've chosen 9 pieces that are currently available that either inherently have more than one use or are easily re-purposed. I have featured two of these before on this blog but as they really are the best examples I can find, I hope you'll forgive me for showcasing them again!

1. Industrial Twist Stool, £120 Cox & Cox

I've featured a similar stool before but this one is not only much better looking, it's almost half the price too! Flat topped, adjustable height stools really are the most adaptable items. I have an all-metal version in my flat that we use as a side table, but it also makes a good laptop table and a plant stand. Future uses could also include a bedside table or a kitchen bar stool and as it's so solid it could even be taken outdoors in the summer for additional seating.
2. Raskog Trolley in grey, £50 Ikea (also available in turquoise)

This would be great used as open storage in the kitchen, as a drinks trolley at parties or to hold condiments, napkins and cutlery at a BBQ. It would work just as well as bathroom storage or to hold office or childrens craft supplies.

3. Conran Chalkboard Wall clock, £45 M&S

I like the idea of decorating this otherwise minimal clock with a fancily written menu in the kitchen but it would also be great in the hallway as somewhere to write yourself reminders as you leave the house. Additionally it would work in a kids bedroom where they can decorate and re-decorate it as the fancy takes them! 

4. Tronc chest, £295 Loaf

A good, solid wooden chest is another great investment. This might seem pricy but consider the many uses it can have. I have one that's currently being used as a side table next to the sofa but also stores the guest duvet and bedlinen for when friends stay over. My parents bought the chest some 30 years ago and when I was small it used to be my toy box. It's also been a TV stand, a coffee table, a bedside table and used as an ottoman at the end of my student bed. Plus, being made of solid wood it means any marks or blemishes can be sanded out but and anyway, those knocks and scrapes help to age it beautifully.

5. Legend Cafe Chairs, £149 (a pair)

I think these metal chairs will look great in any kitchen and though they shouldn't be left out in the elements, they can be taken outside too. Perfect if you have a little balcony, if you're having a party and need extra seating outside or if you have no other outside seating but fancy sitting out with a book when the weather allows. If you have a large enough bathroom one would also make a great place to put clothes or towels. I've also seen them styled as bedside tables.
6. Canton Console Table, £495 Lom Bok

I have to confess I've been in love with this piece ever since Lom Bok released it a few years ago. It would serve equally well as a desk, dressing table, halll console or sideboard in the dining room. The dramatic but neutral colour ensures it's a focal piece that will fit with any scheme.

7. Smart Large Sofa Bed in slate, £299 House at John Lewis

I featured this last year but try as I might, I can't find another sofa bed that as simple to use, as good looking or as reasonably priced as this one. It also has the added benefit of being made my John Lewis so you know it's good quality. Again, the neutral colour (it also comes in a lighter silvery grey) ensures it will fit most schemes and can be accessorized to your taste.

8. Side Table, £109.50 Rockett St George

This side table really is a star piece. The top is a detachable tray and the supports store magazines. Perfect for tiny spaces and 3 uses for your money! The simple silhouette means it would sit easily in either a minimal scheme or a more opulent one.
9. Norden table, £150 Ikea

There are so many folding tables on the market but the thing I like about this one is that it's solid wood and can be stained to suit (although it's also available finished in white) and being from Ikea it means it's very keenly priced. In addition, the table can be folded away to such a slim shape that it can sit in even the tiniest kitchens and look something like a console when not in use, perfect if your dining table is in your main liking space too! The final added bonus is the drawers in the side for cutlery or napkins. If space is really tight, it might even fit in your hallway as a console table, ready to be brought to the centre of the room when you need it for dining.

I hope this post shows two things, firstly that renting shouldn't mean having bad furniture and that secondly, if you invest wisely and creatively your chosen pieces will be worth the investment.

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