11 Bed Alternatives for Saving Space in Your Small Rooms
Author: Rick Worst | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
You may find yourself living in a small studio apartment with a tiny bedroom or even without a bedroom at all. There are plenty of bed alternatives that are perfect for small spaces that are just as comfortable and can serve a double purpose.
This double usage applies especially to small homes or studio apartments where even the smallest square feet of floor space is required and can be put to good use.
If you are looking to trade out your traditional bed for something different, the following are some of the best bed alternatives we’ve found for you.
Bed Alternatives for Small Spaces
It's not just about finding decent sleeping solutions for small spaces, but ones you can work into your home design and decor. If they can help you utilize your space creatively, all the better.
Here are most common options, cheap and expensive, creative and simple, so you can make the right choice for your home and your budget.
1. Air Mattress
An air mattress is one of the best ways to save precious floor space in your home while still maintaining the comfort of a decent bed. They're also very inexpensive compared to traditional beds.
The mattress can be deflated with ease and stored away when not in use, or even deflated halfway so you can stuff it in a closet during the day.
What's great is that you can also take the mattress with you on camping trips, use it as one of your guest bed options, take it to your parent's house during the holidays, etc.
If, however, you have cats or other indoor pets you may want to think twice before buying an air mattress as they could damage and deflate your mattress. The best move is to keep your sheets and comforter over it so there's a layer of protection.
Also, if you suffer from joint pain the mattress may aggravate the problem as it tends to lose air at night when you sleep on it.
But apart from a few kinks, this is a great bed alternative for when you're on a budget or when you need temporary bedding. They make some fairly acceptable ones, these days. They come in the standard bed sizes so you can get those types of bed sheets and types of bed covers without any extra considerations.
2. Futon Mat
Futon mats are an ideal sleeping solution for a small space. The mats can be quickly rolled up and put away when not in use. The thing is, they're much more firm than a mattress, and there's pros and cons of sleeping on a firm surface like this.
The mattress of these types of futons needs to be laid out on a hard floor (thin carpet is fine) and may even be more comfortable than a spring mattress for those that prefer a firm mattress.
The ground acts as a heat sink, so you won't wake up from the heat being stored underneath you if you're a hot sleeper, similar to some of these box spring alternatives.
If you're one of those people that really toss and turn or an elderly person, this is an ideal futon alternative for a traditional bed as it means there is no danger that you'll roll off the bed and fall.
However, if you have a bad knee it can be a tad difficult to get in and out of the mattress every day as it will be on the floor level. These types of mattresses are suggested only for those in need of the space savings or those trying to mimic the Japanese aesthetic.
Futon mats also require a lot of maintenance and need to be washed and aired very often or they will start smelling bad. If you roll it up to store it during the day, it will air out naturally, but definitely give it a cleaning occasionally.
You can find zipper bags that fit them to make this process easier (just toss it in the washing machine and dryer). You can think of these kind of like a bed roll or even sleeping bag alternatives to a degree.
3. Murphy Bed
A murphy bed, also known as a wall bed, is an extremely innovative bed alternative. You get the comforts of a traditional bed without losing out on precious floor space in the room.
The key feature is that it can fold down from inside a wall or even from a large cabinet, and then be flipped back up into storage during the day.
When you wake up in the morning, the bed can go right back up, creating a lot of space for your daytime activities.
Murphy beds are not too expensive and there are also options for you to do it yourself, assembling and installing the bed on your own, though this can be tricky if you're not a handy man.
This is a great option for a small apartment or an otherwise crowded room in your home and acts as a great conversational piece. Everyone will want to try it out.
What's better is it doesn't restrict the type of mattress you place in it (except, of course, you can't use a water bed this way).
4. Loft Bed
If you are familiar with bunk beds, loft beds have a similar concept but without the bottom bunk, like several of the bunk bed alternatives. Since the bed is elevated, it frees up a lot of floor space for storage and other uses. The problem with a loft bed, however, is that it is not a conducive idea to implement in all homes.
For a college student, this makes a great choice because you can create an office desk space beneath the loft so you can study. I did this myself and tucked a desktop computer under there.
It was a comfy spot to chill at, playing games, researching, and studying. These are among the most fun types of bed frames and most efficient at using up a small space in your room.
5. Sofa Cum Bed
A sofa cum bed, often called a pullout couch, is one of the most common and popular ways of saving space in the room. You're probably wondering what this is. It's a "couch bed" where the mattress either slides out or flips out, kind of like a murphy bed.
