This is a meandering journey of a post, so make yourself comfortable. We mentioned in this side table post that we traded our queen-size bed for a bigger king-size one. The reason might seem obvious – because it’s bigger, duh! But we happily sailed through over 17 years together without ever wanting one. So why the sudden about-face last fall? Well, it essentially boiled down to: “the things we do for our dog” (more on that in a second).
We also had to carefully plan how we’d squeeze the biggest bed we’ve ever owned into our smaller bedroom. And we had a big realization about larger furniture in a smaller house in the process (it’s probably not what you think!). Plus we had some fun with photoshop.
When we told one of our friends about the bed change, they were stunned – nay, SHOCKED – to hear we didn’t already have a king bed. In fact, we’ve heard this sentiment several times over our decade and a half of blogging. As if two adults sleeping in a queen was akin to sharing bunk beds or something. We never really understood that reaction because we were always perfectly content in our queen bed – especially because we shared many smaller beds in our earlier days together.
You see, a queen was a big improvement from where we started our relationship – with me sleeping on a futon in the living room of a one-bedroom apartment that I shared with 2 other guys in Queens. If you do the math, that meant 1 person was in the bedroom and 2 of us slept in the living room on futons, hence my Pinterest-worthy setup below. Yes, I won Sherry’s heart despite this “bedroom” situation:
Pretty soon after that I moved to a different apartment on the Upper West Side where I was finally able to upgrade to a full-size bed. You can watch a video tour of that apartment and see Sherry’s NYC apartment in The Village (which also sported a full-size bed).
Trading up to a queen-size bed in our first Richmond apartment together (shown below) was quite a luxury because we had been sharing full-size beds for a year or so at that point. These side tables and $5 Ikea lamps, though? Not quite luxury.
Over many (many) years we never really felt cramped sleeping in a queen-size bed. So although some of our friends and a large portion of the internet were like “I cannot live without my king bed”, it seemed unnecessary to us to spend the extra money on a bigger mattress/sheets/duvet since we were perfectly happy with our queen. It was frugality meets a classic case of “If it ain’t broke…”
Then when we moved here a series of things started to slowly change our minds. The first one wasn’t a width issue that was bothering us – it was a height issue. And not for us, but for our old dog, Burger.
Like most aging dogs, jumping up and down became harder for him as he got older (he was 15 when he passed in 2021). He loved being on the bed but was often too stubborn to use a bench or other “helper surfaces” to get up and down (we had a floor pouf + bench version of Doggy Steps going on but about half the time he ignored them in favor of the kamikaze method).
In true “small-dog-who-thinks-he’s big” fashion, he’d attempt to spring from the floor to the side of the bed in one chaotic jump – and preferred to get down the same way. He’d always make it (although getting up sometimes took a few tries), and we would happily lift him up and down whenever he’d let us – but we worried about the toll it was taking on his legs and back.
At first we just considered getting a lower bed frame (like a platform) to shorten the distance for him since we had made other Burger-mobility changes to the house already (like installing a stair runner over our wood steps) but he sadly left us suddenly in the fall of 2021 due to a longstanding heart condition.
The whole bed-height consideration became top of mind again when Penny entered our lives last year. She fancies herself some combination of a cat / ninja / mountain goat / daredevil and leaps up & down from the chairs, couches, and – in particular – our bed with absolute reckless abandon.
She’s still young and spry (she’s 3), but we know that lowering our bed will help her legs and back over the long run. And the reason that our brains seemed to slowly shift from “let’s just lower our queen bed” to “what if we got a lower bed that’s also king-size” = this dog sleeps like she’s impersonating that equals sign I just used. Burger used to curl into a small ball and tuck in behind Sherry’s legs or up on my pillow by my head, but Penny likes to stretch out horizontally like she’s impersonating a twizzler, and because our bed isn’t extra wide, that means she pretty regularly smashes into both of us in the process. Essentially we all form the letter H. Sherry and I are the sides of the H and Penny is the middle dash if you can picture it.
It suddenly made a queen bed feel… not so roomy. And sometimes her arms poke out in front of her like this, and her face rests between them, resulting in some claws and a cold nose to whoever is the lucky side of the H at that moment.
Then this past summer we went to Mexico. Whenever we go on a big trip, we always seem to take some sort of house or lifestyle inspiration back with us. We can pinpoint the spring break trip that started our minimizing efforts, our Costa Rica trip kicked our Florida move into gear – and well, our Mexico trip made us want a king-size bed.
Somehow we managed to take zero photos of the specific bed that wooed us, but here it is below from the Airbnb listing. It doesn’t look particularly spacious from this angle, but it was one of the first times I remember registering “so THIS is why people love king-sized beds.” Upon further reflection, I’m sure the realization was hitting us because it was the first time in many months that we slept without a rigid stretched-out dog poking into each side of our bodies. It was great. We slept SO WELL. Penny included.
You can also see a bit more of the space in this video tour Sherry took of the Airbnb right after we checked in. You know, before we had suitcases and various vacation stuff everywhere (which is probably why I never took photos of this room).
Note: You can also view this video on YouTube.
