We’re Into: Multipurpose Furniture

Living room with Ballard Designs furniture

When the calendar flips to a new year, many of us suddenly feel the need to reorganize, tidy up and maybe even downsize. Yes, having less clutter — and more floor space — just feels good.

That’s why we’re drawn to cleverly designed, multipurpose furniture. Whether you’re short on space or just want to live more simply, choosing hardworking pieces that fulfill different needs is a great idea. Read on to see our favorite multifunctional solutions from our Winter Catalog

If we had to choose just one, our vote for all-time, favorite multipurpose furniture is the ottoman. This incredibly versatile piece comes in all shapes and sizes and goes just about anywhere. In this living room, our Amelia Storage Bench serves as a cushy cocktail table while providing extra seating and hidden storage. It’s equally handy at the end of a bed.

Chevelle pendants in gray bedroom from Ballard Designs

Our Abbott Drop-Front Desk may be petite in size, but it pulls its weight as a nightstand in this bedroom. It’s the right height and size to tuck in beside a bed and offers space for a lamp, reading materials and phone charger. The drop-down front fits a laptop, so you can check email, pay bills or practice the lost art of letter writing. And if you hang a mirror above, it goes triple-duty as a vanity.

Caleb Coffee Bar from Ballard Designs

We’re not sure we could have dreamed up a more clever workhorse in a smaller footprint for the kitchen, breakfast nook or dining room. Outfitted with drawers and adjustable shelves and designed for cord management, Caleb Coffee Bar is perfect for storing serveware, pantry items and appliances. What’s more, a castered, marble top table pulls out to create a mobile serving island and extra workspace. Coffee, anyone?

Solano cabinet with hidden storage from Ballard Designs

Sometimes, it’s obvious when a piece is pulling double-duty in a room. Other times, the multifunctionality may be built in — and hidden. Our sneaky Solano Column Cabinet makes for a beautiful side table or mini bar, but you wouldn’t know just by looking at it that it also offers storage thanks to its cleverly disguised door. And who doesn’t need extra storage in a living space?

Sarah Shoe Storage bench from Ballard Designs

The Sarah Storage Bench packs two functions in one piece of furniture, and answers the prayers of shoe horses everywhere who are tight on space. With built-in shoe storage and a bench on top, it’s the ideal solution for an entry, dressing room or bedroom. We love it perched at the foot of a bed.

For more design inspiration, visit our Pinterest Boards, or find more gorgeous rooms in our Photo Gallery

Did you like this post and find it helpful? Rate it below and share your thoughts in the comments.

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply

    Jeff Spader

    February 19, 2016

    The Sarah Storage bench is something I feel I have seen at Target and Ikea multiple times over. What is the price point? I would imagine it would be higher.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      February 22, 2016

      Thanks for your comment. You can find all of the information about the Sarah Storage Bench here. It’s a really well made piece — all of the cubbies are lined with felt and it’s super solid. It also fits our farmhouse cushions perfectly!

  2. Reply


    February 12, 2016

    The Abbott Drop-Front Desk and Coffee Bar are really cool! Thanks for sharing.