Yep, my kid still sleeps in a closet: our post-crib sleeping solution

Posted by

Tavi's new bed
Those of you who have read Offbeat Families for a while may recall that, since my family of three shares a one-bedroom home, our son’s bedroom is a converted walk-in closet. It’s worked out really well for us, but my son Octavian is now a very large 19-months-old (seriously: dude is bigger than some of his three-year-old friends. He won a genetic lottery) and his second-hand crib was on the small side of things to begin with. It’s become increasingly clear that it is time for our son to graduate to his next bedding situation.

The closet nursery before shot

Inspired in part by Alice Lasertron’s Montessori bedroom, we started considering a floor mattress for Tavi. It makes sense given the size of the closet/room: we could fit a very small child’s bed into the closet, but it would take up the entire space. Complicating matters further, a back corner of the room is taken up by a 1’x1′ enclosed pipe, so a bed wouldn’t be able to fit against the wall. A mat on the floor also means there’s nothing for him to fall out of — if he rolls off the mat, it’s a 2″ slide to the rug on the floor.

Even with all these reasons for why a floor-bed made perfect sense, I felt myself fighting the idea a bit. My son… on the floor? But, shouldn’t he have something special-er? Something less “here’s a pile of pillows; ‘night kid”? He’s my precious baby beans! NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER ON THE FLOOR!

I even took a cursory glance at some toddler beds, but it just made no sense. It was basically my own misguided issues of pride and weirdness getting in the way of clear logic. A bed on the floor absolutely makes the most sense for our space and my son’s age. Special-er concerns be-damned!

So, our solution? Well, it was pretty straightforward: we bought some crap at Ikea and dumped it on the floor.

Tavi's new bed

Ikea crap we purchased: [related-post align=”right”]

As you can see, there’s absolutely NO unifying theme. We’re still using the rainbow stars and skulls bedding from Rockerbye Baby, and now we’ve got a lot of green, and there are animals, and shark and whale posters on the wall. But jumbled aesthetics aside, the true test of the space is whether Tavi likes it.

Tavi's new bed

I was ready for a rough transition. Tavi goes to bed pretty easily, but would that still be the case if there was no cage to hold him in when I laid him down? Would he be pounding on the closet door, screaming to be let out? The first night, I took him in after his bath for pre-bedtime stories.

“Lay down!” he instructed, flopping down on the mattress. We read stories, and then I snuggled down next to him on the mat. (Major bonus of mattress on the floor: I can lay down and snuggle with him!) When it became clear that my presence was being more of a distraction than a reassurance, I gave him a kiss and slipped out the closet door.

Tavi's new bed

It definitely took Tavi longer to fall asleep. For 20 minutes or so, I could hear him in the closet, chatting quietly to himself, “Lay down … blanky … nana bear … leaf … lay down …” but there was no crying, and certainly no pounding on the door. Eventually the chatting petered out, and when I peeked in on him, he was splayed out on the mattress, wrapped around the Krokodil.

In the morning, instead of waking up with a scream and demands to get out of his crib, I heard one squawk and went in to find him sitting up, happy, looking at some books from his book box. It was sort of amazing. The nights and morning since then have been filled with more of the same, making it clear that dude is super happy with the new arrangement. He’s even been sleeping in a bit later! Who knows if it has anything to do with the bed, but this morning he slept in until 8:15! Amazing.

As for me? I love that I can lay down and snuggle with him in his own little space, under the leaf and surrounded by sharks and rainbows and stars and monkeys.

Tavi's new bed

Comments on Yep, my kid still sleeps in a closet: our post-crib sleeping solution

  1. I love the leaf canopy so much! So precious.

    Do you ever snuggle underneath it with Tavi? Is there room?

    • Totally do, and there’s totally room. Dre and I were both in there this morning! 🙂

  2. I LOVE that leaf! Not only is it adorable, but I’m sure it makes Tavi feel more comfortable by not overwhelming him with the vertical height of the room. I can totally understand loving to sleep in cozy, small spaces.

    I don’t know how well it would work with the available vertical space, or even if you’re thinking this long term, but it looks like the closet would suit well to an eventual loft bed. Build a railing on it to keep him from falling out, give him a ladder to climb up, and it would still preserve all of the floor space for playing and cuddling.

    • Oh yes: if we stay in this condo, we’re totally planning a built in loft-bed as the next iteration. The window in that room is sorta high, so it’s perfect for a loft bed/club house. 🙂

  3. Great post! My #1 will only be about a year and a half old when my #2 comes and I don’t want to have to buy a second crib. Her room is already a closet (though she is sleeping in our room until hot weather/SIDS risk/needing to eat at night is over). We can easily make a cozy space in her closet when we need to take the crib for #2 though we’ll have to do something to prevent her from getting into all the clothes, toys and other baby stuff stored in there when she’s supposed to be sleeping.

  4. I love it, it reminds me of the forts we built as kids, and who wouldn’t want to get to sleep in their own fort every night. Very cool.

  5. Oh wait, I only just now saw how you wrapped the bumpers around the base of the wall and around that sharp corner. Smart!

