The world is becoming increasingly urban. In 1960, only 34% of the world’s population lived in cities. In 2020 the urban population exceeded 56% and it continues to grow fas t. As urbanisation is increasing, living space is shrinking. Yet the human needs remain the same – everyone needs a place to sleep, eat, cook, relax, entertain, and even more so now, the home has also become a place to work.
With emerging urban small space living, the focus is shifting to how liveable the home is rather than how large it is. Research from IKEA shows the increasing need for solutions allowing flexible use of space, where a room or even a piece of furniture can be used for different activities to help make the most of limited living spaces. Meanwhile, people seek to make their spaces expressive, want to reflect their lifestyle, and dream of surrounding themselves with what they love even in small space.
To respond to these needs, IKEA is exploring and developing multifunctional furniture that is transformable and adaptable to suit different activities and moods throughout the day using the same space. The essential feature of these solutions is their versatility. These solutions will also help to make room for both togetherness and privacy. People living in small spaces often have to compromise on sleep and privacy, which are closely connected to their well-being.
Foldable bed and desk
One of the solutions revealed today is the foldable bed/desk solution that can transform one's living or working/study room into a bedroom, creating the environment for a good night’s sleep. The solution includes a foldable bed and a large desk for working, combined with storage below the desk, storage inside the bed, and shelf space above and on the inside. The product will enable you to quickly personalise the space for work, study and sleep.
“With more than half of the world’s population living in cities, homes are getting smaller and smaller. And with living space becoming more limited, we need even more smart solutions to adapt to our ever-growing needs. IKEA is always looking for ways to improve people’s life at home. Small space living, and the challenges that come with it, is one area that is very close at heart for IKEA. In this project, we are exploring multifunctional furniture solutions inspired by the challenges of making a small space multi-functional, easy, and fun to live in. We hope these innovative solutions will greatly contribute to people whose everyday life happens in small spaces”, says Mauricio Affonso, Innovation Development Leader at IKEA of Sweden.
Starting on a small scale
The project is still at the product development stage, where some of the solutions are planned to be sales started on a small scale during 2023 in two IKEA markets: Poland and Hong Kong SAR. Depending on the result of the pilot, IKEA is looking into the possibility of making the range available globally.
Read more about the development of multifunctional furniture
From 15 December 2022 to 3 September 2023, the prototypes of the new range will be shown at IKEA Museum as part of the ”Existence Maximum – Big ideas on small spaces” exhibition.