Small Space Living: Hay’s Tilt Top Table

I have rented my home all of my adult life and never managed to buy somewhere. Renting has always meant ‘temporary’ and you learn to live with things not quite being right. As a design blogger, I see a lot of great products all year and learn the detail that goes into each piece. So I find it very difficult to settle for second-best when I know precisely what I want.

With my impending purchase of a flat, it creates a lot of challenges that I need to consider. My tiny budget does not allow me to buy a large home but it is more than enough for me to occupy. One challenge was the living/dining/kitchen room which is perfectly formed for a sofa and dining table with little room for more.

It occurred to me that I do not use both of these at the same time, so there could be a way to change the room from one function to another by buying folding dining furniture. I looked at EVERYTHING, I mean everything you possibly could for folding tables and I can say hand-on-heart that this is a category that is in serious need of some good design.

small space living

small space living
Tilt-top table by Scholten & Baijings, 2011 for HAY

Small Space Living

‘Small Space Living’ as we have come to know it, is a category of furniture developed for the extremely small living spaces we are occupying in large cities. In London, we have what is known as ‘Nationally Described Space Standard‘. This is the minimum gross internal floor area (GIA) required for new homes relative to the number of occupants and taking into account commonly required furniture and the spaces needed for different activities and moving around. This means developers should state the number of bed spaces/occupiers a home is designed to accommodate rather than, say, simply the number of bedrooms. These are not large dwellings by all means.

There is some awful furniture for small space living, from laptop/coffee tables and ‘dinner for one’ tables where a Dining Table is not possible, and storage beds, storage side tables etc. The key purpose of small space living is to be useful in many ways, yet mostly it has specific uses considered or it is small. None of this is appealing, especially when you see how terrible the design is.


Flap-aan-de-wand is a Dutch concept from the 1700s, literally meaning ‘flat-on-the-wall’. This was a clever table design that folds away and can lean flat against the wall creating more space in small homes. I spoke to Scholten & Baijings about this and their design for the Tilt-top table.

Tilt-top table is a modern interpretation of Flap-aan-de-wand, where many families lived in cramped homes that often doubled as work spaces. Tilt-top table folds completely flat against the wall and has decorations on both sides. Many put great effort into decorating the underside of the table, as this was the side that was visible when the table was folded away. Scholten & Baijings continue this tradition with their hallmark use of bright signature colours, here in three versions of varying impact in tone-on-tone powder-coated steel. This is applied, charming furniture history in a free artistic interpretation.

small space living
(Image taken from Google Image Search)

The table can be folded against the wand, so it doesn’t take any room; ideal for compact space or as a convenient spare table that can easily be stored away. The underside of the top is often visible, that’s why it is painted and decorated more than the top.

Scholten & Baijings

small space living

small space living
Flap-aan-de-wand: Tilt-top table © Scholten & Baijings, 2009 in collaboration with Mathieu Meijers (artwork)

Scholten & Baijings is the design studio of Stefan Scholten (b. 1972) and Carole Baijings (b. 1973), situated in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Founded in 2000, they work across product, furniture, graphic and exhibition design. They have worked on a wide number of product typologies including chairs, ceramics, glassware, textiles, rugs, and tableware. They also worked on concepts for prestigious institutions and brands. Together they have won a number of awards, including the Dutch Design Award, the Wallpaper Design Award and the ELLE Decoration International Design Award. Scholten is a graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, while Baijings is a self-taught designer. Perfectionists by nature, their products are distinguished by a carefully considered use of pattern, colour and graphic elements.


Designer: Scholten & Baijings
Manufacturer: HAY
Year: 2011
Price: £429.00 at


Having worked in design for the past decade, Daniel started as a discussion of timeless, modernist product design. Trained as a graphic designer, he also has an avid interest in typography. You can follow him on Twitter @ateliertally.

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