US20110233976A1 - Modular furniture - Google Patents

Modular furniture Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110233976A1
US20110233976A1 US12/732,721 US73272110A US2011233976A1 US 20110233976 A1 US20110233976 A1 US 20110233976A1 US 73272110 A US73272110 A US 73272110A US 2011233976 A1 US2011233976 A1 US 2011233976A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
box
modular furniture
side
apertures
plurality
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Abandoned
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US12/732,721
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Rolf Raymond Hanson
Eric B. Nicholes
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Reliance International LLC
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Reliance International LLC
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Priority to US12/732,721 priority Critical patent/US20110233976A1/en
Assigned to Reliance International, LLC reassignment Reliance International, LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: HANSON, ROLF RAYMOND, NICHOLES, ERIC B.
Publication of US20110233976A1 publication Critical patent/US20110233976A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C13/00Convertible chairs, stools or benches
    • A47C13/005Modular seating
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C15/00Other seating furniture
    • A47C15/002Corner seating furniture, e.g. corner sofas
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C19/00Bedsteads
    • A47C19/005Bedsteads dismountable
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C4/00Foldable, collapsible or dismountable chairs
    • A47C4/02Dismountable chairs
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C4/00Foldable, collapsible or dismountable chairs
    • A47C4/02Dismountable chairs
    • A47C4/028Upholstered chairs, e.g. metal, plastic or wooden chairs

Abstract

A modular furniture assembly unit includes a box having a length, a width, and a depth, the box having first and second major sides in opposition to each other that define the length and the width of the box, and having third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides therebetween, the first side having a first connector attached thereto at a distance from the third side of the box substantially equivalent to the depth of the box, the second side of the box having a plurality of second connectors attached near at least three of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides of the box, wherein the first connector is configured to attach to a second connector of an identical box to couple the box to the identical box to form a modular furniture piece. In a further aspect, the first connector is a rotatable clamp and the second connectors are hooks to which the rotatable clamp is connectable.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • 1. Technical Field
  • The present embodiments relate generally to modular furniture and more specifically to modular furniture formable from a modular furniture assembly unit.
  • 2. Related Art
  • A variety of shapes and sizes of furniture have been developed over the years to provide comfort and decor. Consumers appreciate furniture that serve multiple purposes and withstand the wear of everyday use without requiring much attention. Thus, what is desirable is furniture that is versatile, durable, and relatively maintenance free.
  • Consumers expect to purchase furniture that is already assembled or can be easily assembled. Once assembled, however, most furniture cannot be easily disassembled. Most furniture is assembled using nails, staples, epoxy or some other type of fastener. Further, various types of furniture have upholstery covering the fastener thus making it difficult to disassemble the furniture. This presents a challenge for consumers, especially when the furniture needs to be transported from one location to another or moved through a confined space.
  • One aspect that makes furniture cost-prohibitive is shipping and packaging. For example, a large piece of furniture requires a large amount of space during shipping. The non-solid shape of most furniture makes it difficult to maximize the space utilized when packaging and shipping furniture. This adds increased costs of shipping due to the amount of space the furniture requires, regardless if the furniture fills all or most of the required space.
  • Another aspect that makes furniture cost-prohibitive is the difficulty in stacking furniture. When large pieces of furniture are stacked, damage frequently occurs to the furniture on the bottom of the stack. This damage may result from the shape and non-solid nature of the packaged furniture. Even when furniture is disassembled and boxed in order to facilitate stacking, often there is still much wasted space. The wasted space not only increases the cost of shipping, but also provides for a less stable base for which to stack other pieces of furniture.
  • Currently commercially available models of modular furniture use two different-sized furniture pieces, one to act as a base, and another to act as a lateral side or back piece. While like pieces (or boxes) of such modular furniture can be shipped stacked together, there is still some compatibility issues with two different-sized boxes. Furthermore, retail stores may prefer to sell a single piece, making it simple for stacking on an end cap and simple to track in terms of inventory.
  • For those consumers who cannot afford many pieces of furniture, it is also desirable to have furniture which can provide multiple functions. For example, a futon bed serves the function of both a bed and a couch. However, futon beds are bulky, and thus subject to the cost factors described above. In addition, futon mattresses are often thin and uncomfortable both as a couch and as a bed.
