When you think of a lofted bed, you probably imagine either a child’s room or a college dorm room. However, loft beds aren’t just for kids and college students. They come in a tremendous variety of size and style and could be the perfect way to maximize your space. With everyone looking to maximize their living space, there’s never been a better time to consider a loft bed.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced folks to spend a lot more time at home, and as such, people have really considered how they are using their space. A bed can take up a whole lot of space, and priorities have shifted. Let’s get into all the reasons you should consider adding a lofted bed to your home.
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What to Know About Modern Loft Beds
A loft bed is essentially a bunk bed without the bottom bunk. The bed itself is raised off the ground on poles or stilts of some kind, providing some space underneath. Depending on the style of loft bed, this could be a small storage space or a full on workstation. Loft beds can be as high as about 74.25 inches, providing plenty of space for your work from home setup.
The space underneath a loft bed is highly versatile. Depending on your goals and household arrangement, this could be used as a workstation, storage space for a chest of drawers, a couch or futon could be comfortably placed underneath, or it could become a secret fort for children. The possibilities are endless!
Loft beds traditionally come in three different heights.
- Low Loft: A low loft bed is best designed for a child’s room. These are generally about 4 ft. Tall and provide space underneath for storage and playtime.
- Mid Loft: A mid loft bed is exactly as it sounds. A middle option, perhaps best for someone with slightly lower ceilings. These beds are usually around 5 ft. off the ground and provide space underneath for storage, or even a futon.
- High Loft: A high loft bed is the most common design. These generally reach a height around 6 ft 2 in. These are perfect for adults and students looking to maximize space and efficiency. A desk and workstation can comfortably fit underneath this.
It is important to add a quick note regarding the estimated heights of loft beds. The “height” as it is noted is actually to the top of the guard rails, which typically extend several inches higher than the mattress. The height of the bottom slats that are holding the mattress, will be several inches shorter than the listed height.
Who Can Benefit From a Loft Bed?
Practically anyone could reap the benefits of a loft bed. As we’ve said before, a loft bed can help to maximize space efficiency for kids and adults. Apartment dwellers with limited storage space, or remote workers who lack the space for a desk could absolutely benefit from a loft bed situation.
Parents who are looking to make a child’s room more fun, but also more organized should check out some low loft bed options. Kids often find a loft bed to be fun, and parents will love how much more storage space there is for toys. Lots of childrens loft beds even come with storage built into the steps.
You can really dial the fun up to an eleven for your kid by adding a slide to the loft bed. These beds have a ladder or stairs on one side and a short slide on the other. Getting in and out of bed has never been so fun! On the flip slide, loft beds are not recommended for children under the age of six as it poses a safety hazard.
Loft beds are extremely popular in college and dorm situations. These students are often living fairly modestly and need to maximize a small space with plenty of room to study. A loft bed in a dorm room immediately creates a desk and work area underneath perfect for those all night cram sessions.
If you’ve ever found yourself looking at your space and wishing you had just a little more room or a little more storage, then a loft bed is the perfect answer. But you may also be feeling nervous. After all, aren’t loft beds dangerous?
Are Loft Beds Dangerous?
Statistically speaking, more injuries do occur from loft and bunk beds than regular beds. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 36,000 children are treated annually in an emergency room for bunk and loft bed related incidents. That being said, there are plenty of ways to maximize safety and ensure a fun and efficient use of your space.
First, the AAP notes that half of those injuries occur with children under the age of six. Like we said above, loft beds are not to be used for children under six. According to the AAP, there are several safety steps to consider if you are letting your youngsters sleep in a loft bed.
- Use the Corner of the Room: Placing a loft bed in a corner can minimize risk since there will be walls on two sides of the bed.
- Ensure Proper Guardrail Installation: Guardrails should be on all sides of the loft bed and they should be no less than 5 inches above the mattress.
- Add Extra Slats: Many of the injuries reported have to do with a mattress falling. Reinforce the slats that are supporting the mattress.
- Enforce Proper Entry and Exit Behavior: Kids love to climb and explore, but it is important that they only use the ladder or stairs to enter and exit their loft bed. Don’t let them jump or use other furniture to climb in and out.
- Ladder Security: If the loft bed is equipped with a ladder, consider anchoring it to a wall and the bed to ensure it is really locked on.
- Night Light: Many injuries occur while folks climb down the ladder in the dark. Add a night light near the ladder to minimize this risk.
- No Rough Housing: Loft beds should only be used for sleeping, relaxing, and reading. Wrestling and other rough housing activities should never be allowed in a loft bed.
- Clear the Surrounding Area: If a child does fall out of a loft bed, many injuries are made worse by hitting something else on the way down. Try to keep the surrounding area clear of hard edges.
- No Hanging Objects: Never allow ropes, belts, ties, or other objects of the like to hang from the loft bed. These can quickly become hazards for choking and strangulation.
Taking some basic steps to ensure safety can go a long way. Another common concern is the safety and longevity of the legs supporting the bed. To mitigate this concern, consider anchoring the loft bed to the wall. This will further stabilize and secure the bed.
How To Anchor a Loft Bed To the Wall
Anchoring a loft bed can be completed with some basic tools and effort. To get things started you will need to use a stud finder to locate a stud in your wall. Ideally, you are looking for a stud on each side near the bed posts.
Once you’ve located the studs, align either an L brace or a C brace on the bedpost and the corresponding stud. Use a pencil to mark where the brace should be attached. If you need to purchase an L or C brace, you can do so right here.
Drill guide holes into the marks you just made on the bedpost and the wall. These guide holes should be 1/8th of an inch smaller in diameter than your intended screw. Use a power drill to then screw the brace into position, and repeat for the opposing side of the bed.
