When non-co-sleepers imagine life with a family bed, they often picture family members squeezed into one bed, limbs askew and no one actually sleeping. Or they picture a mattress or two lying next to a main bed and family members playing a nighttime version of musical beds. And while both of these co-sleeping versions definitely exist, one mom's DIY quest for the ideal family bed for her particular clan makes co-sleeping look like, well, a dream! Read on to see how she did crafted this haven and prepare to be inspired by the love and care that went into planning the sleeping arrangements -- (pssst...IKEA hack ahead!)
Birth and baby photographer Elizabeth Boyce grew up in a co-sleeping family, and she always knew she wanted to co-sleep with her kids when she started a family of her own. With six kids ages 1-21, she’s certainly had a great deal of practice working out the nuts and bolts of co-sleeping. Tired of tripping over one of the five kids still living at home with her husband and herself (and noticing that all of her kids ended up in her room almost every night), Boyce came up with a family bed that would offer five sleeping areas by modifying two IKEA KURA lofted beds that she snagged on Craigslist… and adding several mattresses. The grand total for this family bed was only $209.45 due to Boyce’s resourcefulness and to buying items secondhand.
The youngest baby sleeps with mom and dad in the center section. Three year-old Owen sleeps on one side on a toddler mattress, tucked under one of the lofted beds. Zach, 11 years-old and a night owl who benefits from a darker sleeping area, fits under the other lofted bed, and his sleeping area also features a little separating curtain.
Ben, who is seven, sleeps on one of the lofted beds. Both he and his sister Izzy (who is nine and has the second lofted bed) have ladders on the other side of their beds for climbing in and out. Amazingly, in this thoughtfully planned out family bed, they still found room for nightstands, a shelf for sippy cups and phones, and even some relaxing lights. The end result is a sweet, beautifully organized way to keep the whole family close by, while still allowing for personal space and varied sleeping habits.
Despite the fact that Elizabeth and her family have created the ultimate co-sleeping arrangement, you’re just as likely to find them out adventuring on the road in their minivan and pop up camper (which are humorously named Garth and Brooks). While they love traveling to new places (especially National Parks), we bet coming home to that cozy, ingenious, and lovingly planned sleeping spot feels pretty good too. Elizabeth reports that everyone is getting more sleep in this arrangement, which makes for a happier, well-rested family that’s ready to take on life’s adventures!
via Baby Center
All images © Elizabeth Boyce/Earth Mama Photography