The Hobart

Rethinking Space

by Sue Frendin
Rethinking Space

You may recall seeing some rotating and pulldown beds in the movies – either slapstick scenes with Laurel and Hardy, or more streamlined scenes of beds appearing out of the wall at the appropriate time for James Bond.

The concept of furniture that can change shape and size (Murphy beds, wallbeds and extending tables) is not new. Many people growing up in Europe will recall stories of foldout beds, but it hasn’t played such a large role in Australian homes. Maybe we’re at a point in time where we can reconsider the role that such furniture may play in our homes as more people are considering living ‘smaller’, for many reasons, such as:

  • Downsizing for financial or location reasons
  • Choosing to buy a smaller home to minimise mortgage repayments
  • Treading more lightly on the planet by having a smaller housing footprint
  • Living closer to the centre of the city to minimise the need for transport
  • Infill housing in established areas, along with studios and granny flats
  • Exploring portable tiny homes and different housing construction methods – eg container housing.

Facebook and Instagram often display innovative furniture now available to help maximise the use of space – for example tables that turn from a console table into a dining table for 12 people, or a cupboard with an office desk that opens to reveal a full bed in the home office.

There are many scenarios when it could be worth considering this space saving furniture:

  • When a room needs to have two functions like a sleeping space as well as home office, hobby room or exercise space
  • Adding additional bedding options for personal or economic reasons, like holiday homes or paying guest accomodation
  • Health and safety considerations when providing a proper bed for overnight workers
  • Student accommodation spaces where a functional desk during the day can also double as a bed at night
  • Studio living where a luxurious sofa also converts to a comfortable bed.

Sue created Fold Out Furniture, in North Hobart when she needed her own small space bedding solution. The showroom is by appointment only, visit

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August 2022

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