If you aren’t able to locate a stud, you could consider using a drywall anchor instead, though we wouldn’t recommend relying entirely on this. Drywall anchors are great for hanging pictures or wall art if you can’t find a stud, but they aren’t designed to support the full weight of a loft bed.
How To Pick The Right Loft Bed For You
So now that you are convinced of the efficiency and safety of loft beds, you may be wondering which one is right for you. Picking a loft bed will be highly dependent on your room arrangement, ceiling height, and intended use for both the sleeper and the space beneath. Let’s look at some of the questions to consider as you ponder your new loft bed.
Who Will Be Sleeping In It?
This is the first place to start as you consider your loft bed. Who is it actually for? If it is for a child, then that immediately narrows your search down to primarily low lofts beds, that are likely designed for twin sized mattresses.
Loft beds for children also likely present the largest assortment of options. These are by far the most popular loft beds out there, so there is no shortage of options. We think it is best to think long term when choosing the lost bed for your child. Consider finding one that has a high weight limit that can easily support them as they grow for years to come like the Hampton Loft Bed.
Also consider how your child will use the space underneath. It could be primarily storage space, but if you opt for a longer term investment then consider a loft bed that could one day house a desk for your young student’s important school work. This simple yet effective loft bed from Walmart is a great place to start with your kid’s room.
On the flip side, if the loft bed is for yourself, an adult, then you will need to consider some other variables. Primarily, is the bed just for yourself or is it for you and a partner. Adult loft beds have seen a rise in popularity, and plenty of full, queen, and even king size frames are available to comfortably sleep two adults. Though the king may be a bit overkill in our opinion.
How Will The Space Underneath Be Used?
Will the space beneath be used for storage, work, play, or some combination of all three? The best loft beds are the ones that really maximize the space beneath them. That is, after all, the primary appeal of this arrangement.
Consider a loft bed that really optimizes that space beneath with perhaps some room for a desk, storage for toys or work materials, and possibly even space for a futon. Many loft beds come with desks and shelves already built in. This can be seen as either an advantage or disadvantage over some of the metal frame pole designs that don’t offer built in functions.
If you plan to use the space as a workstation, then we would recommend looking at a loft bed like the Sleep and Study Loft Bed available at Pottery Barn. The bed is designed with maximum efficiency and style providing a great workspace with plenty of storage.
On the flip side, if you are looking for a larger space that you can customize and possibly add a couch and some living space, then you should consider the Walker Edison Full Size Loft Bed. This simple and efficient loft bed offers maximum flexibility for the space underneath so you could add a comfy loveseat and a TV, or a desk, or any combination of those things.
How High Are Your Ceilings?
This is crucial when you are considering the right loft bed for your space. The ceiling height will directly impact your available choices of loft beds. As a general rule of thumb, there should be approximately 30 inches of clearance between the mattress and the ceiling. This way you aren’t going to be constantly banging your head against the ceiling every morning.
Many ceilings are around 9 or 10 ft tall, which is plenty of space for a standard high loft bed. However, if you have 8 ft ceilings or even shorter, then you may want to reconsider the high loft. This is especially important if you are considering a loft bed for a child, as they more frequently experience head injuries from loft beds than adults.
Another ceiling concern to be wary of is a fan or other ceiling fixtures. Loft beds should never be placed directly underneath a ceiling fan. There is serious potential for injury here. As mentioned earlier, loft beds are best placed in the corner of the room so there are walls on two sides, and also it is less likely to be near a ceiling fixture.
Should You Choose a Metal or Wooden Loft Bed?
As you browse loft beds you may come across several metal frame loft beds and several wood frame loft beds. You’ll want to pick one that fits your style and space, but you also want it to be comfortable. Metal and wooden frames both have their advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately the choice will depend on your space, design ideals, and budget.
Metal Loft Frame Pros
Metal loft frames tend to be more minimal in design. This generally offers more room for flexibility and creativity. They also tend to be lighter and easier to move around, and perhaps most notably they are generally cheaper than wooden loft frames. Best of all, a quality metal loft frame is more durable and will withstand the abuses of childhood playtime.
Metal Loft Frame Cons
Metal loft frames are not always as stylish. The simple metal poles may not blend easily into your existing decor. The metal also tends to be cold to the touch in the winter, and perhaps worst of all, the metal ladder rungs are usually uncomfortable on bare feet. This can be fixed by padding the rungs, but then you do present a new potential danger.
Wooden Loft Frame Pros
Wooden loft frames are more widely available. These are often favored by designers as they can include more features like drawers, cubbies, and desks. Additionally, wooden loft frames often have stairs or more comfortable ladders which are easier to climb in and out of. They come in a variety of hardwoods and stain colors, making it easy to match to existing decor.
Wooden Loft Frame Cons
The wooden loft frames are heavy, and very difficult to move around once they’ve been assembled and installed. They offer less versatility as the years go on, since they normally have functions built into them. They are more susceptible to scratches and chips than their metal companions.
Is Now the Time To Get a Loft Bed?
Loft beds are no longer relegated to the space of kids and students. Anyone can get a stylish and effective loft bed for their space now, and really start to reap those benefits. Perhaps you are in need of a home office, but live in a small apartment. A loft bed creates the desk space for you. Or you need to create space in a small child’s bedroom for storage. The loft will make it happen.
There’s never been a better time to shop for a loft bed and change up your space. There are so many options, anyone should be able to find one that fits their style, budget, and needs. So what are you waiting for? Go out and find your new perfect loft bed, and fall in love with your new space.