Use Trunks for Tables
Wherever you might have a table, consider using a trunk instead. Trunks provide additional storage space and an old trunk is a nice conversation piece, too. It fits comfortably in the same floor area that a table might otherwise fit and works very well for holding plates, cups, and other items.
Obviously, this doesn’t work for every table, but it can work well for coffee tables, end tables, and bedside tables in most homes. It just converts all of that cubic space into storage space very easily.
It’s often a good idea to fill up the trunks in your main living area with items you might pull out when guests are around so that you don’t go digging in closets or into other places for them. Keep all of your games or your entire DVD collection in one of them so that those things are easy to access near where you might be using them.
Buy Foldable Furnituire
Instead of devoting extra space to a guest bed, get a couch or a chair that features a foldable bed inside. Almost all of the time, it functions perfectly well as a couch, but during those moments when you need a bed for a guest to use, it transforms into that instead.
Another option: install a wall-mounted foldable bed. In situations where you have a guest, just move aside whatever items are sitting in front of it and you have a nice place for them to sleep.
Also, consider a table with leaves so that you can keep it small most of the time and expand it when necessary.
If you really wish to have a spare bed and none of these options work, invest in an inflatable air mattress. We have a queen-sized air mattress – which is probably overkill – but we inflated it in our apartment several times for guests and have also used it in our home when our house was particularly crowded.
Think Vertical for Storage
We tend to think of our living space as a floor plan. When there is a spot in that floor plan that identifies storage space, like a bookshelf or something like that, we recognize that square footage as devoted to storage.
Here’s the trick – that square footage extends from the floor to the ceiling, so why not take advantage of all of that space? Choose tall shelves that extend all the way to the ceiling instead of shorter shelves that only go up a little way. If you have a media cabinet, choose one with a bit less square footage on the floor but one that extends, again, to the ceiling (or close to it).
You can even stack shelving units on top of each other, or have two or three units side by side with a third sideways on top. The key is to stretch that storage space upward where it makes sense so that you’re taking up vertical space, not floor space.