Creative Bed Alternatives to Maximize Living Space

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In search of clever solutions to transform your cramped space into a versatile, inviting home? You’ve found the right place. Balancing the need for a peaceful, organized living area with the reality of limited square footage can be challenging, especially when your home must cater to multiple uses – from a cozy bedroom oasis to a productive workspace or a welcoming multi-purpose guest room. As someone who navigates the complexities of small-space living daily, I understand the necessity of finding multifunctional furniture solutions that don’t compromise on style or comfort.

Here I am sharing some ideas for families who seek practical, innovative ways to maximize their living spaces without breaking the bank. Whether you’re juggling the demands of a growing family, frequently hosting overnight guests, or simply trying to make the most of a small apartment, this article is tailored specifically for you. With my own experience finding creative sleeping arrangements for my family and guests, I’m here to share my insights and help you create a home that feels both spacious and inviting.

As a mom of 4 who has moved from a large house to a small space about half that size, I have plenty of options to share with you! My journey has led me to discover not just furniture that “fits” but solutions that transform a room’s function at a moment’s notice – all while keeping an eye on aesthetics, comfort, and budget. Check out these creative bed alternatives and I’m sure you’ll find the ideal solution for your space!

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Permanent Bed Alternatives

To maximize space, you may be in the market for a piece of furniture that does double-duty. You want furniture that can function as one thing, such as a couch or a shelf, during the day and be converted into a bed when needed. There are a lot of great choices available.

Murphy Beds

Murphy Beds have been around since the early 1900s and were especially popular in small city apartments. They are making a comeback in a big way, and many people are now building Murphy Beds into smaller, shared spaces (like a home office) where having a bed available can be beneficial but isn’t needed all the time.

Murphy beds come in a few different styles, from builtins that look like a wall or shelf to beds disguised as a piece of furniture.

The Bestar Queen Murphy bed includes two large bookcases, so it’s functional and space-saving. The bed easily hides away when not in use.

For a more budget-friendly option, this murphy bed is a great alternative. It has a functioning storage drawer that would be perfect for storing guest linens. It also has a charging station which is convenient for your guests!

Open the cabinet and fold out the bed in under one minute. When not in use, it folds up and looks just like a dresser! You can choose from a full size or queen size bed.

Trundle Beds

You may think of Laura and Mary Wilder when you hear the words trundle bed. Cabins on the prairie were often one room where the entire family would spend their days; putting the beds away and making room for living and eating was important.

Trundle beds are perfect for getting a little extra space in already tight quarters.

Trundle beds are perfect for children’s rooms or guest rooms if you regularly host families with small children. 

We just added a Pottery Barn Kids trundle bed frame on wheels to our daughter’s bedroom. It’s perfect for friends to use for sleepovers. Just add a trundle sized mattress and roll it away – or use it as storage without the mattress. This trundle frame on Amazon (above) is very similar and a great option at a lower cost.

The Max & Lily solid wood twin trundle bed frame is a beautiful piece of furniture. The trundle bed easily slides in and out and is hidden by the false drawer front.

Daybeds

Daybeds are typically smaller than a standard couch but still provide extra seating space in a living room, office or bedroom. When needed for sleeping, add some sheets and cozy up for the night.

This solid wood day bed frame is beautiful enough to serve as a focal piece in a room but can easily be converted to a sleeping space. Unlike a traditional bed, no box spring is needed.

Like this Kodiak Furniture Daybed, some daybeds serve double duty and come with a built-in trundle bed as well. This is a good choice for a room that needs to look lovely but still has maximum sleeping space.

Sofa Beds and Futons

Sofa beds have come along way. It wasn’t uncommon to compromise on the comfort of both the couch and the bed to have a combined unity. Fortunately, technology has caught up, and sofa beds (also known as sofa sleepers or a pullout couch) are not only beautiful, but they are comfortable for lounging AND sleeping. 

Futons are simplified versions of a sofa bed that offer flexibility and comfort, whether needed in a living space or as a bed. 

We have used both a sleeper sofa and a futon in our home for visiting guests, and both options work perfectly! We added a sofa bed to my office to create an office/guest room combo space. We put the futon in our multi-purpose room in our basement — perfect for the teenagers sit on in an upright position while playing video games, then lay flat for sleepovers!

This convertible sleeper sofa bed is a good option for small spaces. As a loveseat couch, it’s only 55.5 inches long. You only need a little more floor space to open it up into a single size bed.

