Design

Do or Don’t: Low Beds (And a Brooklyn Update)

Since last summer, we’ve been trying our best to move from the West Village to Brooklyn, but the market is getting craaazy. There are so few Brooklyn apartments available that people are going nuts for them. (At a recent open house that our friends attended, 375 people had lined up around the block!) As you’d expect, prices have skyrocketed as a result. After much discussion, Alex and I have decided that we might stay in our tiny apartment for another year and see what happens after that.

Nevertheless, I can’t stop daydreaming about creating a real, long-term home for our family. Right now, we feel a little bit in limbo, and it will be nice to be in a place where we can feel settled (and hopefully won’t have as many mice).

One cool decorating idea that has caught my eye recently is having a low bed. Have you ever slept in one? The last time we rented an apartment on vacation, the bedroom had a low bed, and for some reason it was incredibly cozy and comfortable to be so close to the floor.

Here are 11 inspiration photos…

(Photo by Kyle Johnson, via Design*Sponge)
(From this Hudson Valley house)
(From Domino Magazine)
(Photo by Richard Powers)
(Photo by Claesson Koivisto, via Minted)
(From Fashionable Living, via Minted)
(Home of Melanie Ireland of Simple Kids, via Milk Magazine)
(From Bodie and Fou)

What do you think? Do you have a low bed? Don’t you love the way they look?

(Photo at top by Old Brand New Blog)

  1. Sleeping on a medium-to-high bed feels unnatural to me. When I bought my latest platform bed, I had to have 6 in. cut off of the legs. With that done, it is 12 in. high (I wish I’d had more cut off), and with the mattress, 22 in. high. Really, about 16 in. off the floor would be perfect! I love the way a low bed looks (I have a minimalist bedroom). And sleeping low has always felt so comforting and “right” to me.

    • Since I posted this, I’ve changed to a mattress that’s 2 inches thinner and have had 3 more inches cut from my bed’s legs. Now it is perfect.

  2. Kayla says...

    I really don’t like sleeping on a low bed. I think the novelty of sleeping on a low bed for your vacation is what made it endearing. If you did it everyday, you would probably see it differently. I’ve had all heights of bed, and it seems like waist-height is the winner in my book. Less effort to get in and out of bed. Like others have said here, it does make it hard to get up in the morning when you have to heave yourself off the floor, instead of just swinging your legs over. Also, going down to the floor to sleep loses its appeal after awhile and just feels like an extra bedtime chore getting up and down from it. I also am not a fan of the look, in addition to the fact that a low frame can be a shin-bruiser, and a bed flat on the floor probably isn’t so good for the mattress. Higher beds tend to look nicer, plus you can store things under it. Just some thoughts from someone who has spent years doing the low-bed thing and was not a fan.

  3. Juj says...

    AGREED! I have been sleeping on the floor of my home for 8 years now! You end up hauling yourself up by leaning a forearm onto a low table or chair..and heaving! Doing the low bed limbo is for the young…at least think about a durable bed frame for the years ahead…

    Ever care for someone confined for whatever reason to a bed? That’s an honor and a privelege, but can you imagine the wear and tear on your back always leaning over to help in a bed THIS low??

  4. Lower beds make it harder to get up in the morning. I have enough trouble getting out of bed as it is, and actually having to use my legs first thing in the morning sucks.
    http://www.check-rates.com

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  12. NM says...

    We had a pretty low bed when we were living in nyc, and I just end up hating it because it was way too low to make it every morning… we had to bend too much to be able to make it

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  14. And I thought Sydney had competitive real estate issues! 375 people at an open house is insane.

    I used to have a low bed and they look fantastic but now that I am in my 40’s I don’t know if I could handle the bumps in the shin as well as I did 20 years ago.

    For me it’s now a comfortable Sealy Mattress on a bed base that has sliding drawers. Not as sexy as the pictures you’ve shown but at least it is practical when space is at a premium and by removing the castors on the mattress base it’s only about 15 centimetres (6 Inches) higher than a low bed would be.

    You can even hide it quite well with an oversized bed quilt which any good furniture or bedding shop can have custom made for you.

  15. My husband and I have had a low bed for so long getting into one on a regular frame feels strange. We have two small dogs and it’s easier for them to get in and out of bed and even though it’s a king with plenty of room to spare for two people and two dogs it just feels cozy. We’ve recently moved into a house with 10 foot ceilings and the low bed makes the room feel so spacious and (this may sound weird but I don’t know how else to describe it) calming.

