July 6, 2015

How to Trick a Closet Into Thinking It's a Bedroom

If our home were being shown on HGTVs House Hunters, the room at the top of the stairs would be billed as a closet. Or, possibly, as having "great potential for a guest bathroom." ("Potential" being code for "this will be a lot of work.")

But here at This Old House: The "How-Real-People-Live" Episodes, we've re-purposed this 9x9 space as the domain of our younger daughter. 

At least we have supplied her with evidence for her memoirs on the inequity of life as a second-born child.

It isn't that we couldn't use another closet. Or another bathroom, both being in somewhat short supply in our old farmhouse. But needs must when the dwelling-devil drives, and so instead we tricked the space out into a tween girl's kingdom.


To pull off this space-redefining feat, we employed these tips and tools...

Loft bed. Okay, I can imagine what you might be thinking. "Well, duh! I read this far for this no-kidding tip?" But please don't leave just yet! I had to start here because this piece of furniture is what makes everything else in our Anna's room work. 

We got ours at a wonderfully quirky local shop called Seat 'n' Sleep, but loft
bed are widely available. There are two main benefits to installing one of these space-maximizing marvels in your closet-cum-bedroom:
  • It maximizes limited space. Getting the sleeping platform up off the floor opens up real estate for so many other things (someplace to store clothing, for instance) and essentially creates another room-within-a-room. Anna's model came with a huge desk, storage, and shelves. Very handy.
  • It proves your love for your child. Making up a loft bed requires a strong will, at least 20 free minutes, and, ideally, the ability to levitate above the bed while wrestling a fitted sheet and other bedding accouterments onto the mattress. If this isn't parental devotion, I don't know what is.




Bed-accessible light. Anna reads in bed every night and doesn't want to have to crawl down from her perch just to turn off the light. We found a darling table lamp at Target with a convenient pull-chain. Situated on top of a tallish bookshelf stationed right next to her bed, the light is within fairly easy reach of Anna from her bed.

She also keeps a small "bed bag"--just a gift bag from the dollar store--tied by a ribbon to a bedpost up in her sleeping chamber so she can access lip balm, tissues, and other nighttime necessities without having to climb down.

Hooks. (Lots.) As mentioned previously, Anna's room should by rights be a closet. Incarnating it into a bedroom means it does not, in fact, have a closet. (See "100-year-old farmhouse. Built when people didn't have very many clothes.") To mimic the benefits of separate storage in her smallish room, we slung one hook set-up over her door and hung another on the wall behind it. I think I got both at TJ Maxx. Or possibly Lowe's, one of our homes-away-from-home.

Under-storage. We simply cannot tolerate wasted floor space in a room this size. Anna's t-shirts reside under one of her dressers in a shallow fabric bin from Five Below.

Unique seating (with more storage). Anna wanted to create a "Book Nook" in the corner of her room between the wall and the end of her loft bed. We moved in her very narrow bookshelf and started looking for cozy seating where she could hunker down and read. She rejected a bean-bag chair, saying she wanted something with a high back that would support her neck.

Around this time, one of my Facebook friends shared this beguiling picture from createsinspire:



Naturally, we wanted this for Anna's literary lounge. So I did what any DIY-challenged mom with clever, generous parents does: I shared the link with my mom and innocently commented, "Wouldn't this be a cute idea for Anna's room?" Cue grandparent love. They'd found a dresser candidate within a couple weeks and brought the finished product over within a couple months. Yes, they actually are that wonderful. No, they are not available to loan out. (See "What I'm Hoping to Do This Summer," #13.) The high back gives Anna a place to lean against, and the remaining drawer now houses her scarf collection. A sweet white curtain closes off the space and seals the deal.

Maximum impact. With just 81 square feet to work with, we wanted to sneak in the girl-happiness factor wherever we could. I painted Anna's floor an electric/midnight blue of her choosing. She picked out a string of mini paper lantern lights, which we draped from her bed. A baubly chandelier from Lowe's is like jewelry hanging down from the ceiling.

I love and am so grateful for this room for my daughter. And, oh the joy of it, just last night, my daughter told me she loves her room. I'm thinking she might not even lament having the small bedroom to her older sister's much larger one when she writes the story of her life. 

While I'm waiting to see how that plays out, I'd be thrilled to have you share the small-space solutions that have worked for you. Because I've got this corner of the laundry room I need to trick into thinking it's a bathroom...