  • SUMMARY
  • With regards to various aspects of the present embodiments, a first aspect may include a modular furniture assembly unit having a box including a length, a width, and a depth, the box having first and second major sides in opposition to each other that define the length and width of the box, and having third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides therebetween, the third and fourth sides being opposite each other and the fifth and sixth sides being opposite each other, the first side having a first connector attached thereto at a distance from the third side of the box substantially equivalent to the depth of the box, the second side of the box having a plurality of second connectors attached near at least three of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides of the box, wherein the first connector is configured to attach to a second connector of an identical box to couple the box to the identical box to form a modular furniture piece.
  • In a second aspect, a modular furniture assembly unit may include a substantially-hollow box including a length, a width, and a depth, the box having first and second major sides in opposition to each other and third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides therebetween, the first and second sides defining the length and width of the box, the first side having a first connector attached thereto, the second side of the box having a plurality of second connectors attached near at least three of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides of the box, wherein the first connector is configured to attach to a second connector of an identical box to couple the box to the identical box to form a modular furniture piece, the third side including a door that allows access to storage space defined between the first and second sides within the box.
  • In a third aspect, a modular furniture assembly may include a box including a length, a width, and a depth, the box having first and second major sides in opposition to each other and third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides therebetween, the first and second sides defining the length and width of the box, the first side having a plurality of apertures and a first connector attached thereto, the second side of the box having a plurality of second connectors attached near at least three of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides of the box, wherein the first connector is configured to attach to a second connector of an identical box to couple the box to the identical box to form a modular furniture piece, wherein the third side is along the length of the box and also includes a plurality of apertures; and a pair of base couplers and at least two pegs, each base coupler having a plurality of threaded holes for receipt of the pegs, wherein the pegs include a threaded bolt portion for insertion within the threaded holes, the pegs sized for insertion into any of the plurality of apertures in the first and third sides of the box.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The system may be better understood with reference to the following drawings and description. The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. Moreover, in the figures, like-referenced numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.
  • FIG. 1 is a plan view of a preferred modular furniture assembly unit for forming modular furniture, showing apertures and a clamp.
  • FIG. 2 is a plan view of the modular furniture assembly unit of FIG. 1, showing hooks to which the clamp on the bottom of a single unit can attach.
  • FIG. 3 is a side elevation view of the modular furniture assembly unit of FIG. 1, showing a door with apertures.
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a pillow and a pillow cover of the modular furniture assembly unit of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a seat cushion and a seat cushion cover of the modular furniture assembly unit of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a pair of base couplers of the modular furniture assembly unit.
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a modular furniture chair assembled from two of the modular furniture assembly units of FIGS. 1-6, including a covered cushion and a covered pillow.
  • FIG. 8 is a bottom plan view of the modular furniture chair of FIG. 7.
  • FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the modular furniture chair of FIG. 7, including a base coupler turned out from beneath the chair to receive an accessory lamp.
  • FIG. 10 is an enlarged view of the clamp and hook of two modular furniture assembly units of FIG. 1 after connection between the two as shown in FIG. 7.
  • FIG. 11 is a cross-section view taken along line 11-11 of FIG. 10, before connection of the clamp to the hook.
  • FIG. 12 is a cross section view taken along 11-11 of FIG. 10 after connection of the clamp to the hook.
  • FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an arm chair assembled from four of the modular furniture assembly units of FIGS. 1-6 without covered pillows or cushions.
  • FIG. 14 is a bottom plan view of the arm chair of FIG. 13.
  • FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a chaise lounge sofa assembled from four of the modular furniture assembly units of FIGS. 1-6, and including a headrest.
  • FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a love seat sofa assembled from six of the modular furniture assembly units of FIGS. 1-6, and including a cup holder.
  • FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a deep sofa assembled from six of the modular furniture assembly units of FIGS. 1-6.
  • FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a playpen couch assembled from twelve of the modular furniture assembly units of FIGS. 1-6.
  • FIG. 19 is a perspective view of a sectional assembled from fourteen of the modular furniture assembly units of FIGS. 1-6.
  • FIG. 20 is a perspective view of a bed assembled from eight of the modular furniture assembly units of FIGS. 1-6.
  • FIG. 21 is a cut-away, perspective view of a modular furniture assembly unit of FIGS. 1-6, showing the flexible webbing forming the top side of the unit.
  • FIG. 22 is an exploded view of a modular furniture assembly unit of FIGS. 1-6, showing the flexible webbing and a frame of flexible cross members exploded.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • In some cases, well known structures, materials, or operations are not shown or described in detail. Furthermore, the described features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments. It will also be readily understood that the components of the embodiments as generally described and illustrated in the Figures herein could be arranged and designed in a wide variety of different configurations, some of which are not specifically shown or described.
