Whither goest the pillowtop?
February 4, 2010 6:04 PM   Subscribe

I have a tiny, weird-shaped studio apartment. Help me figure out the most logical way to add a full-sized bed! And/or help me figure out what to do with an acutely angled corner.

Here is a quickie mostly-to-scale drawing of the apartment's main living space. The un-labeled boxy bits are windows (no windows in the kitchen, sadly).

I have been living with a twin bed for years now. It's time to get a new mattress, and I figure that now would be a great time to get a full size one. I'd really like a proper bed - not ready to consider a futon or fold out couch yet. However...I can't figure out where to put it.

It seems to me that the only logical place to put a full size bed is in that triangular area - it's the only way to keep such a large piece of furniture out of the main walkway. If I place the bed with the head next to the radiator, the triangle bit is cut off from the rest of the room (can't get there without going across the bed). I've considered building a loft bed to go in that same spot, but I'm worried that putting such a behemoth there will block the light from the window in that corner - light is a rare commodity in this place.

Which option is preferable? Is there another option I've missed? Is there something brilliant I could be doing with that acute pointy corner?

Thanks in advance for any insight you have to offer!
posted by Knicke to Home & Garden (19 answers total)
If you're feeling handy (or have a handy friend who can help) I'd go with the bed-placement plan you described and then build some shelves into the corner. If your apartment is anything like the tiny places I've lived, storage space is at a premium, and that corner would be an ideal place to stash bulky things that you don't need to get to very often (or extra bedding, or sweaters, or your mysteriously triangle-shaped set of encyclopedias, or any number of other things.)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:15 PM on February 4, 2010

Can you add measurements to your drawing so we know how long the walls are?
posted by amro at 6:16 PM on February 4, 2010

Where is your bed now? A full size bed is only 15 inches wider than a twin.
posted by amyms at 6:23 PM on February 4, 2010

Murphy bed! Always a dandy solution for small spaces.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 6:29 PM on February 4, 2010

Murphy or loft bed.

And yes, some dimensions please.
posted by Decimask at 6:37 PM on February 4, 2010

Response by poster: Oops! Sorry for leaving out the dimensions! Here is the diagram with approximate measurements and an approximation of a full-size mattress.

amyms, my bed is currently along the flat 9' wall in the 'room' with the slanted wall. I don't particularly like it where it is now - I think I would like a bigger bed there even less.

nakedcodemonkey, I love the idea of a murphy bed, but they're a bit out of my price range/carpentry skill set at this point.
posted by Knicke at 6:38 PM on February 4, 2010

I would be tempted to move my bed into the room to the left in that square corner by the bathroom, and put up a curtain along one side to create an aisle; then I'd turn the middle room into my living area. If you have friends over a lot, this may not work for you.

You may be able to do the same thing in the middle room with the headboard against the kitchen wall and a curtain along side to create an aisle/privacy.

Then you could use the triangle area for storage/bookshelves and a reading chair/computer and desk, and have it still be accessible.
posted by julen at 6:52 PM on February 4, 2010

By the way, google sketchup is your friend for this sort of thing once you get the hang of it. Just make sure your measurements (and your 3D reproductions) are accurate.

Why, yes, I am speaking from experience.
posted by Decimask at 7:13 PM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you want it in that same general area, you have a couple of options I've shown here.

Green: Put the headboard against the angled wall and just deal with having to crawl over the bed to get to the corner if you need to. I've shown an approximate size of potential placement of a nightstand there, too.

Red: Place the bed perpendicular to the bottom wall and put your nightstand in the angled notch behind it. Kind of weird, but it leaves the bed accessible from both sides.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:19 PM on February 4, 2010

I'd do what julen says, except that I'd loft the bed too, and put it against the wall across from the big window. You'd have enough space underneath to put a good-sized desk, chair, and some shelves, or alternately a sofa (meaning that you could still use the room for socializing or working); as long as you stored miscellaneous stuff like clothing and shoes in the triangular room, the larger room wouldn't necessarily feel excessively bedroom-y, and you wouldn't lose the light from the window in the triangular room. Depending on ceiling height - and how much clearance you want while in the loft - you might be able to loft it high enough that (most) people can stand underneath without bumping their heads. Lofts are much easier than Murphy beds to build, too.
posted by ubersturm at 7:47 PM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I was thinking about a loft solution too. That would give you a work area in the remaining triangular section.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:24 PM on February 4, 2010

Is it really that big a deal if the triangle bit is cut off? Imagine somebody chopped off the triangle all together. You'd have a perfectly serviceable studio apartment and you probably wouldn't think twice about sticking the bed roughly where you have it in your diagram. You can use the cut off space for a nightstand and a laundry hamper and maybe some storage.
posted by PercussivePaul at 2:00 AM on February 5, 2010

I agree with Julen about moving your bed into the main boxy room and lengthwise against that 10" wall, except I think it'd be great for entertaining. You can put chairs or a couch or a tv/media area on the opposite wall so you have a nice-sized living/sleeping area, plus that's the room with windows, so you get more light. Something like this. I think the idea in the picture works because the bed doesn't really look like a bed. The platform and blanket help get that perfect point between bohemian and utilitarian, so it looks more like a big comfy flat lounging couch instead of a bed. Then you could use your pointy angular room for a library or office or dining area.

