Petite and fashionable furniture for small spaces

Real Estate

The interest in upscale furniture for small spaces is soaring as baby boomers downsize to urban condos and younger families decide to stick with their too-tight houses rather than sell before home prices fully recover.

But decorating with space-smart furnishings does not mean forgoing comfort or style. Century Furniture's Metro Luxe is a smaller-scale collection with clean, straight lines designed specifically for townhouses, lofts and apartments, says Debbie Pegher, showroom manager at the Washington Design Center.

One popular piece is a 48-by-26-inch desk. Narrower than the typical 60-by-30-inch desk, it can be placed in a dining room, hallway or alcove. For smaller bedrooms, Century has various tables suitable for use beside the bed. They range upward in size from a petite 14 by 14 inches and come in a variety of styles. "These are pretty lines for sophisticated urban living," Pegher says.

Louiseville (Quebec) Canada
Century Furniture
Washington Design Center
300 D St. SW, No. 609
Creative Classics Furniture
906 King St., Alexandria
imi Furniture
1100 W. Church Road, Sterling
Kindel Furniture Co.
877-KINDEL-1 (546-3351)
Thos. Moser
1829 14th St. NW
Woodbridge Furniture Co.
320 N. Hamiltion St., High Point, N.C.

Donald Decker of Thos. Moser says the "go-to" table for a small home is a 48-inch solid-top round with a pedestal leg. It's compact and offers generous seating for a little group. "We recommend side chairs for dining because they are narrower."

Keep your eye focused on the arms when searching for couches and matching chairs. "Look for arms that aren't overstuffed and poufy," suggests Rachel Hughey, co-owner of Creative Classics Furniture. "They don't have any utilitarian need and just take up space. Sofas that are 72, 75 or 78 inches still have a lot of seating area, but the arms are scaled down, and that makes all the difference."

Sectionals maximize a seating area and are conducive to fitting into the space you have. Jason Claire of Vastu notes that the boutique offers an upholstered seating line with sofas, chairs or sectionals built in any length of 6-inch increments. "We can really tailor and make pieces to the size you want," Claire says. Creative Classics Furniture offers a comfort sleeper that is designed around a standard-size mattress yet takes up less floor space. And it comes apart for maneuverability up townhouse stairs and through hallways. Woodbridge Furniture Co. developed the Tiered Cocktail Table -- 20 percent smaller than the norm -- at the request of the Kellogg Collection in Washington.

And the Bayswater Cocktail Table comes in a 40-inch or 34-inch diameter. "We sell both sizes very well, and the 34-inch round is perfect for metro living," says Woodbridge Furniture Co.'s Kevin Hinshaw.

Amy Beechler Wolbert of Kindel Furniture Co. reminds us that centuries ago, before dining rooms were common, small Pembroke side tables were used for breakfast and, with leaves added, for larger meals. Same with the pie crust table, which when tilted upright leans on the wall.

"They had the right idea in the 18th century," she says, "although my guess is they wanted to move all the furniture against a wall for dancing after dining."

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