  • By way of introduction, the present embodiments refer to a modular furniture assembly unit that allows for easy assembly and disassembly of various types of modular furniture. The modular furniture assembly unit is configured to include means by which identical units are connected to each other in various configurations. Accordingly, the modular furniture assembly unit may be adaptively used as a base or as a side or back piece in these configurations, as will be explained. In some configurations, base pieces may be formed into a bed or used as a foot rest. Other parts of the assembly—and in some cases, including accessories—finish off the creation of each piece of modular furniture. Such a versatile, modular furniture assembly unit allows for easy shipment, storage, inventory tracking, and display of the modular furniture. Easy assembly and disassembly makes purchase attractive because delivery and setup costs are eliminated for the average consumer. Other advantages will be apparent and noted herein.
  • As shown in FIGS. 1-6, a preferred modular furniture assembly unit 100 for assembling modular furniture includes a number of parts, all of which may be inserted into a box 102 of the unit 100. Accordingly, the modular furniture assembly 100 includes at least the box 102, a pillow 104, a pillow cover 108, a cushion 112, a cushion cover 116, a pair of base couplers 120, and at least two pairs of pegs 124, one pair corresponding to each base coupler 120. The box 102 having a length, a width, and a depth includes a bottom 130 and a top 132 as major sides in opposition to each other, and a number of minor sides 134 therebetween such as the side 134 shown in FIG. 3. The box 102 also includes a cover (or liner) 140 to add aesthetic value to the box, making it attractive as a furniture piece component, as well as a certain amount of cushion.
  • In FIGS. 21 and 22, the box 102 of FIGS. 1-3 is displayed showing a substantially-flat, flexible webbing 300 forming the top 132 of the box 102. Over the flexible webbing 300 is built a frame 310 of flexible cross members 320, to add rigidity and support to the flexible webbing 300. This design—of the flexible webbing 300 and the frame 310 of flexible cross members 320—provides spring to the top 132 of the box 102 where people sit, without taking up valuable space normally filled with box springs in other types of furniture. Accordingly, a storage space 330 is formed between the bottom 130 and top 134 major sides of each box 102. As discussed above, this space 330 may receive at least the pillow 104, the pillow cover 108, the cushion 112, the cushion cover 116, the pair of base couplers 120, and at least two pairs of pegs 124, which are part of the modular furniture assembly unit 100 disclosed with reference to FIGS. 1-6. In an alternative embodiment, the flexible webbing 300 and frame 310 of flexible cross members 320 may be replaced with a group of shallow springs or some other flexible, cushioning material.
  • One of the minor sides 134, preferably one along the length of the box 102, may include a door 144 connectable to the side 134 with any sort of connector. For instance, in the displayed embodiment, the connector may include a clamp 148 in the door 144 and a hook 150 on the side 134 of the box corresponding to the clamp 148. The clamp 148 and hook 150 displayed includes a clamp such as may be used on a jar lid for clamping onto a glass jar. The clamp 148 may be recessed within the door 144 so that its profile does not stick out and snag anything during transport or during assembly or disassembly of modular furniture from the box 102. The door 144 may swing on hinges (not shown).
  • Several parts of the modular furniture assembly unit 100—including the pillow 104, the pillow cover 108, the cushion 112, the cushion cover 116, the pair of base couplers 120, and at least two pairs of pegs 124—may all be inserted through the door 144 into the inside of the box 102 for storage during transport or storage. While a door 144 is not required, access to the storage space 330 of the substantially-hollow box 102 is facilitated thereby.
  • The bottom 130 of the box 102 also includes a connector, one suitable and positioned such as to make the box 102 attachable to another, identical box 102 (FIG. 7). In the displayed embodiment, the connector is a clamp 154, which can be similar to the clamp 148 in the side 134 of the box 102 and may also be recessed in the bottom 130 of the box 102.
  • The top 132 of the box 102 includes a number of hooks 156, at least three of which are located near minor sides of the box 102, corresponding to the clamp 154 in another, identical box 102. Accordingly, the clamp 154 may connect to any of the hooks 156 in another, identical box 102 for attachment or coupling thereto. For such attachment, the clamp 154 is positioned a distance from the minor side 134 of the box 102 substantially equivalent to the depth of the box 102. This minor side 134 may be the side of the box 102 having the door 146 and may be along the length of the box 102, where the width of the box 102 is along a shorter, minor side 134 thereof. Because the clamp 154 is recessed in the bottom 130 of the box 102, it will not stick out during transport or when being stacked. It may, however, stick out when deployed to attach two boxes 102 to each other, which will be explained in more detail with reference to FIGS. 11 and 12.