    • Yeah, those bumpers were too cute not to keep around, and that boxed-out corner desperately needed some major padding. It could use a little bit more, even — he’s bonked himself a couple times!

  6. We’re totally grown-ups without kids and we totally have that Ikea leaf mounted over our bed. Leaf canopies for all!

  7. WOW! The leaf really does it. I think that leave + the coordinating green rug makes it VERY special!

  8. Love this! I was also inspired by the montessori post on OBM! We were trying the “let her cry it out” method for a few weeks, and I was going nuts! So I got inspired and threw the mattress on the floor. She now sleeps through the night! In the morning she crawls out of her room and comes to cuddle with me & her papa : ) We’re currently turning her crib into a club house! (I don’t want to waste the damn thing!)

  9. I desperately wanted to get one of the Twilight Turtles for my future baby but when i tried to buy one they wouldn’t post it down here to Australia 🙁
    I think having a bed on the floor as a toddler makes alot of sense.

  10. I love his little bed. It’s perfect for a 19 month old. Nowhere to fall! Also great for you to snuggle with him too. Two of our children sleep low down to the floor like this and it’s much better.

    • Yeah, the twilight turtle is NOT just a kid’s thing — it’s just plain awesome.

  11. I love the leaf so much I just dded it to our nursery list, and the krokodil looks alot like the dragon, I’m dying for them to bring the dragon back.

  12. Ariel! My husband and I were redecorating our daughter’s room today (painted the walls purple and blue!) and as I was setting up the pillows on her floor bed, I remembered this post. What is around his bed? Is it a bumper or a pillow or a cross between? I need one posthaste!

    • It’s a custom bumper from Rockerbye Baby that we’re now using as a body pillow/thinger?

  13. I love this idea for all the practical reasons (and NOT just because it’s adorable, though it totally is), but I wonder if it could work in a bigger room, or if the coziness is a prerequisite.

  14. “NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER ON THE FLOOR!” LOL! I love the room, of course, but it was the quote that really made my day 🙂

  15. My daughters (7 months) is on a floor bed and has been since she grew out of the bassinet. Its has been the best thing we could of done she wakes up in the morning gets out of bed and plays, wakes me up about 9 in the morning banging on the door and calling out. We are doing the Montessori method and after reading up on it all I just couldnt bring myself to put her in a cot even though I was rather scared about putting her in the floor bed. It took a while to get use to it (we has to put her strait from the bassinet to the floor bed cold turkey when she sat herself up at 5 months) but now shes great :). Love Love Love the floor bed.

  16. So, if Tavi ever wants to visit Canada by doing a bedroom swap with me, I’m totally down for that! I’m almost tempted to turn my walk-in closet into a reading nook that looks like this!! What a lucky kid!

  17. I wish we had come across an idea like this before spending the money on a real bed since 95% of the time my son climbs out of his bed and falls asleep on the floor anyway. When I’m going up to bed I put him back in bed but still…

  18. Obviously, this is working for you and Tavi! I just wanted to say that as a kid, and even now as an adult, I love sleeping on the floor. When I “graduated” from a crib to a bed, I didnt like it so much. I would insist that my mom build me a “nest” to sleep in on the floor. My parents got rid of the bed frame finally, and let me nest away…

  19. If and when you’re looking into some different spacial arrangements, I suggest a loft bed. All you’d need to do is build a frame on the wall, throw a piece of plywood on top, and put the mattress on it. I had one from 4-18, and LOVED IT. It really opened up the space in my bedroom. (Heck, I’d still have one if my body wasn’t eating itself so I can’t guarantee that I could climb the ladder every night.) Even if you only put it up high enough that you need a single step to get up there, it would give you some storage space for toys/extra bedding/whatever underneath.

  20. YESSSS!!!!! I am SO glad I am not the only one who has this Idea! I have 20-month-old twin boys and while one is still tiny (23 lbs. Yes. TINY) My other lil man is a BIG boy and ready for a bed. I think this is a GREAT solution. Still the big-boy bed idea….but at least we don’t have to worry about him falling out of bed and whacking his noggin on our hardwood floor!

  21. this is a really great solution you’ve come up with. it looks so cozy and relaxing!

    however, i have to wonder, why doesn’t your family move into a 2 bedroom apartment? i also live in seattle and am well aware that there are nice, affordable, and safe 2 bedroom units available, just so long as you are willing to live out of the “trendy” neighborhoods.

    • A couple reasons:
      1. Because we own our home, and are not in a financial position to sell or rent it.
      2. Regardless of the neighborhood’s current personality, this hood has been my home off ‘n’ on for 15 years (and I grew up visiting my grandma here in the late ’70s and early ’80s). I’ve written elsewhere about our larger home we had in a different neighborhood, and it didn’t work for us.

    • Truth: I nap in there sometimes, and it is dark and silent and cozy and AWESOME.

  22. Hey Ariel. I have been wondering lately how this set-up is working now that Tavi is getting older. We currently still have Lyric in our room since we don’t have the extra space (she is 3 now!) but I am looking for ways to make her part of the room more “hers”. Hope all is well with you, Kat (your former OBT Minion <3)

Read more comments

Comments are closed.