Lookin’ Like a Fool With My Bed On the Ground?


Ok, so I have a room at the front of my house that has been my “clutter” room up to this point. My husband and I have decided that we want it to be a (don’t laugh) meditation/exercise/stretching/tai chi/guest room. Pretty ambitious, no? We actually hardly ever have guests, but there have been a few occasions when it would’ve been nice to have a place where family could stay in our home for a night or two. But most of the time this room will be used for… well, all the other stuff. The only piece of exercise equipment will be a fold-away recumbent bike and all the rest of the “accessories” are just little things like resistance bands and dumbbells and such. 

Now here’s the thing, my husband and I had talked about a sofa bed and now he’s stuck on the idea, but I’ve been mulling it over in my head and I just feel that a sofa would seem out of place because we’d never use it as a sofa. And being that the usable room space is only about 10’6” x 11’9”, I don’t want any unnecessary, large object taking up permanent residence. I think it’s a better solution, more fitting for the room’s purpose in our life, to have a type of guest bed that can be completely (or almost completely) stored away. I want as much of that foot print available as possible on a daily basis. A room meant for light exercise and especially meditation should not feel cluttered and cramped.

So here’s what I’ve been working on:

  • Inspiration for the room…   


(Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m showing you my clutter… don’t judge me)

  • Before” pictures…

Picture3   I love our little Buddha collection. I intend on keeping the three little tables. They were given to me. The two lower matching ones will either get refinished or painted white and used as bedside tables. The rest of what’s in here is pretty much crap that will end up being donated or trashed.

  • The tasteful and modern way to do oriental decor…

I was a little cautious at first about re-using some of my oriental-style things (the last thing I want is a cheesy, tacky, theme room) so I found a few more inspiration photos to help me keep focus…




Now. To the bed dilemma. I have looked at everything from sofa beds to air beds to bed chairs and beyond. I have researched what people with small spaces do in this situation. I just felt like, as a designer, I should be able to come up with something creative without it being incredibly expensive and a huge undertaking.

  • Creative option #1
    • bed on the ground

I think it would be cool to have sort of a bohemian-style-mattress-on-the-floor-type-bed. Made up somehow of cushions or two twin mattresses put together. When I mentioned this, my husband thought it would look tacky, like you just threw some mattresses on the ground. I can see where he might think it would, especially since I had no images of how it could look when done correctly, so I sought to prove my idea could work (tastefully). I did some research and actually found some discussions about whether it was tacky. It seemed as though about half of people loved it and half hated it. So I wonder- is it, like with all design, just in the execution? Is it just a matter of personal opinion? Bed on the ground, bed on the ground, would I look like a fool with my bed on the ground?…Picture9(done by Vicente Wolf for Preston Bailey)

an upholstered boxspring with a tufted cushion on top





Picture15the photo on the right is a project someone did where they hooked two twin mattresses on low frames together for a bed and split them apart for lounge seating the rest of the time


  • The original option
    • sofa beds

Picture19All from Ikea (we don’t want this to be a big-budget project), these are the candidates I found. The top left I don’t care for the style- a little too traditional for what I want in this room. Plus, it’s not wide enough for two people. The top right is… (sigh)a futon. As an official grown-up and someone who prides herself on having good taste, I just don’t know that I could bare it. The bottom left is a bit bulky, a little too $$$, and it folds out sideways…meaning the head of the bed would be at one sofa arm and the foot at the other- one person would be “trapped” and couldn’t have a nightstand. And the last one, again, a futon. I know, I’m a snob. Just couldn’t do it.

  • Creative option #2

Picture20This was another option- two chair beds. I could separate them, so they wouldn’t seem bulky, and together they would be about the size of a queen bed. Not bad, but not real pretty… I bet I could work with it, though.


