By Cat DiStasio
Convertible furniture isn't new; most of us have lived with a shape-shifting futon or sofa bed at one point or another. Sometimes, though, a small abode cries out for much more than an extra sleeping surface, and designers have been racing to the rescue with innovative setups that completely transform living spaces. Some reach up, like this floating platform that rises to create a whole new room, while others stretch outward, like these smartly designed windows that double as a balcony. We've also spotted a sofa that turns into a comfy bunk bed, and a handcrafted wooden chair with dozens of configurations. These shape-shifting elements are just the tip of the iceberg of inventive solutions to small space dilemmas.