There are basically 4 classes of space efficient bedding options: trundle, storage/platform, murphy, and loft. The table below which outlines the pros and cons of each type. (Added bonus for comparison: futon)
Trundle/Roll Out Bed
Trundle/Roll Out beds pull out horizontally from underneath a platform. Trundle beds are commercially available, but most options are not manufactured to accommodate everyday use. Higher quality options can be achieved through custom-built trundles. Below is the Minim House roll out bed that sits upon a platform with casters. See the Minim Home Platform and Bed Frame Section for details. On display in Minim House at Micro Showcase.
Storage/Platform beds are raised on a platform with ample storage underneath. Most are custom built to accommodate the owner’s needs and size of the home.
Murphy beds are commercially available in a variety of sizes and options. Resource Furniture is well known for having the best selection of high-end murphy beds, some with integrated desk/sofas. There are also DIY options and murphy bed kits that are more cost effective. Below are options for commercially available full/queen murphy beds, DIY murphy beds, and murphy single/bunk beds. See table at bottom of the post for description, price, specs, and website for each bed. Breda Bed/Couch on display in the Studio Shed at Micro Showcase.
Full/Queen Murphy Beds
DIY Full/Queen Murphy Beds
Murphy Twin/Bunk Beds
Roof design plays a huge role in the construction/feeling of a loft. Five roof examples are shown in relation to the loft: gable, gable with dormers, gambrel, shed, and flat.
Description, price, specs, and the website for each type of bed mentioned above is outlined in the table below for easy comparison/reference.
A note on mattresses & bedding:
- Narrower mattresses are obviously the most space efficient, whether installed in a loft, murphy or trundle bed. It is worth testing a wide range of styles, but we’re convinced you can find a 6” deep mattress on a platform that rivals one 4x as thick.
- Mattresses are almost always made of polyurethane foam, which is highly flammable, and are mandated to use a variety of flame retardants, which end up in household dust, and include penta-BDE’s (for furniture before 2005) and chlorinated tris, TCEP, TDCIPP and other chemicals listed as carcinogens. There are volumes of information available on this (NPR, Scientific American, etc) but the simple solution (while we work for new standards) is to not have mattresses with treated polyurethane foam in your small home (or any home).
- Some bed manufacturers will make you a foam bed without fire retardants with a doctors prescription, but then the fire hazard remains. One natural (but pricey) alternative is 100% natural Talalay or Dunlop latex foam, which is a renewable resource (rubber trees), mold resistant, not highly flammable, with no off gassing, and lasts for 40+ years. Manufactured mattresses made with 100% latex must have a fire retardent layer added (typically wool, which is naturally flame retardent). Make sure there are not other chemical foams added- it’s very common to see a 10” mattress with 2” latex and 8” of polyurethane foam. The cheapest deal found recently was a 6” full size soft latex mattress from Miracle Sleep– it’s one of the more comfortable beds I (Brian) have ever slept on. There is at least one other economical natural sleep option: futon mattresses made with cotton, but note that the cotton is usually treated with boric acid to meet fire codes.
Many a slim bed can be made fat and less stowable with an overabundance of bedding. Keep in mind wool has one of the highest warmth/thickness ratio- two slim wool blankets are all that is needed on even the coldest nights. Two pillows and extra wool blankets easily stowed in a Cubista stool or another small space.