by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 02. 3.09

italian loft bed system

Bucky Fuller said:

“Our beds are empty two-thirds of the time.
Our living rooms are empty seven-eighths of the time.
Our office buildings are empty one-half of the time.
It’s time we gave this some thought.”

While Bucky notes that beds are used for a third of the time, we are asleep for much of that. So why do we give them so much space? What else can we do with them? TreeHugger has shown dozens of transformer sofas, but what about a more permanent solution?

practica bed image

One thing that designers never talk about when they put in alcove or bunk beds is that they are hard to make; there is nothing easier than walking around a conventional bed at conventional height. That is why Italian designers, the masters of squeezing furniture into small spaces, do things like this, that let the bed pull out and drop for easy access. But try and find something like this in North America. More in TreeHugger at Less is the New More: Building Loft and Alcove Beds

tumedai loft photo

Another Italian version of a loft bed that probably costs as much as buying a bedroom is the spectacular Tumidei line, which is full of interesting ideas. More at Less is the New More: Making the Most of Small Spaces

bedup photo

There are a whole range of Murphy bed solutions where you just make the thing disappear; the biggest complaint about them is that you have to make the bed, strap it down and make sure you didn’t leave a book or magazine on it when it folds up. This problem is dealt with effectively with the BEDUP, where the bed goes straight up to the ceiling. Just make certain everyone has gotten out first. BEDUP: The Space-Saving Bed that Falls From the Ceiling

trundlebed photo

But perhaps the best solutions are those which are adapted to the particular situations and needs. Yen Ha and Michi Yanagishita updated the traditional trundle bed by building it into the floor of a unit.
Living with Less: First, Hide the Bed

puzzle-loft photo

Built-in lofts can be modest little exercises created by young architects. Kyu Sung Woo Architects dreamed up the Interlocking Puzzle Loft to make the most of the oddly-shaped room. Everything In Its Place with the Interlocking Puzzle Loft

student loft box photo

The Students Loft Box Home can be put anywhere. Christine wrote:

Students-Loft offers a win-win concept. Empty space gets used with a minimum of re-engineering required, leaving the originally commercially planned space intact (for when the businesses and industry come storming back on the heels of successful economic reforms). And students get living spaces, cost-effective and close to the site of their studies.

Students Loft Box Home

hogarth loft photo

Then there is the over-the-top architecturally designed loft that probably cost as much as a house in America, like this one designed by Hogarth Architects “to provide all the functions required by a man about town.”

hogarth-stair photo

Don’t know if it is sustainable but it is one of the prettier stairs anywhere. Loft in Space by Hogarth Architects

loftbed mccomber photo
Laurent McComber, Less is More: Loft Bed Makes Room for Baby

In America we seem to purchase our houses for a short period of a long lifecycle- instead of adapting our spaces to the quarter of our lives that we share with kids, we buy for the biggest crowd. That’s why we love these clever adaptations of space to accommodate the bulge in numbers.