The $14 Trick to Making Any Piece of Furniture More Functional

updated Mar 11, 2020
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A wooden shelf holding plants is hung above a doorway

If you live in a tiny apartment where a single space serves multiple purposes (your bedroom is your living room is your dining room, right?), the best thing you can do for your furniture is to make it mobile. Adding a fresh set of wheels to tables, bar carts and kitchen islands lets them slide from one side of the apartment to another, filling in wherever they’re needed most. Here’s how to turn those pinch-hitting pieces into veritable MVPs.

How to add casters: The process of adding casters is extremely straight-forward, but there are a few safety precautions to keep in mind if you want to prevent your clever mobile dining table from crashing down or rolling away mid-meal. For starters, think about lockable casters to your furniture, so that you can secure them in place. When adding casters to weight-bearing pieces, like tables and chairs, check the weight limits for the casters before you buy them. The maximum weights listed are typically per caster, and the wheels should be arranged so that the weight is evenly distributed.

Shopping Sources for Casters:

Casters can be found at most home improvement stores, like Home Depot and Lowe’s, but if you’re looking for something special or especially stylish, check these sources.

  • Caster Connection: A great source for colorful, vintage-inspired casters. Add one in every color to create a rainbow-wheeled office chair.
  • Van Dyke’s Restorers: If gold and shiny are your style, this site has the metallic casters you’re looking for.
  • House of Antique Hardware: If you prefer cruising on a set of vintage wheels, browse the wooden ones at this antique hardware store.
  • Cool Casters: This assortment of funky casters may just inspire you to add bright green wheels to your bar cart.

Project Inspiration:

You can add casters to just about anything, but here are a few favorite ideas to jumpstart your search:

(Image credit: Small Cool Contest entry)

In Dyana’s Small Cool contest entry, a wheeled table can slide underneath the kitchen counter, or roll out to use as additional food prep space or an intimate dining table.

(Image credit: Home Depot)

A hand-crafted shoe organizer from the Home Depot blog can roll from the entryway to an out-of-sight spot when guests show up.

(Image credit: Refinery29)

Roll this portable fireplace spotted on Refinery29 anywhere that could use a warm and cozy touch.

(Image credit: The Painted Hive)

The Painted Hive attached casters to the bottom of a vintage card catalog to create a side table with built-in storage.

(Image credit: Cup of Jo)

When topped with comfy cushions and soft pillows, wooden pallets outfitted with casters become a dreamy, portable daybed. Tour the rest of this stunning St. Paul home on Cup of Jo.