We live in a very expensive part of California. We are very lucky to live in a subsidized condo. Unfortunately, our condo was clearly designed for a couple with one, maybe two older children – not four very young children! The condo is technically larger than our 1400 square foot Masachustts home, but the extra square footage is in a staircase, hallway, three (!) bathrooms. Unfortunately, this means less space for the kids to play – both indoors and out (we used to have a gorgeous yard). We have two bedrooms upstairs, and one small room downstairs that we have turned into the computer room/library/guest room. How do you fit four beds in one room? Bunkbeds, of course, but it’s a little more complicated than that if you want it to work long-term. Here are my top tips.
How to Fit Four Beds in One Room
As it turns out, four kids can quite easily sleep in one room with a little creativity! I found that three elements were important:
- Give each child their own space.
- Keep the space as uncluttered as possible.
- Create space for each child to store their belongings.
If you are going to put four kids in one room, you need to find other ways to create the illusion of space! Here is what we did:
Give Each Child Their Own Space
One of the biggest concerns I had with putting the kids in this sleeping situation – with beds opposite one another – was that they would keep one another up all night. Lily sometimes slept in Emma and Johnny’s room in Massachusetts on a pull-out mattress I kept under their bed as an improvised trundle bed. Sometimes Lily and Johnny would goof around instead of falling asleep. Right now Anna goes to bed after the other kids since she takes a nap, so keeping her and Lily apart is not (currently) an issue.
Having the bed tent that goes with the IKEA Kura bed creates an enclosed space for Emma and Johnny so that they are able to relax and fall asleep. I plan to eventually add a curtain of some sort on Lily and Anna’s beds, but haven’t worked that out yet – any suggestions for how I could safely hang a curtain?
I should note that the Kura isn’t actually designed to be used as a bunk bed, but we didn’t have enough ceiling height for regular bunk beds. Besides, Emma didn’t like how high her traditional bunk bed was in Massachusetts. We put these bent birch slats underneath the mattresses on the bottom to make those lower bunk beds more comfortable and to provide some air circulation to prevent mold growth
Keep the space as uncluttered as possible.
The kids each have their Expedit bin where they can store anything they like (so far a few treasures, games, favorite blankets, and doll clothes) along with dolls and stuffed animals that they sleep with. The rest of their toys are stored in our living room/dining room downstairs. Their IKEA easel is in the room (in front of the closet), and they use it to play school, make lists, and draw. The only other clutter in their room is a laundry basket, which you can see in the lower right portion of this photo. I don’t love the rugs, but the carpet underneath is pretty ugly and the kids adore them. So the rugs stay!
Making bunkbeds is a pain, so their bedding is also very simple. Each child has a comforter with a cover that gets washed weekly instead of a top sheet. This makes it easy for the kids to make their own beds. In hot weather (like the week I took this photo), we pull the comforter out of cover and they sleep just with the cover. These flannel comforter / duve covers keep the kids comfortable on their own during warmer months.
Give each child space to store their belongings.
I assigned each of the kids their own bin in the IKEA Expedit shelving unit you can barely see on the left of this photograph (I don’t own a wide angle lens, and it is hard to photograph a space this small). I put dressers for Emma and Johnny in the closet (off to the right, not visible). Lily’s clothes are stored in bins that sit on a narrow bookcase between her bed (far wall) and the window.
Emma, Johnny, and Lily each own one of the rugs on the floor, although the toys they use with them are stored downstairs. There is a toy box at the end of the far bed where they store their dolls and stuffed animals.
Details That Make This Small Space Living Situation Work
There are a couple of other details that make this situation work well. The room’s very large window makes the space feel larger! The ceiling is also low in one portion of the room, but then raises to about 12 feet near the closet. Vertical square footage can make a big difference, as can natural light!
Do you have any favorite small space living tips? How about strategies for how to fit four beds in one room? I’m still trying to figure out how to make the most of our concrete patio. If I can get some plants in the raised garden bed I think that will make a big difference!