Title:
DECORATIVE WALL HANGING, DROPDOWN SHELF STORAGE SYSTEM FOR ACCENT BEDDING AND PILLOWS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage solution is provided for decorative pillows and the like, including a decorative front panel when in the first configuration is flat and in the second configuration is a storage area. The second configuration is presented by a dropdown motion of the front panel, which produces a shelf for decorative pillows, bedding items or other items when not in use.



Inventors:
Munyan, Joyce M. (Layfayette Hill, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/266187
Publication Date:
05/07/2009
Filing Date:
11/06/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F5/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WILKENS, JANET MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Joyce M. Munyan (Lafayette Hill, PA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A shelf unit for storing bedding items comprising: a wall mountable frame assembly and a front panel comprising a front face and a back face, wherein said front panel is connected at the bottom to the bottom edge of the frame assembly such that said front panel may swing down from an upright closed position, in parallel to the frame assembly, to an open position, where the hack face is defined as a shelf and is perpendicular to the frame assembly.

2. The shelf unit of claim 1 further comprising a pair of side hinges, connecting the side edges of the frame assembly to the side edges of the front panel.

3. The shelf unit of claim 2, wherein said side hinges prevent said front panel from swinging more than ninety degrees down from the upright closed position.

4. The shelf unit of claim 2, wherein said side hinges are in the form of a flexing strap.

5. The shelf unit of claim 2, wherein said side hinges are in the form of a spring.

6. The shelf unit of claim 1, wherein the connection between the bottom of the front panel and the bottom edge of the frame assembly is formed by at least one attachment hinge.

7. The shelf unit of claim 1 further comprising: a back closing member centrally mounted on the upper edge of the frame assembly and a front closing member centrally mounted on the upper edge of the back face of the front panel for fastening to the back closing member when the front panel is in the upright closed position.

8. The shelf unit of claim 1, wherein said wall mountable frame assembly comprises a support post connected at one end to the center of the upper edge and at the other end to the center of the lower edge.

9. The shelf unit of claim 1, wherein said front panel further comprises a decorative element incorporated on said front lace.

10. The shelf unit of claim 1, wherein said decorative element further comprises a fabric material.

11. The shelf unit of claim 10, wherein said fabric comprises a cover in the form of a sham.

12. The shelf unit of claim 11, wherein said fabric coordinates with a bedding fabric located in a room where the shelf unit is located.

13. The shelf unit of claim 1, wherein said front panel further comprises an identification marker signifying that said front panel swings to the open position, where the back face is defined as a shelf.

14. The shelf unit of claim 1, wherein said front panel further comprises: an opening; a support board covering said opening on the back face; and at least four clasps mounted to said back face, wherein said clasps may be twisted closed to hold said support board over said opening or twisted open to allow for removal of said support board for access to said opening.

15. The shelf unit of claim 14, wherein said front panel further comprises a decorative item displayed in the opening of the front face.

16. The shelf unit of claim 1 further comprising panel doors mounted to the frame assembly, wherein said panel doors close to conceal the front panel when the front panel is in the upright closed position and open to allow the front panel to swing down to the open position.

17. A shelf unit for storing bedding items comprising: a wall mountable frame assembly; a front panel comprising a from face and a back face, wherein said front panel is connected at the bottom to the bottom edge of the frame assembly such that said front panel may swing down from an upright closed position, in parallel to the frame assembly, to an open position where the back face is defined as a shelf and is perpendicular to the frame assembly; means for connecting the front panel and the frame assembly for preventing said front panel from swinging more than ninety degrees down from the upright closed position; and a closing member mounted on the frame assembly and the front panel for fastening the front panel is in the upright closed position.

18. The shelf unit of claim 17, wherein said connection between the bottom of the front panel and the bottom edge of the frame assembly is by at least one connection hinge.

19. The shelf unit of claim 17 further comprising: an opening in said front panel; a support board covering said opening on the back face of the front panel; and a clasp for selectively opening to allow for removal of said support board for access to said opening.

20. The shelf unit of claim 19, wherein said front panel further comprises a decorative item, positioned in the opening of the front face.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/002,171, filed Nov. 7, 2007, and provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/067,185, filed Feb. 8, 2008.

BACKGROUND-FIELD

This invention relates to a wall hanging that also functions as a storage shelf.