23 comments:

  1. Great post Elizabeth! Thank you for the shout out. :) What a great space for a young lady! I love the idea of the loft bed and using the bench as a book nook! :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! You are one talented and crafty lady. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and inspiration so that even craft-challenged moms like me can create happy spaces for those we love! :)

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  2. I love this! Space is at a minimum around our house as well, and I'm forever having to find unique ways to make room. :-)

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    1. Thank you so much, Leah, for taking time to drop by my blog house and to leave your encouraging comments! I've just been visiting your blog and love the name and the truth behind it. Blessings to you as you walk along the road! :)

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  3. Great post ... thank you for sharing! Blessings, ~Sarah (visiting from Radical Femininity)

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    1. Thank so much, Sarah, for taking time to stop by and to comment! Blessings back to you!

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  4. Love your ideas!
    Saying 'hi' to your resourceful parents! :)
    I hope you'll find the time to link up your tips with Idea Box this week:
    http://milaslittlethings.com/2015/07/idea-box-thursday-link-party-18.html

    Hugs,
    Mila

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    1. Thank you, Mila! You are so kind! I will pass along your greeting to my beyond-wonderful parents, without whom we'd be renting an apartment somewhere. Which is not a bad thing! :) It just wouldn't be the same. I am headed to your party this very minute...thank you for the invitation! :)

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  5. I love this post!! Especially in today's economy making the most out of every INCH of a small home (with multiple kids) is KEY! In fact, my youngest's nursery was the closet in our bedroom (with door removed and a humidifier and fan added)! IT WAS PERFECT! I seriously wish I had done it with my elder two, the convenience was amazing! They all 3 share a bedroom now- at their own choosing! #blessed They share a bunk bed with the 2 girls sharing the Full Size Futon bottom and Big Bro with Top Privileges! Our 3rd Bedroom is now playroom/homeschool room/craft space! ;) Not bad for a house under 1100 sq ft!

    FOund you at SHINE!

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    1. Thank so much for stopping by and taking time to comment, Lorey! You are clearly a crafty and clever mama! :) So glad to "meet" you at SHINE!

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  6. You write: "Wouldn't this be a cute idea for Anna's room?" -- this is so true. I found that out several times and am always so grateful for the help of my Little One's grandparents.
    The bedroom looks just darling. I love her reading nook!

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    1. Thank you, Bibi! Aren't you sweet? And aren't we grateful for grandparents...one of God's best inventions! :) I can only hope to have the blessing someday of being the kind of grandparent to my grandchildren that my parents and my husband's have been to our girls. There is no doubt they have set the bar high! Thanks so much for taking time to stop by and to comment!

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  7. Oh I LOVE the loft bed! I think I have those lights in my daughters room also, they're so adorable :) I absolutely love what you did with the extra seating & how it's in it's own hidden corner! Thanks so much for linking up with us at Welcome Home Wednesday, we hope to see you again next week!

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    1. Thank you for your kind comments! My daughter is happy, so I am happy! :) And I'm so glad I found Welcome Home Wednesday and absolutely plan to be back next week!

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    1. Thanks, Mandi! I'm glad it came across that way, because I am the least creative mom on the planet! :) But, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention...;)

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  9. Such a cute little room! My dad built a loft bed for me when I went to college... complete with a wrap around desk underneath! It was perfect for my tiny college dorm and those late night study sessions! I had a clip on light and fan up by my bed... and dad attached a little ledge to my railing for my alarm clock and books. Your daughters little room brings me back to those long days daddy spent building my loft... and the half a day he spend putting it together and taking it apart each time we moved into or out of the dorm. Thanks for linking up with us at Welcome Home Wednesdays... can't wait to see you next week!

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    1. Thank you, Betsy! What a great dad you have! I have one, too...he assembled all 1 million-ish pieces in my daughter's loft bed purely out of love for his granddaughter! :) I'm so glad I found Welcome Home Wednesdays and look forward to joining the party again very soon!

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    2. Thank you, Betsy! What a great dad you have! I have one, too...he assembled all 1 million-ish pieces in my daughter's loft bed purely out of love for his granddaughter! :) I'm so glad I found Welcome Home Wednesdays and look forward to joining the party again very soon!

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  10. I just pinned this. Small space living is my thing girl and you have NAILED it. What an adorable room.

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    1. Thank you, Natalie!!! I love these cozy quarters for my "baby" & am so glad she loves it, too! & hurray for small-space living!

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  11. This room is cozey and it reflects the owner. You have succeded in making for her and she will be happy. It's not about the size of the room, but what is in it. If it reflects the personality of the owner and if sheis comfortable in her room. I am also redoing my daughter's room. First thing she said " it must blue" and so we have re-created the whole space around what makes her happy

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    1. Thank you, Mary! I can only image that your daughter's blue room is delightful and, as you so wisely said, a place that makes her happy. So sweet. :) Thank you for taking time to drop by and to comment!

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!