The great bed switcheroo

The Nuffins gluten-free giveaway winner is Linda, commenter #40.


I’m still in the thrall of my great winter restlessness which so far has netted me a very clean closet and a new coat rack in the entryway.  Yesterday I decided that NOW was the time to finally get rid of my little girls’ bunk bed.  It’s a huge thing, with a futon double bed on the bottom and a single bed on the top.  I’ve rassled with it for years when changing sheets.

Does anyone else despise changing bunk bed sheets?  It EASILY makes my top three list of most hated household tasks.  It’s just so darned hard to do it nicely.  And by the time I’m done making both beds I always feel like it would have been easier to put sheets on a jungle gym.

The other thing I didn’t love was the way the size of the bed made their room feel crowded.  I’ve been wishing for several months that I could do something cute and girly like this.  Problem is, my hubby has bunches of other projects that I don’t want to derail, and after the almost-fiasco with the entryway coat rack, I didn’t feel confident enough in my woodworking skills to embark on such an ambitious project myself. And, I knew that much wood would be rather spendy.

So I began tossing other ideas around.  One of my 14yo boys has slept on mattresses on the floor, and was interested in having the futon part of the girls’ bed. I decided that if the futon part of the bed was going in there, we might as well put the upper bunk in their room too.  But since their room is big, we decided not to stack them.

That freed up my other son’s tubular-metal bed frame to go into the girls room. We began of disassembling beds, because of course none of them could fit through any of the doorways– and moved to move the girls’ beds upstairs and my son’s bed frame downstairs.  Since every corner of my girls’ room was cluttered with junk that of course also involved lots of cleaning and vacuuming.  The scene was pure chaos, with mattresses in hallways and bed frames half assembled.  (Sorry, I was way too busy to take pictures of the chaos for you, but I’m sure you can imagine.)

Also in the midst of this, I decided that to make more space in the girls’ room, their Barbie house  needed to move upstairs to the family room, so up that went.  In finding a good place for that, I totally rearranged and vacuumed the family room, in the process discovering a much nicer arrangement for the group of seating around the TV.

Luckily most of the kids had already gotten most of their school done, because for awhile all 7 of us were scurrying around doing various cleaning and moving tasks. I was especially glad for the screwdriver skills and muscle of the boys, as they were able to do most of the bed frame moving and assembly themselves.

I was still short one bed frame for one daughter.  I thought of just setting her mattresses on the floor for awhile. But then  I remembered seeing another old bed on Craigslist a couple weeks ago that was similar in style to the one being moved into my girls room. I checked, called the lady, found out it was still for sale, and also learned she would take $50 for it instead of the $80 that she’d listed it at originally. When we got to Boise to check out the bed, we discovered  it was huge, much taller than the other bed, and I wasn’t sure how it would  look next to the smaller bed.  But it seemed well made and I’d already gotten this far, so the kids and I loaded it in the car and got it home.

Once in my daughters’ room, I ended up very pleased with the way they looked together.  Even though there’s probably less floor space in the room, it somehow looks like more because the bunk bed is no longer towering and visually taking up all the space in the room.

At some point I’d like to tweak the colors in the room –maybe something like this? I’ve also thought of doing some kind of faux brass finish on the little blue bed so that they’ll be more of a matched pair.  (Anyone have paint recommendations for that type of project?) But already it is a huge improvement for a few hours’ hard work and $50.

The best thing was my girls’ delight with the new look to their space.  Last night they stayed awake in bed for an hour, whispering in the glow of their night light.  They love being right across from each other instead of stacked and not able to see each other.

The boys like their revamped space too.  They have a long narrow bedroom over the garage, which is really hard to photograph.  But I think the bulky bunk bed (taken apart into a single and a futon) works well in that space.   My son told me that if I was going to share a photo of his room that I should mention he’s got a nearly new Ibanez electric guitar (just like this one) up for  sale.  It’s in like-new condition and he’d like to get $200 for it.

I went to bed really tired last night, and I think the kids did too.  But all in all, I’d call that an extremely productive day, and I was pleased that all the kids were so happy with the rearranging that went on. And my girls whose room I didn’t touch?  They were happy too– although they helped here and there with the moving, they didn’t have do to all the heavy duty deep cleaning that the other kids did on their rooms!

PS– Anybody know about antiques?  How old do you think this bed is?  You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.


Last year’s project in my little girls’ room: my affordable closet fix


  1. Love your creativity and jealous of your energy. There are lots of switcheroo projects my kids would like me working on, but, unfortunately, Lyme Disease is wreaking havoc instead. In the meantime, I will live vicariously through you. 🙂 Thanks for another great post.

  2. Love the switcheroo! I’m not sure how old that bed would be, but I’m looking for one just like it in a queen or king size. I guess craigslist is the place to look!

  3. Love the pink chair rail 🙂 Too cute! The whole room is adorable, but that detail just popped out at me. We are currently redoing our gal room, also, since our only girl is about to become a big sister after our next foray into Eastern Europe. Love seeing things like this right now.

  4. Looks great!! It reminds me of one of those books . . . “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” 🙂

  5. Terri Millwood says:

    We are starting on a BIG switch-a-roo project ourselves. My soon to be sixteen year old has decided he is ready to move to the basement. We were hoping he would volunteer since we are wanting to move the little girls to his room(it is our only walk-in-closet). That means that our 3 year old will not have to live forever in our Master bedroom. He will have his own space. Needless to say my oldest daughter is feeling a bit left out since she doesn’t have to move. Now….where to move the homeschool stuff that occupies the basement. hmmmm.

    I would say that “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” is the perfect discription.

    Love the pictures! I am extremely impressed at you finished so fast!

  6. Hi,love what you did! That looks like a lot of work.

    My husband refinishes furniture and does remodeling for a living. He said Walmart sells a spray paint in a brass color. But he said to try it in an unseen area of the bed, because it may disolve the finish that is already on the bed.
    He also said the bed looks like it might be early 20th century.
    Good Luck!

  7. Score on the bed!!! Good work, Mary. =)

  8. My son also has the full futon/twin bunk bed in his room. The slats of the futon base have broken and he’s much too large for the upper twin now, so he’ll sit on the futon to do things but he’s currently sleeping on the floor. I really want to replace it with something, but he has resisted the change for over a year now. I’m about to do it anyway just because it truly needs an update and I know he would probably like it once done. Your kids’ rooms look lovely.

  9. Well if you ever need another idea for a bed… my grandson has a ‘pallet’ bed. Yep his mattress sits very nicely on old washed pallets (free) and he loves it and parents love the price!

  10. If the new bed is brass (like it looks), I’d bet it is worth more than $50, just in metal.

  11. We had bunk beds in our boys room that we took apart too. The ceiling was sloped, so the beds were about 4 feet from the wall, which made the space behind them completely unusable. Also since the ceiling continued sloping I had to half duck and make the top bed. So unstacking them made the room seem lots bigger! They’re now in a different room and stacked again. I think it would be harder to make them if one was full size and the other twin. You could consider having your kids make their own beds – my oldest is 10 and he can handle it. Your rooms all look great!

  12. YES! I do hate changing bunk bed sheets! And changing bunk bed sheets while pregnant is death-defying! Fortunately, I only have two little ones left who can’t change their own sheets.