Storage Bed: The Reckoning

Grade me…look at me…evaluate and rank me!

- Lisa Simpson

We’ve lived with our storage bed for a few months now, so it’s time for the informed low-down. If you are new to the saga, we shopped a bunch of options before buying an unfinished captain’s bed.

12-Drawer Queen Storage Bed by Delroc Furniture

12-Drawer Queen Storage Bed by Delroc Furniture

I stained and sealed it then we finally set it up and even bought a mattress for it. We were somewhat stunned that the time ever came for us to sleep in it.

clamped bed

Part of the lengthy process.

But sleep we did! And after sleeping on it for some time, we reached Important Conclusions.

The Main Important Conclusion:

A good storage bed is a useful piece of furniture worth having in your home.

But why?? Well, in case you are on the fence over the captain’s bed issue, here are the details.

1. Storage. Storage is the top reason for buying a storage bed. Go figure. Despite that, the models and plans we looked at varied quite a bit on actual storage. Units with two or three drawers don’t seem worth the time to me, although they might make sense for other situations (especially for kids). We were looking for a bed that would entirely replace dressers in our room, so we maxed out by choosing a 12-drawer bed.

drawers in storage bed

All of Kev’s jeans and sweatshirts taking up only one-sixth of the storage (and with plenty of clearance under the floating bedstand).

We’re neither one of us clothes-horses, but we’re not cloistered either; I’d say we have an average amount of clothing for a married couple. The bed easily accommodates our folded clothes for each season, even with a couple of drawers given over to non-clothes storage. We have more storage volume in our bed now than we ever had in dressers or wardrobes. Having a place to put everything without a recurring organizational struggle is nice. Really nice.

2. Immovable Object. I’m surprised to find I love the fact that the bed feels like it is secured to the house (or possibly to the bedrock under the house). Our old boxspring/frame set-up used to wander around the room over time, and the mattress would get slightly skewed and need straightening. This was not due to any particular acrobatics or anything — the old bed would just get bumped around because it was on wheels and it wasn’t very heavy. The room just feels more put together now that I can rely on the bed staying put.

Another good thing about the bed’s solidity is that when I come to bed later than the Kev, I’m much less likely to disturb him.

On the negative side, the Kev and I did suffer quite a few initial bruises. The bed structure has no give at all, and that top corner is a beast to run into! But we fixed the problem by attaching toddler bumpers, which are concealed by bedding. (We got the bumpers from my brother, who peeled them off of the coffee table; his kids are on their own now!)

Rubber baby corner bumpers

Rubber baby corner bumpers

3. Height. The top of the mattress is 32 inches (81 cm) off the floor, including our mattress topper. I’m 5’5″ (165 cm) and I have short legs. I wouldn’t want it any taller, but this height is fine for me, and I don’t even notice it anymore. To sit on the bed, I use my toes for a boost; at bedtime, I perform a stretch-and-roll maneuver.

corgi

We did buy a particularly thick mattress, so the height could be a few inches shorter with a thinner mattress or a futon. On the upside, though, it’s great to be closer to vertical when getting out of bed in the morning!

4. Sleeping Surface. On most storage beds, the mattress goes straight onto a wooden platform. The mattress guy said that a platform bed made a mattress feel about 15% harder than it would be with a boxspring (highly scientific, mattress guys). So we bought a slighter softer mattress. I still found it a little hard, so we now have a down-filled topper on it, and it’s lovely. 

5. This Particular Bed. Overall, we are fans of the Futonland bed we chose, although there were a few things we tweaked.

The bed is well-made in terms of basic carpentry, but the finish was pretty rough. Most of the cuts were splintery with rough veneer edges. I spent more time sanding and filling than I expected, even with the good price we got on the bed. Just to be safe, I ran caulk around all the inside joints in the drawer boxes to avoid splinters in our clothes. If you buy this model, know that you’ll need to do more than just finish-related prep work before staining or painting.

Other tweaks: we applied glide tape to the drawers because we ordered the bed without metal rails (the extra weight made shipping too expensive). That solution works perfectly. We also spent some time adding extra bolts to connect the two sides of the bed (it comes as two individual “dresser” units–one for each side of the bed). Ideally, some sort of connecting system should be incorporated into the design, but it was a fairly easy improvement to make.

We liked having the “blank slate” of an unfinished bed so we could customize its appearance. In addition to matching the finish to other woodwork, we upgraded the drawer pulls from the plain wood knobs that came with it to cup pulls. We also bolted our upholstered headboard to the bed by drilling through the back of the drawer units. This task took some lining up and careful bolt sizing to avoid interfering with the drawers, but it came out well.

