Beds, again. High end custom or IKEA?

sochiAugust 19, 2014

I know this question has been raised previously, by me I think. I'm interested in hearing from people one more time it.

Cottage master bedroom, very small bedroom (10'6" x 12). I really need a storage bed with drawers so I can forego a dresser. Will have peg & rail system to casually hang clothes too.

We can afford an expensive bed. I also have no problem with an IKEA bed, particularly for a part-time vacation bed. I've already purchased a very good quality mattress, btw (not IKEA).

I don't like the idea of disposable furniture, which makes me lean to investing in a custom piece. But when I compare the prices, I baulk. What do you think? I'm not suggesting that the custom bed and the Malm are in the same league, they aren't. I'm just having trouble figuring out what league I'm in.

Very high quality, nearly local, custom bed, available in white oak (without side tables), approximately $5k:

Malm in white oak, $500 with the higher quality slats:

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I posted this thread after reading through the post on traditional furniture, so that thread is definitely influencing me.

Perhaps the ideal solution is to find a relatively high quality antique/older bed used? Could I find something in a similar style I wonder? Or Gustavian or something?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 10:48PM
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Check out consignment stores.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 11:53PM
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I would have no problem buying the ikea bed.
I think ikea make some very good furniture.
I like the color of the custom better though , is there any way to darken the ilea bed.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:05AM
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Would something in between custom and Ikea work for you?

My SIL has been looking at them for their small guest house, I know considering styles in both Broyhill and Bassett. The leading contender right now seems to be Sumatra storage bed from Pottery Barn but she hasn't ordered so I can't attest to the quality or know if the style would appeal to you.

Personally I've looked at the wardrobes and beds at Ikea and would have no problem with those for a weekend house, but different budgets.

Here is a link that might be useful: Another price range Pottery Barn

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:07AM
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Fori is not pleased

Keep in mind that the IKEA bed is probably not oak, but oak-like sticker.

What about a nice bed with a rollout underneath it in the trundle spot?

Room and Board has some nice storage beds (that they didn't have when I got my kid an IKEA storage bed, which is just a smidge flimsy).

One excellent feature about that custom one is the built-in nightstands. Most of these storage beds will have the drawers smacking into nightstands.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:49AM
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I'd also probably go with something in between the two--- unless,you really like the color and feel of the higher end bed. Must agree about the nightstands, those "make" the better bed because they are an integral part of the design and function. Theoretically, you wouldn't **need** another piece of furniture in the room if you kept your clothes all in the closet.

Fwiw, I don't care for the PB bed at all--- it is clunky and has none of the spare aesthetic of the other two,

This post was edited by kswl on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 5:35

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:32AM
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This bed from West Elm has a lower profile headboard than the ikea one, and has storage and the integrated nightstands. (Link below)

Here is a link that might be useful: West Elm platform bed with storage

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:40AM
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The 5000 one. You will appreciate its beauty every time you look at it. With a spare aesthetic like you are going for, quality is the star.

I hadn't bought Ikea since college, and made a trip recently. I admire what they can do, but I left empty handed. I think it looks like what it is ... A compromise. That said, I think their kitchens are very nice and great value. And their Swedish meatballs with lingonberries!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 7:28AM
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I'd probably go middle of the road or toward high, but a lot of Ikea will last indefinitely IF once you assemble it, you never move it. Even in the same room.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 8:24AM
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I vote high end.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 8:41AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

When comparing, I would compare the mattress support of the different options. That custom bed looks to be fantastic in that regard which will make your mattress last that much longer.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:22AM
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If I had the budget for it, I'd buy the locally made oak bed over Ikea. Not just for the higher quality, but also supporting a local (probably smaller) business.

I think the PB bed looks heavy and would feel bulky in a smaller room.

Edit -- you should be able to find a secondhand bed in a style you like, if you are patient. I bought ALL our beds from Craigslist, and all for a great price (not all at the same time). The boys' have matching captain's style oak twin beds, each w/4 drawers and a cabinet -- amazingly they were listed at the same time, one was "natural" and one was painted white; I painted them dark navy blue. $100 for each bed and then about $50 for the paint. A few years prior I found our bed -- a teak scandinavian-look bed, similar to your example. I think it was $380, queen size. Not in immaculate condition, but still very beautiful! With CL, you never know what's going to show up, but I have seen all kind of bed frames. I will always shop CL first for a bed frame :-)

This post was edited by melle_sacto on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 12:14

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:08PM
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I looked at it again, and the Ikea bed proportions are just ungainly. The custom has a higher headboard, and far more elegant footboard that I think will make the room seem taller and airier.

I say all this allowing that it is a bit of an unfair comparison.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:14PM
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It is an unfair comparison - clearly the Malm bed is inferior. That said, I'm perfectly fine with the look of the Malm.

