Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Contest

I was completely overwhelmed with the response I got when I asked for submissions to redo my boys' room. I got 41 entries, with the final one rolling in around 4:00 AM this morning. I had a very difficult decision paring it down to just five. Everyone had great ideas and I especially appreciated the effort and creativity that went into so many of the entries.

The criteria I used to choose was based on whether or not it would work for my boys, whether or not I thought it could be done with a reasonable budget, how versatile it was, and how much I thought my boys would like it. I truly hope no one is offended by how I chose, or for not choosing their submission.

So, here are the five. I am going to post them anonymously, as this is not a popularity contest, it is my kids' bedroom. It is also not an art contest. Many submissions came without artwork so some of these pictures are mine.

Entry #1

It has a bunk bed with clothing storage on the top bunk as well as some under bed storage. This person found a shelving unit on craisglist and a cabinet with chalkboard paint on the outside.

For decor, there are framed transportation themed artwork around the room. There is a new(ish) curtain made from washable materials. And the dog Brad came in from the bathroom.

Entry #2

This one has a custom bed in the corner that is 4'x4' with one corner cut off. It is enclosed in that there is a curtain entrance and walls on all sides, negating the need for the curtain on the door, and it has a top. The top doubles as storage space above.

It incorporated a clothes rod above the bed and a cubby-style shelving unit. The window has a road themed bench in front of it with storage underneath for larger toys. The curtains are then turned into a sky theme with a hot air balloon.

Entry #3

This was a fairly simple suggestion that centered around the four-high bunk beds like the ones over at In A Shoe. I thought it might be nice to have it a little differently than them by having the bottom bunk on the floor and have 30" of space between each bunk and having each bunk 30" wide.

Dan and I were planning on utilizing this idea when we had more kids, so this would really be the only bed solution that would not be somewhat temporary, and thus could go over budget. The bottom bunk would be for sleeping in the boys' room now, and could be curtained off to make a private little space. The higher bunks would be used as deep shelves and for storage.

Other suggestions in this entry included a new curtain to protect from the cold, one of those rugs with roads, and some fun wall art.

Entry #4

This entry said that the futon was just a suggestion. It really depends on what's available on craigslist when I'm ready to buy.

On the bottom shelf is the kids' clothes, separated by books. In the shelf above are some of the toy cars. There is also under bed storage.

The checked fabric on the wall holds favorite books, like here. The Thomas picture on the wall doubles as tent storage. This one left up the rugs on the wall, but had a plane hanging in front of it. Instead of the tree, this one turned the old chimney thing into a race's finish line.

Entry #5

This entry took a unique twist on the transportation theme. The whole bedroom is the inside of a bus!

The seating pads go on the floor to make a mattress. All storage is under the seats and could be curtained off. The seats themselves come out 18".

The "windows" show different scenes that the bus might drive by. The front window, by the steering wheel, shows the road.

On the sidebar there is a poll where you can vote. The poll will be closed on Friday afternoon.

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Anonymous said...

I really like these!! It just goes to show what can be achieved with a small outlay and lots of imagination:)


Penniless Parenting said...

So I have a few thoughts on these.
I liked entries 1, 2, and 3. I voted for 3, though. 1 and 2 are cute, and I think that 2 especially is really adorable. I'm not sure I completely understood the concept of the bed in number 2, but it looks like one bed. Where will the other kid sleep? Where will the kids sleep when they grow too tall for that bed?

I chose number 3 because the 4 tiered bunk bed is similar to what I would like one day when my family is bigger. When redoing a room and purchasing furniture, I think that it is important to look long term and purchase furniture that will fit your family as it grows. As you already have 3 kids and plan to have more, I think none of the options aside for number 3 reflect that reality of a growing family.

