Apr 4, 2018

Must-have furniture for Japanese homes: Expandable Shelves

When my wife and I moved to Japan, we had barely any furniture. That meant we had to do a bit of furniture shopping immediately after moving in, but the tricky thing was that we knew that we would have to move again in the near future and had no idea what to expect from the layout or size of our future home. As such, we were a little concerned with the type of furniture that was worth our investment.

Admittedly, we made a few blunders, but one choice have stood out as ones worth recommending for folks planning an extended stay in Japan: expandable shelves.

Must-have furniture for Japanese homes: Expandable Shelves photo

We love the Noce furniture company, and when we came across these shelves, we were intrigued by the flexibility they offered.  The concept is simple enough: it's a shelf that allows you to double the width simply by spreading out the two end sections.  We decided to purchase a tall shelf and a medium-height shelf for a bit of variety, and they have not disappointed.

We've had three homes in a 5 year stretch now, and those shelves have earned their keep.  When when we first had them, they were spread to max capacity.  In our next two places, however, we had to adjust them to the width more suitable for the spaces such as under the stairs:

Must-have furniture for Japanese homes: Expandable Shelves photo

Having the flexibility in furniture width saved us having to get rid of the shelves and buy new ones in spite of two moves to places of very different size and shape.   It also meant that they could be used for a variety of different purposes.  In our most recent place, we've had to use our tall shelf for towels and other odds and ends instead of the photos and books it housed in our previous home.

Must-have furniture for Japanese homes: Expandable Shelves photo

In addition to the flexibility that being expandable offers, these shelves are surprisingly sturdy (important in an earthquake-prone country like Japan), and the Noce brand in particular has great aesthetics.

While not every furniture company offers these type of shelves, Noce and Nitori are two that I have seen sell them. Both allow you to order online, and they will even do installation in your home, if you request. I opted to assemble them myself, and they were incredibly easy to build. 

Do you have any questions about these pieces or any other furniture choices for homes in Japan?  Feel free to use the comments section below!



Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.

Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).