Bed set-up for shared room

melle_sactoJune 5, 2013

What are the pros/cons of a bunk bed vs. separate beds for brothers (8 and 4) sharing a room? The room is 10 x 10 and they use the closet for ALL their clothes. The current bed set up is a loft bed w/mattress on the floor, but we want to put them into either a real bunk bed or two platform twins w/storage drawers underneath.

I'm leaning toward platform twins, but that leaves no space for more than one desk. They can definitely do homework in the kitchen or in the office (currently more of a playroom) so...just wanted to kind of gather people's thoughts.

We're leaning toward the separate beds to give them a sense of personal space.

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I also have bedrooms that are 10x10. When my girls were at home, we had trundle beds in each room. When they had company or relatives came to visit, we pulled out the trundles. The only problem is that when both beds were out, there wasn't room for anything else and still be able to open the closet door.

Did you see this post on the Decorating forum? A bunk really makes the best sense with two kids in a small room. I've also seen twins that aren't exactly bunks, but stack over the foot of each. Kind of like this:

Contemporary Kids by Newport Beach Interior Designers & Decorators Anthology Interiors

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 11:05PM
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The biggest problem with bunk beds is making the top bunk. It's difficult enough for adults to do it; you really can't expect a child to manage it.

The second biggest problem is who gets to sleep on the top bunk.

The third problem is the kid in the bottom bunk kicking the underside of the top bunk and bothering their sibling.

If you want your kids to keep the room tidy, having bunk beds can make this more difficult, because they can't make the top bunk. There's also more floor space, so they can spread out more toys, which means more clean-up.

I don't see having only one desk as an issue--many kids do their homework on their beds, or in other rooms of the house.

I think two separate beds with storage under them is a great idea. It's what I'd do unless there absolutely was no room for two beds. And we had three sets of bunk beds in my house while I was growing up--I've had a little experience with them.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 7:57AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

There are various versions of these, but the idea is to put the desk area under the bed so they each can have their own work and sleep area.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 12:06PM
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My Sister & I always shared a bedroom. We had two twin beds with bench-style chests at the feet, two small night tables with lamps. The beds were set parallel to each other. There was just enough room between the beds themselves & the walls to squeeze in to make them LOL.

There was plenty of room to store folded clothes in the chests. The small closet was for school clothes & occasion clothes. The only thing we used the bedroom for was sleeping & dressing...or sitting on the beds giggling & daydreaming of "a huge bedroom suite when we grow up".

Funny thing, we both ended up with small MBRs of about 10'x12'. Luckily we knew how to fit thing together :-)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 10:33PM
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I didn't realize my post had gone up -- when I checked earlier it wasn't here but I'm pleasantly surprised to find it WITH some replies :-) Thank you!

My boys do all the things you can imagine on the loft: hard time making it, jumping off it, riding a bean bag off it, younger boy (on the bottom mattress) kicking or hanging off the slats.

I just wondered if there was something major that I was missing. They don't spend a lot of time in their room, mainly sleeping/dressing and occasionally my 8 yo will go on his bed to read.

I've looked at lots of bunk bed style/designs, but in the end I really think the hassle of living with a bunk bed will not be worth the trade off of having slightly more floor space in an already-small room that is mainly for sleeping/dressing. Plus they will get MORE storage than could otherwise fit (except with bunks) with the drawers under their beds.

The benefits:
Their own personal drawers. And their own bit of personal wall space, which will probably be more important when they are older. They will also both feel the breeze of their ceiling fan (right now my 4 yo can't feel it when he's in his lower-level bed).

And if they ever need more separation, maybe a room divider? ;-)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 4:54PM
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Melle, I had to laugh over a room divider. Sister & I tried that after a spat over her messy side of the room. LOL Thanks for the memories.

Our eventual solution was: I make her bed, fold & put away her clothes. She set & clear the dinner table and dry & put away the dishes. All at the tender ages of 6- and 5-years old. Five decades later...

One thing we had was different sheet & comforter sets and different cushions on the chests. It helped visually separate our individual spaces. Where I preferred plain, dull, boring white with Hardanger work, she preferred bold, bright colours & patterns. It worked, much to Mother's matchy-matchy chagrin.

