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Bunks and Lofts: Beds for Small Spaces
by Tameka Norris

Small spaces and crowds just don't mix, but what do you do when you're stuck with both? How do you accommodate for everyone and everything and still have room left over? Where do you put all of the extra furniture that, otherwise, might not fit?

Well honestly, in a situation in which one to three people are shoved in a tight space, it's actually very helpful to rely on loft beds and bunk beds. They can definitely help you make the most of the tiny quarters you're forced to live in. Thanks to the varying degree of options in which they accommodate crowds: futon bunk beds, twin-over-twin, twin-over-full, and the less frequent twin-over-king and queen make these two choices ideal.

What Do You Do When Three's a Crowd?

Suppose you have three people sharing a small place rather than your typical two, and you need a space saving option for the three of you? Well, that's where triple loft beds come in. Loft beds are great for kids' rooms, dorm rooms and studio apartments where three people are basically living on top of each other and need an ideal living and sleeping arrangement that's space-conservative.

Triple loft beds are a way of combining two or three bunk-style beds into one single loft. They are typically arranged in an "L" shape (most likely placed in a corner) in which two beds are arranged up high and the third bed is built below. What also makes this choice convenient, and a great way to save space, is the space that the extra beds would have normally occupied is now free for additional pieces of furniture.

You now have room to organize other things underneath the loft and to the side of it, such as...

* a desk
* a dresser
* a small couch or futon
* file cabinet
* a refrigerator

Although they are wonderful for adults as well as kids, kids especially love loft beds, because they are innovative and climbable. Everyday they'll have the fun task of climbing up and down to get onto their beds... and we all know how much kids really love being high up when they get the chance. I remember feeling the exact same way when I was young.

What Do You Do When You Want it All?

All-in-one loft beds are also an excellent means of saving space in a studio, dorm or child's room. All-in-one loft beds combine multiple items that, not always, but typically include the following...

* a set of drawers
* a desk
* couch or futon-like seating
* shelving

Some will also occasionally include a wardrobe. This is particularly helpful because you no longer have to disperse all of these items throughout your room. They're all in one location, which can save you a tremendous amount of space.

Two most notable space saving features are when a desk or set of drawers are built into the bed. Since both take up a lot of space independently on their own, you get to cheat a little and eliminate the need for a dresser that would've otherwise stolen a chunk of space in your room. And the desk that might've other eaten an entire wall up has pretty much given that wall back to you because it's built into the bed. You'll be able to fit additional things in a room that might've otherwise proven difficult.

What Do You Do When Two Beds are One Too Many?

Bunk beds are the traditional version of a loft bed, with a bunk on top and a bunk on the bottom. They used to be relatively common, but as the 80s became a thing of the past, bunk beds aren't quite as popular as they used to be. Today you'll find that bunk beds are still available, but they are not nearly as space-saving as loft beds or triple loft beds, due to the fact that they only accommodate for sleeping two people but don't really help you save space with additional furniture.

But that doesn't make them completely useless, right? Maybe all you really need is a way to fit two beds in a room that might've otherwise difficult with two separate beds. Well if that's the case, then you already know bunk beds are great for all tight spaces. Besides the usual living arrangement in dorms or studio apartments, they're great for single or two-child households.

With two children, they'll obviously be able to share one room. But with one child you might find them very useful if your child tends to have friends stay over frequently and you don't have a guest room. Idealistically, the second bed can then be used as a guest bed. And in the meantime your child can just have fun switching beds whenever (s)he is up for it.

So there's no question that loft beds, all-in-one loft beds, triple loft beds and bunk beds are all great ways of saving space in your kids' room, dorms and even studio apartments. The advantage of combining sleeping and work areas together leaves more room for other things and eliminates the need of having to squeeze everything into a small room crammed with too much stuff.

Tameka Norris has been living in small spaces since she was 10 years old. She now runs It offers nifty tips and tactics, a Q & A section for people in need of answers, photos of her own small space trials and projects for the DIYer.

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