It is less a question of which is preferable, but rather: am I an idiot to spend $5k over $500 for a similar look and function bed, or do I hate the earth for wanting to save money and buy a semi-disposable mass produced IKEA bed over a local made option? I can afford the $5k bed, but that said I don't have limitless funds and the money could also be very well spent elsewhere. :)

I'm wondering if my cabinet maker BIL would be interested in making something like this. I'd happily spend the money if he wants to do it, I'm not sure beds are his thing though.

I will take a few days/weeks to search Craigslist, etc., for something. We can sleep on the mattress alone for a few weeks.

I like some of the used antique brass/iron beds, but DH isn't so keen. Feel free to share ideas of types of used beds that might work if you know of any!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 1:14PM
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My impression of Ikea furniture is that, taking in the constraints of the materials (often particle board and veneer), it is as good as the assembly. Your assembly.

I have an Ikea bed (not storage) and it has been perfectly sturdy. And I have rearranged the room. I have also read a complaint from someone with the same bed, who said it collapsed after two weeks. (I blame shoddy assembly.) My daughter's bed (metal) is also from Ikea and also holding up perfectly after 4 years. (When I divorced I was buying lots of furniture under tight financial constraints).

I have the Malm dresser, and I don't particularly like it. It is particleboard with veneer and extremely heavy. It also has the dubious distinction of being the most difficult to assemble piece of Ikea furniture that I have put together (you genuinely need two people on this one to get all the pegs lined up on the drawer boxes--I'm sure it's the same for the storage bed).

So while I have nothing against Ikea in general, I guess I do have something against the Malm series in partcular. Ikea has a few storage beds with real wood frames, but the Fjell and Hurdal are a bit more traditional, and the Mandal lacks a headboard.

But I also probably wouldn't sped $5k on a bed. That's a lot of money, which (as you say) can be well spent elsewhere. The West Elm bed looks like a nice happy medium.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 1:51PM
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Thanks cawaps, great info on the Malm series. The drawers on the high Malm are on casters as well, I'm not keen on that.

I've already purchased the Mandal for the kids' room. The drawers aren't great quality, but I'm fairly impressed with the bed (for the price certainly).

kswl, I like the West Elm bed, but it seems to only come in dark wood (which I don't want for this space) or white. The white could work, but the walls are all white and I wanted to warm the room up a bit, with wood or another material.

Mattress support and supporting a local business are important to me and very good points, thanks melle-sacto and tishtoshmn.

The main obstacle to used/antique is that I'm not likely to find anything with storage I fear.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 2:12PM
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Fwiw, we very recently bought ds the malm bed. He wanted a "real" bed to replace his bunk bed. We agreed as a birthday present for him--he turned eleven. We paid for delivery and assembly so I can't comment on the difficulty of assembly.

The bed looks nice and is very comfortable (we went with the more expensive slats underneath and one of the most expensive ikea mattresses). The drawers all open and close smoothly.

The nightstand is an issue. I considered installing a shelf next to his bed, but dh would rather avoid holes in the plaster walls if possible. So I bought a small "nightstand" on wheels. We'll put the things that are least often accessed in the drawer where the "nightstand" will go and it can be wheeled out when needed. This complicates the bedside lamp issue a bit, but it's an eleven year old boy's room so I'm just going with a clip on lamp. If it were to be a fairly permanent furniture arrangement, we might look at a wall mounted swing arm sconce as a more polished look.

We considered going to a local unfinished wood furniture place for a bed--they sell the one we have (the place we bought ours went out of business a few years ago). But the cost would have been higher and ds liked the looks of the ikea bed. We decided that it made sense for us to save the money as we probably won't keep all of our current bedrooms in use as bedrooms after the kids grow up and leave home--it's a small house and we will likely convert one bedroom to a home office.

IME, the mid to high price lines at ikea are quite durable. The cheapest stuff really is disposable.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 2:54PM
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i am a notorious cheapskate in my family so $5k for a bed would kill me but my daughter has a cheap ikea bed that falls apart on a regular basis so i would not go ikea either.
what i have done a lot is go to an unfinished furniture place. that way i am not spending a ton but i am getting actual wood, not particle board. you could stain or paint an unfinished wood bed and the first pic is a somewhat common style now so it should be available. if you don't have an unfinished wood place, you could look online.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 3:44PM
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Both options are plain looking. You're style will come from the linens.

I'd get the ikea bed and splurge on something else. For me, that would be a hot tub.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:35PM
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Support a local business if they can provide what you want. The quality will be better than Ikea and there will be more options. Our DD bought here:

and has a platform bed with storage underneath. She has purchased several pieces from this company and has been satisfied with the function and quality. I'm not sure where you live but this type of store might be an option worth considering.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:55PM
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Ikea is not disposable - especially if you don't plan to move. Some of their lines are better constructed than others of course. We've had some of our Ikea furniture for over 15 years and it's been through many moves, the moving takes a toll on it but it still functions like new despite a few scratches and dings ie drawers are smooth gliding and functional. I have a friend with an Ikea bed she's had it for 25 years and moved it once, it is still great.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:55PM
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Both options are plain looking. You're style will come from the linens.