  • The bottom 130 of the box 102 and the door 144 each also includes a number of apertures 160 into which corresponding pegs 124 (FIG. 6) may be inserted. The pegs 124 may further include threaded bolts 164 or the like for insertion into corresponding threaded holes 168 of the base couplers 120. The pegs 124 of the base couplers 120 are thus insertable into the apertures 160 once threaded into the threaded holes 168. If the box 102 is placed with its bottom 130 side down on a floor, it may act as a base of the modular furniture. If the box 102 is placed with its side 134—the one having the door 144—down on the floor, it may act as a side or back piece. After the boxes 102 are coupled together by their respective clamp 154 and hook 156, as shown in FIG. 7, the base couplers 120 may provide a way to attach two or more boxes 102 together at the floor. Only the pegs 124 required to provide such attachment—and that would have clearance into one of the apertures 160—need to be inserted into the base couplers 120, as shown in FIG. 8 and discussed below. The base couplers 120 also provide some lift to the modular furniture pieces that they support, making the same easier to get into and out of during use. Conveniently, the base couplers 120 may be made of varying depths to accommodate different height requirements or preferences.
  • The cover 140 may be made out any kind of fabric and may be lined to increase its thickness, and thus cushioning quality. The fabric includes, but is not limited to: micro-suede, leather, and pleather (or synthetic leather). The cover 140 may include apertures to correspond to the apertures 160 of the box 102 and slits to correspond to the hooks 156 on the top of the box 102. The cover 140 may reach around to the side 134 of the box 102, excluding the door 144. Likewise, the cover 140 may include an opening through which the clamp 154 may pass.
  • As shown in FIGS. 4 and 7, two pillows 104 are insertable into the pillow cover 108 to create a covered pillow 170, although just one pillow 104 may be inserted for a thinner covered pillow 170. The pillow cover 108 may include a connectable seam 172 such as a folded flap, a zipper, or a Velcro strip, etc. Likewise, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, two cushions 112 are insertable into the cushion cover 116 to create the covered cushion 174. The cushion cover 116 may include a connectable seam 176 such as a zipper or a Velcro strip, etc. The cushion may be formed of any type of foam or padding known in the art, including but not limited to: foam, memory foam, quilt or other batting made of cotton, plastic, or other material, and plastic stuffing or fiber fill.
  • As shown in FIG. 9, for instance, the box may further include aperture covers 180 to cover the apertures 160 of the bottom 130 of the box, so that the apertures 160 are aesthetically less noticeable when the box is used as a side or a back piece. Accordingly, the aperture covers 180 may be covered with the same material used to make the liner 140 to cover the rest of the box 102. The aperture covers 180 may optionally be made with logos, pictures, or some sort of advertising thereon, e.g., to make a statement or provide a decorative flare. The aperture covers 180 are removable so that the box 102 may be transformed into a base, to receive the pegs 124 of the base couplers 120, or to receive accessories that are adapted for insertion therein. Such accessories include, but are not limited to a headrest (184 in FIG. 15), a cup holder (188 in FIG. 16), a reading lamp, a document or book holder, a container for remote controls or snacks, etc.
  • As shown in FIG. 8, two of the boxes 102 may be attached together with the clamp 154 of one box—acting as a back piece—and a hook 156 along the length of another box 102—acting as a base piece—to form the modular furniture chair 190. Preferably, the minor side 134 with the door 144 in the base piece is oriented toward the back piece, for aesthetic purposes. As discussed, the pegs 124 are inserted into the base couplers 120 to correspond with the apertures 160 in the bottom 130 of the base piece and in the door 144 of the back piece. In one embodiment, the base couplers 120 are located completely underneath the base piece or centered under the line of attachment between the base and back boxes 102.
  • To deploy the base couplers 120 with their pegs 124 into appropriate apertures 160 during assembly, each base coupler 120 may be placed on the floor and the back and base pieces placed over them until the apertures 160 align with the pegs 124, which slide into the apertures 160. Preferably, the base and back pieces are then attached with the clamp 154 and hook 156, as discussed before. In the alternative, the connected base and back pieces may remain on the floor while the base couplers 120 with pegs 124 are slid underneath the connected boxes 102 until the pegs 124 align with—and slide inside of—their corresponding apertures 160. Pegs 124 without a corresponding aperture 160 should be removed, and thus are seen a number of unused threaded holes 168. Optionally, additional apertures may be formed in the bottom 130 and door 144, if desired, to allow the insertion of additional pegs 124, which can be sold separately or included in greater numbers with the assembly 100. As mentioned, the base couplers 120 provide an attachment location at the floor between boxes 102 and provide additional height more typical of furniture.