Wish there had been beds with drawers below. I've seen several of them recently. They look like a great solution for clutter, too. And secret spaces with secret panels and secret hidy-holes *grin*

Please keep us posted! I enjoy learning other people's creative solutions.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 7:12PM
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I will :-) My husband is planning to build their beds, and 8 yo wants his to be blue (so 4 yo ALSO wants blue). Their room is bright apple green with medium blue curtains. I think blue beds would be just fine.

I'm thinking blue stain rather than blue paint. I'm excited for this change, it's time for a new set-up and since they are growing up I think they'll enjoy having new beds.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 9:26PM
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Actually, I'd do what most college dorm kids do--loft both the beds. Sounds like one is already lofted, with mattress on the floor. Do the same for the floor mattress--raise it up off the floor so they still have floor space, and they have their own spaces.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 12:06AM
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Some thoughts about drawer beds.

Assuming you are not going with super deep drawers, the drawers will reach only about half way to the back. In the prebuilt beds we had growing up, this wound up being just wasted space. If I were going to build my own for kids, I would put a tunnel back there, maybe with a light at the end so they could have a study / play cave, with a cabinet for extra storage.

If you wanted to get really clever, you could run the drawers about 2/3s of the way down the side and leave a foot well, and build the bed as a murphy's bed so it can swing up to the wall and have a desk top under it. But getting that counter weighted properly so that a child can manage it might be hard.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 5:04PM
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I hadn't considered TWO lofted beds! What would they need the under-bed space for, though? With drawers, at least, they get some storage space. Under the loft...their bean bag chairs? Dungeons? My 8 yo did have a little play space under his lofted bed (before his brother moved in) but it was more important because he mostly played in his room. Now, with the room shared and a separate room for play, they don't play in there.

What would be better for a teenager?

In my college dorms, the "lofted" bed was basically a bunk w/the desk under it. The loft that we have is only about 4' off the ground, and I really can't imagine working at a desk underneath.

Regarding the wasted space behind the drawers: yes that bugs me, too. I think the bed plans that my DH is considering has some type of support piece of wood going down the center, which limits the drawer length to only 1/2 the width of the bed AND does waste the space on the other side. He was looking at what modification he might make to get more drawer space.

Murphy beds is a really cool idea, too! Not sure we can really manage that as a DIY project though.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 2:01AM
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Seven years ago, we lofted both our boys' twin beds (IKEA Tromso), so they each would have a work station underneath each of their beds. They make their own beds, when they make their beds. Being up high, I cannot see the "mess". We also installed a little shelf for the both, so they had a place for their alarm clocks, water bottle, and to rest their books or whatever else. DH hooked up a reading lamp over their beds as well. Having both beds lofted leaves plenty of floor space. They each have a chest of drawers, one of which is located in their closet. We removed the doors on the closet so it is open and makes the room appear larger. It is a large closet with shelving for books, games, pillows, blankets, etc. There is enough floor space for a sleepover as well.

It is working now, but soon--very soon--those twin beds will be too small for my boys. My 14-year-old is already pushing 6 feet. *gulp* For the past several years, though, this situation has been a great solution for us. Quite honestly, the desks turned into a catch-all, so if we were to do it over, perhaps we would make a sitting area under their beds instead. A place to hang-out with their buddies AND do homework.

Recently, we removed one of the desks and put a twin mattress on the floor, as my brother-in-law and his two children came to live with us for a while. Still, plenty of room for all three boys. The room is 11 X 11.(The daughter was moved into the guest room, and I girly-girled it up a little, which was so much fun!)

The smells emanating from they boys' room are a different story. Three boys aged 13-16. Need I say more? *phew*

This post was edited by shelayne on Mon, Jun 10, 13 at 13:26

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 1:23PM
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(My brother, 6'8" and 275# football player by senior year in HS, slept on a lofted twin bed homemade from 2x4s with 4x4 posts clear through HS. As he grew longer than the bed, he just let his feet hang past the end of the lofted bed. It really wasn't an issue for him.)

