where to buy small scale furniture for tiny home?

tomalyseMarch 12, 2008

We are looking for a small oval coffee table - wood - for our small living room. Preferred dimensions around 18" x 30". We live in Northern California (Berkeley). Any suggestions of internet or stores who carry small scale furniture? We have a 2 bedroom 1200 sq. ft. house and it seems that shopping turns up nothing but furniture for giant mansions! Thanks.

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i too have lived in a berkeley 2/1 house...ours was even smaller than yours. we found that the only furniture that worked was from the oakland salvation army, ie. antique furniture from the same period that the house was built. in particular, we needed a coffee table and ended up having one custom built. this was a long time ago, i don't remember the name. yes, it was expensive. we still have it... i would suggest the berkeley parents website/message board. they know everything. i mean everything. good luck! kren

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 4:13PM
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Have you tried Googling 'Compact' furniture? That's so often how companies describe things and I know there's stuff out there (l8 x 30 isn't that small you know :-). Another thing you may not have considered, in a smaller place, a lot of little things really look a lot like clutter. You're better off many times to use a few good regular (or even large) size pieces, carefully arranged, and if more storage is necessary - besides the kind that you can find built-in to many new furniture pieces - you might think of devoting one wall (per room) to a floor to ceiling wall to wall, 12-15" deep storage unit with minimal decor and hardware on it. They can look terrific, do the job and alleviate the need for lots of little shelves all over.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 7:35PM
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I'd try IKEA. They are all about using small spaces well, so most of their furniture is not gigantic and it often has nifty storage built in too.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA US

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 11:28AM
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Have you thought about changing what you are looking for? I found a nice Butler's Tray coffee table that is smaller than your dimensions at a discount furniture store south of High Point, NC several years ago. Not expensive either. Perhaps if you looked at furniture with a different eye - see the right sized table top, cut off the legs. See a great looking tray....add legs to it. There are many great finds out there that might serve you as a coffee table - they just don't look like what you are looking for.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 4:54PM
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You might find what you want looking at end tables, if you can find one the right height you could use that. You can even put two together if needed.

Older furniture is generally smaller than today's stuff, too, since people didn't live in gigantic homes back then.

Another option, especially for coffee tables, is to build one yourself. You can get a glass, wood, marble or tile top and some legs and there you go!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 11:10AM
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You might also consider a drop leaf coffee table. Google image search for oval coffee table, drop leaf coffee table, small coffee table or oval end tables. This would allow you to see the styles and possible options for cutting down legs too. Not knowing what style you are after it is a bit difficult to suggest ones found. Pier One, World Market seem to have smaller furniture.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 11:39AM
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Hi- I would highly recommend getting this book at the library. It's Christopher Lowell's You can do it! Small Spaces. In fact, the sample rooms he shows are from mobile homes (Trailers) so he had very little space to work with.

One point he made is you don't want pick such small furniture that you get a dollhouse effect, or that no one is comfortable. I've heard others mention this idea too. I think having furniture that's multi-functional, like using an ottoman as a coffee table/seating is very functional, or a coffee table with storage. Most of the houses in my neighborhood are the size of yours.

Chris Lowell also rails against the loveseat for small spaces, because he claims unless people are really close (friendly/intimate) to one another, the loveseat is pretty much comfortable for one person and wastes a lot of space. He recommends club chairs instead.

We also have some great used furniture stores around that carry used and older furniture- you might want to look into this. I usually look for stuff at these stores, since there's one especially where you can get great deals, so I haven't experienced the problem of too big of coffee tables. Some of these stores are more for antiques, so just look around to see if you can find one that's in your price range. Craigs list has good furniture listings too. I've found that Salvation Army and Goodwill often is expensive for furniture that's in bad shape compared to David's furniture (the store I like- they know how to refinish furniture and it's in a lot better shape)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 4:14PM
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I know you're asking for a coffee table with specifics...this site doesn't have what you're looking for, but it is a cute website (not a ton of stuff) which may give you some ideas for some other things.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tiny Living

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 3:30PM
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I think the major furniture manufacturers carry items in a lot of different sizes. I just ordered two arm chairs from Sherrill that are small. However, I was sure the seat depth is adequate to be comfortable. The arms are narrow so it takes up less floor space.

My experience has been that Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn carry mostly huge stuff, so you may not want to waste your time there. Personally, I think IKEA is temporary furniture. If you are looking for a longterm purchase I would not shop there.

Sherrill is good furniture and not as expensive as some of the other furniture makers.

Here is a link that might be useful: my chair

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 11:25AM
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I know you are looking for a wood table, but here is my cocktail table which is brass and glass. I believe it is 24 by 36. It also comes in a larger size -- both are bigger than what you want but you can see how a little web surfing to the furniture sites might turn up what you want.

My house is only a little larger than yours.

Here is a link that might be useful: LaBarge cocktail table

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 11:31AM
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Funny you should ask for furniture recommendations! I did just that on this forum in 2006 and last week a journalist from the Wall Street Journal emailed to interview me for an article on this very subject! She saw my post here! Isn't that a riot? Well, the article says that things are looking good for small furniture options, and there are a few stores listed.

Here's a link: http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB120606089260853653-lMyQjAxMDI4MDI2MTAyNjEwWj.html

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 9:54AM
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FLJane -- the exact same thing happened to me! A WSJ writer found my comments about the color of appliances on the Kitchen forum. I had just gotten rid of a Harvest Gold fridge and DW. She emailed me and I ended up being quoted in the WSJ. It was fun.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 9:06PM
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Actually, Pottery Barn has furniture for small spaces! Probably geared toward small city apartment living.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 4:32PM
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I'd look on ApartmentTherapy.com for ideas and also look on Craigslist.... (I also live in Berkeley!)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 3:14PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I'd suggest looking for used furniture. The older furniture was made for smaller homes...now its very difficult to find. Our new sofa was much larger than we anticipated and it was one of the smaller choices. The furniture we bought back in the 80s is much better scale.

Bombay furniture used to have very nice traditional furniture that was smaller in scale, but unfortunately they are out of business.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 12:00AM
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