Folding Furniture: A Secret Weapon for Small Spaces

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Don't move to a bigger place. Just add a desk that doubles as a bedroom.

Real estate is expensive and getting even more so by the day, but an Italian furniture company can help you make the most of the space you have.

Clei—a small company based near Milan—makes beds that turn into shelving units and desks, sofas that convert into bunk beds, and tables that fold out of bookshelves. Its space-saving creations are an easy way to add a home office and a guest room without building an addition or buying a new place.

The company traces its heritage back almost half a century, having displayed its wares at the Milan Furniture Fair since the 1970s.

There are plenty of imitators, but Clei holds patents on a unique hidden piston design, which keeps visible moving parts to a minimum. The company's U.S. distributor, Resource Furniture, also offers a lifetime warranty on all Clei products.

Best of all, the products won't break the bank. Not for people who've already invested in the kind of stylish urban space this furniture would look best in, anyway. Basic folding wall beds start around $2,500, with complete systems running as high as $20,000.

Sure, that's more expensive than a basic bed frame, but it's still a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a new place with an extra bedroom.

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