I've only so far used beds I've gotten for free, but should I ever purchase beds, I planned on buying a bunk bed with a triple trundle bed. Meaning, 3 beds come out from underneath the bed, with another bunk on top. Thats 5 beds in one. This "shelving bunk beds" seems much more space efficient than that because you don't even need to pull out the beds at night, so you keep the floor space at night.
I recently cleaned at a family's house- they've currently got 7 boys and are expecting an 8th in a 3 bedroom apartment. They had 3 boys to a room with a double trundle bed in each room, which all folded so compactly when not in use. Their couch also is a triple trundle couch/bed. I've never seen a house more efficient with their space as that home.


Emily said...

Penniless, wow, a double trundle? You've got my head spinning with ideas from that one! I voted for #3 as well, for the same reason.

Heather said...

Have you seen rain gutter bookshelves? I put some up and love them. Check out the link. (morethanamom)

Susan said...

You had said that the window in the boys room is 'leaky'. Why not use the shrink fit storm window stuff on it? You can use it outdoors or indoors for the winter. It's not the most earth friendly, being plastic, but it is useful on old windows.
I put some up during a wind/rain storm one year. You shrink it with a hair dryer. The next day was calm and the window covering, which was tight the day before, was very loose. It really keeps out the wind and cold.
A friend of mine used the outdoor version on her north facing patio door and the indoor version as well. Her family room was unusable in the winter otherwise.
Just a suggestion.
Oh, and as for the boys room: Why not use your mad sewing skills and make the window curtain and door curtain out of unbleached muslin, lined with 'blackout' fabric, with appliqu├ęd cars trucks boats airplanes etc.

Christena said...

the bed in #2 could technically hold a child that's 5 foot 7 inches if you have him sleep diagonally (4^2 + 4^2 = 32, the square root of 32 is 5.6, which is 5 feet seven inches). When their smaller though I'm sure two of them could fit in there.

Nydia said...

I picked entry #3. But I really like how In a Shoe, have the bottom bed off the floor. And from the pictures at In a Shoe, it does not look like the second highest bunk is that far off the ground, so it probably would not be long before Daniel could use it, giving Bobby the bottom to his self. I like #1 a lot too. I actually think a 4 tier bunk would be great in #1, with a bottom bed off the floor though, of course.

wastingaway77 said...

I like number 1. It is simple and not overwhelming like number 2. Too much going on there in my opinion.
I question the safety of number 3.
All your submissions were pretty good though, good luck with the transformation.

Emily said...

Julie, I thought there was more going on #1 than in any of the others. Every bit of wall space is used and the floor space is only 2' wide. I don't mind that, but I'm surprised that my readers who liked a less cluttered look are going for it.

Jennifer said...

Number 5 definitely gets the win for creativity. :) It would be really neat to do it like a train car instead of a bus bench, because trains have sleeper cars with seats that convert into bunks. :)

As for what will actually work best for you, I like number 2 and 3. Number 2 is great because it has that cave aspect with the bed that Daniel likes so much right now. And the storage solutions are nice, as is the window seat.

Number 3 however, will last far into the future, which means that even though it has the highest up front cost, it will be the most useful.


i vote number 3, seems to be the most "easier, long term use, not so customized idea" but i woul def. use the bottom two bunks for now since their younger and the top two bunks for storage. :) goodluck!

Alicen said...

I am going to choose #3 because I think , like many of your readers, that the 4 bed bunkbed is the way to go. But I really prefer the layout of number 1 because No.3 is just changing the bed compared to what is there now. I think that #2 would cost a ton of money to build all those cubbies and the bed is too small for your growing boys. Number 5 is near but a lot of work to pull down the matresses every night and put them back in the day and put away all the blankets, or leave them out... I think it would be quite time consuming or messy.

Katie C. said...

I like number 3 a lot - but the safety issue is a HUGE question. Yes, a lot of us liked the idea of bunk beds, but four bunks stacked on top of one another? Sounds weird. I chose 1, but I do agree it is a tad cluttered. I like 2 a lot, but the bed - I don't get it. What sort of mattress is on there?

Anonymous said...

Love all of them! You're going to have a hard time chosing :)
sara http://myfrugalfunlife.blogspot.com/

KimC said...

