Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Decorating Daydreams: Space-Savers

Most of you who read this blog know that I'm planning a move to the West Coast in about a year, and I'm fairly excited (read: freaked-out) about it. It will be my first time living alone, my first time setting up my own space, first time having a place that's mine . . . a lot of firsts. As I know I won't be making gobs of money when I get there, my apartment will no doubt be a studio, and as the space will need to function as my living and working space, room for my furniture will be at a premium. So, I'm starting to look into creative ways to maximize the space I'll have. Design*Sponge just introduced me to an Italian company, Tumideispa, with some of the most creative ideas I've seen in a while.

I'm not sure that I'm crazy about the laminate look of the materials, but to be fair, it's not like I'm buying these from Italy. There are no prices on the website, but I shudder to consider them. Still, it has gotten me thinking in an entirely new direction. If I turn my closet into a work space, filled with shelves for fabric and notions and a table with my sewing machines on it, then I need a space for my actual clothing. A lofted bed with closet space underneath is brilliant, and the little desk is a bonus, though I could see myself replacing that with bookshelves. Definitely something to think about;)

What do you think, dear readers? Like the space-saving concepts?


Kimba said...

Loft furniture is always a good option! I know I saw some cool stuff at a Scandinavia store not too long ago too. I'd also look into actual loftbed sites...there's some pretty cool stuff out there.

Anonymous said...

I had a loft bed like these in college (well, not this nice, but the concept was the same). Here are my observations:

1) You don't have to spend a lot of money to get one. Just about any furniture store or distributor that sells kids' furniture will have them reasonably priced and most can be assembled by hand so you can buy it, ship it, and assemble it yourself. If you're really handy, you can make it yourself out of lumber, but I'm guessing you don't own a lot of power tools. Deals can be made with people who do, though. ;)

2) It is a great space saver provided you have a tall enough ceiling so as not to hit your head getting up in the morning (I had 10' ceilings). Your apartment will ultimately dictate how tall your loft can be. Also, most ready-made lofts aren't that tall (they're classified as kids' furniture, after all), so you may be limited by what you can put underneath. Separate tops and bottoms will fit no problem, but full-length dresses will be another story. A sitting area is a great use for under-loft space, but you may have to duck to get in and out.

3) Making a loft bed can be something of a challenge. It's hard to tuck in the sheet when you're kneeling on it because that's the only way to reach the side that's next to the wall. You can get special sheets designed for blow-up mattresses that are all stitched together, or you can stitch your own if it makes it any easier. I tended to just skip making the bed unless company came over. Problem solved.

4) Loft or no loft, you should never put your desk next to your bed. You'll never get a good night's rest if you go to bed looking at all your unfinished work. You can put it under your bed, though. Then you never have to look at it; you literally "rise above it all." That worked really well for me. You can even put up a sliding curtain to cover it all up so you can't see it on the ground either.

5) Try not to go to bed when you're extremely tired or rush to get out of bed if you wake up late. I know you're studying at the Actor's Gymnasium and all, but trust me, you don't want to fall out or off of a bed or its ladder. Been there, done that. Ouch.

All in all, a loft bed is a smart idea if you're short on space, but personally, I prefer just having a bed with really big drawers underneath. Sometimes I was just too tired to climb up into my bed and wound up crashing on the sofa. If you lift the bed enough to put several big drawers underneath, then you eliminate the need for a big heavy dresser and win back a lot of floor space. A step stool is a little easier to manage than a big tall ladder.

On the other hand, the designs you've pictured are a thousand times better than the loft I had, so I'm guessing something like this would be a lot easier to deal with than my cheap self-assembled loft. You get what you pay for, though, so unless you design and construct it yourself, you may wind up spending a lot of money to get something you're really going to be happy with. When you get closer to your departure date, you might post a "help wanted" ad to see if anyone can help you construct the pieces for your loft in segments small enough to load into a U-Haul and carry cross-country by yourself. (FYI: We have LOTS of power tools here and Carl has plenty of woodworking skills.)

Ginger said...

Thanks, ladies! I know I definitely don't want a loft that is like the bunk beds I grew up with: no rails on all four sides! I like these because they are more of a living platform that has a bed on it, with space to walk around the bed. The space I have will ultimately dictate what I can have, and I wouldn't be able to build anything until I got out there, but it is something to think about;)

~KC~ said...

I had my dad build a custom loft for me when I moved to Chicago & it was a life-saver, especially in my first tiny apartment. It wasn't a super-high one - just tall enough that I had to use a crate to jump up onto it, but having the storage space underneath was incredibly useful.

Things to consider:

- The higher the bed, the better, IMHO, because all you're doing up there is sleeping, and the taller the space underneath, the more useful & accessible it will be to you. (It can be a real pain having to shuffle in on your knees or stand there stooping every time you want to get something out.) Do be mindful of the ceiling heights of the places you're looking at, though.

- I love the idea in the first picture - having a platform next to the bed (would make it a ton easier to make the bed), but I think a thinner platform with built-in drawers/cabinets would be better because having a desk up that high is not practical. At least if you're anything like me. I jump up and down 10 times an hour during any given project to go get things & need way more space than that. Having a small bookshelf or something else up there would be great, though!

- I'm not crazy about the laminate materials either. but if you went with something like this, it'd be super easy to paint/stencil/decoupage or drape with fabric, especially with your considerable talent! My loft had sturdy posts, rather than walls underneath, and I modified some gorgeous embroidered red curtain panels to fit the sides. It was actually great, because then they could hang or be tied back for more natural light/open access. Use it as a design element. :o)

- Don't forget that it doesn't all have to be one piece! I bet you could do this relatively inexpensively with just a little bit of research/creativity. Get someone to help you build the loft, scour some auctions and estate sales & find a sturdy cabinet/work bench, buy a bucket of paint, and - tada! - it's a matched set.

I bet that whatever you come up with, it will be unique and wonderful!

Costume Queen said...

Those are very very cool!! My room is really small, and I've been trying to find ways to organize and make more space. I may have to ask my dad to make me a loft!