Many families struggle to find satisfactory sleeping arrangments when their children are small.
Let’s be honest. Things do tend to get complicated.
If your kids are poor sleepers as babies, as ours were, you’re willing to try just about anything for a good nights sleep.
But there isn’t much room for deviation from the norm when it comes to retail options. You buy a bed of a certain size, that fits on a standard size frame.
Too bad everyone’s needs aren’t standard.
That’s why we decided to go the DIY route. Our family has had non-standard sleep needs from the very beginning. In addition, we’ve been limited by space and money considerations.
What we needed was a bed that fits our needs. And our space. And our budget.
So, I’m going to show you two beds in our little house which Mr. G designed and built himself – that ticks ALL of those boxes!
Here’s our master bedroom.
What you’re looking at here is a queen size mattress, and an extra-long twin size mattress put together on a custom frame.
And we loooooovvvvve it.
Why did we decide to try something so unconventional?
We’ve always welcomed our children into our bed whenever necessary. I realize this may not be every family’s preference, but it’s what works the best for us.
This preference, however, did present some challenges. And when it became clear these challenges weren’t temporary, we knew we had to make some changes. We played a lot of “musical beds” those first few years.
Eventually, we took our mattress off its frame once our first baby became mobile. But still, Mr. G or I often abandoned ship for the guest room when things got too tight. At some point, we added a twin-sized mattress on the floor next to our bed to accommodate any overflow. This worked for a while, but I wasn’t satisfied. It looked sloppy and the mattresses slid around the wood floor.
I like being unconventional.
– Florence Griffith Joyner
Finally, after some brainstorming together, Mr. G came up with the above simple bed frame design. He was able to put it together in a few hours, with materials from the lumber yard.
Here, you can see how the frame works. The twin is not as tall as the queen mattress, so Mr. G designed the frame to hold it up higher than the other. They fit inside the frame itself, which means they don’t wiggle an inch. You can see the difference in height.
The crack where the mattresses meet doesn’t bother us at all since we usually stick to one side or the other. And it doesn’t separate. No one falls in!
When we have extra kids in the bed, they just shimmy in wherever they can find a spot. It’s cozy!
Here is how it looks all made up. I just make each bed separately as I normally would. This image certainly isn’t going to show up on any design blogs. But that’s not what I’m going for. We’ve been sleeping on this bed for about 4 years now. It’s definitely my happy place, and I’m not sure I’ll want to give it up, even when our kids are no longer crawling into our bed at night.
This may be an unconventional arrangement. And sure, some folks may find it “weird”, simply because it’s different. But that’s perfectly fine with me!
I don’t mind being unconventional, as long as I’m comfortable and well-rested. The money, stress, and sleep saved here are huge.
The other homemade solution I want to tell you about is for our 5 and 7-year-olds.
When we moved into our current home 7 months ago, we were happy that our bedroom had plenty of space to accommodate our Megabed (as I affectionately call it). But the tiny room our two oldest kids share is a different story.
There is not enough space for two twin-size beds.
At least not if we wanted to be able to open the closet. Or breathe. So once again, my knight in shining armor came to the rescue. Our kids had been asking for “bonk beds” for a long time. And their wish finally came true! In this house, we had no choice.
I’m so happy with how this turned out! It only took Mr. G an afternoon to slap it together. It’s super sturdy. And now each kid finally has a little corner to call his or her own.
The ceiling in this room is slanted low. Most standard bunk beds wouldn’t work here because of the height. So Mr. G made it low enough to accommodate the ceiling. But it still has plenty of headroom. I can sit comfortably on both the top and the bottom bunk.
As an added practical bonus, the frame for the bottom mattress can be removed. This structure is intended to serve as a stand-alone loft bed for one of the kids in the future – after we move and everyone has more space. That way, the time, effort, and money put into building this bed aren’t wasted. It will be used for years to come!
What living space complications have you resolved in creative or unconventional ways? I’d love to hear about it!