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Small media chests works in right room

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By Christine Brun

Creators Syndicate

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Technology has caught up with the shrinking American home just in time. These days for a home office you merely need a narrow table desk and Wi-Fi. Maybe you are content working in bed while you sit cross-legged in your pajamas. Not everyone is that nimble and a wide variation of home office solutions exists for those of us who need more structure for our bodies or ancillary equipment. Fortunately furniture manufacturers are in tune with cultural changes and are responding with interesting new and complex designs.

As a practical matter, many stay-at-home parents are working part-time while standing at the kitchen counter or sitting at the dining room table. Of course some tasks require hard documents and access to reference materials, but a tiny thumb drive might have all the data you need in order to complete a task, allowing you to work practically anywhere. It is still realistic to have a place where you can file documents, despite the shrinking need for filing cabinets with the advent of online bill paying. In general, the traditional space requirement for a home office has been abbreviated by the miracle of the Internet and mobile devices. In addition to computers shaving space off the home office, they have also radically changed how we listen to music, watch TV or even read a book.

In space-starved urban apartments, rooms do not segregate functions. Living rooms turn into the bedroom after dark and necessarily that means the media equipment is right there. While hunting for furniture I've become aware of some very clever multiple-purpose pieces floating around. Notably, Hooker Furniture, founded in 1924 as a U.S. company dedicated to producing a solid product and selling it at a good value, is now focused on being as current as possible. Over 80 percent of the decisions about what kind of furniture to buy is are made by women and the company has tuned into the details that women crave. Hooker now offers a chest that has a top, lined jewelry drawer and lower, locking file cabinets. They also offer a fairly wide variety of small-sized media chest just like the one shown with either open space at the top for components or drop-down drawer fronts for access to electronic equipment. Consider using the featured piece in a bedroom as a petite media console combined with a traditional dresser function. They also have a dresser that offers a top level of small secretary drawers with traditional clothing drawers below.

We're all looking for maximum value and maximum use out of household purchases. Hooker zoomed in on Pinterest, the sight visited by over 11.7 million users, 97 percent of whom are women. The site is a public forum for noting and posting all the wonderful things that women like! Home decorating is one of the top three items discussed on Pinterest and the users are primarily in their mid-20s to mid-40s. Trends always sift up from the ranks of young and open-minded people. Sometimes it is economic necessity that drives creative solutions; sometimes it is a fresh take on whatever is happening in the world now. For certain, the way in which we live our lives shifts with each new passage or stage. A young mom finds herself requiring different sorts of space than an unmarried graduate student with a roommate. An empty nester suddenly has more space than they need and perhaps has the luxury of converting that space into a more extravagant use.

Some of us aren't excited about giving up hard copies and while books have become electronically available, many people will never forsake their books. Therefore bookcases are not in danger of becoming obsolete. So the answer in changing times is flexibility. Look for pieces of furniture that can adapt and deliver at least two separate functions.

Photo Credit: Hooker Furniture

Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego-based interior designer and the author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email at christinebrun@sbcglobal.net. To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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