Decorative pillows and shams finish off the look of a made bed. However, when the bed is in use, there typically is no dedicated place to store these bedding items away from settling dust, dirt and germs. Currently, an individual has the following alternative approaches:

    • 1) To store the bedding items in a closet (but most homeowner closets and hotel room closets do not have open unused space for storing items of this sort);
    • 2) To store the bedding items in a bedroom furniture piece, such as a chest (but this requires the purchase of additional furniture specifically reserved for storing the bedding items where open floor space in the bedroom may not be available, and when available, may create bulk in a room cluttered with pieces, such as trunks, chests, racks or additional compartments);
    • 3) To store the bedding items on top a chair or other piece of furniture in the bedroom (thus removing the intended use of certain furniture items in a bedroom);
    • 4) To pile the bedding items on the floor (thus, taking up floor space and collecting dust, dirt and germs on to the bedding items for transfer to the bed itself and potentially creating a safety issue);
    • 5) To store the bedding items under the bed itself (though bed storage has become increasingly common in youth bedroom sets for function over beauty, the items are still brought down to the floor to collect dirt, dust, or germs and the under bed storage may also inhibit the comfort of the mattress due to the elimination of a typical box spring; or
    • 6) To not use the decorative pillows and shams (because the trouble in storing these items when removed from the bed outweighs the benefits of decorating the bedroom).

Thus, a sophisticated storage solution for extra decorative bedding, particularly pillows, has not been produced. A sophisticated storage solution would improve the functionality of a bedroom set, by eliminating the collection of dirt, dust, and germs that settle at or near ground level on the bedding items while the bed itself is in use.

SUMMARY

The present invention provides a convenient, novel storage solution for storing objects, such as decorative pillows and bedding. The invention takes the form of a wall hanging which also functions as a decorative accent to the bedroom furnishings when in the closed position. The decorative front panel appears to be the wall hanging, and then easily opens to form a storage shelf. The structure may include a back frame, forming a minimal protrusion of the panel from the wall. Opening preferably is performed by a one-hand, one-motion process. The wall hanging may complement the bedroom furniture, with endless flexibility in customizing the front panel by incorporating preferred wood, wood finish, color, decorative designs, paintings, or pictures. The invention may be customized by choosing the look for the front panel, which allows for easy coordination for decorating changes.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For purposes of illustrating the contemplated device, there is shown in the drawings a number of forms that are presently preferred; it being understood that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements shown.

FIG. 1 is a front view of the wall hanging shelf unit constructed in accordance with the invention and showing the closed or decorative wall hanging position.

FIG. 2 is a perspective left-side view of the wall hanging shelf unit in the closed, or wall hanging position.

FIG. 3 is a front view of the wall hanging shelf unit constructed in accordance with the invention showing the open or shelf position.

FIG. 4 is a perspective left-side view of the storage shelf in the open or shelf position.

FIG. 5 is a perspective top view of the wall hanging shelf unit in the open or shelf position, showing the shelf front panel interior.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the drawings, where like numerals identify like elements, there is shown a number of embodiments of the contemplated invention.

FIG. 1 shows a front view of the wall hanging-shelf unit 10. Only the front face 12A, the exterior of the front panel 12, is seen because the front panel is in a closed position. The front panel can incorporate various types of wood or wood stains. The front face of the front panel can be painted on, decorated with various painted designs, or posted with various attached decorations. The front panel can also be constructed to appear as a frame. The front panel can appear to be a picture or pictures (framed or unframed) or a painting (framed or unframed). The front panel can also incorporate a mirror or any material or materials which provides for the appearance of a decorative wall hanging. The wall hanging shelf unit also includes the flexibility to interchange a covering over any of these front panel options, thus providing a change to the look of the wall hanging. The covering may include matching bedding material allowing for continuous use of this wall hanging shelf unit when a user changes the bedding ensemble. The incorporation of coordinating fabric in the decorative aspect of the wall hanging shelf unit can be an identifier to an individual in a bedroom or hotel room that the wall hanging includes a dropdown shelf for storing bedding items. The wall hanging shelf unit 10, as shown in FIG. 1, is generally rectangular in shape. Alternatively, the unit may also be square, round, or oval in shape.

FIG. 2 shows a perspective left-side view of the wall hanging shelf unit in the closed position. The frame assembly 13, constructed of any material, provides the mountable support for the unit 10 on a wall or other support surface.

FIG. 3 shows a front view of the wall hanging shelf unit in the open or shelf position. The frame assembly 13 is securely mounted to a wall or other support surface. The frame 13 is connected to the front panel 12 by one or more bottom hinges 30. These bottom hinges 30 allow for the front panel 12 to drop down from a closed position (FIG. 2) to an open position (FIGS. 3 and 4). The bottom hinges 30 are installed on the bottom edge 16 of the frame 13. The frame 13 is an assembly of connected components 14, 16, 18, 20 and support 21. When connected, the frame 13 and front panel 12 function similarly to resemble a briefcase, as if secured to a wall and with the hinges located at the bottom. A closing mechanism is formed by joining a back closing member 40 on the frame member 14 and a front closing member 34 on the rear surface of the front panel 12. The closing mechanism is made of any material that assists with the functionality of securing the frame assembly 13 and the front panel 12 together.

