Design Dilemma: Finding Small-Scaled Furniture | Home Design Find
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Design Dilemma: Finding Small-Scaled Furniture

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We have a problem. We live in a condo. And although that’s fine by us, it seems by the standards of many furniture manufacturers, it’s a problem.  When we go furniture shopping, it seems that all we can find is wide and deep easy chairs, long and wide couches, massive entertainment centers, humongous armoires. But that’s definitely not our scale.

So here’s the challenge: finding apartment-sized furniture that can make it to the second floor of a building without an elevator and then not take over a living space. Many of the most popular commercial furniture chains are out. Too much of their furniture is scaled for super-sized suburban homes. But over the years, we’ve discovered that there are a few old reliable retailers who specialize in smaller-scale furniture for the city dweller and many of them can be found across the country, internationally, or online.  In addition, many traditional retailers (read more here) are developing new apartment-sized furniture lines. Even Ethan Allen and Pottery Barn are getting into the act. So we’re thinking that it will get easier to find smaller furniture lines in the future, but until then, here’s our own list of where you can find furniture that will fit:

1. Ikea, of course. It’s number one on our list of places to find affordable furniture that can fit through the front door. While IKEA gets mixed reviews on the quality of some of its upholstered pieces, if you shop well here you will almost always find well-designed furniture that is of higher quality than the store is often given credit for. It’s also a great place to find items for the kitchen.

2. Room and Board. This Minneapolis retailer specializes in clean-lined, American-made pieces with a mid-century modernist influence. The prices are higher than places like IKEA or CB2, but the furniture is built to last and the style is classic.

3. CB2.com. Crate and Barrel’s little sister store with seven outlets in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and Miami, was built to cater to the younger, affluent consumers fed up with the overstuffed, over-plush, over-sized couches of their parents’ generation. So CB2 is hip, young, and attuned to the needs of buyers living in 500 square feet. Much of the furniture has a mid-century influence as well.

4. BluDot.com. Founded in 1997 by three friends with a passion for architecture and design, this Minneapolis-based furniture company is on a mission to bring good design to a wide audience. Furniture is always clean, small-scaled and unstuffy. And while there are modernist influences here, happily, BluDot is not stuck in a time warp.

5. The Sofa Company. In the market for a sofa, but just can’t seem to find one that will fit? Design your own. The Sofa Company, based in Santa Monica, CA, is perfect for those who want to have complete control over every aspect of their sofa, from the type and size of the frame, to the upholstery fabric, to the legs. You design it all online. The only down side is that delivery is only available in the Los Angeles area.

6. Mitchell Gold. While this North Carolina retailer is not known for edgy design, what you can find at Mitchell Gold is simply-styled, clean-lined furniture built with attention to quality. Many of their designs work perfectly in smaller spaces. MGs a good place to go for traditionalists living in small quarters.

7. BoConcept. No one knows small scale like the Europeans. So it’s a natural that Denmark’s global retail chain would be a place for apartment dwellers to turn when all other furniture outlets have been exhausted. What’s good about Bo Concept is that it manages to be sleek and hip without going too retro.

8. Maine Cottage. Specializing in traditional and casual cottage styles, Maine Cottage offers furniture with a smaller footprint, especially suited to beach houses, vacation homes, ski condos, etc. Although this retailer only has a few outlets in Maine and Florida, furniture can be ordered online. Their website even features a section on apartment and condo ideas.

Have more to add to the list? Send us your additions!

Image: WSJ.com

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2 Comments so far to “Design Dilemma: Finding Small-Scaled Furniture”
  1. David Says:

    One remarkably inexpensive alternative for upholstered furniture is Home Reserve–which has pieces you assemble yourself at bargain basement prices. Each seat has storage built in as well, and you can change fabric covers inexpensively as you wish. Seasonal, cheap redesign, anyone? <http://www.homereserve.com&gt; (I am not affiliated with them, just a fan of their approach).

  2. Jeremy Schneyer Says:

    You should also consider vintage furniture as an option! Many vintage pieces from the 1950s-60s (and earlier) are smaller scaled than their contemporary counterparts, especially Danish/Scandinavian furniture from this era. It's also (in general) built better, and costs significantly less than comparable new furniture – and it's good for the planet, too!

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