  16. BTW so sorry about the delay in the new apt. We’re in the same position and I am with you on wanting to create a long-term family space. I keep reminding myself that what they’ll need most from us is love, and that helps. Also, I know when we move into a bigger place we won’t feel so close, so I am trying to enjoy that for now. :)

  17. We have a low bed although it wasn’t exactly by choice! LOL And when I say low bed I mean a frame and mattress sitting right on the floor. Calling it a low bed sounds much more chic :) It’s great because our 19 month-old son can climb in and out of it without worry of him getting hurt and we have #2 on the way so I won’t be so worried about her rolling out either. It looks really cozy when the bedding is soft and fluffy. Love the inspiration pics! Makes me want to go out and buy some new sheets to spice things up.

  18. I like low beds but prefer medium ones,
    my husband hates low beds because he says he needs to much effor to stand up

  19. Low beds feel special I think because they hark back to a time of sleep-overs at friend’s places; telling stories, giggling and getting told off by mum for not sleeping! Love them.

    http://ecstacyofcontrast.blogspot.com.au/

  20. Just read Alex’s article about Hipsturbia in the Times…are you thinking about moving out of the city?

    Great article, by the way! I love his writing style.

  21. I LOVE low beds! There is something strangely cozy about it, isn’t there? It’s almost like it reminds me of camping out and sleeping in a sleeping bag. One thing I will say is that I’ve noticed my back hurting every now and then, because you get out of bed in a whole different way than with a “normal” bed. but I think it’s still wroth it.

  22. I have a high bed which I love but I toss and turn a lot and have definitely ended up- ouch!- on the floor. It wouldn’t hurt nearly as much on a low bed. That said, it’s totally disheartening to see how my neighborhood/borough [Brooklyn] has been changed by gentrification! I know everyone has to live and many people have dreams of owning cheaper homes [although, they aren’t really cheaper because my family home here has always been 1 mil+] and staying here in ny but the crowding, inflation, and other super negative things that come along with the influx of newcomers is super sad. Brooklyn’s awesome [born, raised, and still living here!] but the impact that certain types of people moving into certain neighborhoods has been huge and not always positive for the people who have spent their lives here. I am holding my breath- optimistically- that this new trend/influx dies down soon! Although, on a person-2-person level, I am bummed for you that you have to wait another year for your house– I know how anxious and excited you were!

  23. Ugh. and the same goes for Harlem, which someone mentioned above. The gentrification is killing everything for the people who have always called Harlem home. It’s not just another trendy, brown stoned neighborhood… it means a lot more than that to many people and it’s shame that that gets watered down by Whole Foods’ and price inflation [which, in turn drives out the people who had been there forever…]

  24. It’s all fun and games to sleep on a low bed on the floor… until you have a cockroach problem…

  25. If you’re totally over the Brooklyn real estate mob scene, I recommend the Mount Morris Park neighborhood in Harlem- 116th- 124th St between Lenox and Madison. That’s where I live and, I will tell you, the home prices are reasonable and the value will only increase- a Whole Foods is going in in 2015, and new restaurants and shops are coming in like crazy. It’s got the same Brooklyn look- rows and rows of brownstones, a gorgeous park, and it’s safe and getting safer. I think I’ll have 300 people outside my apartment when I sell it 10-15 years from now.

  26. I had a low bed for years and loved the look, but it was so impractical … no storage underneath! Now I have a higher bed and can fit so much underneath, it’s like an extra room down there!!

  27. We have a really low platform bed from West Elm and I am so sad that storing things under it is a PITA. I have to have my husband lift it (it’s very heavy, and king sized, lol) while I slide the storage containers underneath it. The good news is that you can’t really see them under it, but the bad news is that I dream about having a different bed with a headboard all the time. I don’t necessarily want it higher but I want a headboard to make it look more ‘finished’.

    jessica / http://www.teamwiking.com

  28. I had one from Ikea for two years in college. It was an adjustment but eventually I loved it! Mostly because it fit the room so well. I think these types of beds have to be in the right space. I think they’re fun beds to have, but not for long term. After two years, I was tired of bending down to put sheets on and just got tired of being so low to the ground. Would probably be great in a guest bedroom. But overall, I really enjoyed it…oh but in winter I needed a few extra layers, being so low to the ground (Boston winters can be bitter).

  29. Move to the Seward Park Co-ops on the Lower East Side. You won’t find more bang for your buck and it’s a dream for raising children.

  30. High bed. Low I have now as high is in storage and I hate it. Hate that my feet are barely off the ground. I dont even use under my bed for storage when its high I just think it is more comfortable. Plus when I see those wooden slats on the low bed I cringe thinking about stubbing my toe on it.

  31. mo says...

    I let out a little laugh, because after you mentioned mice, you say that you are thinking of a low bed. I immediately pictured that being worse because a mouse could crawl right on the bed!! eek! :)

  32. I love low beds. Before I moved I had the boxspring and mattress only (and I covered the boxspring with a fitted sheet – super cheap). But since I moved and every little storage bit helps, my bed is off the floor enough to put things under.

