Published on November 28th, 2011 | by Jules Yap


Better than sticking the kid in the actual dresser drawer

compact junior bed with storage

Materials: Malm chest of drawers (2), Sniglar bed (1), Ivar side unit (2). Also a Pax wardrobe.

We’re a family of five living in a small, two-bedroom flat. The two teenage girls share a room, and Junior Muppetface Bananas, age 4½, sleeps in the “master bedroom” (ha) with us. When he was a baby he slept in our bed, then he got his own, and the room which is about ten metres square got more and more cramped.

And then he needed a bigger bed (his, while not a crib, was crib-sized). What were we to do? We needed to be able to open the door to the room, after all! Ikea assures us every year that the company caters for those of us with limited space – well, we all know that ain’t true. The options are actually very limited and unimaginative. (Also, in Sweden they still operate in a 1980s dream world where we all live in big flats or houses and a standard double bed is, indeed, 180 cm wide. That’s minimum then. They don’t offer any bed frames here for a bed that is 140 cm wide except the Malm, and that adds on so much on the sides that you don’t save any space in the end at all!)

After ranting for a good while I submitted to the necessity of hacking. I also made my husband submit. We’re both really un-handy people so I tried to come up with a solution that involved as little building as possible. The enclosed photos aren’t great, but they show the important bits. (The room is actually so small it’s hard to step back and get everything in the frame!)

compact junior bed with storage
compact junior bed with storage
compact junior bed with storage
compact junior bed with storage

The Sniglar bed frame was bought second-hand, and the legs were sawn off. It was then placed on top of two Malm chest of drawers (also bought second-hand but for all the hassle that was we shouldn’t have bothered, frankly, but that’s another story). Our biggest problem was how to support the bed on the inside, against the wall. Originally I’d planned to use two adjustable height desk legs (Vika Kaj), but as we were sawing and sanding away like merry elves I remembered that we had some Ivar side units in the cellar that might do the trick for nothing. We sawed two of those off to the same height as the Malms, drilled a hole in them for one of those wooden plug things and a corresponding hole in the bed, banged the whole lot together with loads of wood glue, secured it some more with metal L-shaped brackets, realised it was still not super-stable dammit so used another bracket to secure the Ivar bit to the skirting board, and then shoved the Malms in underneath. Hey ho, job done! The chest of drawers are 48 cm deep or so, and the bed frame is 75 cm wide, so the majority of the bed is supported by the Malms, with the Ivar bits just propping the inside up so to speak.

At the bottom end of the bed is a Pax wardrobe, which is just put together normal style. The only “hacky” thing about it is we put the back on white side out, facing the kiddie bed so to speak. I’m going to hang a curtain in front of it on “our” side, because there is no room for doors. We still haven’t figured out how to secure the wardrobe to the wall or anything else, but we’ll think of something. Probably this will involve borrowing a bad-ass drill from a friend, one that will hopefully be powerful enough to punch a hole in our concrete-and-rock bad-ass wall (there’s a reason why the Ivar unit was secured in the skirting board).

The result is a bigger and more comfy bed for Muppetface Bananas, in a more secluded corner, with room for his and my clothes underneath, and a whole wardrobe with room for clothes for my husband and even some leftover space for my skirts. Also a little more privacy for us, since the wardrobe sticks out a bit and becomes a half wall.

~ bani, Uppsala, Sweden

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

16 Responses to Better than sticking the kid in the actual dresser drawer

  1. HILARIS says:

    absolutely perfect! and you might probably like it the way it is, but if it was up to me, I’d paint the wooden bed part white and it would all look more compact together ;)

  2. Anonymous says:

    we have put blinds on the front of our pax wardrobe frames instead of doors – if you haven’t already done a curtain you might like to consider that. Ikea have plenty of different blind sizes and colours/styles. I love the look of the bed – I think it’s a great cabin bed and if you can get to the space at the back of the drawers (by taking a drawer out) you could probably use it for long term storage too!!!
    Chris C

  3. Anonymous says:

    dear bani,

    you might simply “hang” a ladder on the bed. simply use a suitable ladder and attach some kind of hook (for example rigel to it. this way you can remove the ladder whenever you want to pull the drawers out!

    best wishes

  4. Anonymous says:

    One of the best hacks I’ve seen so far – well done!

  5. bani says:

    Anon5: Not bed frames though! Only mattresses. Granted, they’re getting better and the 160 cm wide is becoming more of a standard. Just in time for our downsizing from 160 to 140, of course.

    Anon4: thanks. :)

    Jenny: that was a great idea. I should have thought of that myself and planned better from the start – I can’t do it now because then we won’t be able to pull the drawers out. Ho hum, that’s what happens when one isn’t very practical …. I’ll remember it though for the future!

  6. Anonymous says:

    “in Sweden they still operate in a 1980s dream world where a standard double bed is …180 cm wide. …They don’t offer any bed frames… that is 140 cm wide except the Malm “

    =>FYI, in Sweden they also have 80, 90, 105, 120, 140, 160 cm wide beds (x200cm long)

    see one example here:

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hey, Anonymous. That hack didn’t cost as much as a new apartment will. Some people don’t have the money for big spaces, for heaven’s sake. And honestly, the size of a space doesn’t matter. The quality of the parents matters. And you sound like awesome parents. I think your Junior Muppetface Bananas is one lucky kid. I love what you did, and I love the playful way you write — I’m guessing you’re playful parents, too.

  8. Jenny says:

    Instead of climbing on the drawers, you could attach a ladder to the wall at the head of his bed. If not a ladder, some climbing hand holds like on a playground, or a rope ladder. Whatever your kid could manage the best.

  9. Anonymous says:

    All the money spent on hacking would probably better off put to use in saving for a bigger place.. feel sorry for this kid…

    • Anonymous says:

      Well aren’t you a nasty bit of sunshine. Kissed one to many speeding trains this morning did you? Honestly people like you make me fear for the future of the human race. Nasty, horrid people everywhere **shudder**

  10. bani says:

    Yay, I made the cut! I’d lost hope. ;) Thanks Jules!

    Anonymous 1: There was no room for a loft bed and our bed in the room, otherwise we’d have gone with that. If Ikea had made a loft bed in a junior size (160×70 cm), that would have been great, but they don’t. Although … I don’t know if I’d've liked a loft bed solution actually. I was so tired of the whole “sticking bits of furniture in under other bits” look we had going. It’s not a look so much as a lumber room in the end. This ended up much neater. I did consider the Kura junior loft bed, but getting chests of drawers under that was a hassle, so I gave it up. Also, this height is great for us adults too – and yes, amazingly the bed is really stable and holds up fantastically even for me and my surplus kilos!

    Anonymous 2: he does use the drawers for climbing on, yes, and it’s not ideal, I know… but so far so good. We’re lucky in that he’s a lazy kid, he’ll climb in but shouts at us to lift him down. So there’s only half the amount of pressure on the drawers as there would be with a less spoilt child … ;)

  11. woolywoman says:

    I always wanted a bed with curtains- like sleeping in a boat, or a cave. Lovely job.

  12. Laurel says:

    Very practical and it looks good too.

  13. Fatcat says:

    I like the way you thought outside the box with this one.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Junior Muppetface Bananas – awesome! Wish I’d thought of that nick-name when my kids were little! The hack is great, too. It’ll probably be nice nice & stable for when JMB uses the drawers as a staircase…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why no loft bed?

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