Monday, 28 November 2011

Better than sticking the kid in the actual dresser drawer

compact junior bed with storage

Materials: Malm chest of drawers (2), Sniglar bed (1), Ivar side unit (2). Also a Pax wardrobe.

We're a family of five living in a small, two-bedroom flat. The two teenage girls share a room, and Junior Muppetface Bananas, age 4½, sleeps in the "master bedroom" (ha) with us. When he was a baby he slept in our bed, then he got his own, and the room which is about ten metres square got more and more cramped.

And then he needed a bigger bed (his, while not a crib, was crib-sized). What were we to do? We needed to be able to open the door to the room, after all! Ikea assures us every year that the company caters for those of us with limited space - well, we all know that ain't true. The options are actually very limited and unimaginative. (Also, in Sweden they still operate in a 1980s dream world where we all live in big flats or houses and a standard double bed is, indeed, 180 cm wide. That's minimum then. They don't offer any bed frames here for a bed that is 140 cm wide except the Malm, and that adds on so much on the sides that you don't save any space in the end at all!)

After ranting for a good while I submitted to the necessity of hacking. I also made my husband submit. We're both really un-handy people so I tried to come up with a solution that involved as little building as possible. The enclosed photos aren't great, but they show the important bits. (The room is actually so small it's hard to step back and get everything in the frame!)

compact junior bed with storage
compact junior bed with storage
compact junior bed with storage
compact junior bed with storage

The Sniglar bed frame was bought second-hand, and the legs were sawn off. It was then placed on top of two Malm chest of drawers (also bought second-hand but for all the hassle that was we shouldn't have bothered, frankly, but that's another story). Our biggest problem was how to support the bed on the inside, against the wall. Originally I'd planned to use two adjustable height desk legs (Vika Kaj), but as we were sawing and sanding away like merry elves I remembered that we had some Ivar side units in the cellar that might do the trick for nothing. We sawed two of those off to the same height as the Malms, drilled a hole in them for one of those wooden plug things and a corresponding hole in the bed, banged the whole lot together with loads of wood glue, secured it some more with metal L-shaped brackets, realised it was still not super-stable dammit so used another bracket to secure the Ivar bit to the skirting board, and then shoved the Malms in underneath. Hey ho, job done! The chest of drawers are 48 cm deep or so, and the bed frame is 75 cm wide, so the majority of the bed is supported by the Malms, with the Ivar bits just propping the inside up so to speak.

At the bottom end of the bed is a Pax wardrobe, which is just put together normal style. The only "hacky" thing about it is we put the back on white side out, facing the kiddie bed so to speak. I'm going to hang a curtain in front of it on "our" side, because there is no room for doors. We still haven't figured out how to secure the wardrobe to the wall or anything else, but we'll think of something. Probably this will involve borrowing a bad-ass drill from a friend, one that will hopefully be powerful enough to punch a hole in our concrete-and-rock bad-ass wall (there's a reason why the Ivar unit was secured in the skirting board).

The result is a bigger and more comfy bed for Muppetface Bananas, in a more secluded corner, with room for his and my clothes underneath, and a whole wardrobe with room for clothes for my husband and even some leftover space for my skirts. Also a little more privacy for us, since the wardrobe sticks out a bit and becomes a half wall.

~ bani, Uppsala, Sweden

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