January 24, 2007

WFMW- Solutions for small bedrooms

AKA How To CRAM Fit More Children In One Bedroom

Twin size bunk beds are great for saving space, but they are overkill, size wise, for young children. The size of the bed verses the size of the young child just doesn't make good space saving sense. That is why my wonderful, handy hubby and I came up with our junior bunk bed version (JBB).

To gain some perspective first, a typical bunk bed is approx. 84 inches in length, 44 inches in width and 64 inches high. Our JBB is approx. 64 inches in length, 35 inches wide and 55 inches high. A major space saver! This size allows it to fit on many smaller walls that the normal size bunk beds could not. We have found that this size bed works for a child up to about 8 years old (if your children are on the shorter side, it might work longer). Be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge them.

How we came to deciding on this specific size: I had NO IDEA what size to make this bed, but after a little thinking decided that if each mattress was just slightly smaller than half of a queen size mattress, I would be able to buy queen size sheets and cut them in half to use on this bed. That would save me time making custom sized sheets for the bed. Same for blankets, quilts, etc. Just cut them in half and sew up the cut edge. We found a mattress business in the Yellow Pages that makes custom sized mattress. We shopped around for the best price on high density foam, that had a "ticking" (fabric enclosed like a normal mattress). Most places will just cut the foam your size, but don't do this nice finishing touch to make it look nice and protect the foam. I believe the mattresses cost about $75 each, which was a little spendy, but these mattresses will last 20 years or longer!

Our JBB is also a little lower to the ground than a standard bunk bed, so it works well for little ones learning to sleep in a "big kid" bed. We use a bed rail (fits just fine with this size) when a young child, usually around 2 years old, first starts sleeping on the bottom bunk.

All in all this has been an awesome solution that really works for our family! Right now our JBB is in the "girls" room, that has a standard size bunk along with the JBB. Our four oldest girls are in this room (ages 8,6,5,3). There is not enough space in this room (or any of our bedrooms except the master) for two standard size bunk beds. We could use single level twins, but that would take up all the floor space and leave no space for the girls to play in their room.

Another space saver are drawers for under the bunk beds. My husband made two of these REALLY nice, totally enclosed drawers that are really deep (so as to use almost all the available real estate sitting unused under the bed).
There are some plastic drawers on the market you can find, that might work for under beds too. Be sure to measure first. I have found the nicest and easiest for kids to use are the ones that have an enclosure that they slide into. Keeps dust bunnies and missing toys from getting into the clothes, plus they slide much better.

For more Works For Me Wednesday see Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer!


Lines From The Vine said...

Thank you for posting this. With eight and expecting again, and living in a small space, I'm going to have hubby build us one too! I know that it would really help with our space issues! Thanks for posting! I'm going to include a link to your site on my blog!

Thanks again,

Mom of thirteen said...

Thanks for stopping by Tracy! We lived in a 1900 sq. ft. house with 13 of us, so I learned a lot about making the most of small spaces. Now, we are in a larger home (moved 10/05) with 14 of us and there we still have to be careful about bedroom space. Even though we only added one more person, the older children keep getting taller and taller and so there are not any easy fixes for their rooms! lol!

I have several other tips and tricks I learned for making the most of bedroom space. I'm kind of waiting to see if this topic is a popular one or not. If it is , and please everyone, let me know, I will post more about it.


melanie said...

Thank you for this post... I'd love to know more about how you built these beds.. we just had twin boys, and now have 5 kids under 7 in our 1300 sq ft house and are running out of room fast!!

Mom of thirteen said...

Thanks for stopping by. Totally understand your space crunch! When our twins were born we put a full size crib in our, very small, walk in closet. They slept in there, together, for about 4-5 months. After that they were waking each other up, touching each other, kicking each other, etc. and we had to move them into separate beds. Our poor closet, we could barely take one step into it and could barely reach our clothes!

Are you looking for more detailed list of size of wood, number of nuts and bolts, etc? I think I can get a general list from my hubby. I think if you want actual "plans", step by step, to follow, that would take him some time and he would probably sell the plans for a small price. We have talked about making these and selling them, but most folks want to save money by making their own , or the shipping cost is too much. But, buying hubby's plans would be inexpensive. If this is something you, or others would be interested in, leave a comment here and I'll ask him about it. =)


Lines From The Vine said...

I think that I would be interested in plans if they were reasonably priced (so many are not!). We aren't very experienced with wood
working, is this something that someone with basic tools could build? (That would be my husband's first question...he pretty much rules out everything that Bob Villa builds, LOL!)

Thank you so much!


Mom of thirteen said...

Oh yes, I agree, reasonably priced plans. These are really pretty simple to make as far as tools and supplies go. Of course, those with more tools and experience can do fancier things, but that isn't necessary.

Maybe we could make a step by step video of making one too! Wouldn't that be cool?

I think I have my homework cut out for me. Guess I'll have to find out something about copyright stuff. =)


Ann @TheAssetEdge said...

I'd love to read more on this topic!!

Meg said...

We are always appreciative of suggestions for small bedrooms!

I remember the day David was finishing those bunks, I was over for a bday party, baby shower or somesuch event. Great idea.


Mom of thirteen said...

Ah, fond memories!

I'm in the process of racking my wee little brain cells for all the small room solutions I have come up with over the years. Have to think back to the old house for many of them. Can I think that far back? Hmm.

cyber hug,

Qtpies7 said...

What a wonderful idea! And you are blessed to have such a handy husband! We have 7 children so far, and right now only the babies share a room, although the baby hasn't technically left our room, yet. We had to squish 6 kids in a 3bd rancher, and that was fun.
I found you on The Mom Blogs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your photos and your idea. Would you be willing to post the dimensions of the mattresses? I'd like to get a quote on mattresses locally and I can't seem to figure out what exactly the dimensions of the mattress should be to allow for "half-of-queen-size" sheets. Your help would be so appreciated!

Mommaroo2 said...

I was thinking the same thing...I'd love to have the dimensions of the mattresses. My sons are approaching "bunk bed age" and after this next baby, the kids are going to start having to double up--we've been lucky til now!


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