    And come to Forest Hills! The schools are great, the area is nice (and close to an express stop), and there’s an apartment right below mine being remodeled right now… :)

  33. I’m willing to bet that something particularly special will unfold for you and your living situation- beyond what you had hoped and expected. Mark my words!

    We have a low bed (really just a mattress on the floor, by default) but it is super cozy, as you mentioned, and it’s got a nice uncluttered look that integrates better with the decor environment. We were thinking of upgrading to an actual “big person” bed, but the more I think about it the more I’d like to stick with what we have (besides, the dog loves it!)

  34. we have a low bed b/c our child occasionally sleeps with us, and we’re about to have a new little one (and we co-sleep). I’ve actually been daydreaming about having a real, off-the-ground bed, but there is something lazy and relaxing about the look of a low bed. We just need to put a little more effort into finding appropriately sized side tables to make it look intentional.

  35. My husband and I have a low bed and LOVE it. We are also feeling a bit in limbo when it comes to our living arrangements. But I know the perfect place is out there waiting for us… And for you too.

  36. Brooklyn has become insane! I’m moving to a new building in Bed Stuy as a result. Sure, maybe there isn’t as much going on, but it’s around the corner from a beautiful park, and it’s a fraction of the price of my Williamsburg place and twice as big!!! It’s actually becoming pretty family friendly, and a lot of the people moving into my building are younger couples with kids!

    http://the-dandy-life.com

  37. We have a low bed and i wish it were slightly higher! I love the unfussy look of a lower bed, but if it is too low, the sheets and covers are always touching the floor, by morning they have been sweeping the floor all night! I also would prefer a bed that if i swing my legs over the side, i can stand rather than crawl out of bed. The mid low height in some of your inspiration photos would be perfect!

  38. He looks too precious.

  39. I currently have a low bed, but only because we don’t have a frame for our king size mattress and box spring. I hate it though. Personally, I hate my comforter touching the ground. I feel like it never is “neat” and always looks cluttered. I think perhaps it would be ok in a large room where there is plenty of space to avoid stepping too close to the bedding. However, I really prefer a high bed with a crisp clean bed skirt.

  40. hey jo, i don’t know much about the housing market out there but i was wondering maybe if it was possible to rent somewhere in brooklyn so you guys can get into the neighbourhood you wanna be in? or even moving somewhere a little bigger so you four have more space? lots of love XXX

  41. I have a low bed I bought at Ikea about a year ago, I LOVE it. I love the look and being close to the floor. I’ve never noticed that I “climb” out of bed in the morning. I also bought this really adorable night table that is low as well.

  42. I have a low bed I bought at Ikea about a year ago, I LOVE it. I love the look and being close to the floor. I’ve never noticed that I “climb” out of bed in the morning. I also bought this really adorable night table that is low as well.

  43. While they do look cozy, I don’t think I would ever get out of bed if I had a low bed! I also think sometimes they just look off, like you just moved in and are still getting unpacked. One place I could see a low bed though would be a summer home, but I shouldn’t get ahead of myself yet.

  44. The Brooklyn housing market sounds crazy!! I definitely am not a low bed kind of person, I’d rather hop out of bed in the morning than climb out.

    Kristina

    Kristina does the Internets

  45. These photos are really inspirational! I would love that look. Might have trouble get out of bed some mornings though, as I’m pretty tall. It all looks so comfy and casual.

    My Blog: http://nataliafamilia.com.au/

  46. High bed all the way! I’ve had both and it feels so much better when you can slip down the side of a high bed in the morning, rather than pulling yourself up off the ground. Feels like you’re sleeping in Heaven, rather than Hell. (Yes, I’m dramatic about my sleep.)

    <3 Jenn
    http://www.pureimajennation.com

  47. I have a high antique bed (though I added slats underneath as the old wire mesh base was sagging) which I love, but what is awesome about it in apartment living is how much stuff I can fit underneath it. Don’t underestimate the value of under-bed storage! :)

  48. We had the bed on the floor for a few months after getting a king and while it was nice, the night we bought a frame and got it off the floor we noticed we were both sleeping SO much better because the air was finally able to circulate all around, above and below us. I know it seems a little silly and “how could you tell the difference?” and I can’t really explain it, but the difference was huge.

  49. I agree about widening your house hunt. I know you are a city girl, but there is a lot to be said for going just a bit outside of the city when you have a family. I grew up in Maplewood, NJ and it is a fabulous little town.
    We have a platform bed, which I find to be a great mix of a regular bed and low bed. Its low enough for kids to easily get in and out of (we are a cosleeping family), but yet, its off the floor (so away from dust and drafts), looks “finished”, and I can tuck a slim tote under the bed for storage (100 yr old house=no closets!). When our kids transitioned out of our bed, we got them twin mattresses and boxsprings, which we put on the floor without a frame. A tad lower than our platform, safe in case of a fall, but off the floor just a bit.
    My sister’s family has all their mattresses directly on the floors- no box springs or foundation at all. She started b’c of cosleeping and now they are just comfortable that way. But, I find it unfinished looking, and she has no underbed storage, which would be problematic with my old house, and likely with small city apartments as well.

