Innovate movement to enhance the small-living experience

By Sid Kalantar

Demand for recreational vehicles is soaring in the United States. According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, sales of RVs broke the half-million mark in 2017, for the second consecutive year of double-digit growth.

The RV lifestyle can be liberating, fulfilling and enjoyable – as millions can attest. But it also requires big adjustments when it comes to space. The move toward smaller, more efficient living doesn’t have to be about sacrificing space; you can achieve more effective and rewarding use of the space you have.

For instance, look at hideaway television screens and monitors. Mounting them onto a lift mechanism can bring spatial and esthetic benefits. Consider a 48-inch by 30-inch flat-screen television: Using a mechanism to lower the TV within a countertop clears 10 square feet of space – and leaves you with a clean, unoccupied counter.

You can do the same with stowaway beds and sofas. For decades, the lift-up Murphy bed has been a go-to for saving space. But Murphy beds may be too large for some mobile and compact living spaces. Slide-away beds can be a practical solution. Consider that a queen-size bed measures around 5-feet by 7-feet. Mounting that bed onto a sliding or folding compartment can thus save 35 square feet of space. And mounting a king-size bed can conserve a whopping 120 square feet.

Even stairs can be useful for storage. Why relegate them just to stepping on? Put those stairs to work by storing stuff in them. Instagram and Pinterest are full of examples of people who have converted their stairwells into closets or their actual steps into drawers.

Compact campers have become very popular. Small, affordable, yet highly versatile, these trailers showcase tremendous space-saving potential.

For example, Into The Wild Overland, a Colorado-based builder of such campers, features a pull-out kitchen compartment, underpinned by heavy-duty drawer slides from Accuride International. As this case study illustrates, users can easily access a sink, stove and small refrigerator – meaning you don’t have to lose amenities to enjoy efficient outdoor living.

So, don’t let your drive toward efficiency be a chore. Instead, let it be a fun pursuit. With a little bit of problem solving and willingness to be creative, you can come up with clever designs that bring you an attractive, versatile, compact living space.


Sid Kalantar is senior vice president of sales and marketing of Accuride International.

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt has been a writer/editor for more than 25 years, working in law enforcement, aviation, supply chain and the RV industry. She's not a stranger to RVs, however. She grew up camping, and still camps as many weekends as she can every year. She is the owner of In Good Company Communications and can be reached at ingoodcompanycommunications@gmail.com.

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