8 Double-Duty Furniture Solutions for Your Small Space Dilemma

Company's coming and we've got furniture solutions to ensure every single person can comfortably fit in your tiny abode.

With the holidays fast approaching, many of us are getting ready to host family and friends. But if you're not lucky enough to have as many spare bedrooms as the Real Housewives, you might have to get creative in order to fit everyone comfortably in your space.

Enter, double duty furniture!

These days there are loads of choices for furniture pieces that do double duty: a chair and a bed? Check. Storage in a bench? Check. Here's a roundup of our favorite solutions for making your space work no matter how many people you have camped out in your living room over the holiday break.

Sleeper Sofa



In addition to seating three people comfortably for gathering and watching TV, the slipcovered sofa pulls out to reveal a full-size sleeper. When choosing sleeper sofas for small, secondary spaces rather than great rooms, be sure and measure doorways and hallways first since many sleeper sofas are deeper than standard-sized sofas. Additionally, keep in mind that sleeper sofas are much heavier in weight than standard-sized sofas or love seats, and it may take up to three people to move them properly into place.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

This classic, double-duty piece works as the perfect solution for anyone who doesn't have a guest bedroom. And luckily these sleeper sofas have gone from "OMG, I have to sleep on this!?" to "this is better than a bed!" over the last few years. Somehow manufacturers are able to make these pull-out beds more and more comfortable which is good news for your guest's backs.

Our Product Pick: This one from West Elm has both comfort and style, and can be customized with a variety of fabric choices. Henry Deluxe Sleeper Sofa, West Elm, $2379+

Sleeper Chair

Tufted Sleeper Sofa in Home Office

Tufted Sleeper Sofa in Home Office

To accommodate overnight guests, a stylish convertible sofa was added to this multipurpose home office. White walls and natural light keep the transitional space feeling airy and open.

Photo by: Abby Hetherington

Abby Hetherington

If you don't have enough room for a sleeper sofa or even if you need some additional sleeping options, you might want to consider a sleeper chair. Much like a sofa, your guests will have no idea that a comfy bed is hidden inside.

Some of these chairs don't have quite the same amount of support as a sofa once the bed is pulled out, so consider adding a mattress pad or a feather bed if you want to amp up the comfort level.

Our Product Pick: Pebble Gray Chair-and-a-Half Sleeper, World Market, $599.99

Murphy Bed

Chic Loft Bedroom With Murphy Bed

Chic Loft Bedroom With Murphy Bed

Black and white design accents and elements give this loft bedroom a sophisticated feel.

Photo by: Jessie Webster

Jessie Webster

Although they still always make me think of 70's sitcoms like Laverne & Shirley, Murphy beds have come quite a long way through the years. These beds, which fold out from a cabinet-like wall unit, are a great solution for functional small space living.

You can get one of these custom built to fit the exact specifications of your space, but you also have a lot of options for pre-built Murphy beds that can easily be installed if the dimensions work.

Our Product Pick: This is a really chic option from AllModern that comes in a variety of sizes and finishes. Full Murphy Bed, AllModern, $1299.95

Storage Bench

Hot Pink Storage Ottoman

Hot Pink Storage Ottoman

When space is at a premium, storage ottomans are a must-have essential for family rooms. Created for use as occasional tables or extra seating, these comfy pieces allow parents to keep kid and pet toys tucked inside for easy access.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

We often forget that we'll need extra bedding and pillows for our newly comfy houseguests who'll be enjoying our double-duty furniture. Even if you happen to have room in another linen closet, I found it's often most convenient to keep these linen and bedding items close by and easily accessible for your guests.

A storage bench is the perfect solution for this. It will give you a few more seats around the TV in the living room and also conveniently hide all the items needed when your guests make up their beds at night.

Our Product Pick: Threshold Storage Bench With Casters, Target, $149.99

Bookshelf as a Room Divider

Contemporary Living Room With Open Shelving Unit Room Divider

Contemporary Living Room With Open Shelving Unit Room Divider

HGTV Design Star judge Candice Olson praises this design saying, "From a practical point of view I think the layout of this space is ingenious with the open shelving acting both as room divider and storage/display unit, but most importantly as an intriguing element that draws your eye into the space, around the corner into the bedroom area and beyond, where your eye hits the jackpot with a clear view of the Manhattan skyline."

From: HGTV Design Star
and HGTV Design Star

If you have enough space to set aside a makeshift guest bedroom, you might want to consider a bookshelf room divider. The Ikea Expedit shelf has been a longtime favorite for just this sort of set-up though they replaced the Expedit with the Kallax recently. Lucky for us it looks the same and works just as well.

