Restoration Hardware’s catalogues might be getting bigger, but its furniture, if you can believe it, is shrinking. In 2012, the retailer responded to growing demand for lighter, leaner pieces by introducing a line of scaled-down furnishings. This year, its Small Spaces catalogue is organized by city and residence: Los Angeles Bungalow, Boston Brownstone, etc.
It’s a sharp strategy. Census data show that young people, often in search of job opportunities, are flocking to urban areas where the apartment is king. But among the many limitations of living in a 400-square-foot studio is the lack of storage options. To accommodate, retailers are capitalizing on a piece previously relegated to children’s rooms and college dorms: the storage bed.
“Storage beds have become a huge priority for us,” said Janice Simonsen, a spokeswoman for Ikea USA who has worked with the company for 20 years. “We’d always had under-bed storage options like bins and whatnot, but now people want built-ins. It’s cleaner, and it looks more expensive.”
Beds are full of storage potential. Thanks to improved mattress technology that has eliminated the need for bulky box springs, an extra dresser’s worth of space has opened up underneath. Storage beds — which typically have four or six drawers between the mattress and the floor — take advantage of it.
At Ikea, storage and daybed sales are booming, having almost doubled since 2011. The company has expanded its options from three storage beds to six, with a seventh coming in August. Its most popular line is Malm, which has two lightweight storage beds that cost between $250 and $500. One has a mattress that lifts up revealing trunk space underneath. Another, released this year, has longer legs to allow for larger drawers.
Timothy Beaver, who works in sales for Ikea’s bedroom furniture department, said it’s relatively new for adults to buy storage beds for themselves, rather than for children’s rooms. The sales really started to spike only within the past three years, he said.