Home Improvement

Expert Advice: 3 Furniture Space-Saving Tricks for Small Units

Take tiny house living to the next level by using modular furniture that you can hide, fold, extend, and stack


Even if we try to work around it, meeting the basic requirements of a habitable home (living, dining, sleeping, and bath areas) seem impossible because of the limited floor area in small condo units.

In cases where this is not an option, versatile space planning and creating multipurpose or combined areas are musts. For the smallest of spaces, here are a few space-saving tricks you can consider when designing your unit:

Main photos from: Habitat Kid and BoligLiv via Apartment Therapy.


For furniture pieces that you might not use as much during the day, you can opt for kinds that fold into the wall. This design is commonly used in dining and study tables—where the tabletop is usually hinged against the wall and the base or support swivels from the same. You can also use this for shelves to hold work essentials that won't fit on and in your table while in use. 

Photo from Bob Vila.

The Murphy bed or wall bed is another example. With a heavy duty hinge mechanism, a bed system unfolds from your wall—complete with mattress and beddings. It usually comes with a sofa or daybed that serves as seating in the day and also helps support the bed when unfolded. This type of furniture is available in the market but is quite costly with prices ranging around P100,000 per system. 

Photo from Habitat Kid.

Take note that it is not advisable to have such pieces made by inexperienced workers for safety reasons. It's best to purchase from trusted suppliers only.

Photo from IKEA.

Extend and Retract

Another space-saving trick is to choose expandable dining or work tables. The same rule applies when the total extent of the tabletop is not needed, you can retract the extended portion of your furniture. This type of table is readily available in local depots and furniture stores and comes in different finishes such as glass or wood tabletops.

RL Tip: For cramped spaces like study areas or kitchens with lack of counter space, a custom pull-out drawer (incorporated in your counter) can be utilized.

Photo from Lekker Home.


To maximize space, a raised platform for your sofa can be situated in your living area. The free parts inside the platform can house a pull-out bed which you can use when need or when you have guests over.

Photo from BoligLiv via Apartment Therapy.

Creating a semi-loft area for your bed is also advisable as long as you have sufficient floor to ceiling height and if it meets your building administration's standards. Make sure you have at least one meter from the ceiling to your bed mattress.

RL Tip: The rest of the space below can be used for different purposes—as a study, a wardrobe, or as a seating area.

Photo from Mimosa Mims via Pinterest.

Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]gmail.com.



Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at]gmail.com with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.

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