Bottom line: we came home from Mexico with an extremely strong desire to figure out a way to make a king-size bed work in our bedroom, even though we worried that we didn’t actually have the room (details, details). A king mattress is 16″ wider than a queen, which felt like space we didn’t have – especially considering that we needed to leave room to access our closets along that left wall. This is the room with a queen bed below:
Instead of immediately giving up, we decided to do some careful measuring and planning – even turning our queen bed sideways at one point to visualize the wider king mattress – which helped us determine that we could actually make it work! More on that in a second.
The King Bed We Chose
We considered a lot of options for our lower wider bedframe and ended up with this Tessu upholstered platform bed frame from Article. We really like how solid a bed feels when the headboard and frame are built as one, especially since both Burger and Penny like to hang out under the bed sometimes too – so that also makes you want something that doesn’t feel rickety. Are we too obsessed with our dogs? The answer is: that’s not possible and dogs are the best. And yes, even though this bed is so much lower than our last one, Penny loves to army crawl under it and assume her Twizzler-like sleeping position.
Looks/function-wise we also liked that the legs of this bed were inset from the corners so they basically disappear with the duvet on the bed (especially since the walnut finish didn’t match our room). Plus, they don’t become a toe-stubbing hazard!
We got it in the Taupe Clay color, which is a nice medium warm gray (it also comes in navy and deeper gray). We’ve been really, really happy with it! Basically goes with everything.
How We Got A Bigger Bed To Fit Into Our Smaller Room
We covered some of this in our post about our DIY wood nightstands, but I wanted to reiterate it here because the “fit” of this bed was really important to us. Even I, who was the most worried about cramping this bedroom with a bigger bed, am thrilled with the result. And yes, we definitely still have room to get into our closets without issue. We’re in them multiple times a day, so I was unwavering in my dedication to making that not-annoying.
Essentially the key was that we had to shift the bed over and build smaller nightstands (and the one on Sherry’s side had to be even smaller than mine). That concession bought us enough space to make the closet access completely workable – and it was well worth it to have such a giant bed, which makes this room feel like it lives a lot larger than it did before!
I also can’t say enough about using whatever you have in creative ways to help “feel” what a room might feel like with that new larger item. When we learned that a king bed’s width (76″) was similar to the length of a queen bed (80″), we knew that turning our queen bed sideways was a great way to experience how it would feel to access our closets with something that wide in the room.
You can see how everything fits together in the video below that we made for the nightstand post.
Note: You can also watch this video on YouTube.
Not only does it fit logistically, we both feel like it aesthetically fits better as well. You may have heard that sometimes the trick to making small spaces look bigger is to use larger furniture. It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes small-scale furniture can emphasize the smallness of a room. Plus, in the case of our bed, the lower height makes the room feel taller and airier.
I mean really – look how the queen-size bed just made the whole room feel smaller and less airy. I wish this was taken from the exact same POV, but you get the idea:
As for how it feels to finally join the king bed club, it definitely feels straight-up luxurious. The five of us (kids and dog included) can all find a spot on weekend mornings. Penny can move around at night without waking us up (and vice versa). We are no longer a human-dog-human conga line. Except apparently for this photo:
And in case you’re worried about the fate of our old bed, everything lives on (we sold the frame and headboard on a neighborhood buy-sell-trade board and donated the mattress there too). Within one day of listing it, everything was picked up!
Now that the new bed is in place, we’ve been contemplating a little bit of color or texture on the wall behind it – especially since more of it is exposed now with the lower-lying headboard.
We love how light and bright this room is, so we don’t think we want to paint the whole thing, but we’re debating doing something with that wall behind the bed. These are just photoshop renderings, but we thought about maybe using a muted pink…
…or a soft blue-green to complement all of the greenery we have outside the wall of glass doors.
We’ve even debated doing something more textured, like grasscloth wallpaper or a wood slat wall. This was our best approximation of one where we might stain the wood a soft tone. Again: this is photoshop so everything looks jarring. Please squint A LOT.
Honestly, some days we just love how simple and expansive the white wall with the bright art feels. There’s a pretty great view out the entire wall of glass doors to the right of the bed, so sometimes we think: that’s the accent. Sorry, walls – you can’t compete.
So who knows! We’ll definitely share if and when we do something. And in the meantime, we’ve already made another functional upgrade to the room that we’ll share in a future post. Spoiler: it involves earning even more storage! Like AS MUCH STORGE AS OUR LAST HOUSE’S HUGE WALK-IN CLOSET.
If you take one thing from this post I hope it’s: “don’t give up if you think something won’t fit in a smaller room.” If we hadn’t turned our queen bed sideways and experimented with how it would work if we shifted the bed over and gave Sherry a smaller side table, well, our king bed dreams would have been just that – a dream that never became reality.
And the entire concept that larger items of furniture in smaller rooms can often make them feel bigger is TRULY WILD. In fact, this bed change inspired an upcoming sitting room change that we’re making based on that finding – so stay tuned (furniture takes like 15+ weeks lately, but as soon as we have something to show you I’m sure Sherry will be on IG stories sharing it all).
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