You can use one of these shelves to block off a bedroom and give your guests a bit more privacy. Fill the shelves with books or other decorative items so the divider is not see-through.

Our Product Pick: Kallax Shelving Unit, Ikea, $199

Extra Folding Chairs

Chairs to Spare

Chairs to Spare

Extra seating is a party essential. These cute folding chairs help accommodate everyone while adding color to the space. And when the blowout is over, just collapse and store until your next event.

Most of us have spent an uncomfortable afternoon at family gatherings on those plastic folding chairs that seem ready to snap in half at any moment. But there are some super chic options available now and trust us, you won't even realize these chairs are related to those plastic ones of the past.

This bamboo set comes in a fun color and is thicker, sturdier and offers more comfort and support.

Our Product Pick: Coastal-Chic Folding Dining Chairs, Wayfair, $169.95 (for two)

Dresser as a Nightstand

Mirrored Dresser

Mirrored Dresser

Mirrored furniture gives insta-glam to any space.

Sometimes double-duty furniture is more of a mindset: think about how you can use items that your houseguests might need in a way that works for your space. 

If you have a guest bedroom but it's more on the petite size, you might not have room to fit all the furniture you'd. But you can get creative and do things like using a dresser as a bedside table. This allows your guests a spot to put their clothes without taking up any additional space.

Our Product Pick: Hayworth Mirrored Chest, Pier 1 Imports, $699

Giant Floor Pillows, Poufs and Ottomans

How to Host a Party in a Small Space

How to Host a Party in a Small Space

Don't shy away from inviting guests over just because you have a studio apartment, small back yard or dining room that isn't as large as you’d like. By following these simple steps, you can still pull together a perfect party where guests will embrace the charm of your cozy space.

Photo by: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Cheyenne Mojica Photography

As an interior designer, I have to use the word "pouf" far more than I'm actually comfortable with. However, the truth is that floor pillows, poufs and ottomans are an amazing solution for extra seating in a space where there just isn't room for additional furniture.

The great thing about them is that they can be stacked (pillows) or grouped together (poufs). Try lining a few poufs up under a console or stacking a bunch of boho floor pillows in the corner of your room. If you have enough space for an ottoman, consider tracking down one that has storage inside.

Our Product Pick: Oversized Floor Pillow, PB Teen, $199.99

More Items to Consider

Here are a few more items you might want to think about for your out-of-town guests this holiday season:

Inflatable air mattress. Yep, these are often just as comfortable as an actual bed!

Fun sleeping bags. If you have a bunch of kids staying over, consider getting some colorful and cozy sleeping bags for them to use.

Make the Most of Your Square Footage

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Guest-Friendly Living Room

This Urban Oasis living room is perfect for accomodating overnight quests. Vern Yip considers the sleeper sofa a must-have. 'It's so important in New York to have things that actually serve many purposes,' he says.

Dining Room to "Hangout" Room

Once a rarely-used formal dining room, this space sees much more action now as an office space for mom and a hangout room for kids. The daybed adds seating and capacity for overnight guests. Photography by Christina Wedge

1 Room, 4 Functions

This 120-square-foot multipurpose great room functions as a family room, lounge, dining room and office. (That's the power of good design!) Two pairs of bookshelves placed back-to-back divide the space neatly but don't disrupt the room's flow. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

Multipurpose With a Murphy

It's a home office, it's a guest room — it's both! This desk unit by designer John Gidding has plenty of storage shelves, plus a hidden Murphy bed that pulls out for company.

Sleek Cabinets

The multipurpose home office/crafts studio/laundry room in this Green Home hides its many uses inside its wall-to-wall cabinetry. (The laundry basket makes more sense when you know that there's a stacked, front-loading washer and dryer inside one of the panels.)

Craft Cubicle

Green Home designer Linda Woodrum packed as much versatility into this room as possible. While the washer and dryer are concealed by cabinets, the craft cubicle's retractable desk is on display here.

A Tricky Table

This combination lounge and exercise room by contractor Chip Wade, host of HGTV's Elbow Room, has a secret weapon: a retractable coffee table that disappears into the floor at a touch of the button. That way there's no awkward shuffling of furniture when it's time to work out.

Custom Solutions

Sometimes you have to tailor the small-space solution to the room. Wade also tricked out this multipurpose great room with custom swing-arm desks. Finally — no more using TV trays as makeshift desks!

All That and an Office

This small room manages to function as a dining area, entertainment space AND home office thanks to this closet, which has been upgraded to a mini-workspace.

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