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October 03, 2018
The tiny house trend uses smart design and a minimalist mindset to pack everything you need into a footprint that’s much smaller than that of traditional homes, usually coming in at less than 500 square feet of living space.
Given that the average size of a new house in the U.S. in 2015 was more than five times that figure, a tiny house offers a lot less breathing room than most people are accustomed to.
One of the biggest challenges for tiny home residents is getting an adequately sized, comfortable bed to fit the space. Luckily, with the burgeoning popularity of the tiny house and minimalist living movements, there are now more options than ever to create a healthy sleep environment in a pint-sized space.
The floor plan and overall design of a tiny house is the most critical component to making it a space fit for long-term habitation. With a larger footprint, you can afford to waste a few square feet here and there with odd corners and oversized closets, but when you’re working with a strictly limited space, every inch counts. Many tiny home designers encourage people to rethink a bedroom’s design with its true purpose in mind: sleep. Once you think of the bedroom as simply a sleeping space rather than a place to also store clothes, knick-knacks, furniture, entertainment centers, etc., it’s easier to get your mind around a massive downsize.
Many tiny homes feature lofted, open spaces as the “bedroom”–basically just enough room for a mattress. Multi-purpose furniture is another important facet to tiny house living. For example, beds that convert into couches or conceal storage space, and even space saver beds that fold into the wall, like old-school Murphy beds, are great options for tiny house living.
Logistically, it can be a challenge just to get a bed through the door of tiny house. That’s why many small houses are built with bed space already installed, whether it’s a custom Murphy bed, a trundle bed, a loft bed, or a convertible bed. That way, all you have to actually bring in is a mattress. If you’re buying a new home that doesn’t already have a built-in bed, you can either have a specialist construct something inside the house, or you can bring in a bed frame in pieces and assemble it in place.
While the above-mentioned space saver and multi-purpose beds are excellent choices for a tiny house, they aren’t practical for everyone. For example, navigating a ladder to access a loft is not a good option for small children or the elderly. There are still several options for small space beds, however.
Electric Lift Beds
On the cutting edge of small-space technology are beds on electric tracks that lift or disappear when not in use. Espace Loggia’s Electric Air Bed model lifts up to the ceiling to transform sleeping space into living or work space by day. Tiny Idahomes has a similar design.
Portable Floor Beds
Floor beds have been in use for thousands of years and are still widely used in many Asian and African countries. A futon-style mattress can provide a comfortable night’s sleep and then be rolled or folded and stored by day. Foam sleeping mats and inflatable air mattresses are other options that can easily be stowed away when not in use.
Hammocks are a common sleeping arrangement in many South American countries, where space constrictions and heat are both considerations. They can easily be taken down when not in use, and they are also a great way to take advantage of outdoor living space.
The simplest solution for many people is to just use a smaller bed. A twin-sized mattress is 38 by 75 inches, which may be too short for some adults. A twin-XL, a dorm-room standard, is about 38 by 80 inches, providing a little extra legroom without taking up additional width.
Tiny house living requires creativity, flexibility, and some sacrifices, but its adherents find it an incredibly freeing way to live. Do you have any brilliant small-space bed hacks? Please share in the comments!