The Futon Shop is where we got our amazing futon set. This wooden futon frame is similar to ours, and we have this organic futon mattress in a queen size. Believe me, you really can get a comfortable night’s sleep on it! We also have this Chenille Futon Slipcover in turquoise. 

These space-saving multifunctional pieces are perfect for a living room, rec room, dorm room, or even a small apartment.

Convertible Chair Beds

Similar concept as sofa beds and futons, the convertible chair bed is a great option when you don’t have a lot of extra room but you still need a place for guests to sleep. 

These chairs unfold or slide out into a single bed, perfect for a child’s room or as an additional sleeping option in a small apartment. They’re a great choice for accommodating unexpected guests without taking up the space of a larger sofa bed.

Loft Bed

This type of bed is an excellent option for small apartments or rooms where floor space is at a premium. Like a bunk bed, loft beds elevate the sleeping area above the ground, freeing up space underneath for a desk, seating area, or storage. It’s basically the top half of a bunk bed without the bottom bunk.

They are particularly popular in children’s and teenagers’ rooms but can also be designed to suit adults with sturdy constructions and larger bed sizes.

We used to have a loft bed in my daughters room, with a dresser and play space underneath. This could also work perfectly as office space for an adult, with a guest bed overhead.

Temporary Bed Alternatives

If you only entertain guests a few times a year – or if you need a more budget friendly bed option – you may prefer some of these temporary bed alternatives. You will compromise a bit on comfort with these alternatives, but you won’t have to invest in an expensive piece of multi-use furniture.

In addition to the comfier sofa bed and futon I mentioned above, we also have a rollaway bed (or cot) and a large inflatable air mattress as well. While not as fancy or comfy, they work well in a pinch!

Rollaway Bed

Rollaway beds fold out when needed and can easily be rolled and stored when not. These are the same types of beds often used in hotels, and you probably slept on one or two as a child. A rollaway bed isn’t going to be great for long term use but is practical for an overnight or weekend guest.

Air Mattress

Air mattresses have come a long way, technologically speaking. They are designed better so that they can hold two adults without sagging or bouncing. Many have built-in pumps, which make setup a breeze. Cover them with standard sheets and a comforter for a nice home away from home.

To make an air mattress extra cozy, add a blanket layer under the fitted sheet.

Air mattresses aren’t intended for long term use but will be comfortable enough for a few nights. When not in use, they fold up small enough to be stored on a shelf in a small closet.

Bed Roll

The bed roll, or Japanese floor mattress,  offers an excellent temporary bed alternative for a smaller space due to its rollable design that saves valuable floor space during the day. Easily stored and then spread out at night, it supports a minimalist, clutter-free lifestyle while ensuring a comfortable sleep. 

Its flexibility makes it ideal for quickly turning any room into a guest bedroom. This blend of practicality and cultural elegance makes the bed roll a smart choice when you want a comfortable bed without taking up too much space all the time.

This isn’t a space-saving bed option that I’ve personally tried, but it looks like it would be a good idea! Rolling the mattress would keep it from getting lumpy and it wouldn’t take a ton of storage space – which is important to me.

Camping Pads

You probably shouldn’t put your in-laws on a camping pad when they visit, but this super simple bed alternative is perfect for kids. These inexpensive sleeping pads self inflate when unrolled and provide a little extra padding between a sleeping bag and the floor.

We keep four or five of these on hand, and they are perfect for my kids’ cousins or their friends when they spend the night.

Which of these bed alternatives works best for you?

We’ve had a look at all sorts of clever ways to save space in our homes, from the cool, hidden Murphy beds to cozy daybeds, snazzy sofa beds, and even those neat Japanese floor mattresses. Each of these options has its own special way of making the most out of every inch of our homes, letting us live big even in a small room. And hey, they’re not just about saving space—they’re about making our homes look good and feel comfy too.

So, what do you think? Found a favorite among these space-savers, or maybe you’ve got a trick up your sleeve that we didn’t chat about? I’d love to hear about what works for you or any genius ideas you’ve got for squeezing a little extra out of your space. Drop a comment below and let’s share the tips and tricks that make our homes just right for us.

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Creative Bed Alternatives to Maximize Space
Amanda Seghetti profile
MEET AMANDA

Amanda is a mom of 4 living a mostly crunchy lifestyle outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 dogs, and a cat. As a former special education teacher who also has her personal training certification — Amanda really enjoys teaching others how to do things!

When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, hiking, and long walks through Target.

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