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Guide to Modular Design in Your Home

Updated on February 2, 2011
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Modular SofaModular HeadboardModular ChalkboardModular ShelvingModular Kids' Carpet
Modular Sofa
Modular Sofa | Source
Modular Headboard
Modular Headboard
Modular Chalkboard
Modular Chalkboard
Modular Shelving
Modular Shelving
Modular Kids' Carpet
Modular Kids' Carpet

Modular design loosely refers to all things that are designed in such a way that they can be taken apart and rearranged into a different configuration. For example, some cars have seats that can be rearranged to face backwards or different directions. Sometimes modularity in design is even more general than this and just means that a part can be removed without affecting the rest of the item. In cars, for example, the tires can be removed without affecting the rest of the design of the vehicle. Modular design is available in many different industries. The area where it interests me most, however, is in home design and furniture design.

Modular Home Design

Modular homes are homes that are manufactured in pieces that can then be put together in different configurations once they arrive on the site where the home is to be built. Prefab homes are examples of modular homes. Many pre-fab homes can be put together in different formations and can be turned into one-bedroom, two bedroom or three-bedroom models with different additions. The basics of each room stay the same but the design of the home itself can be modified. Modular homes intrigue me, especially cutting-edge one-of-a-kind designs.

Modular Sofas

Although modular homes are interesting in terms of creative architecture, it is really the inside of the home that interests me most as far as modular design is concerned. There are many different home furnishings that are made these days in a manner designed to be taken apart and rearranged. The most obvious example of modular furniture is the modular sofa.

The modular sofa can typically be arranged in these standard ways:

o   The modular sofa can be one very long sofa. All of the parts of the sofa are placed together in one row. Many modular sofas have a “chaise lounge” section that is typically placed at the end of the long sofa. However, because of the modular design, this piece could be placed in the center of the long sofa if preferred.

o   The modular sofa can be set up as one long L-shaped sofa. Most people don’t have enough length in their living room for a single long sofa made up of all of the pieces in a modular design. For that reason, it is more common to see the pieces put together in an L-shape, usually in a corner of the room.

o   One sofa and two chairs (or something similar). Many people opt to move the pieces of their modular sofa around to make several different pieces of furniture in one space. You may have one long sofa and two small chairs. Or you may have two short sofas and an ottoman. This depends on the specific design of your modular sofa and the number of pieces it contains. These pieces may be set up in a circular fashion (facing each other) to facilitate group conversation or they may be set up in different parts of the same room to allow for different tasks to be completed in different areas of the space.

The great thing about the modular sofa is that you only have to buy one single item and you can have several different furniture options for your living room over time. This suits different events that you may have in your home and allows you to make design changes without added costs. All of the pieces will match so you can have a “set” of furniture without actually buying a set.

Modular Cabinets and Storage

Another type of modular furniture that I’ve often seen (and you probably have as well) is the modular cabinet, entertainment center or storage shelving unit. The standard example of this is the cube-based storage system. You buy the different cubes separately or as a set. You can then arrange them in a variety of different shapes, stacking them or laying them out horizontally next to each other into a design pattern that you prefer. You can add additional cubes if you run out of space for your items. Typically the same type of modular design may be used to create an entertainment center with the exception that is made up of differently-sized cubes, some elongated and large to hold items like a TV and others shorter and smaller to hold VCRs, game systems and DVDs. One great thing to note about the modular shelving unit is that you can always break it up into smaller units and place them in different parts of a room or house so if you decide to rearrange your storage system you won’t need to buy new shelving to do so.

Modular Home Accessories

Recently I’ve seen a trend towards modular design in home accessories as well. Lots of random things may be created with a modular design. Some examples of items that I’ve seen include:

o   Modular chalkboards. These are chalkboard tiles that can be placed together into one large chalkboard or taken apart to make smaller chalkboards. The large chalkboard is great for writing family messages. The small chalkboard option is great for writing a message to a single family member and putting it in their room for them to see.

o   Modular room dividers. Many people use room dividers to create separate spaces in large rooms. Modular room dividers allow you to make the room divider taller or longer as you see fit. If you get a modular room divider with different colors for the pieces then you can also create a great little work of art by putting together the divider in a way that appeals to you visually.

o   Modular headboards. There are some cool modular headboard designs that allow you to turn your bedroom into a little work of art. As with other modular items, you can add and remove pieces to make the headboard wider or taller or just different in shape.

o   Modular carpet tiles. These are carpet tiles that can be placed together to form carpets with a different design or color pattern. You can rearrange the tiles easily when you want, which is a great way to make a big change to the design of a space without actually having to pay out more money to make a change.

Have you seen any other cool home accessories that are made with a modular design?


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