New Solutions for Transformer Furniture

CC BY 2.0. Lloyd Alter

Multifunction furniture lets small spaces do more.

TreeHugger loves transformer furniture and has been covering it since the pictures were small, where tables turn into beds, chairs and sofas into bunkbeds, single beds into doubles, and my favorite of all time...


The bedside table that turns into a home protection system. Founder Graham Hill took it to the next level with his LifeEdited transformer apartments, and Resource Furniture took it mainstream with their Italian marvels. It made sense in Italy, where people live in much smaller apartments and don't move very often, and it makes sense in cities today, where people are now raising families in apartments that keep shrinking.

transformer chest closed

Transformer chest closed/CC BY 2.0

Solutions Furniture is a new company (their website is still just a splashpage) and was at the Interior Design Show in Toronto with new twists on some old transformer ideas. We have Christmas dinner at the in-laws' on one of these tables that fold into a chest of drawers.

transformer chest opening

Transformer chest opening/CC BY 2.0

It has two conventional drawers at the bottom and then the entire table folds out of the top drawer. It is like Mary Poppins' bag; the table just keeps going and going.

Transformer chest open

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

We have also shown many transformer tables that go up and down, but this one is different;

It goes up and down and expands and stretches into a table that can seat six. Graham Hill had a table that pulled out and could seat twelve; I thought it was a dumb idea for New York City – that's why they have restaurants – and I wonder how many times he actually used it. I think this one makes more sense; it works as a coffee table, rises up to a larger table, then folds out to an even larger table when you are entertaining.

transformer crib

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

This crib doesn't transform for video, but it does transform into a bed when the child outgrows it, which is a lot better than it ending up on the street.

Years ago I worked on the designs of Transformer Furniture with Julia West Home, and it was a tough sell. In North America people would rather move to a bigger place than spend a lot of money on adapting. This probably has changed as the price of real estate has climbed. Perhaps its time has finally come.