  • Creative option #3Picture18This is sorta what I was picturing in my head… they could be end-to-end in front of the window (the best place to position them as far as their size and the shape of the room) and then turned, connected, and used as a bed. And I like that they’re low-profile. Low, sleek, simple, and neutral-colored will help them seem to disappear. These are way too expensive for this project, though, at more than $2500 for two…


  • The end game

Picture21This is where I’ve ended up. A floor cushion platform (I’d use two), a traditional Japanese shiki futon mattress, and Zabuton and Zafu cushions. I think this is the best solution for us. Here’s why:

  • The platforms hold up to 500 lbs each
  • They’re only $130 ea (and vintagetastic)
  • They’re small enough that I could tuck one away in the closet and leave the other out without it taking up too much space
  • The shiki futon mattress is 4” thick and filled with 100% cotton
  • A queen size is only $250
  • It folds into thirds for easy storage
  • Being that it is a traditional Japanese futon bed- the ones you see on the floor in traditional Japanese homes- and not a cheap Americanized “futon”, it is high-quality and not at all tacky. And, according to my studies, most people (of all ages) claim it is so comfortable that they don’t need any other support- they sleep on just this
  • Since I’d be getting the larger mattress for sleeping, I could use two of these Zabuton and Zafu (meditation) cushions on top of the single platform for everyday use
  • And to top it off, I do already have an inflatable mattress I could use underneath the futon bed if need be. If nothing else, it would raise it up off the ground a little more

Here’s the look I’m going for…Picture1

  • a stone, green-gray on the walls- very soothing
  • an all gray and white color palette with colorful accents in the vintage oriental artwork (which I already own), an Indian Kantha throw, and the antique Chinese ceremonial robe my mother gave to me as a gift years ago
  • I plan on finding/building a very large mirror to go on one wall to help the room feel larger
  • I already have a bronze capiz chandelier I hope to replace the existing fixture with
  • All the rest of the items (lamps, stool, vases, and window treatments) are from Ikea, West Elm, and CB2 (I think it looks quite ethereal)

Picture2These are pages from a Chinese calendar that I’ve had saved for years with the intention of having them framed. I think they’d be perfect in here. They’re really quite stunning in person. All the art and imagery I have that I plan on using is full of foliage, flowers, and birds- great subject matter for a room intended for rest, relaxation, and maintaining one’s health.

Picture4And last but not least, there’s the t.v. Now I’m of the school of thought that t.v.s are a part of life and they don’t necessarily have to be hidden as though you’re ashamed of them or denying their existence. My husband hung this to watch in the morning when he’s on his bike and it’s great to have when guests are here (the bed would be against the window, facing the t.v.) so I think it’s a great idea to have it in the room. However, the damned stud made it so that we had to hang it off-center. Now that bugs me. So I came up with a plan: I would create a little vignette to counter-balance its off-centered-ness. All the options for tables are from Ikea and CB2- I think I like the clear acrylic nesting tables best. With some leaning art, a serene little statue, and a strategically placed orchid to fill the void next to the t.v., I think this could work well.

So what are your opinions? It’s always nice to bounce ideas off other people… I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially answers to these questions:

  1. Would I look like a fool with my bed on the ground?
  2. Which guest bed option to you think is best or do you have another suggestion?
  3. Do you have a “clutter” room? And if so, what do you envision it to be when it grows up?
  4. What do you think about the color scheme? I am debating between:
    • white and gray with just the art for color
    • or white and gray with the art, a Kantha throw, and the robe for color- since I already have the robe and it really is beautiful
    • I am funny about color in here because I want it to facilitate peace and relaxation and the colors in the throw and robe are more along the energetic side- but energy is definitely part of tuning into one’s mind and health…hmmm…color for thought….
  5. And what do you think of my solution for the wackado t.v. placement (which we couldn’t avoid)?


  1. First, very cool that you are creating this tranquil space for yourselves. I love your vision and think the low bed is perfect. Platform beds are synonymous with Eastern design and their are so many affordable options available. (West Elm comes to mind.)

  2. Yes, it's actually a pretty important space for us to have, I believe. Wish me luck! I'll be working on it bit by bit...

  3. Big decisions!! I see your dilemma. I can also see what you mean about the randomness of a sofa in a room that doesn't necessarily need one. However, when the word "Meditation" comes to my mind, I also envision a sitting and reading room. Then the couch has a purpose and that purpose relates to your other needs for the room. I am also leaning towards option 3 and the "end game". I'm sure whatever you do it will be fabulous!

    Can't wait to see what you go with!!
    All the BEST!!!

  4. Good point about the sitting and reading room...Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    I'm so picky! (which isn't always a bad thing) If I go with a sofa, it will have a lot of criteria to meet...we'll see what happens!

    Thanks again!