While I'm intrigued by the square bed, I have to admit I'm partial to the 4-level bunks for obvious reasons. :)
I think it's a great idea to do it now and use the upper levels for storage until you need them!
I do have to point out that 30" of headspace will put your top shelf/bunk at 90" plus the thickness of the all 4 beds, something over 8' high. That's why we went with 24".
We originally planned on replacing our temporary shelves with wooden built-in bunks after we tried out the width and headspace, but the kids like them so much that they're asking to keep them and buy another set.
Another nice thing is that these beds give so many options for padding. We're using doubled strips of 3" memory foam right now - one thickness was plenty for the smaller, lighter children, but the adult-sized teens wanted another layer.
I often nap in the kids' beds and I have to agree that the space and padding is just right. Less wouldn't be comfortable, especially if you're heavier or larger, but it works for my average adult frame, even at 6 months pregnant.
For the very young ones, I'll probably make a padded base: a backer board padded with several layers of quilt batting and covered with vinyl fabric that will wipe clean for inevitable accidents. Then we'll cover it with a sheet - if I can get them to keep it on. ;)

If we do keep the shelves, of course we'll fasten them to the wall (even though they're so heavy and stable I can't tip them if I try) and we'll put low rails on all but the bottom 2, although only the top is really high enough to cause concern.
For those who are concerned about the weight on the shelves, I believe these are rated for 900# per shelf.
All this to say that we've been very happy with ours so far, for comfort, stability and space efficiency.

Jenny said...

I voted #3 and love that you're modifying to be 30" bunks. I think that would last much longer as far as having room to sleep would go. That extra 6" would make all the difference.

I'm so curious - where do you find triple trundle beds? Our kiddos sleep in a small room that has a twin bed and crib in in right now, but a trundle bunk bed will be in our future I am sure. Double and triple trundles sound fantastic!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I vote for number 3. I think looking long term is always good and it has many storage options. Good luck. All the entries are wonderful.

Andrea said...

These ideas are so creative!

I chose #3 because you won't have to be rethinking bedding as you add children and it gives you a nice amount of floor space.

All of the submissions you chose were wonderful though.

Patty said...

Ahhh, they are all good! I'm not exactly sure how the first few account for the chimney space stealer but I'm sure they can be adapted to accomidate. Hmmm, decisions decisions.

Lauren H. said...

I like #1 and #2. I think they utilize the space best.

I also like the bed in #2, because it allows Daniel to have his cafe, while being safe. It could also easily fit him and Bobby when Bobby is old enough, and perhaps even Thomas eventually. Yes, the boys will grow out of it, but there will be more kids eventually to use it. #2 seems the most fun.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE #5. So creative! And there will be much more "play" space when the bed mats are up for the day.

Sondra Rose said...

Great entries!

I voted for number one. Personally, I'd like to know who submitted the entries. I assume each person spent some time on this and (IMO) deserves to be recognized for their efforts.

Having slept in a bunk bed on a train (similar to #3) I know how uncomfortable these can be if you don't have enough room to sit up fully. Hitting your head is no fun! Also, I'd never put a mattress/pad on the floor long-term because of moisture issues--but you've heard that before!

Amy said...

I chose number 3, but I liked different aspects in each entry. I think the 4 bed bunk is a good choice for you guys if it is something you will be using in the future anyway (and I think it's a great idea for the future!). I also especially liked the idea of a fabric shelf in entry 4, that was a cool use of wall space. Whatever you decide, you have some great options!

Clisby said...

I really like #2, but I picked #3 because it seems very simple and looks like something that could be easily reusable in future homes.

Abi said...

Emily, I agree that #1 just seems too busy - but I do like that they've provided for a space for each of the toys. That makes it so much easier to pick up and tidy. I want to vote for a combination of #1 and #3, but of course I can't :)

I am definitely in favor of the beds in #3 as they are going to be much more versatile going forward; I just worry that once you have more children and start to fill the beds, you lose that storage space. That is why I prefer some aspects of #1 since they build in the storage space.

