Home Design lesson: 7 smart pieces

Design lesson: 7 smart pieces


Investing in a few good pieces will give your home more function and flare.

Your room is nearly finished, but when you look around, something seems to be missing. A versatile furniture item just might fill the void. Each of the options here promises flexible serviceability in a range of styles and price points. When investing in your home, look to these multitasking pieces to bridge the gap between decorative and functional with ease.

1. Armoire
Graceful proportions and strong vertical lines make the hardworking armoire an ideal purchase. Highly adaptable, it provides serious storage as well as a focal point. Here’s where and how to use one.

  • In the living room: Hide electronics or stock a bar.
  • In the dining room: Keep dishes and stemware at hand.
  • In the bedroom: Store bulky sweaters or increase hanging space.
  • In the kitchen: Create an instant pantry.
  • In the bathroom: Stow towels and linens out of sight.

NOL_June07_HiRes_p33-64_Page_14_Image_0001.jpg2. Chest of drawers
Winner of the most adaptable award, a sensational chest of drawers can suit any purpose — from storing linens in a hallway to baby clothes in a nursery to tableware in a dining room. With some modifications, a chest of drawers can also be transformed into a sophisticated bathroom vanity.

NOL_June07_HiRes_p33-64_Page_14_Image_0003.jpg3. Bench
Consider using a bench as a simple spacesaving alternative to dining chairs or as an additional perch in a living room or entrance hall. When space is limited, a backless piece offers a convenient surface at the foot of a bed. Layer a bench under a console table to create some visual depth and to pull out as needed for occasional seating.

4. Ottoman
Place an ottoman in front of an infrequently used chair to turn it into a desired destination for reading or watching TV. But wait — this flexible piece of furniture is not just for tender tootsies. A generously proportioned one offers extra seating, and some provide storage. Rather than the standard hall table in an entrance, go for a round ottoman and watch your guests gather and linger.

NOL_June07_HiRes_p33-64_Page_14_Image_0002.jpg5. Daybed
A multipurpose alternative to the sofa, an upholstered daybed offers an oasis of relaxed style. In a small bedroom or apartment, it’s a space-smart necessity, providing both daytime seating and nighttime sleeping. And when positioned in the centre of an open-concept space and piled with decorative toss cushions, a daybed can be a chic way to delineate the living and dining areas without blocking views.

NOL_June07_HiRes_p33-64_Page_14_Image_0004.jpg6. Folding screen
The versatile folding screen stylishly fills a purposeless corner, divides an open-concept space and hides storage in nearly any room. Use a screen to offer a sense of privacy to an overnight guest sleeping on the pullout sofa in the living room. When criss-crossed with lengths of ribbons, an upholstered folding screen can be transformed into a unique display board for invitations and family photographs.

7. Console
Add extra style and loads of practicality by including a console table in your decorating plans. It doesn’t have the visual weight of a secretary or buffet, but it still provides an additional surface just where you need it. Tuck a console table behind a sofa to hold a lamp and reading material, or in the entranceway, ready to capture keys and handbags at day’s end.