How to keep a bed from dominating a mixed-use room

August 9 |
THE couch
About a dozen people can watch a movie from this couch! Photo by Richard Giles. Used under Creative Commons license.

Sylvia has a problem:

I live in half-a-house, sealed up and separate from the rest. The other half is occupied by my dad. As a space that wasn't really built as an entire house, it's a kooky space, but it's fabulously cozy. The back "room" is our study/music room/art studio AND guest bedroom.

I have a king bed in a pretty prominent corner. How can I make this look less like a bed that got lost on its way to an ACTUAL bedroom, and more like some sort of daybed situation?

I tried some lame ideas like leaning pillows up against the wall, but it always looks kind of out of place. Any ideas?

This is a great question — some of our readers living in studio apartments must be asking the same. When I lived in a studio, we had the same problem and also tried the pillow solution — but it's not great.

The best solution I've found is to build an L-shaped padded headboard, something like this one.

Whatcha got, Homies? Any other ideas for making a bed look natural and less bed-like?

  1. I don't really know if this is a feasible solution for you, but when we had a bed in our small apartment, the bed frame was actually too big to fit in our bedroom. So, we took it apart, put the frame in storage, and just used the mattress. We used two fitted sheets on either side so we could prop it up against the wall without it looking like a mattress that needed to be taken out for the garbage men. You get extra space when you need it just by propping it up. When we left it down, we put a bunch of pillows all over it and carefully put a large board in the center of it to turn it into a cozy card playing area. Since it was so low to the ground it just looked like a comfy cuddle corner.

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  2. pillows leaned up against a wall didnt work for us either, what did work was an under the bed bin that during the day held our sleeping pillows and blankets and at night held all the huge awesome pillows we threw on the bed! We just had one of those metal frames no head board or anything.

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  3. If you can't afford to buy/can't be bothered to make one of those nifty L-shaped headboards that Cat suggested, try buying a couple of really long bolster pillows; they're super comfy and look very similar to a padded headboard.

    Also, make sure your bedsheets match the room – it may sound stupid, but having a 'pulled together look' (even if it looks like a pulled together Kawai video full of kitties and ancing cheeseburgers) will make the bed stand out less.

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    • And as far as matching using the bed coverings–match the floor if it's on the floor or the walls if it's higher.
      Visually, this will make it appear to be more of a built-in feature of the room than something just sort of there.

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  4. Maybe building a loft could be beneficial? Then it's up and out of the way, and your don't have to lose valuable floor space.

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  5. I love the L-shaped headboard Idea.. I wonder if I could have a go at that one day
    and matching the colours is such a great idea too … DOI why didn't I think of that?!

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  6. Since it's a king, maybe have the mattress on the floor with a a bunch of floor pillows on top of the cover. Then, put up netting or wall tapestries to give it a sitting area look. (I was picturing a harem-like look.)

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  7. It's actually a king single, with a bed frame that's not too dominant. I need to keep it on the frame because I've got no space to store the frame, and because I use the space under the bed for storage

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  8. I think the key to making a bed look more like a sofa/daybed is structural fabrics.

    Pillows can work great… but only if they are big and sturdy! I LOVE floor pillows from West Elm for this, though they're expensive. Layering helps, too (big sturdy pillows in the back, smaller pillows in the front).

    Same goes for blankets — a tucked-in quilt (especially in a more subtle texture/pattern) is going to say 'day bed' more than a fluffy comforter.

    Also, big ottoman trays can be used to break up the space (bonus: space to put drinks, snacks, and pretties!)

    1 agrees
  9. I inherited a long and thin wicker headboard that I propped up between my bedside and the wall. When I made my bed I threw the pillows in front of it and found that it looked great. Check your local Freecycle, or the Ikea As Is section for a cheap headboard/hunk of lumber/(ooooh! old door!) that you could use simliarly.

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