Questions Answered: Realities of Living with a Wall Bed
Hey! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Ours was pretty low key and I actually tried to stay away from my computer and cut back on my social media (gasp!). It was embarrassingly difficult for me. I've been questioning how much I share publicly of our life but for now I have come to the conclusion that sharing pieces of our small life is still a good idea. This blog has always been about normalizing this lifestyle and hopefully empowering or inspiring others to embrace it rather than fear it or be ashamed. There is nothing better than meeting someone on the street who read the blog and felt encouraged or understood by reading it. The wonderful comments or emails I receive of others living small and embracing it, keep me going. Recently I have even heard from a couple younger people, yet to start a family but considering living small in the city as an option and reading this blog to learn more (thank you!!!).
I received some thoughtful emails from readers over the holidays asking very specific questions about living with wall beds. While I feel that I have written extensively about wall beds, turns out I have missed some important realities. With their permission, below are some insightful questions and my corresponding answers . Hopefully they are helpful to others considering investing in a wall bed. I plan to share an update on the kids sharing the bedroom shortly too! Thanks to readers Anna and Katherine for your questions and willingness to share!
I was wondering what mattress you have that allows you to keep your pillows and bedding on when you close the bed? Do you like it?
We purchased our mattress from Resource Furniture. I'm pretty sure we bought the most firm option as we wanted it to last a long time. We were really nervous about the whole wall bed concept and the store sold us on the idea that a traditional mattress would sag over time. We are happy with our mattress though I can't say I am a mattress snob or expert. I do wonder if another (more affordable memory foam mattress) would accomplish the same thing. I measured our current mattress and it is approximately 6.5" thick. We've had it for 3 years and it has held up very well and is still very firm.
Also, what bedding/covers do you use in the winter that are warm enough and thin enough to be closed into the bed? We have a big down comforter, but I have a feeling that will need to be replaced.
We use a thin down comforter and my guess would be a big fluffy comforter might not fit or be hard to tuck in every morning. I would opt for a thinner comforter that offers similar warmth and comfort. Sometimes if it gets really cold we add our throw blanket from the couch as extra warmth but mostly we just crank the heat. Smaller apartments tend to mean lower electric bills.
Same for Theo (who is still in the bottom bunk) he has a thin down comforter (twin size) and one pillow that all folds away easily but keeps him warm. I just bought Ikea comforters as bed wetting and throw ups happen and I didn't wanting to be upset about a very expensive duvet. I figure we can invest in a better duvet in a few years.
We only use 2 pillows on our bed. I have tried fitting a third and it doesn't work. So my advice would be, just really like the 2 pillows you have :)
We were also looking at the Kali Duo bunk beds for the children's room since we would like to have another child fairly soon. Did you get those mattresses from Resource, or did you find them elsewhere?
For the bunk beds we got foam cut to size at our local discount foam shop. The mattress sizes are a slim European so I couldn't find anything off the shelf. For the same reasons I didn't want to invest in nice duvet covers, we didn't want to invest in nice mattresses for the kids. We will upgrade when the kids get older and heavier but for now these mattresses are just fine and were a great way to save some money on a very big investment.
We...just invested in a Ulisse wall bed.. YET I am having so many doubts! The bed is arriving in March and I keep worrying we're making our lives harder instead of easier. What do you and your husband do for nightstands? Your books next to the bed look great but what about alarm clocks, phone chargers, ear plugs (my husband snores), etc.? Our clothes are still going to be in the bedroom... where do you keep your PJs? And do you get your clothes out for the morning work day the night before?
I totally understand your fears and nervous energy. I felt exactly the same way waiting for our wall bed to arrive (and similarly waiting for the bunk beds!). I can assure you from my perspective that all these fears subsided once we got our bed and most of the things you are mentioning aren't even on considered a loss to me at this point. But let me address each point individually...
Nightstands - yes, we each have a floating shelf with a stack of books and a bedside lamp for reading. Trevor has a lot more electronics so he has one of those cord hiding boxes beside his side of the bed to safely stow those electronics. I just plug my phone in on the kitchen counter which is in reach of my bed and out of reach of the kids. My phone is my alarm clock too.
Clothes - our clothes are still in the bedroom. I try to take out my pjs before the kids go to bed or tip toe in after (risky move!!) . The only time this really bothers me is if I want to pack for a trip at night and I can't access my clothes. Also Trevor gets up for work early most days so he will usually take his clothes out the night before so he doesn't risk waking the kids. But usually if the kids are up we are up and then we can access anything we need. It's the kind of inconvenience you get used to when living small that just becomes second nature.
Do you ever find it hard to sleep in the main living space? I struggled a lot with sleep in the first year of our baby's life and turning my brain off. I'm worried that sleeping next to the kitchen, the laundry closet, the living room clutter will make it difficult to relax.
Clutter drives me crazy and I can't relax with lots of it either. So I clean and tidy before bed or after the kids go to bed so I can relax. Or sometimes I am so tired I just sleep even when the house is a mess.
As for turning off your brain... that is a constant struggle for me too. I figure it is for most people these days, Mothers or otherwise, in small spaces or big spaces. I have learned to do things to wind down after the kids have gone to bed that slow me down and help me fall asleep. For me it's reading a book, listening to calming music or a podcast (or watching Netflix with a glass of wine). And on the subject of music I definitely recommend having music or tv as background noise when the kids go to bed until you go to bed. This helps mask any louder noises you or your husband might make in your space.
Hope this helps! And all you can do is try. Listen to yourself and your family and if the wall bed doesn't work for you, you can always move to a bigger place and use the wall bed in the guest room. I still think a wall bed is a great investment in Vancouver as so few of us will ever own large properties.