Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lofty Ideals

When I was a kid, I wanted a bunk bed SO BAD. The idea of having a secret lair, high above the floor (and at the perfect height for dropping things on my younger brother’s head) was intensely alluring. Our family friends even had three-story bunk beds in their Lake Tahoe cabin. I got the top bunk because I was the oldest. It was heaven – until I fell from the top of the ladder one day. That kinda sucked. As I grew up, I rethought the bunk bed idea. I couldn’t think of a worse romance-killer than having to climb up a ladder to the top of a bed that would undoubtedly sway with the, ah, activities going on. Plus there’s the risk of hitting your head on the ceiling, or falling off the side – no, it’s not worth the risk. Or is it? I’ve come across quite a few stylish loft beds lately; most of them appear quite sturdy, and some are owned by couples, so you know they’ve been “road-tested.” There are two kinds of loft beds: those that are standalone pieces of furniture, and those that are built into the architecture of the room. Standalone:

Hacked IKEA bed from Apartment Therapy: Chicago Tisha's entry in Apartment Therapy's 2008 Smallest, Coolest contest Charlie Brown's home tour on Apartment Therapy: NY

Making room for a new baby by building up, from FresHome An enclosed built-in featured on Dornob An incredible built-in featured on Apartment Therapy: NY; the London loft incorporates sleeping area, kitchen, closet, and bathroom Even though this loft bed is incomplete, I love how the window goes up and over to bring a view and light to the sleeping area. (There are also great suggestions for loft bed ladders if you click on the linked pic.)
There are also several options for getting up into your loft bed. You could employ a ladder, stairs, or something a lil’ different like a Tansu step chest. Stairs:

A Seattle apartment shown on Apartment Therapy: SF for their Smallest, Coolest

Images from Furniture for Small Spaces and Jeri's Organizing & Decluttering
Tansu step-chests (a little redundant, since "tansu" means "chest" in Japanese) are traditional wooden Japanese storage chests. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, they "were often designed in several modular pieces. This was used to avoid taxation on other areas of a home when taxes were levied based on the size of ones home. When the tax collectors were coming around the chest that functioned as stairs up to a separate level could be moved so that their function could be hidden." You may not have a secret level that you hide from the taxman, but a tansu chest could still make for a clever way to get up to your sleeping area, while providing storage to boot. The whole point of a loft bed is to increase the useable space below it, of course. Two popular uses are to convert the underside of your loft into a home office or closet area. Closet:

Another Smallest Coolest entry, from Victor and Soeuns Domino staffer Robin Sillau converted her tiny apartment into a loft, as featured on Decor8 And this bed, another Smallest Coolest 2008 entrant, appears to have both closet and office space underneath
And how about including your office space in the loft? (Apparently, when you include another living space along with your lofted bed -- like an office -- it makes it more a "mezzanine" bed.)
A bed/office combo, as shown on Dornob
And, just ‘cause I want to: the owners of Katamari, one of my favorite internet kitties and the cutest Scottish fold EVAR, have a loft bed that Katamari’s taken to quite nicely:


  1. Wow! You've got me pining for a bunk again! My sister and I split up from sharing a room when I was 8 and there was talk of cutting the legs off my bed, but I wanted to keep it. As such, I had lots of under the bed space for hoarding shit which would later haunt me in adulthood as I left it and moved away from home untouched. I remained in the bunk until I was 21.

  2. great post, Simone!

  3. i want to build UP now! i think it's sorta natural to want to sleep high up, because we are primates, and most monkeys sleep in trees (though we're apes, not monkeys, many apes also sleep in high spaces). it's ancestral. it's protection. and it looks freaking awesome.

  4. Thanks, guys! Loft beds still hold a lot of appeal. They're totally nests for us human-types! So snuggy and safe...

  5. my sister and I both went to a residential high school and while she was there her room had a great big wooden loft with her bed and her roommate's which left spaces for their desks underneath. By the time I was there they had taken them down claiming they were a fire hazard, and the room that had been hers looked so tiny! In college I usually lofted my bed as well, but on the wobbly stilt legs provided. I think it'd be great for a kid's room and those built ins actually look sturdy and cozy enough for a married couple like me and my hubs. I love cozy spots. I'm probably part cat.

  6. I love those Tansu step chests!
    This is a great post! It's give me some things to think about.

  7. ok im 31 years old and after seeing all these really awesome loft/bunk bed ideas, i sooo want one! lol, and i want to make one for each of my 2 kids. it would give us all tons more space in our rooms :)

  8. We made this one! Only took a couple days and $50 in lumber. We LOOOOVE it! http://diyloftbed.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/we-made-a-loft-bed/


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