Chairs are awkward when space is at a premium. The most comfortable ones to sit in take up the most room, and vice versa. (Have you ever lingered over dinner while seated in a folding chair?) Fortunately, lots of products give you the best of both worlds.
Expand Furniture, based in Vancouver, wins for the most unique ways to hide chairs when you don’t need them. Their accordion loveseat stretches from 8 inches long to 24 feet, allowing you to transform it into a single office chair or a serpentine sofa or a dinner-party bench that seats up to 16. (The company sells a variety of expanding tables to go with them, as summarized in this video on boredpanda.) I’m also excited about the Ludovico office combination, which shoehorns both a removable chair and a folding desk into a functional file cabinet. If it’s padding you crave, there is a cushioned ottoman (perhaps a seat for one) that opens into five stools.
Chairs that stack tend to be more comfortable and take up less space than those that fold. They’re a nice alternative if you want to store a lot of seats for when a crowd comes. The lifeedited house (namesake of one of my favorite blogs) uses the Eco chair by Swedish designer Voxia, a sleek compression-molded plywood seat that stacks so tightly the owner fits ten of them into a narrow closet. Resource Furniture, famous for popularizing the modern Murphy bed, offers a stackable dining chair of its own in the sturdy Alpha design.
None of these chairs is cheap. You’ll find plenty of stacking or folding chair options for less money (think IKEA) with correspondingly less function and durability. But a better value judgment to make is how the freed-up square footage in your home might save you from building an addition or moving. As Resource Furniture president Ron Barth has pointed out, small space design is less relevant than optimizing the space you already have.
Thanks to Mike Agostino.