Can I Make a Crib Mattress Work with an IKEA Children's Bed?

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Q: My daughter turns two in a few weeks, and her birthday gift is a big-girl bed. Based on reading the toddler bed vs. twin bed debate on Apartment Therapy, we decided to go with a big kid bed from IKEA. Specifically, we chose this super-cute one. There's only one little problem. IKEA kids' beds are peculiarly shaped. They're really long, which is great for a growing kid, but it also means you have to buy an IKEA mattress and bedding to fit. I don't love either the mattress (which is polyurethane) or the bedding from IKEA. So I have a solution, but I need help:

I am planning to reuse our crib mattress, which I spent a boatload of money on (because it's eco-friendly). It's only an inch deeper than the Ikea mattress, and the exact same width. So I think we'll stuff it into the Ikea bed frame and just allow it to stick up an extra inch over the side rail. This will leave us, however, with a foot-long gap at the bottom of the bed, in between the end of the mattress and the foot board.

What should i do with that space? I could just buy a 12-inch pillow and put it there... but I feel like the collective creativity of Apartment Therapy's readers must be able to come up with a better idea! Help!

Sent by Rebecca

Editor: Rebecca, I imagine a 12" deep "headboard" or "footboard" could be built to set into the leftover space, painted white to match the frame. It could be built with little cubbies to hold favorite bedtime friends, books, pillows… Readers, Please leave your suggestions for Rebecca in the comments - thanks!

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(Image: provided by Rebecca)

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.