Who doesn't want more out of their furnishings? Flexibility is one of the key things I look for when purchasing a piece for my apartment, because I'm not going to be there forever. And I want items, especially pricier ones, to be able to take on new roles as my life and surroundings change. That's why I'm always shopping for furniture and accessories that have a side hustle, which in the world of design translates to a use other than what's intended by the maker or manufacturer. As long as there are no safety issues, I say hack and repurpose away. And look for these seven all-stars that are constantly reinventing themselves in interiors across the globe.
The Moroccan Pouf
Officially, these circular cushions, typically made out of leather or vinyl, are considered a type of extra seating, but they make a mean footrest for an armchair. Or better yet, let a trio of poufs (or even one oversize style like the above one from Emily Henderson) stand in for a classic coffee table. Soft, rounded profiles and lack of sharp corners makes the pouf-as-table a great solution for families with young kids or even easily excited pets. And, in a pinch, I've been known to use my pouf as a step stool to reach the cookbooks on top of my kitchen cabinets. So there's that, too, but stack them at your own risk.
The Dining Chair
Before you say, "Well, duh, a dining chair can be used with any kind of full-sized table or desktop," you're not wrong. But if you see a great looking one of these guys at a yard sale or flea market (without its mates in sight), consider scooping it up and using it as a nightstand (another trick is painting it the same color as your wall a la this shot from Passion Shake, which lessons the visual clutter in a tiny space). This is a perfect idea for a guest room or small space, where you don't want to spend a fortune on furnishings or frankly even have the square footage for a full bedside table with drawers. You could also use a lone dining chair in an entryway or near a door as a handy spot for putting on shoes or dropping a bag.
A Hook Rail
These guys are usually found in mudrooms and entries and are used to corral coats, dog leashes, totes, keys and things of that nature. But put a hook rail in a bathroom, and say buh bye to spending hours folding your bath and hand towels neatly. Emily Henderson caught some flack for suggesting this solution a little while back, but anytime I see this kind of setup, I want to be the person (in this case John Derian) that just artfully drapes my towels over hooks and is chill about it. But if you're worried about mold and mildew or whatever (which is fair), you could also use a hook rail for coffee cups in a kitchen instead. Or try one as a jewelry organizer in a bedroom or on a closet door.
A Woven Bin
Tall bins are total chameleons. Mine is currently where I keep throws and extra pillows for guests in my living room, but I know moms swear by using them as toy baskets. They can also be a great way to organize umbrellas, wrapping paper or even sports equipment. Line one with a plastic bag, and you've got one stylish trash can. But I think the way I plan on putting mine to work in the future is similar to Shelterness, who used one as a decorative planter for a large tree, that is, when I don't live in a rear-facing one bedroom walkup.
The Bar Cart
Wheels, multiple shelves and a handle means that a bar cart can take a spin in really any room of a house and find work. I love one in a kitchen as a coffee station, or you could trick one out with all of your cosmetics, hair products and toiletries to make a mobile beauty cart. Craft supplies are another kid-friendly substitute. A bar cart can easily be used as a side table as seen here from HGTV, and it's possible to use one as a nightstand, as well.
A Wool Blanket
Frazadas and serapes are about to come on strong, and the first thing that I'm loving about them is their vibrant colors. But they're not cheap (well, serapes are, frazadas, not so much), and I think part of that has to do with the quality of the material, their handcrafted nature and how many ways you can work them in a home. First and foremost, they're ideal as a throw across the foot of your bed or on the back of a chair or sofa. But how about draped over a generic or cheap headboard to give it a fresh new look? Or as a pop of color underfoot, layered over a sisal or jute rug? You can also hang one like a tapestry above a bed. Tire of it as a blanket or rug, and you turn one into pillows or even upholstery for a set of stool cushions or chairs a la actress Brooklyn Decker's dining room via My Domaine.
An Old Trunk
Steamer-style trunks used to be end-of-the bed staples but lately have been taking a backseat to leggy benches. I say bring them back if you're short on storage, because one of these guys could also moonlight as a coffee table and be a great place to store extra linens or even board games or movies (the one here from Raisons d'Être even looks like something that wouldn't be too hard to DIY). And, of course, they're known to serve as toy chests, too, and are a great piece to send kids off to summer camp or college with, even when space is tight because they store so much.
So the moral of the story here is, surround yourself with pieces that work harder for you. Your bank account (and home) will thank you for it.