Small Space

Furnishing Solutions for Renters

As a believer in accessible design, I love modular furniture. Modular simply means ‘block’s that can be arranged different ways to serve different functions. Modular pieces are great because they can be arranged according to the need of the inhabitants, the space available and can be added gradually as budget is available.They often have simple,modern aesthetic for seamless configuration. They are excellent for renters and small space dwellers who have to work with existing layout and are easy to move because they can be taken apart; essentially a whole wall of storage can be moved on rickshaas or cargo bikes (see how everything is related)!

Here, ironically, I could not lay hands on modular pieces because they are often ‘designer’,therefore come with hefty price tags.I do not have ‘mistri'(carpenter) at my disposal,so use storage boxes as ‘module’s.

Situation is not so dire for folks in Bangladesh.I played around on Sketchup with a set that I designed. Nothing ground breaking but quite versatile.This is a solution for resource constrained urban gypsies.


(Above) A module here consists of one drawer unit.Drawer could be removed and the casing be used as shelving unit.Also there is a base,possibly metal for load bearing capability.

As you will see, various combination of these could serve a multitude of functions.

(Below) 2 units+2 bases= A low coffee table

Modular coffee

(Below) Got budget for more and a clear wall:  Couple of these make a long seating with storage.Could have a built-in effect,depending on the measurements of the space and the modules.

Modular low seating 2

(Below) Need height: Add a unit on top of another (that takes two drawer units+ 1 base) to get a side table.

Modular side

(Below) Need bedside table: Get a pair of the above solution (4 drawer units+ 2 bases).

Modular bedside

(Below) Or join them for a TV table in the living room.

Modular tv

(Below) Or set them apart and top them with a surface, for a desk.Here, had to tinker with base height to achieve the 30″ height,required for desks.

Modular desk single

(Below) Butt 2 of the above (desk) setups (8 drawer units + 4 bases) for wider desk for two,perhaps in an office.

Modular desk double

(Below) Need more storage in the dining space and got some furnishing budget:  Get 15 of the drawer units and 5 of the bases for a substantial buffet.

Modular sideboard

(Below) Don’t need drawer units,but need some shelves:Take out the drawers and hang the casings in a carefree arrangement.Use the drawers for under-bed storage with some wheels attached.

module bookshelf

Maximum versatility of these solutions depend on the dimensions(height, width, depth) and load bearing capability of the modules .Dimensions are important, every inch of them! Dimensions decide how bad your back pain will be on every full moon or new moon because they dictate posture when not looking.

Also important are material and hardware,they decide how well the pieces will behave (sticky drawers,anyone?) and age. So you will still benefit from emplyoing us (designers) and a very good set of ‘mistri’s to work out the details.With that said,if you get to solve your furnishing issues with these pointers here, don’t forget to let me know!