FIG. 4 shows a perspective left-side view of the wall hanging shelf unit in the open or shelf position. Side hinges 32 are provided on both the left and right sides of the unit 10. The side hinges 32 attach the front panel 12 to the side elements 18, 20 of the frame 13 and secure the front panel in the down or shelf position. The side hinges 32 preferably prevent the front panel 12 from dropping down any lower than a 90 degree angle from the frame assembly 13. At a 90 degree angle the front panel 12 forms a shelf to supports the decorative bedding or the like. The side hinges 32 also assist with keeping items, placed on the shelf formed by the front panel, from falling off the left or right side of the unit 10. The unit 10 remains open and in the down position until the user is finished using the shelf. The user then pushes up on the front panel 12 until the front panel 12 is upright and in the closed position, allowing the top front closing member 34 and top back closing member 40 to join together.

FIG. 5 is a perspective top view of the wall hanging shelf unit. The back face 12B of the front panel interior is visible. This interior view reveals an alternative embodiment unit whereby the functionality of a decorative panel is evident. A cut out in the front panel 12 produces an opening for any flat decorative item to be placed. Examples of decorative items include pictures, paintings, fabric, or mirrors. A support board 42 is then dropped into the cut out, on the back face of the front panel, to keep the decorative item in place. This embodiment is a picture frame whereby the support board is then kept in place by four or more clasps 44. Each clasp is screwed into the front panel interior side and twist over the support board. This back support which is dropped into the cut out of the picture frame provides a flat surface for storage as well. The sturdiness of the support board allows the shelf to hold the decorative bedding items while not damaging the decorative items displayed in the picture frame. FIG. 5 shows the flexibility of the decorative function of the storage shelf while contributing to the support for the bedding items being stored.

It is also noted that it may be desirable to replace the rear frame 13 in the construction of the unit 10. The frame can be a single bar or relatively short member that is secured to the wall or support surface. Still further, the rear frame may be removed completely, securing the front panel directly to a support surface, by means of the bottom hinges or otherwise. A securing member may also be located directly on the support surface for engagement with a corresponding member on the back surface of the front panel. Alternatively, the securing structure could be a function of the hinges at the bottom, on the sides or both. The hinges may be spring loaded to apply a resilient force that maintains the front panel upright, once it is rotated to a near upright position.

REFERENCE NUMERALS

    • 10 wall hanging shelf unit
    • 12 front panel
    • 12A front panel, exterior
    • 12B front panel, interior
    • 13 frame assembly
    • 14 frame top part
    • 16 frame bottom part
    • 18 frame left part.
    • 20 frame right part
    • 21 frame center part
    • 30 bottom hinge
    • 32 side hinge
    • 34 top front closing member
    • 40 top back closing member
    • 42 support board
    • 44 clasp

In operation, one uses the wall hanging unit in a normal manner with the front panel in the closed or decorative position. The user can, when desired, expose the shelf for use by releasing the closing mechanism allowing the panel to dropdown and form the shelf. When the shelf is exposed, bedding items can then be placed on the shelf producing five effects which increase the efficiency of the bedroom:

1) The floor is clear of bedding items that otherwise present a safety issue.

2) Bedding items are not exposed to dust, dirt and germs from the floor.

3) The chair is useable for convenience and its intended use.

4) No extra floor space is required to store bedding items.

5) If desired, varying the decorative appearance with related items such as color of matting for the print, seasonal prints, incorporating fabric in or on the front will increase sustainability of the unit itself for decorative purposes.

Advantages of the invention are to provide a convenient one-motion method of exposing the shelf. The unit is then ready for storing decorative bulky bedding items and thus not taking up any floor space. The unit does not require another furniture item in the room to accommodate for the bulk of the bedding. The unit assists with keeping the bedding in a more sanitary area, while at the same time, providing the option of using this storage area as another means of coordinating bedroom furnishings and d├ęcor.

The features of the wall mounting shelf unit combined produce a means of storing and organizing pillows within the storage system. The side hinges, which assist in keeping the pillows in place while performing, the function of stopping the shelf from excess dropping, work in unison with the bottom hinge or hinges to provide dropdown functionality of the front panel. The device is installed on the wall for maximum support and safety.