Emily said...

It's funny how most commenters are choosing #3, but #1 is way ahead in the poll...

Nancy said...

I voted for #3, even though I liked #2 the best. But #3 would work for a growing family while #2 seems to be based on the idea of staying put and staying with the number of kids you have.

And, honestly, because I worry about the safety of the bed in #2 if you tried to build it on a budget.

Anonymous said...

I think you could combine suggestion 1 and 3. Just use the 4 level bunk. I think people vote for 1 because they see your "stuff".


Emily said...

Sondra, when I post the redo, I'm going to give credit. All of the entries were amazing and I'm going to do a whole post about all of the ideas presented that might be useful to my readers.

Anonymous said...

I like #1 and #4 the best, because they seem the most simple and practical.

The problem with #3, I think, is the quadruple bunk beds. 24" or even 30" inches doesn't seem to be a sufficient amount of space. It would be if it's just very small children who only sleep and never sit up in their beds. In which case...being up so high would be a safety issue for kids that small. It is a neat idea, though.

Anonymous said...

I voted for #1, but would love to see a #1 and #3 combo.
Kelli in VA

Anonymous said...

I voted #1 because it clearly has the room for what you already have and will safely work for 3 kids (when Daniel moves to the top bunk). #5 is a close second, though. Love the creativity of that one.

Erin T. said...

I voted number 2 even though 1 was closer to my idea. 2 just has the fun factor that 3 + little boys will love! And storage to boot. My 3.5 year old and even 9 year old would love the cave/fort idea! Cool!!! Emily, I can not wait to see how it turns out, is little Daniel excited?

Emily said...

Erin, Daniel wanted #4 because it had Lightning McQueen and Thomas, but I think I'll incorporate them into whatever I end up doing, so he'll love that!

Ginger said...

I'd vote for #3 too because of the longevity of the bed option which makes it very budget friendly for the long haul. But, I love some elements of the other designs...the fabric wall pockets for favorite books are awesome...especially if you made them out of a neutral tough fabric like canvas & maybe just velcro a smaller panel on the front to match the current room decor (which could easily & inexpensively be changed if you change the decor in the future). And I think that same idea would be cool as a storage pocket on one end of each bed level so each child has their own special secret compartment for their personal stuff.

Niki said...

I voted Number 1.... but wanted to add that you should consider doing that idea with the #3 bed idea.

Gianna said...

I don't see a Poll anywhere. How do I vote? I pick #3.

Emily said...

Gianna, it should be to the right of entry #5 in the sidebar.

Heather said...

I haven't voted yet, but WOW! the creativity in these entries is awesome!!! If you were to choose any of these it would be a success!

Off to go take a real good second look and vote.

Humble wife said...

When my children were small we lived in a very small rental and built ship bunks for the kids. It was 4 bunks on top each other 28" between each shelf. I made sleeping mats (out of quilts) that I made a pillow case sheet to slide over so I could wash the sheets. We made one end the up side and the other end the down side, so no one would get conked in the head by another. We used the closet round lamps that you push for each bunk as lighting, and I made denim bags that I made velcro around the back of the bunk(that attached to the sides). They stored their books or what nots in them, and since I had two in glasses at the time, they stored their glasses in the demin pocket.( i cut off the legs of jeans and sewed the tops into bags)

We lived in that rental from the time my youngest was 2 until she was five-meaning that the oldest was 8-11. I have three boys and one girl, so we had a rule that when the boys dressed my daughter had to step out and vise versa.

My youngest is 14 and the oldest is 20 and they still talk about that cool bunk bed that they had.

Yes there may be fire safety issues etc. We practiced fire drills and also picked up the sticker(which maybe they do not use now because of child predators)...from the fire department which is a child finder...you can stick it on the window so the fire department knows where the children are.

Just remember this, no matter what anyone says, the children are yours, and you will do what is best for them at this time. We have the luxury in this country to look down upon or judge those who do not have a room for every child, a beautiful sleigh bed, matching bedding, and lovely furniture etc...not realizing that this is all cozy fluff that we think makes a good parent. Nurturing, having a parent home with the children, and raising them up to follow the ways of the Lord are far more important.

