Tips and Guides

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]



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

More on

Jumpstart Your Day: 5 Space-Saving Desks We'd Want in Our Dream Homes

Your 10 Favorite Small Spaces, Ranked

Expert Advice: 6 Ways to Achieve Extra Storage In Your Small Space


Latest Stories

A Taguig Condo With Cool Storage Features And Vintage Accents

This 80sqm unit has everything that its owners need: light and airy spaces, an interesting mix of furniture, and nifty storage tricks

8 Celebrities Who Are Also Amazing Artists

From John Lloyd Cruz to Ian Veneracion, these famous faces put a new spin to being creative

Katrina Halili’s House in El Nido, Palawan

Found inside her own farm, the tranquil sanctuary features spacious rooms and an incomparable view of the lush outdoors

10 Designer-Approved Coffee Tables

Sisters Cynthia and Ivy Almario, first ladies of Philippine interior design, discuss their favorite coffee tables.

These High-End Villages Have Tripled Average Land Prices in the Last 6 Years

Do you live in one?

The Ultimate Quiapo Bargain Shopping Guide

Ready to go on a Quiapo adventure? From Ilalim ng Tulay to Plaza Miranda, you are bound to spot a budget home find. Read on for our list of stores and buyers tips.

The New Holiday Balikbayan Guest Solution: Airbnbs

They will surely feel right at home!

Your P2,000 Budget Can Afford A Mini Makeover

Turn sad corners and uninspired nooks into spaces that wow

18 No-Fail Building Materials For Your Home

These designer-recommended products would make your home last a lifetime, saving you money in the long run

You'll Love These Pieces That Combine Style and Function

An elegant blend of design and style, these picks make a great addition to any room.

All The Breathtaking Design Details At The ASEAN Summit

In photos: Pinoy design and Asian elements took center stage, from the arrival area to the closing ceremonies

This Is How To Choose The Best Products For Your Home

Top tip: seek professional advice!
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!