Take it with you: flexible furniture for renters

Furniture for renters needs to be portable, flexible, adaptable and stylish - without requiring wall fixings.
Londoners who rent need furniture that fits their lifestyle and can move when they do. Private landlords often impose strict limits on what tenants can do to personalise their homes, routinely banning drilling holes in walls, repainting rooms, altering flooring or generally doing anything that affects the fabric of the place — even when the tenant’s plan would be an obvious improvement.
Long-term renters want as much quality around them as home owners but in their case, furniture needs to be flexible, adaptable, stylish without requiring wall fixings and capable of being folded up and moved.

Of course, it’s not only renters who face flexibility issues, with space at a premium in London in old and new builds. Furniture maker and retailer Heal’s is on the case. “It seemed timely to address these space and access issues with furniture that works with the reality of urban living,” says the company’s creative director, Carmel Allen.

The latest range of Heal’s furniture and accessories — called Ambrose, after Ambrose Heal, grandson of the store’s founder and a leading light in mid-20th century design — focuses on providing innovative solutions to such dilemmas. The designs are adaptable, multifunctional, easy to assemble, good-looking, well made, durable and very reasonably priced. They can be folded up and moved to the next location, but make the best use of every available inch.

“Our designers have thought through all the access issues so our pieces can be assembled and dismantled to cope with narrow staircases and difficult entrances when you move house,” adds Allen.

Design consultant for the range is eminent product designer Sir Kenneth Grange, and the project has been overseen by brand designer David Steiner. Sir Kenneth designed the Leaning Wall shelving system that requires no wall fixing. Lightweight oak shelves hang off fabric or steel straps in a back panel that leans against the wall. By adding on additional elements the Leaning Wall can accommodate a cabinet, a laptop desk and a bench seat. All can be  packed away flat.
In a similar vein is Matthew Elton’s A-Frame system which slots together to make shelves, desk, coffee table and clothes storage, without the need to turn a screw, hammer a nail or get out the glue, while the clever YEH wall table, a small, two-legged creation by Taiwanese designer Kenyon Yeh, is powder coated and round, with part of the circle folding up to rest against a wall for support.
Take it with you: filament bulbs from £22, glass pendants, £125, enamel shades, £42

The Ambrose range includes exclusive designs by leading contemporary brands — for example, the Hot Mesh colourful wire mesh chairs by Blu Dot; Alessi’s Piana folding chairs in zingy colours, and the Knap sofa bed by Per Weiss. With extra flexibilty offered by the adjustable back, it’s ideal for lounging or sleeping, and is a mini playscape for children.
A good range of colourful, chic, but reasonably priced accessories that fold up or roll away is also available from Heal’s. Its new rugs are style items, in bold geometric prints, from as little as £70. The Twitter floor or table lamps are elegant and don’t require wall or ceiling fixings. Add a pop of colour for £10 with a framed edition of the vintage Irish linen tea towels.
This furniture for Londoners also includes some terrific pieces for Christmas guests that can be packed flat and stored away, ready to do it all again next year.
Heal’s stores: Tottenham Court Road, W1 and King’s Road, SW3 (www.heals.co.uk)

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