  • As seen in FIG. 9, one of the base couplers 120 may be rotated outwardly such that the base coupler 120 is not completely underneath the modular furniture, in this case the chair 190. A lamp 194 or other accessory may include a threaded bolt, such as the threaded bolts 164 used in the pegs 124, and be attached to the exposed threaded holes 168 of the protruding base coupler 120.
  • FIG. 10 is an enlargement of a deployed connector between two boxes 102 forming the modular furniture chair 190 discussed above, including the clamp 154 of a back piece connected to a hook 156 of a base piece of two boxes 102. Note that an aperture 198 is formed in the cover 140 of the box 102 near the clamp 154, to provide space for the clamp 154 to function. As shown in FIGS. 11 and 12, the clamp 154 includes a clamping portion 204, a lever portion 206, and a securement portion 208 that work together to make the clamp 154 rotatable about the securement portion 208. When deployed, the clamping portion 204 extends beyond the hook 156 before depression of the lever portion 206 pulls the clamp clamping portion 204 into place, locking the clamping portion 204 over the hook 156. To provide the rotation, the clamp 154 pivots about the securement portion 208. Other connectors or configuration of connectors may be employed to couple two of the boxes 102 to each other. Also shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 are the plywood 210 or other wood or plastic pieces 210 that make up the sides 130, 132, and 134 of the box 102. In the top 132 of the box 102 is the flexible-webbing material 300 referred to with reference to FIGS. 21 and 22. Other materials may be used within the constraints of weight and cost for the application of use in modular furniture pieces.
  • FIG. 13 further displays an arm chair 220 that now requires four boxes 102 as disclosed above. Properly-located hooks 156 on the top 132 of the base piece align with the clamps in the bottom 130 of the back and side pieces, so that when attached, the four boxes 102 have a snug fit in relation to each other. FIG. 14 is a bottom plan view of the arm chair 220, showing how the base couplers 120 with their pegs 124 align to insert within the apertures 160, again to secure the boxes 102 at the floor and to provide additional height to the arm chair 220. Note that, because more boxes 102 are needed for the arm chair 220, more pegs 124 are also needed so that at least the adjacent corners of the respective boxes 102 are secured to each other. In FIG. 14, where only the threaded holes 168 of base couplers 120 are exposed, as displayed, no pegs 124 are inserted. The covered pillow 170 and covered cushion 174 of the arm chair 220 are omitted for clarity.
  • FIGS. 15 through 20 display a number of different furniture configurations formable from multiples of the modular furniture assembly unit 100 discussed above. They may be assembled substantially as discussed with reference to the chair 190 and the arm chair 220, except with a varying number of boxes 102 in varying configurations. FIG. 15 is a chaise lounge sofa 230 assembled from four of the modular furniture assembly units 100, including two covered cushions 174 and a covered pillow 170, although two covered pillows 170 are available from the four units 100. As previously mentioned, the headrest 184 may be attached to the top of the back piece, which can be used thus in the other modular furniture configuration disclosed herein. The headrest 184 may slide over the side of the back piece that is oriented upwards, and/or may include connectors that connect into the apertures 160 of the back piece. A corner chair (not shown) may be created by removing one modular furniture assembly unit 100 from the chaise lounge sofa 230. The corner chair would include a base piece, a back piece, and a side piece.
  • FIG. 16 is a love seat sofa (or couch) 240 assembled from six of the modular furniture assembly units 100 disclosed above, including two covered cushions 174 and two covered pillows 170. While an additional covered cushion 174 and covered pillow 170 are available because of the six assemblies 100, they are not needed. Extra parts of the modular furniture assembly units may remain stowed within some of the boxes 102 for convenience, and to facilitate keeping track of them. If additional pieces are purchased later to expand the love seat sofa 240, e.g., to make a sectional (270 in FIG. 19), then those pieces could be extracted to assemble the larger modular furniture.
