Loft vs folding bed

29 / 08 / 2015


Many of the already existing tiny and mobile houses have a loft, which is probably the first solution to pop up when trying to fit a bed into a tiny floor plan. Why use the already minimal space of the ground floor when you can enlarge the space upwards and build another level? Loft bed has some obvious pros. It helps to keep the home neat and tidy with minimum effort – no need to fold or make up the bed. Adding a level to the design is also unavoidably going to raise the roof and add more cubic meters for storage or simply creating an illusion of roominess.

As in everything, the pros of a loft are the key to it’s cons as well. Think about the height for example. A tall house increases air resistance and makes a windy weather more risky for towing. Higher frame obviously also weighs more and if you want an actual second living level, framing needs to be more robust – which of course adds up as even more weight. It probably won’t matter if you’re planning to move the house around once in every two years but for me it might be a deal breaker.

Another thing you should seriously think about is the usability of storage space – if you have cabins at the height of 2 meters and up, how are you going to access it? With a movable ladder perhaps? What is it like to carry stuff up and down the ladder? Time you’re going to win with not needing to make the bed or fold it away, you might be losing on fumbling with accessing storage up high or in a cramped space on the loft.

Folding bed

At first folding a bed up and down seemed like an unnecessary nuisance when dead tired or waking up with jump starting enthusiasm for a new day. I don’t know why I reasoned that climbing a ladder and carrying a laptop, phone and a water bottle up and down would be any more convenient, not to even mention using the bathroom at night. When I realized that a loft was as inconvenient, I wanted to give a folding bed another chance and tried to plan a model without a loft, with a low ceiling and so on. Since folding bed takes up so much space when folded down (a serious challenge in a tiny print with about any regular furniture) I thought it was doomed to failure. Surprisingly I actually ended up with a smaller print than with a loft, a lot more storage space, a bigger kitchen, a bigger bathroom (containing a 90 * 90 cm shower, a washing machine and room for a proper indoor composting toilet) and even a tiny office. Who would have imagined!

Before I present the new floor plan and renderings I will bring out a folding bed model I developed since I couldn’t find any existing models that would reach my minimum and maximum size requirements AND would fit in a cabinet. It is the first 3D-object I’ve made myself and it sure looks like it, but the quality fits the actual product. The model is to be made of basic hardware stuff and the framing is lumber – it’s DIY-ready, cheap and functional. It folds up two times so it’s adaptive and super space-saving.


The picture demonstrates a bed of width 90 – 140 cm, but the model allows the maximum width of 160 cm. The bed needs to stand outside cabinet for spreading – that’s why the bed folds down from it’s stand-up-leg entirely. Springs lighten the uplift and keep the frame standing up. The frame is built for a mattress of size 90 * 200 * 10 cm and the extension mattress is stored underneath. Tiny pegs on the frame enable strapping the mattresses and bedding to stay in place. When folded up, the frame has a depth of only 15 cm (with a mattress and bedding 25 – 35 cm), height just under 230 cm and width of 92 cm. With a cabinet height equal to room height, it almost merges with the wall and when folded down, it has a height and features of two sizes of a regular bed! Ingenious, huh?

I’ve uploaded both 90 – 140 cm and 90 – 160 cm models to my profile in 3D Warehouse, where you can view them in 3D on your browser and download them for more detailed review or for using in your own tiny house model. Enjoy!

“If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte

  • Samppa says:

    Really nice design! Could see this being used in small studio apartments too!

  • Czarine says:

    Nice DIY! I like it how you’ve come up with something so affordable. I’m not against lofts – they remind me of childhood’s treehouses, which were super fun – but as I appreciate an easy way to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, ladders wouldn’t do. But then again, I don’t like to make my bed either (and I think it wastes space when not in use). If I built a tiny house, I would probably try to figure out how to hide the bed easily, as in here , but I don’t know how it would work with the overall height of the interior, or what to do with the space above the bed storage.

    • Tiina says:

      Oh but you don’t have to make bed with a folding bed. You could just turn it up and let the bedding fall to the cabin floor! 😀

      There are quite a bunch of clever beds for tiny spaces, sadly none of what I’ve seen is really as effortless as a normal bed. This one for example is something that would have never crossed my mind: . The problem with *every other option* than the loft is that it requires a lot of empty floor space even if it’s foldable, which isn’t that easy to achieve in such a tiny space.

  • Stephen May says:

    Great tips, and a fantastic write up – I have a folding bed for guest when they stay over and it’s absolutely perfect!

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