He now, with his wife, has chosen a Cal King bed, since they are longer than normal beds.

Oh, and his loft provided floor space for all the lego and lego creations...

I can't imagine 3 teen boys and the smells that must emanate from there...

This post was edited by kirkhall on Wed, Jun 12, 13 at 20:15

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 8:14PM
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I can't imagine 3 teen boys and the smells that must emanate from there...

My husband calls it "poopourri". LOL.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 8:26PM
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Oh yuck, not looking forward to a stinky teenage boy room!!!

My husband and I are both short (5'2" and 5'8" respectively) so even if our boys are taller than DH, I can't imagine they would be too long for a twin! And, if that time ever comes, they would probably be ready for new beds.

The other concern I have about lofting both beds is that then one of the beds will be sitting directly across the middle of their bedroom window. We couldn't not loft two beds any other way unless they were right next to each other, which would sort of defeat the purpose of having separate bed and some personal space.

So as much as that IS a practical idea, I just don't see it working for their room. The room is 10 x 10. One wall has a large window in the middle and a wall perpendicular has their long sliding door closet and the room entry door.

I snapped a couple photos to show the room constraints:

This is from standing in the door to enter their room. The window is on the right wall perpendicular to the door.

This is from standing in the corner diagonal from the door (under the red star):

And the wall not show is basically empty w/an outlet, a second high shelf along the ceiling, and a bunch of hooks behind the door for their jackets etc. We can easily relocate some of those hooks :-)

One bed would go along the wall not shown (opposite the wall with the window), and there is just enough clearance that the door won't hit the foot of the bed. The second bed would go along the wall with the window, but be UNDER the window. They would have some space in the middle to access their storage drawers. A shared table or short shelf at the head of their beds could have a lamp for each boy, and maybe some book storage.

They really don't play in their room because I took out ALL their toys, they only have some books; the second bedroom (our office/playroom) or the kitchen/living room are their play areas (or outside).

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 1:43PM
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Have you checked out the free building plans from the Ana White website? I'm not affiliated with her at all, but I have drooled over some of her bed plans quite frequently! :)

Would something like this corner bed(s) work for you?

Here is a link that might be useful: Twin Storage Beds

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 1:44AM
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Our walls aren't long enough for the shared corner bed due to the size of the unit. Either they won't be able to open their bedroom door, or they won't be able to access the closet easily :-(

But her site is what inspired me to consider a storage twin in the first place! I wanted to do that corner unit bed set-up like you linked, but due to the layout of their room it doesn't work.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 2:16PM
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Aww, well crud! :(

Don't you just love all that she comes up with? I haven't built anything yet, but I have a list of future projects. lol

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 3:53AM
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Depending on window and door placements, I have found this to be the best long-term arrangement for small rooms. (With six kids, I've tried every arrangement possible.)

I've taken this photo off of the web.

Beds are easier to make than bunks even if they are pushed up against a wall. You can put storage underneath them. Small kids won't fall very far, no climbing down to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and older kids use the beds like sofas for visiting with one another and friends. I had a table made that fit in the corner, with place for a lamp and other items. You can use the under table space for long-term storage like winter blankets and Christmas decor. :)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 1:18PM
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I'm definitely convinced to go with the captain's style beds rather than a bunk set-up. Thanks for all the ideas/comments/pictures :-)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 3:20PM
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Ooh, bird lover, I really like that set-up. I would have to face my boys in opposite directions though, as they would be harping about bad breath, whistling/smacking noises, and snoring. LOL.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 12:21AM
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Aren't young boys the best? LOL! My nephew lived with us off and on from age 6-14. At about 8 years old he began developing the "young goat" smell; by 14 it was fully developed!

I am very scent sensitive. It has nothing to do with their's just them. Perhaps it's the developing male hormones? Young boys smell like goats! To me, anyway.

There are many woodworking plans for storage beds that take full advantage of the width of the twin bed. You don't have to settle for drawers that barely reach half-way into the mattress width. I've seen some that have one taller drawer that stretches from head-to-foot and side-to-side of the mattress. You can add internal dividers to make spaces for different items.

The sky's the limit if your hubby is building it.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 2:27PM
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