Retractable furniture, multifunctional built-ins, and other moving elements are excellent ways to make homes with limited floor space feel much larger—not to mention more flexible and responsive to changing situations.
To illustrate our point, we’ve collected 11 transforming apartments below that exhibit awesome shapeshifting abilities. From moving walls, to hidden rooms, to sliding furniture, these transforming apartments feature smart, space-saving solutions that you’ll be keen to adopt.
At a push of a button, the walls of this 750-square-foot apartment in Madrid designed by Enorme Studio can move to reconfigure the interiors—helping the home evolve from a studio into a one- or two-bedroom apartment.
Milanese architecture practice Studio Wok uses Batipin plywood—a type of pine plywood—to create a box-like wall paneling system to hide the kitchen, bathroom, bed, and built-in furniture in this 301-square-foot studio in a 1950s Milanese building.
In the neighborhood of Chacarita in Buenos Aires, Argentinian studio IR Aquitectura bestows a 269-square-foot apartment with a "secret" bathroom tucked away behind the kitchen wall, and a pull-out dining table hidden within one of the white kitchen panels.
This artful pied-à-terre in Paris, designed by Batiik Studio, has bespoke cabinets that hide a dining table, stools, and a small fridge, all of which unfold like characters in a children’s pop-up book and announce themselves with cheerful colors.
Although only 140 square feet, this London micro-flat by Studiomama has carefully constructed, adaptable furniture units that come together to create cohesive, flexible living zones.
Taking cues from nautical design, this 377-square-foot dwelling in La Spezia in the Italian Riviera was designed by Genoan firm llabb. Plywood cabinetry walls camouflage a bedroom entrance, and a small portico leads up to a compact mansard sleeping loft.
Italian architect Silvia Allori transformed this 452-square-foot Roberto Monsani flat in Florence into her home and office with a built-in white laminate panel system with cleverly integrated wall storage, and platforms with niches and storage spaces underneath. The platforms can be topped with cushions to become a bed or sofa.
8. Life Edited
LifeEdited designer and entrepreneur Graham Hill designed this 420-square-foot Manhatten apartment with moving walls that reveal a second bedroom, and a swinging shelf that doubles as a handle to pull down the Murphy bed above the sofa.
A collaboration between MIT Media Lab and Yves Béhar and his team at Fuseproject, the Ori Full and Ori Queen Systems are the first family of robotic furniture that allows a single studio to flow between states—living room, bedroom, walk-in closet, and office.
Using multifunctional, custom furniture that folds or slides away, Russian architect Peter Kostelov created a flexible, 700-square-foot New York City apartment for himself and his wife that can easily be rearranged to suit different purposes.
Using a structure of three particleboard shelving units set on a track system, Madrid-based firm PKMN Architectures designed an apartment that can be configured in countless ways, making space for a bedroom, kitchen, sitting area, changing room, and more.
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