Sunday, June 17, 2007

Truly Versatile Furniture

When my nephew, James, was small, he had a collection of "Transformers" that we played with when I was babysitting. I thought these were the coolest toys. They could be a person, or, with a few twists and turns, you had a fleet of trucks and airplanes.

For years, I've been looking for a similar idea in furniture. The living room suite that turns into a bedroom at the flick of a wrist. The kitchen that magically disappears.... (especially when the dishes need to be done!)

Frankly, there's just not a lot out there. There are Murphy beds (some even have a table or desk built in). And there are sofa beds. Both of these are a step in the right direction, but on moving day, can quickly move from "Good Idea" to "Bad Idea". Sofa beds are heavy and awkward and love to open up just as you turn the corner on the stairs, and Murphy beds just aren't portable.

So where to look for versatile furniture, especially second-hand?

When my husband and I were newlyweds, my Mum picked up this three-drawer dresser in a yard sale. She and my Dad then spent the next few weeks stripping it down (it had an awful lime-green shiny paint on it) and refinishing it.

Since then, it has lived in every room in our many different houses. It's held table linens in the dining room, pots and pans in the kitchen, towels in the bathroom, CD's and videos in the living room and frequently serves in the bedroom, as well - no hidden mechanisms or special instructions required.

So what makes it so versatile? I think it's its size - small enough to fit just about anywhere, but each of the drawers is big enough to hold a serious amount of stuff. And because it's not too tall, it can work as extra seating in a pinch.

Best of all, dressers this size are frequent finds on the second-hand circuit. I recommend at least one for every household.

And to those of you who still have, or are yourselves Dads, I hope you enjoy this Father's Day!

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