That's my problem - I don't think the custom bed look like a $5000 piece of custom furniture.

My DD has an IKEA storage bed, and its been moved from one apartment to another and is still very sturdy. We paid to have it put together the first time, the second time our movers assembled it-no problem. Also, the slats on the IKEA bed are really no different than the slats on that custom bed.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:55PM
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Hi Sochi,

I know zero about this (Illinois based) company, but it is handcrafted in the US at least, they have a lot of styles, they use white oak, offer tons of options, and have underbed storage.


Here is a link that might be useful: worth looking into? no prices

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 8:16PM
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My daughter just bought the Bowery storage bed from
Crate and Barrel. It's great looking and holds a ton of stuff.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 8:31PM
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If you go custom, I think the headboard is too high on the one you picture. I think it's too high on a lot of these beds for your house.

Did you look at Matera with storage at DWR?

If you go for no storage I think the

Case Study Alpine bed, or
Min with Walnut headboard, would be great in your place.

---I have been thinking about this a lot, and I think I sleep better with nothing under the bed. That may sound crazy, but I think it's true.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 8:42PM
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone, great beds.

I have looked at the Matera. Reality is I prefer beds without storage, cleaner look. But I need some storage.

I love the DWR beds. I think I like American modern in maple more than Case Study. Min bed in oak is nice (I don't really want walnut at the cottage). Love Parallel too. Both American modern and the Min bed are very narrow - I would have a good 30-32" on each side of the bed with those beds. Big enough for a chest of drawers on each side? They might defeat the minimalist look though.

I think having nothing under beds is good feng shui, no? That may explain your feeling Pal.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:54PM
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Coming back to the Lax Series Platform Storage bed. Approximately $3k with the headboard. Best looking storage bed I think. I like that it has a bit of a rustic feel to it. The separate headboard/storage means that you can have a deeper mattress on the platform I would think, a problem with the min bed, etc.

This bed takes up a fair amount of floor space, but we wouldn't need anything else on the floor in the room.

Does anyone know much about it? Made by MASH studios in LA.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 11:38PM
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This is funny you posted this, because I was wondering today if an ikea bed would work in the guest room. I think I decided against it for now.

I dont know anything about MASH but I did consider their beds before I bought mine from dwr. I like that bed in your photo. Where I live, there are scorpions and centipedes and I wanted a bed with little surface area touching the ground. I have the dwr modern bed in walnut and really like it. I got it at their semiannual sale for 15% plus free in home delivery. I think they have a couple storage options also. You probably already considered dwr, but just in case...

Here's another link, to hive modern:

I dont think I would spend 5k for a bed unless it included the mattress. I really do like that bed you posted sochi. It seems like it would work for your new house.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:59AM
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"Custom" vs higher end....just want to say like so many things quality is not there anymore. Sister purchased a bedroom suit for her daughters. Beds fell apart. She purchased them from a high end furniture store in her area. REAL wood is a must when connecting metal slats that hold the mattress, if you want it to last. My vote is never going to be for IKEA, no faith in their product. But I also cannot imagine spending 5k on a bed--even if I used it EVERY DAY and I featured it in my living room. Buy a well made, reasonably priced bed and donate the rest to someone who buys beds for those who have none!! Every year my boss gets donations from a local chain--we always find a student or two who has slept on the floor most of their life.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 7:07AM
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Fori is not pleased

I don't like that MASH one, especially in a small room. All that sharp bare legs are bruised just looking at it.

I'm sure there's more between high end custom and IKEA...

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 12:02PM
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We had our cabinetmaker build our bed. It was an odd-shaped room with alcoves in an old house with no straight walls, and there was no off-the-rack furniture that was going to work there. It is beautiful and I don't really know how much it cost as it was wrapped into the rest of the cabinetry for the entire room and bathroom. I think a cabinetmaker could easily make you something to your specs that wouldn't cost 5K, though.

The only thing I would say to look out for is how the slats are done. Ours are beefy and don't move (makes sense, most of his cabs support stone, not mattresses.) It has slats, but I've noticed the higher end Ikea slats are curved upward, so allow for some "spring." I feel like our mattress is sitting on concrete, so that's something to be aware of if you go to a cabinetmaker rather than a furniture maker.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 12:51PM
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The corners at the foot of the MASH bed are going to wreak havoc on your toes and shins.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:34PM
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Hmm, maybe a mattress on the floor and a few nice baskets for clothes? :)

Lori, my brother-in-law is a great cabinet maker, I may see if he would consider it. I don't think he's done a bed before.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 2:51PM
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