Dos & Don’ts for #LoftBedLife

updated Dec 5, 2023
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As more and more people around the world embrace the move to smaller homes, a type of furniture once reserved for kids’ rooms is being adopted by adult small space dwellers keen on maximizing the square footage they have: the loft bed.

Credit: Emma Fiala

And while loft beds save space, they can sometimes sacrifice sanity (or at the very least threaten one’s balance and bones). Consider this list of loft bed dos and don’ts to decide for yourself whether this is the right space-maximizing direction for your home.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Do: Treat the space in your loft like a real bedroom

I think one of the keys to successful loft bed integration is when the area immediately around the loft bed is treated like a “real” bedroom. What I mean is, add some art to the wall. If there’s room, add a shelf to act as a nightstand. Make it feel like a tiny, cozy little nook.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Do: Maximize the space under the loft bed

And of course, if you’re going to go to the trouble of choosing #loftbedlife, then make sure you have a plan for what you’re going to do under the bed. Some people opt for plenty of storage while others want more true living space.

Do: Consider DIYing a custom bed

While there are plenty of options for purchasing a loft bed, you might be better off custom making one. Only you’ll be able to determine whether that’s the right course — and renters, you might want to ask permission before creating elaborate built-ins.

Don’t: Worry too much about falling out

I’ve actually asked many of our house tour participants whether they’ve ever fallen out of their loft. And while there have been a few close calls, so far everyone’s kept their balance and avoided any spills. Chances are you’ll do just fine.

Don’t: Place your loft bed next to a ceiling fan…

…or too close to the ceiling, etc. After you determine that you want a loft bed, figure out if your home can handle a loft bed. You’ll need enough ceiling height so that the space underneath is usable but you’re not so close to the ceiling that you feel claustrophobic.

And you’ll need to make sure you’ve got clearance for a ladder or stairs (plus the room to maneuver up, on, and around them.) And you may want to take a critical eye to any possible dangerous elements that you might bump a body part into accidentally from your lofty perch…including ceiling fans!

Credit: Jessica Rapp

Don’t: Feel like your loft bed has to be all that lofty

You don’t have to use up every inch of vertical space if you don’t want to. There’s still plenty you can do with even a few feet of raised space. One of my favorite examples is from a small studio apartment in China. Becky had a loft bed custom made to be high enough to create a small closet space underneath, but low enough that the bed area didn’t impede on any precious wall storage built in to the apartment.

Another space-saving bed solution to consider: the Murphy bed.