The Bed

We receive many visitors searching for information on dresser beds like ours, and we hope that this post (and the others in this informal series) clarifies the pros and cons. But if not, please leave a question in the comments or drop us a line — in furniture terms, it’s a big decision!

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11 Responses to Storage Bed: The Reckoning

  1. Susan says:

    could you use an air mattress on it?

    • Stacey says:

      You might be able to use a regular air mattress, but I would be a little concerned about condensation underneath the mattress. The top of the bed is just a platform, so there’s no ventilation. I’ve seen condensation under air mattresses on a floor, and I think that might happen here too. You’d also want an air mattress that wouldn’t squeeze out from under you if you are a little short like me and need to work a little to get into the bed!

  2. Sidney says:

    Thanks for your post. I’m looking at unfinished captain’s beds for my ten year old son and have wondered how solidly built they are.

    • Stacey says:

      You’re welcome, Sidney. It was a big leap of faith to order sight-unseen, but fortunately, it worked out. There are unfinished furniture stores near us, but they didn’t have what we were looking for. Another possibility: my brother just bought a captain’s bed for his older son from an Amish furniture maker. You better believe that thing is built to last! I think it was pretty expensive, though. Good luck!

      • Karen says:

        Hi Stacey. Thank you for the information you are sharing. I am on the hunt for a captain’s style bed for my 13 year old. We did look at an Amish furniture store near us. They seem really expensive, but it sounds like you put a ton of work in. did you ask your brother what his cost? We are looking for a twin or XL Twin.

  3. Dee says:

    Thank you for your post! I have spent months looking for platform bed and your post has helped me greatly. I have a few questions: I see in the picture your platform bed is on top of the rug and floor, do these 2 different levels affect the bed? Does it rock or is it evident there is a difference?

    Also, since you had to put 2 pieces together there must be a seam at the center end of the bed. How did you keep it from looking like a gap? Will the seam look tacky if the bedding doesn’t cover it?

    And lastly, I may not be able to do all the work on it as I am single, on my own. Have you seen any other 12 drawer beds? Storage is everything to me! I haven’t seen any finished 12 drawer beds online – regardless of price.

    Thank you for the informative blog

    • Stacey says:

      Hi, Dee! Thanks for the nice comments!

      To answer your questions, since our house is old and the floors are a little sloping, the rug (which is fairly thin) doesn’t make the bed unlevel. If anything, it helps keep it more level! But of course each room will be different. On the seam, there is a vertical seam at the end of the bed. It’s very tight, and I don’t think that it would look bad if it were exposed more than it is in our room. It would be easy to cover up with some trim, though (maybe nail some trim all around the edge and then run a few verticals, one of which would be the middle one). I thought about doing that, but there’s nowhere in our room that you can really get a good look at the seam, so I didn’t bother. But you wouldn’t have to bother with it at all if you bought a whole bed — there’s this one if you were looking for a 12-drawer bed that you didn’t have to stain: http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Espresso-Tall-Full-12-drawer-Captains-Platform-Storage-Bed/3701390/product.html. We thought about that option very seriously, but didn’t do it because of the reviews that say it’s particle-board construction and therefore not as durable as it could be. If you are someone who can make something like that really last, it would be a good option (although it still requires assembly — Ikea-like assembly, I think). That’s just about the only 12-drawer I have seen, but you might want to check locally where you are — unfinished furniture places and Amish builders might have just the thing you are looking for.

      Thanks again for your comment, and let us know what you end up doing!

  4. Andy says:

    Stacey,

    Thanks for doing this review. I’ve been looking at this bed online and haven’t been able to find the answer to this question specifically. Is this bed all solid wood construction?

    Thanks!

    • Stacey says:

      Andy, hi — I had the same question when I was shopping! I emailed them and they said that it was “solid wood.” I then asked what they meant by that! Most of it is fairly thick plywood (no particle board), and I think part of it is pine boards. I will take a look at it and come back with thicknesses (I want to say 3/4″, but let me check) and what’s what on different parts of the bed. (I would do it now, but the Kev is crashed out in there at the moment.) Back with you in the next 24 hours on that…

      • Stacey says:

        Ok, I’m back! Most of the structure and the drawer fronts are 3/4″ furniture-grade plywood, with veneer added to any ends that would show (top of the drawer fronts for when they are open, for instance). The drawer sides and bottoms are 1/2″ plywood. The end pieces and the top rail appear to be solid boards (pine, I believe), and the drawer supports are a mix of plywood and board pieces. The whole thing is very sturdy, and I have some heavy stuff in the drawers with no problem. Having said all that, none of it is particularly finished off — there were splintery bits, and I did a fair bit of sanding, as well as a little wood filler here and there (I’m fussy). Let me know if you have any other questions about it!

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