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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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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