During the day you can lounge on the sofa, perhaps to watch television or read a book. At night, simply roll the sofa out and enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep in the bed. You can also use a daybed and make the daybed look like a couch, which will likely be much more comfortable.
Bigger sofa beds can still typically have their L-shape so even after you have pulled the sofa out, there is a portion of the arrangement that can still be used for seating and/or making the bed even larger.
This is an elegant way to spruce up your home without taking up too much space. It is the ideal bed alternative if you have a small apartment but like to host guests frequently.
However, there is also a chance that the roll-out bed will be too soft and will sink under pressure, since if the material is too stiff it would be difficult to roll it into a sofa. The slide-out beds don't have this problem, but the fold-in ones do.
If you sleep on a flip-out couch bed frequently it could also affect your back. Sometimes you can feel the support bars underneath you if you don't add a futon on top. Again, the slide-out versions have a flat surface underneath and don't suffer from this problem.
6. Trundle Bed
A trundle bed, or drawer bed, is perfect for the children’s room. This is a bed within a bed. The second bed, which is slightly lower than the main bed, can be pulled out from underneath when you are ready to go to sleep. They also make ones that are pulled out from underneath special types of dressers.
This is the ideal bed for a room with kids or when you need to make arrangements for a last-minute sleepover, especially with little kids that shouldn't be climbing up a bunk bed. If it was me I'd just toss a futon on the ground and tell them to shut up about it!
7. Thai Massage Mat
Thai massage mats are meant for Thai massages. However, they can double up perfectly as an alternative to a futon. As long as the mats are placed on a hard floor, they can be perfectly comfortable and may be better suited for those with back pain.
These are often called shiatsu mats, too. This is perfect if you like a firm sleeping surface and want a rollaway to store the mattress away during the day.
Thai massage mats are typically not more than 3.5 inches in thickness and can be rolled away easily when not in use.
The only problem the mat would present is that it requires you to get up from the floor or sit on the floor each time you want to use the bed. If you have weak knees, this might be a cumbersome thing to do.
You can add in some Moroccan floor cushions to spice things up. They make great pillows and even between-the-knee pillows if you're a side sleeper, which will help keep your back in alignment and take pressure off your hips since you're on such a firm surface.
8. Hammock Bed
Everyone thinks of a hammock as something you hang between two trees outside to relax in the sun. But you can secure it between two studs in your wall and achieve the same in your bedroom. When you wake, you can take it down off the hooks, fold it, and throw it in the closet.
There are also types of hammocks that are made to be suspended from the ceiling or even have their own frame. The frame-type won't help you save any space, though.
One thing to consider here is that you will sleep with your back curved, which could take its toll over time. Don't even consider these if you sleep face down or on your sides. It flat out won't work for you.
9. Hanging Bed
This is another alternative to the bunk bed / loft bed concept. Since it hangs entirely from the ceiling and resides up high, it is always out of the way, leaving you tons of floor space underneath.
The only issue is you will have to accommodate space for either a permanent staircase or a rope ladder (not recommended). At least you won't have to worry about bed skirt alternatives.
Most people who install these will place it near a wall so the staircase can be against that wall. These suspended beds are completely safe if you install them correctly, but if you don't you may get injured some random night in the future. Have a professional install it for you, please.
10. Sleeping Recliner
There are recliners these days that can tilt all the way back and are perfectly suitable for sleeping on. They don't lay flat, but act like those beds where you can tilt your back upwards using a remote control and even place a bend in your legs.
If you're going to buy a recliner, I'd get one of these just to create another sleeping spot for when you have too many guests over. Though you should be aware that some say there are dangers to sleeping in a chair.
We all know men who fall asleep in front of the television every night. If that's you, you might as well get one of these so you can kick all the way back when you notice yourself almost falling asleep.
11. Day Bed
A day bed is kind of like a sofa but more like a bed, serving the same purpose. If you're not keen on a bed you store away every day, check these out. If you're young and like sitting Indian-style or laying over on your side on the couch, this is perfect.
The nice thing here, which brings in the space-saving aspect like other dresser alternatives, is they usually have a row of three drawers underneath them where you can store clothes or anything else. Just don't stuff things you won't ever use in there, or you're just back to wasting space again.
Alternatives for Beds in Small Spaces
The bed alternatives that have been mentioned above are some of the best and easiest to use. They can transform the way you use space in your home and can allow you to do plenty of other things in the room when a traditional bed is not occupying all the space.
Most bed alternativesare also cheaper than traditional beds so you will be saving a lot of money apart from saving floor space.