  50. I have one and I always had. I hate them. (They were always the cheapest)
    It is so much harder to lift oneself up when awaking in the morning…

  51. I had a low bed when in my apartment to college, but when I moved to the city and we had mice (i blame the dirty downstairs tenants), I quickly got a bed frame hiiigghhh off the ground.

  52. I had a low bed, sort of by mistake. When I moved into my house, my queen box spring wouldn’t fit up the stairs, so it landed on the curb, and my mattress landed on the floor. It was 3 months before I actually made it to Ikea to buy a bed frame with slats. I love my frame( http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S99849961/ ) but my room sure seemed more spacious and kind of zen with the bed on the floor!

  53. We used to have a pottery barn iron bed but I recently sold it and we have our mattress on the floor which I LOVE. We sleep tons better and dont have to worry about the kids falling to far when they jump on our bed!

  54. I love the low bed, but i think you have to have a fairly large space and sparse furniture to make it work. ..

  55. I have had a low bed in the last three apartments I’ve lived in, and I absolutely love it! You’re right – it’s extremely cozy be so low to the floor. As a bonus, on super hot and humid nights like we have here in Cincinnati, it’s a whole heck of a lot cooler closer to the floor :)

  56. Me and my husband have a low bed. We love it! The only downside is not having that “space under the bed” to store everything!

  57. We have a low bed and we love it!! Our daughter also loves it because it’s easy for her to climb on and off of, and it’s not that far if she falls. I’m DEATHLY allergic to dust mites, so we don’t use under-the-bed for storage, I vacuum under it once per week and we don’t have any trouble with dust.

    When we first moved into our apartment and I was hugely pregnant, we had a mouse! Luckily we’ve never had one since, but it made me scream!! xo :)

  58. love them! i sleep in a futon, a traditional japanese bed, which is only like 8cm tall, ha! i love it. i’ve had it since i was six, so i freak out a little when i have to sleep on tall beds at hotels or other people’s houses.

  59. That’a funny. Here in germany everybody has a low bed and it’s hard to find a high (and beautiful) one! Mostly higher beds are for seniors and looks like that. Now we have an english iron bed in cream white for many years and I love it still. Before we had a very flat one, and I remember when I was pregnant… really difficult to get out of bed! But your bedroom-pics are really beautiful and stylish! Love it!
    Uta

  60. I’m too tall for low beds. They hurt my knees.

    • I am short but they hurt mine, too:(

  61. you mentioned you have a problem whit mice…. a low bed doesn’t seem to be the best idea ;)

  62. We have a low bed. I love it, but we did lose the storage space underneath, which with the move to the new house hasn’t been too painful, but something to consider. My husband doesn’t care for it, thinks it is too low, but I love it (I’m not very tall, maybe that’s why). Also, the slanted ceiling is 8-9 feet, so it makes more vertical space, which is nice.

  63. S says...

    Joanna, I love that you are honest and open with your readers about the role that limited finances play in major life decisions. Some of my favorite lifestyle blogs are diminished by flashiness and insensitivity with regard to money. This is why you’re my absolute favorite blogger! All the best to you, Alex, Toby, and your little growing M/Mlle of Mystery.

  64. I adore my tiny bedroom with our low (pallet) bed. It is ideal for our two little kiddos to climb in and cuddle up. We have a big cozy comforter and in the morning I love our two girls being able to cuddle in. It has been especially nice with our tiniest girl (ten mo) since she can easily get in and out of our bed on her own, expanded her playing space in a big way since we are tiny home dwellers. I love it.

  65. I had a low bed for years, but decided that they only really “work” in open rooms. It felt too dorm-like in a small room. But maybe someday again in a bigger house! I’m also grateful for the height of our bed now since it’s the only thing that keeps our puppy off of it :)

    http://www.anna-bird.com

  66. I have had a low bed for about 4 years now and LOOOVE it! Even though it’s a low bed, it’s not THAT low so it doesn’t make me feel like I’m sleeping next to the floor.

    Plus, what I recommend is getting a bed that’s adjustable. Mine is the malm bed from Ikea and has several height notches. The benefits of having a low bed is that it makes a room look more spacious, even if the bed is big. Also, you don’t need to get a box spring. Low beds usually only need the mattress.

  67. THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY FIVE PEOPLE?! For one apartment! I do not blame you for staying put at the moment!!
    I love the look of low beds but personally, there is something so ocmforting about clambering UP into bed. Makes me feel like a little kid again, almost every night haha! x