There are other various possibilities with regard to the identification of the storage shelf. In each case the wall hanging may incorporate one or more details to identify the location of the storage shelf. In public areas, visual indicators are crucial to the storage system being used.

Initial decorative front panel options to indicate the location of the storage shelf may include:

    • an opening in the from panel containing a sill and window trim to attract the eye of the guest which identifies the location of the storage shelf for the bedding;
    • for beach resort areas inclusion of a boardwalk presentation of slats of wood as the front panel;
    • an ordinary picture frame which allows the decorative insert to be changed for adding pictures, changing prints, incorporating fabric;
    • a solid front panel whereby a painting of choice is displayed;
    • a coordinating fabric on or over any style of the front decorative panel.

A cover for the front panel can be easily achieved by using a coordinating pillow sham modified slightly in the back. This quickly slips over the panel changing the look but not the functionality.

Identifiers that this wall hanging is a storage shelf may include:

    • trademark name visible on the front panel;
    • bedding fabric incorporated in or on the decorative element;
    • coordinating pillow sham covering or coverlet; or
    • coordinating bedding fabric attached in any form to the unit.

For convenience, installed location of the wall unit would preferably be the closest, safest location in proximity to the bed.

This storage shelf unit is decorative and functional and provides the optimal solution for keeping the pillows from collecting or transferring dust, dirt, and germs onto the bed itself where users will be lying.

This bedding storage problem may be applied to hotels where sanitary problems should be addressed to keep germs away from bedding. In addition, hotels want to preserve their expensive bedding to keep operating expenses down but also for the good of the environment. Eliminating wear and tear on bedding, as well as the cleaning process for sanitary measures, will preserve the life of each of the items individually and collectively as coordinating fabrics in their design adds expense.

According to the Director Supplies and Standards, Marriott International, on Jan. 24, 2008 at product presentation, Marriott refurbishes each of the over 2,800 hotels worldwide, every seven years. Each hotel has an average of 200 rooms per.

Extending the life of the bedding in the hotel industry alone will be a massive step in sustaining the environment. In addition, composition of the shelf using environmentally sound construction practices will dramatically reduce the environmental footprint of the hotel industry. For hotels, keeping floor space open is a primary concern as their success relies on their guest's experience and spacious rooms send the message to the guest that they are getting good value. Guests will make an effort to store the pillows if there is an easy, convenient way for them to do so. Guests will not walk the pillows over to the closet. One reason is they cannot see that they are expected to help protect the hotel's assets. They may place them on a chair which then eliminates the intended use of the chair. They most likely will toss them onto the floor whereby exposing the bedding to dust, dirt, and germs transferred from suitcases, shoes, public restrooms, airport floors, restaurants, clothing and anywhere the guests traveled to or from. Presenting a means for guests to conveniently store the bedding items will, at the very least, indicate that the hotel makes a quantifiable effort in eliminating the transfer of dust, dirt and genus which, for example, has become a great concern with the transportation of suitcases in and out of countries with known problems with disease control. As a measure in maintaining sanitary bedding, guest services should be required to keep the bedding items off of the floor and chair while they are making up the bed.

Furthermore, the storage shelf has the additional advantages in that it permits storage when needed, and thus can be temporary or permanent. The shelf also allows the inclusion of environmentally sound construction practices for sustainability, thus reducing the carbon footprint. Further, the shelf may permit flexibility for custom storage solutions for bedding in specific settings which could include dormitory rooms, baby rooms, hospital and healthcare facility rooms, and living areas in the home or hospitality setting as each of these areas may require varying sizes based on the desired decorative look and needed storage space.

The present invention may also permit another means of concealing the shelf with front panel doors, giving the appearance of a cabinet or cupboard which when opened, would allow the concealed shelf to dropdown providing adequate storage space. Customizing of construction material is contemplated for the decorative panel which could include plastic, solid wood, wood veneers, particle board or any combination of the above which would then produce a different result in appearance and richness of the unit but maintain the functionality. A number of structural modifications are possible, such as using multiple hinges or a single hinge on the bottom where the back frame and front panel are attached. The bottom hinges can be of varied size and as such may require more than two hinges, or one single hinge adequate in length. A variety of side hinges may also be used, including straps, springs or any material that may allow the dropdown function to be smoother while continuing to perform the function of stopping the drop down panel at the 90 degree angle, producing the shelf. The closing mechanism may include leather, Velcro, snap, hook, button, magnet, elastic band or any combination of the above to vary the appearance. The closing mechanism may also be provided in electronic form for optimal convenience and use.

Although the description above contains many specifics, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the embodiments but as merely providing some of the presently preferred embodiments.