Thank you for your little window into your sweet life. I appreciate your sharing, fully knowing that you will get heat no matter what.


Melissa said...

I voted for number 3. I think the 4 bunk option would be best for your family long term. The two top bunks would provide alot of storage until Daniel and Bobby are ready to use them.

Number 5 almost got my vote because it is really neat! As someone else said moving the pads, pillows & blankets every morning/night would get old fast.(=

I can't wait to see the winner and the finished room! I am also wondering why number 1 is so far ahead but number three seems so popular in the comments??? I hope that number three ends up being the winner because it seems to fit your long term goals the most.

God Bless,

Liz said...

I am going to vote for number three as well. I didn't get to read all the comments but I would vote for building the bunks yourself. I would be willing to bet you could find some free plans or come up with your own pretty easy. You could probably barrow tools from friends or church if you don't have everything you need. You could also try looking for salvaged lumber. That is how we built our deck would have cost over a $1000 easy which we could have never got around to doing but we got all the lumber for $150 bucks cause it fell of the truck a few pieces were broken but we were able to build it with plenty left over.

Also first time commenting to your blog and I really enjoy reading it. I think we both march to a different beat and could get a long pretty well in real life ;)

Marcie said...

I voted for #1 because even though I like an uncluttered look, you aren't willing to declutter, therefore you need storage space. #1 looks like it has the best storage solutions.

Alice said...

I voted for #1. Even though there is a not a lot of floor space, it is far from being cluttered. The use of storage gives the room a cleaner look and will be easier for the boys to put their toys away. They will also be more motivated to put their toys away because otherwise they will not have the floor space to use.

If I am remembering correctly, in a previous post you mentioned that the boys mostly play with their toys in the living room or kitchen. So if this is the case, having limited floor space will not be a big deal. There are other places to use the toys and the bedroom can be a clean safe place used primarily for storage and sleeping.

Good luck with this project.

Cynthia said...

I'm not getting a poll in my view either. I like a combo of #2 & #3. I like the built in wall storage and window seat from #2 but the bunk beds from #3.

The bed in #2 would have to be custom built - which you mentioned you're handy, but building something children are going to be climbing on, hanging off of, and sleeping in and on as they grow requires more skill than 'handy' to be safe.

The floor to ceiling storage would be attached to the wall and provide plenty of room for stuff. The streamlined designs are tempting, but that's my style - not yours. You guys are stuff people and you need places to put it.

I also love the creativity of the bus design, but I can see little boys trying to jump from one bench to the other - and the subsequent ER visits. But I'm not sure the boys would really 'get it' if they've never been in a bus or a traincar.

Anonymous said...

I voted for #1 because you seem to want to keep everything in the room and it incorporates all of your stuff, including Brad. A combination of #1 and #3 would be nice.

Susan said...

If you decide to build your own bunks, please use lag bolts instead of nails. While nails are cheaper, they are not as strong. There are many universities that do not allow students to build bunkbeds, unless they are made with lag bolts. Too many college students have been injured by collapsing beds.
And, please, do not think because your children are small and light you are exempt from building their bed as sturdy as possible. Using lag bolts will also make moving the bed to your next home much, much easier.
Have you searched Dorm Room Design? There are plenty of sites that cover how to use small space to its best.
Good luck on your decorating project.

Anonymous said...

I voted #1, for the simple reason that your children will have a real bed, will not be sleeping on the floor, and you will be able to add a mattress to the top bunk when more children come along. As long as you keep the wall storage in a safe manner, it looks like an appropriate child's room.

KLund said...

I would vote for number one, but instead of storage on the top, just leave it a double bunk. On the opposite wall, I would put a long shelving unit with either doors or a curtain, that could be closed up when not in use. The top shelves used for clothes and the bottom for toys and books. And the top of the unit could house the larger items such as the trike and wagon, since these items take up a lot of space and are not used as often. This would free up more floor space and give the kids some playing room.

