Save space and money with multi-use furniture

For small condo spaces, your furniture should have more than one use. Photo: Courtesy
For small condo spaces, your furniture should have more than one use. Photo: Courtesy

Multi-use furniture is growing in popularity not just in Mexico, but throughout North America. Multi-functional furniture saves on space and budget. Two prime examples of this type of furniture are Murphy beds and recliners.

Murphy beds allow you to maximize your space and your monthly maintenance fees if you live in a condo property. When we first purchased our condo, we dedicated our second bedroom for the use of our family and friends. We bought a queen headboard, queen mattress and box spring, two nightstands, and a dresser.

Today, an average cost for these items (minus the box spring) would be about MXN$40,000 to $45,000 plus IVA in a good quality design. For not much more, I should have upgraded to either a Murphy bed or sofa bed, which would have been a better use of space. Unfortunately, it took a few years to figure that out. I only wish we had done it much sooner.  

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For those who pay monthly condo fees based on square meters, it makes even more sense to convert to multi-use furniture. Most second bedrooms in today’s condos are about 9.5 to 10 square meters. That means you are paying for space every month you are probably not using to the fullest.

Another piece of convertible furniture that most people are already aware of is the recliner. Recliners used to be big and bulky, taking up a large footprint of space. With new sleek designs, you can purchase one that minimizes the use of space. When you want to stretch out for a comfy siesta, it can expand to fit your needs. There are even recliners called wall-huggers. These are designed to fit the smaller spaces of apartments yet still expand for comfort.

A sofa bed is another item that is considered multi-use. Unlike sofa beds from 20 or 30 years ago, today’s sofa beds are available in memory foam. There are no more mornings with a backache from the hard bar in the middle of the thin mattress! My favorite brand has a memory foam that has a gel-cooling feature. With the humidity in the summer season, this feature helps you get a good night’s rest because it keeps your body temperature lower. The cost of a sofa bed with a memory foam mattress and a gel-cooling feature is not much more than a headboard, bed base and mattress. When it comes to spending money wisely, a sofa bed is hands down the better option for optimal use of space.

Regardless of which multi-use furniture item you consider, it is critical to make sure its mechanisms are well-made and have an outstanding warranty. These parts must be engineered to the highest levels of safety, product design, optimal performance, and durability. They should comply with the Consumer Products Safety Commission Standards. If not, they will rust and not work correctly. If purchased from a reputable manufacturer and retailer, you will get many years of smooth and consistent operation.

Sheryl Novak is an expat Canadian who has owned a home in Mexico for over 10 years. She is the owner of SOLutions Mexico — a furniture store that serves other expats. Looking for multi-use furniture for your home in Vallarta? Contact furniture@solutionsmexico.com for the name of manufacturers in Mexico that are safe and well-made.

{ Related: Why an American Murphy bed makes sense in Mexico }

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