  • FIG. 17 displays a deep sofa (or couch) 250 that is assembled substantially the same as the love seat, with the same number of modular furniture assembly units 100, except that the base pieces are oriented with their lengths creating the depth of the deep sofa 250. Accordingly, the side pieces go along the length of the base pieces, and the back pieces overlap the base and side pieces, taking up the whole of the back of the deep couch 250. This transformation from the love seat 240 to the deep couch 250 while keeping the side pieces flush at the front with the base piece is made possible by the relative sizes of the width of the box 102 plus its depth being equal to its length. These relative dimensions also facilitate the assembly of the other pieces of modular furniture.
  • FIG. 18 displays a playpen couch 260 assembled from twelve modular furniture assembly units 100, including four covered cushions 174 and four pillows 170, although two more covered pillows 170 could be assembled, as desired.
  • FIG. 19 is a sectional 270 assembled from fourteen of the modular furniture assembly units 100, including six covered cushions 174 and five covered pillows, although two more covered pillows 170 could be assembled. Note that at one end of the sectional 270 is formed a deep couch 250 while at the other end is formed a chaise lounge chair 230. One of the base pieces may be used as a foot rest 275. The sectional 270 could be formed in a variety of ways, as would be apparent to one assembling the modular furniture from a number of modular furniture assembly units 100.
  • FIG. 20 displays a bed 280 assembled from eight of the modular furniture assembly units 100, including all four available covered cushions 174 and only two of the four available covered pillows 170. As mentioned, the additional parts that are not needed may be stored inside some of the boxes 102 of the bed 280, for easy retrieval later, if needed, for instance to replace the pillows or rotate use of the pillow covers.
  • Accordingly, a variety of modular furniture pieces may be formed—not all of which are disclosed herein—through the assembly of two or more of the modular furniture assembly units 100, providing at least the following non-exhaustive list of advantages. Such a versatile, modular furniture assembly unit 100 allows for easy shipment, storage, inventory tracking, and display of the modular furniture. Display of the modular furniture includes simply stacking the units 100 in an end cap in a retail store, perhaps with pictures of possible configurations displayed nearby. In the alternative, given sufficient space, the modular furniture assembly units 100 may be assembled into one or more modular furniture pieces to display to consumers the types of configurations that may be attractive. Such modular furniture is easily assembled and dissembled into various configurations so that such a display does not become stagnant.
  • Likewise, easy assembly and disassembly makes purchase attractive because delivery and setup costs are eliminated for most consumers because consumers themselves can easily transport and set up the modular furniture. Additionally, a consumer may only buy the number of units 100 that he or she can afford, and then purchase additional units 100 later to expand on an existing piece of modular furniture, or to assemble additional pieces of modular furniture. Extra covered pillows and covered cushions in some configurations make it easy to swap out damaged or stained parts that are likely to see the most wear. The various accessories, such as lamps, headrests, cup holders, or decorative apertures covers, etc., may also attract buyers because of the adaptive utility of the modular furniture formed form the modular furniture assembly units 100 and provide another stream of revenue outside of the units 100 themselves for retailers.
  • The terms and descriptions used herein are set forth by way of illustration only and are not meant as limitations. Those skilled in the art will recognize that many variations can be made to the details of the above-described embodiments without departing from the underlying principles of the disclosed embodiments. For example, the apertures 160 of the box may, instead of being big to receive the pegs 124 of the base couplers 120, be the smaller, threaded holes 168 to receive the threaded bolts 164 of the pegs 124. In such an alternative embodiment, the base couplers 160 would, instead of having smaller, threaded holes 168, include the bigger apertures 160 for receipt of the distal ends of the pegs 124. In practice, the furniture cushion may be made by the insertion of only one cushion 112 into the cushion cover 116, and the furniture pillow may be made by inserting only one pillow 104 into the pillow cover 108. Just because the modular furniture assembly unit 100 includes various parts, as disclosed, does not mean that every piece of modular furniture that may be assembled from multiple units 100 will use all of the parts. The scope of the invention should, therefore, be determined only by the following claims (and their equivalents) in which all terms are to be understood in their broadest reasonable sense unless otherwise indicated.

Claims (26)

1. A modular furniture assembly unit comprising a box including a length, a width, and a depth, the box having first and second major sides in opposition to each other that define the length and width of the box, and having third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides therebetween, the third and fourth sides being opposite each other and the fifth and sixth sides being opposite each other, the first side having a first connector attached thereto at a distance from the third side of the box substantially equivalent to the depth of the box, the second side of the box having a plurality of second connectors attached near at least three of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides of the box, wherein the first connector is configured to attach to a second connector of an identical box to couple the box to the identical box to form a modular furniture piece.