We had some of these in our last house, which didn't have much storage. We had one in our master bath for toiletries, towels and sheets, and one in the kitchen for large appliances, kitchen towels, hotpads and cookbooks. They worked great. I think we got these at either lowes or home depot.

Macchiatto said...

Interesting! I voted for #1 but now I'm thinking #3 might have made more sense. So much creativity; I'm impressed!

kaylan said...

Someone mentioned sleeper car train seats.... It reminded me of a playhouse my friend had growing up. Her dad made a little table that made into a bed - think camper trailer table turned bed.

Functional as a table by day, bed by night, and the benches double as storage.

I know I'm way late with this suggestion, but still wanted to throw it out there!

AKGeekGirl said...

I voted number 1, but I like the four high bunk bed.

Anonymous said...

Wow, #5 is so creative! Someone has a career in interior design just waiting for them.

Sadie said...

I picked #5 because I cringe at the thought of a 4 high bunk bed. Just the momma in me, I guess. :)


Anonymous said...

I know this post doesn't really belong here although it is about design. I LOVE looking at the Tumbleweed homes. I know I couldn't live in the really small ones but the largest home reminds me of my Mum & Dad's house. It was 24 x 24 and that included a full-length porch in the back and a small porch in front. 3 kids and parents & guess what, we more than survived.
Anyways, what are your thoughts on this? Again, apologies for putting this post here but wasn't sure where I could post it.


Cee said...

#1, because the kids will have an actual bed off the floor. #4 seems dangerous to me and #2 impractical.

Lindsay said...

I voted for number 3 because I think that it is better to think long term than short term. If you could find something now that would last for years that would be great. thank being said as a current design i love number 1.

Anonymous said...


I know you said you were handy...so I thought I'd share this blog with you - www.knockoffwood.blogspot.com

I just found it the other day and am already planning on furnishing my house by hand now, lol!

They have kid furniture as well and everything is super cheap to build...a lot of it looks pretty easy to! Thought you might wanna check it out :)

Guinevere said...

I voted no 1 as the most practical solution. I've slept in multiple stacked bunk beds before with tight spacing, and it would not be my preferred design for my kids if there were other options. I like how design 1 has a place for everything and a bed off the floor. I don't think the lack of floor space matters if the kids don't really play in there.

mommyoffaith19 said...

wow I dont know what I would pick. cant wait to see the end result.


creature said...

I think in your situation I would go for number 3, because it will be the most useful long term. I know you have said you want more children, but, what is you plan if you have a daughter? I know the stacking bunk beds hold 4, but at a certain age you will need to separate the sexes into different rooms.

I look forward to seeing the new room.


Jennifer said...

Athiest Mama, that site is SO cool! Thank you for linking to it! Next time my furniture needs expand I will totally be stealing ideas from there!

Cynthia said...

Just another argument for separate beds for the boys rather than a shared arrangement = Consider re: the boys possibly sharing a bed - you noted that Daniel is still having some issues at night with potty-training backsteps. Well, if the boys share a bed, any time one of them urinates in bed, you'll have to wake both boys to clean up and possibly change two sets of pajamas. And when Daniel's issues stop, he'll still be dealing with any lags in Bobby's potty-training. Both of the boys could be undermining each other's potty-training.

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness. You want us to choose just one of those?! This is tough. I like them all for different reasons.

Great ideas everyone!!

Anelle Richardson said...

Emily, as a mom of 7 boys, the 4 level bunkbed makes me shudder. We, too, believe in boundries, but have to also be realistic and I would not be comfortable, from a safety point of view, with a 4 level bunkbed.

I think some of these ideas are very creative, especially given what they had to work with. From someone who has been reading your comments about how people live in third world countries, and who has actually grown up in a third world country, I would like to suggest to you that simplicity and decluttering are your friends.

Have fun designing the room, I'm sure the boys will love the final product.

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