This past summer we took on a family project designed to fit some very specific needs of ours. We needed a living room couch (big & comfy) that could also serve as a decent bed. Not a crummy, fold-out bed but one that displaced husbands (#NightTerrors #ChronicPain #SoooSorryBaby) could sleep on a regular basis without developing some kind of back problem. I took to Pinterest where DIY pallet furniture projects like this caught my attention.
Thus I designed a couch whose cushion was actually a twin mattress. (Walmart $89) To construct the frame we needed 4 whole pallets and around 2/3 of four additional pallets. If you’re willing to scrounge around and be persistent, you can obtain pallets for free from local businesses. A lot of them say no, but plenty said yes as well. We cleaned and sanded the pallets then attached them vertically with deck screws and horizontally with little wooden braces Christopher cut from scraps. We painted only certain aspects of the pallets 1) to encourage that intentionally rustic look and 2) it would be grueling to paint all the inside surfaces of a pallet.
After attaching the pallets that make up the back of the couch, which I think is rather ugly, I promptly ordered some long tie cushions (blue & white pattern) (Bed, Bath & Beyond web site $20) to conceal the wood and provide a comfortable surface to lean on. I wrapped a thin quilted comforter (yellow & gray chevron) over the twin mattress and tucked it in, hospital-corner style. A bunch of throw pillows later and the couch aspect of the project was fulfilled. Now onto the night-time bed function. A twin mattress is pretty tiny for an adult to sleep on so I designed two benches that serve as movable sectional pieces to expand the width and/or length of the bed. [In a future post I’ll share how easy it was to make those benches out of two wooden crates I got at the craft store.]
At bedtime we toss all the throw pillows onto a chair and pull out a memory foam mattress topper that I cut to match Christopher’s preferred sectional placement (double-bed size on the top half and extra long at the end). Even though the benches are the perfect height, a mattress topper uniting both pieces makes the bed feel more continuous. I keep a fitted flannel sheet on the mattress topper so after plopping it on the couch it just needs the comforter and pillows which I keep stashed nearby. A sound machine and phone charger are nestled in next to the couch like a discreet bedside table. The sound machine’s white noise feature also comes in handy for me if I need to lay down during the day and don’t want to wear my #tinnitus earbuds.
I never thought my first year of marriage would so often include separate beds – but let me tell you, we have way more fun and way less disagreements during the day when we’ve both gotten decent sleep.
Designing, building and styling our couch/bed was exhausting but also empowering. I used every bit of creative/pragmatic/frugal energy I didn’t even know I had in me. It was a real team effort but the three of us (plus the cats) have used and enjoyed it every day since.