2. The modular furniture assembly unit of claim 1, wherein the first connector comprises a rotatable clamp and the second connectors comprise hooks to which the rotatable clamp is connectable, the clamp recessed within the first side of the box so as to be flush with the top of the box.
3. The modular furniture assembly unit of claim 1, wherein the second side of the box is formed from a substantially-flat, flexible webbing and a plurality of flexible cross members attached between the third and fourth sides and between the fifth and six sides, the flexible cross members located next to the flexible webbing to provide support to the flexible webbing.
4. The modular furniture assembly unit of claim 1, wherein the first side includes a plurality of first apertures.
5. A combination of the modular furniture assembly unit of claim 4, the modular furniture assembly unit further comprising a plurality of aperture covers insertable within the plurality of first apertures of the first side of the box to aesthetically cover the first apertures, and an accessory insertable into one of the first apertures.
6. The modular furniture assembly unit of claim 4, further comprising:
a pair of base couplers having a plurality of second apertures; and
a plurality of pegs each having attached to one end thereof a threaded bolt portion, wherein the plurality of second apertures are threaded for receipt of the threaded bolt portions, and the first apertures are sized to receive the pegs.
7. The modular furniture assembly unit of claim 4, wherein the third side also includes two or more first apertures, the modular furniture assembly unit further comprising:
a pair of base couplers and at least two pegs each having attached to one end thereof a threaded bolt portion, each base coupler having a plurality of threaded holes for threaded insertion of a threaded bolt portion, the pegs sized for insertion into any of the plurality of first apertures in the first and third sides of the box.
8. The modular furniture assembly unit of claim 7, further comprising:
a liner sized to cover at least five sides of the box, the liner including a plurality of apertures that correspond to the plurality of first apertures and the first connector of the box and a plurality of slits to correspond to the plurality of second connectors.
9. The modular furniture assembly unit of claim 7, wherein the box is substantially hollow, defining between the first and second sides thereof a storage space, the modular furniture assembly unit further comprising:
a seat cushion;
a seat cushion cover to cover the seat cushion;
a pillow; and
a pillow cover to cover the pillow, wherein the storage space is large enough to simultaneously store a pair of base couplers, the at least two pegs, the seat cushion, the seat cushion cover, the pillow, and the pillow cover.
10. A piece of modular furniture comprising a combination of first and second modular furniture assembly units of claim 1, wherein the box of the first unit functions as a base and the box of the second unit functions as one selected from the group consisting of a back and a side of the piece of modular furniture.
11. A piece of modular furniture comprising a combination of first and second modular furniture assembly units of claim 7 wherein the plurality of the first apertures in the first side of the box in each unit comprises four apertures; wherein the third side of each box is along the length of the box, wherein the box of the first unit functions as a base and the box of the second unit functions as an upright piece with its third side adjacent to a floor, the pair of base couplers from each unit each receiving at least one peg inserted into one of the four first apertures of the first side of the box of the first unit and into one of the two or more first apertures of the third side of the second box.
12. The piece of modular furniture of claim 11, wherein one of the base couplers is positioned so that at least one threaded hole is accessible at the side of the piece of modular furniture for receipt of an accessory that threads into the at least one threaded hole.
13. A chair formed from the piece of modular furniture of claim 11, wherein a first pair of base couplers each receive a peg inserted into first apertures near the front corners of the box, a second pair of base couplers each receive two pegs, one inserted into a first aperture near a rear corner of the box and the other inserted into a first aperture in the third side of the second box.
14. A corner chair comprising a combination of the piece of modular furniture of claim 11 and a third identical modular furniture assembly unit having a third box positioned as a side of the corner chair where the second box functions as a back thereof, wherein:
a first base coupler receives a peg inserted into a first aperture in a first front corner of the first box,
a second base coupler receives two pegs, one inserted into a first aperture in a second front corner of the first box and the other inserted into a first aperture in the third side of a third box,
a third base coupler receives two pegs, one inserted into a first aperture in a first rear corner of the first box and the other inserted into a first aperture in the third side of the second box, and
a fourth base coupler receives three pegs, a first inserted into a first aperture in a second rear corner of the first box, a second inserted into a first aperture in the third side of the second box, and a third inserted into a first aperture in the third side of the third box.
15. A modular furniture assembly unit comprising:
a substantially-hollow box including a length, a width, and a depth, the box having first and second major sides in opposition to each other and third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides therebetween, the first and second sides defining the length and width of the box, the first side having a first connector attached thereto, the second side of the box having a plurality of second connectors attached near at least three of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides of the box, wherein the first connector is configured to attach to a second connector of an identical box to couple the box to the identical box to form a modular furniture piece, the third side including a door that allows access to storage space defined between the first and second sides within the box.
