Get a loft bed. Or (preferably) don’t get one.

The pros and cons of getting a loft bed, heavily weighted on the cons

Get a loft bed. Or (preferably) don’t get one.
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Included for everyone: The pros and cons of getting a loft bed, heavily weighted on the cons

Bonus for paying subscribers: Comprehensive printable flowchart with which you can make your loft-bed decision, if you must

Marketers are always out to sell you the dream of a relaxing, blissful future, with your earthly problems stowed away in the past, where they can bother you no longer.

You just need to buy their thing. It’s so simple.

Thus it is with the loft bed. Swedish furniture conglomerate Ikea promises the world with the loft bed, opening with: “Sometimes the loftiest ideas are the best.” Good grief.

Here are the marketable points of that mezzanine dream that is the loft bed:

  • Economy of space – a loft bed takes advantage of the vertical space, opening up opportunities to use the space beneath it for more than just stowing boxes and other junk.
  • Kids enjoy the novelty of what is essentially a treehouse in their room. Ikea writes that loft beds “turn a good night’s sleep almost into a little holiday” (note “almost”).
  • This is essentially a bunk bed for one. There is no need for kids to bicker over who gets top or bottom. It’s all “top”. And if the room occupant never wanted to share in the first place, well, now they don’t have to. The loft bed is precisely not a pair of stacked bunks.

And here is what the marketers won’t tell you, particularly if you are getting a loft bed for your children (do adults get loft beds? no, really… do they?):

  • On hot summer nights a raised bed near the ceiling is the worst place to try and sleep. The warm air rises, stewing the occupant in their own sweat. Even if the occupant eschews the covers and sleeps naked – it will still be too hot. New Zealand home owners might sometimes get away with this, since as a country we seldom insulate our homes and all the heat just escapes (we wear ski jackets inside when it gets cold).
  • Making a loft bed (ie applying and changing the bedding) is nigh on a physical impossibility. If you’re a kid perched up on your loft, you’re already on top of the sheets/blankets you need to arrange and tuck. You need to move them but you can’t because you would need to move yourself on top of them. You might need to employ the “jump and whip” manoeuvre, which carries with it the risk of breaking the bed frame. If you’re an adult making the bed for a kid, then you’ll either have the same problem, or you’ll be perched on the top rung of a ladder with one foot, reaching for a far corner, trying to jam some bedding into the non-existent gap between the wall and bed, skinning your knuckles. Tall parents will also smash their heads against the ceiling or nearby lights. There’ll probably be swearing. I wonder how actuaries for insurance companies feel about loft beds.
  • Taking the mattress down to air requires that you transform into the hulk – green angry frustration included. Granted, this depends on the density and proportions of the mattress, but decent mattresses tend to have some heft to them. And if your mattress is set reasonably far into the loft frame you have to lift the mattress clear of that – basically to the ceiling – and then get it down to ground level, without breaking a light, knocking over a plant, or falling off a ladder. Good luck.
  • The headroom/clearance beneath a loft bed can be dubious. Maybe it’s mostly fine for a child, but for a person of significant height (say, a parent or older sibling sitting next to them to help with some homework…) I do wonder, on my own behalf: Where will my head and neck go?

The method

Let me help you with your decision to get a loft bed or not: Don’t get a loft bed for kids. Let them stay grounded.

And if you’re an adult getting a loft bed, well, I don’t understand why, but: I don’t think you should get one either, for all of the same reasons. And more. Best of luck though, if that’s what you have your heart set on.

If you’re still thinking, hey, I’m not quite as cynical as this plonker, then I offer you a comprehensive flowchart with which you may make your big decision.

Here’s the first part of it (download the template below for the full version):

Use the awesome template

Paying subscribers to Without a hitch can download:

  • A comprehensive, printable A4 flowchart for deciding whether to get a loft bed or not (ideally not)