I also live in a studio that has a main room and a weird little windowless nook. The bed's in the big main room and the little room has been everything from an office to a dressing area to a dining room to the world's tiniest movie theater. The table I use for a desk can be pulled out to seat four for dinner.
posted by mochapickle at 3:42 AM on February 5, 2010

Mochapickle , that's exactly what I was thinking. To make it work, you'll have to get a bed with clean lines, and no headboard or frou-frou patterned bedding.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 4:31 AM on February 5, 2010

Move the bed into the main room, but get a futon instead of a regular bed. This way, you can convert it into a couch when people come over. I know you say you're "not ready" to consider a futon or fold-out, but you can get a quite nice futon mattress (I have an otis futon mattress that I bought on amazon for around $300 and it feels awesome) affordably. I have a small apartment, and being able to convert my bed into a sofa is great for when guests are over or you just need more room. It's also easy to dissassemble a futon frame if you ever need to move.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:27 AM on February 5, 2010

I agree that there's nothing you can do with the bed that won't block off that corner, but I'd also argue that you won't really miss it. One thing that's weird about that acute corner is how windowed it is; it seems like it's basically designed to be left empty, or decorated with a tall plant. You could put storage back there (bins may be a good idea, so you can pull them out to rummage through) but you can't really put a big tall shelving unit because it would be in front of a window, right?

About putting the bed in the main room instead, I'll add that a futon is far from being just a "late college period" design element. I bought a good mattress on a cheap frame as my first bed when I started grad school. It was a sofa while I lived with a boyfriend, then it was a bed again when I left. 4 years later, the metal frame broke and I built a storage-platform (plywood platform supported by 2-foot-high posts and cabinets I picked up at a yard sale) when I moved to an apartment with minimal closets. Then when I moved across the country for a job, I upgraded to a queen matress for sleeping and a nice-looking oak frame to convert the futon to sofa and guest-bed, conveniently not having to shell out for a sofa and a bed at the same time. I've had about 3 different covers on it, and now have matching tailored pillows, and it's a pretty convincing piece of living room furniture that my guests really like for sleeping on. (hint - a memory-foam mattress-topper is pretty awesome). Basically, if this is not the apartment you're going to have for a long long time, consider a futon just because of the flexibility of using it in different spaces. But no, that does not answer your question about where to put a full-sized standard mattress. Sorry for the digression.
posted by aimedwander at 7:51 AM on February 5, 2010

I would go with MegoSteve's red option. Leaving both sides accessible would be more welcoming when, ya know, two people would be sleeping in the bed.
posted by travertina at 8:46 AM on February 5, 2010

I think Megosteve's red option or Mochapickle's bed-as-lounge example are your best bets. I'd also like to emphasize what a couple of other posters have said about not worrying about filling the triangular space. A lot of people mistakenly think that furniture belongs against walls and that corners need to be filled. When you have a smaller space, you don't always have a choice, but if you look in design magazines, you'll see spaces and walls being left open, with furniture pulled out and arranged into comfortable conversation zones.

What looks good from a bird's-eye view on paper doesn't always look good in real life perspective, which is why Sketchup would be a useful thing to play with. If you find the empty space feels out of balance, use it as a little niche/focal point. I'd avoid putting a large tree-like plant, as you'll want as much light as possible coming through. Maybe place a smallish stack of open shelves or a ladder with plants; a tall lamp; a branch coat rack; or even a wall decal.

Let us know what you decide!
posted by moira at 10:21 AM on February 5, 2010

Response by poster: Wow! Thanks all for your perspectives so far.

I can't say which answer is most helpful - I'm really rethinking the arrangement of the whole apartment now, so it may be awhile until I figure things out. But you've given me a TON of other options and ideas, so thank you!

Also...I guess I will give Sketchup another try. I have a dickens of a time understanding representations of 3D space and got frustrated when I tried to design a cat tree with it...but I guess it might be worth trying again...
posted by Knicke at 12:17 PM on February 5, 2010

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