16. The modular furniture assembly of claim 15, further comprising:
a third connector attached to the door and a fourth connector attached on the third side of the box, wherein the third connector is configured to attach to the fourth connector to secure the door in a closed position.
17. The modular furniture assembly unit of claim 16, wherein the first and third connectors comprise a rotatable clamp and the second and fourth connectors comprise hooks to which the rotatable clamps are respectively connectable, wherein the first and third clamps are recessed, respectively, within the first side and the door.
18. The modular furniture assembly unit of claim 15, wherein the first side includes a plurality of apertures, wherein the third side of the box is along the length of the box and the door includes a pair of apertures substantially the same size as the plurality of apertures in the first side of the box.
19. The modular furniture assembly unit of claim 18, further comprising:
a liner sized to cover all but the third side of the box, the liner including apertures to correspond to the plurality of apertures and the first connector of the first side and slits corresponding to the plurality of second connectors on the second side of the box, wherein the liner is attached to outside edges of the third side of the box.
20. The modular furniture assembly unit of claim 18, the modular furniture assembly unit further comprising:
a pair of base couplers and at least two pegs, each base coupler having a plurality of threaded holes for receipt of the pegs, wherein the pegs include a threaded bolt portion for threaded insertion into the threaded holes, the pegs sized for insertion into any of the plurality of apertures in the first side and the door;
a seat cushion;
a seat cushion cover to cover the seat cushion;
a pillow; and
a pillow cover to cover the pillow, wherein the pair of base couplers, the at least two pegs, the seat cushion, the seat cushion cover, the pillow, and the pillow cover are insertable within the storage space.
21. A modular furniture assembly comprising:
a box including a length, a width, and a depth, the box having first and second major sides in opposition to each other and third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides therebetween, the first and second sides defining the length and width of the box, the first side having a plurality of apertures and a first connector attached thereto, the second side of the box having a plurality of second connectors attached near at least three of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sides of the box, wherein the first connector is configured to attach to a second connector of an identical box to couple the box to the identical box to form a modular furniture piece, wherein the third side is along the length of the box and also includes a plurality of apertures; and
a pair of base couplers and at least two pegs, each base coupler having a plurality of threaded holes for receipt of the pegs, wherein the pegs include a threaded bolt portion for insertion within the threaded holes, the pegs sized for insertion into any of the plurality of apertures in the first and third sides of the box.
22. A piece of modular furniture comprising a combination of first and second modular furniture assembly units of claim 21, wherein the box of the first unit functions as a base and the box of the second unit functions as an upright piece with its third side adjacent to a floor, the pair of base couplers from each unit each receiving at least one peg inserted into one of the at least four apertures in the first side of the box of the first unit and into two apertures in the third side of the box of the second unit.
23. A combination of the piece of modular furniture of claim 22 and a backrest attachable to the fourth side, opposite the third side, of the second box and oriented to provide support to a person seated on the box.
24. A piece of modular furniture comprising a combination of the piece of modular furniture of claim 22 and at least a third identical modular furniture assembly unit including a third box to function as an additional base piece, wherein the third box is secured to the box of the first unit with a pair of base couplers, each receiving at least two pegs for insertion into corresponding apertures in the first sides of the box and the third box.
25. An arm chair comprising a combination of the piece of modular furniture of claim 22 and third and fourth identical modular furniture assembly units respectively including third and fourth boxes positioned as sides of the arm chair where the second box functions as a back thereof, wherein base couplers of the first through fourth modular furniture assembly units receive pegs for insertion into the plurality of holes in the first side of the box and in the third sides of the second, third, and fourth boxes.
26. A piece of modular furniture comprising a combination of the piece of modular furniture of claim 22 and at least one more additional, identical modular furniture assembly units, the box from each additional furniture unit functioning as one selected from the group consisting of a back, a base, and a side to form one selected from the group consisting of a chaise lounge chair, a corner chair, an arm chair, a love seat, a couch, a bed, and a sectional couch, wherein for each additional box, the pair of base couplers receive the at least two pegs of each additional modular furniture assembly unit inserted into the apertures in the first side thereof when functioning as a base and into the apertures of the third side thereof when functioning as one selected from the group consisting of a side and a back.
US12/732,721 2010-03-26 2010-03-26 Modular furniture Abandoned US20110233976A1 (en)

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