Shopping for Your First Apartment Bed? Pros and Cons of Popular Options

In my last post, I discussed how important it is to prepare before buying any of your furniture. This is especially true when it comes to choosing a bed! A bed is usually the first purchase for your new apartment – and it is often the most expensive and space-consuming piece you buy.

I’ll help you sift through the pros and cons of the most common sleeper option out there, so you can find what’s best for you.

This option may replace your traditional bed altogether, or be used as an extra sleeper when you have overnight guests.

Pros: Having furniture with multiple uses is always a plus when you have limited space. Plus, when your sofa bed is closed your room does not look like a bedroom.

Cons: These sofas, even the smaller ones, are still pretty big and bulky pieces of furniture. And one thing is for sure, they are extremely heavy! They do not allow for a light and airy appearance because they have a solid and low bottom that almost touches the floor. Cleaning underneath/behind these guys will be a chore because they’re hard to move around. They are also not the most comfortable to sleep on; often you’ll feel a bar in your back. And remember, you’ll have to fold/unfold your bed each day.

A futon has the same idea as a sofa bed and converts from seating to a bed. It usually offers a more modern and sleek look.

Pros: While a sleeper sofa opens up revealing the entire length of the mattress, the futon opens up sideways. Essentially, the length of the futon is the length of the mattress, with just the back folding down to become the other half of the bed. Futons are typically more comfortable than sleeper sofas and often feature a lower price tag. One of my favorite features of the futon is that the foam mattress often has a removable, washable and reusable covering. This makes cleaning a breeze and allows flexibility for those who like to change look of their space every now and then!

Cons: I don’t have many cons for the futon, (in fact, I wish I had bought one for my own apartment!) but one thing I don’t love about them is that they are all very long.

STORAGE BEDS (beds with drawers):
These beds are often offered in simplistic styles and have any number of drawers beneath the mattress platform.

Pros: Storage beds will definitely give you storage and may eliminate the need for a dresser, a plus in really small apartments. Most storage beds contain two to four drawers underneath, but I have seen ones that contain 8-10!

Cons: The extra storage features in these beds unfortunately also means extra weight. Cleaning under/behind these beds wont be fun because they are heavy, and it’s impossible to reach underneath without moving the bed because the drawers sit very close to the floor. Because of their design, most storage beds will have you sleeping close to the floor, so if this isn’t your cup of tea, I don’t recommend them. These beds are often more expensive and require more assembly than traditional beds. If you move often, tossing storage bins under a traditional bed may be a more realistic option.

By large beds, I mean queen and larger beds and beds with dramatic design like circular beds, etc.

Pros: Absolute comfort and fun style.

Cons: I know it’s hard to say no to that beautiful king-sized bed, but remember that just because your room can fit a large bed; it may not look the nicest. Squeezing in the largest bed that your room can accommodate may look like the bed is eating up the room! If you have a tight space, choose a full or even a twin bed. Then, you’ll have more space for other furniture.

A daybed is a twin-sized bed whose frame resembles the frame of a couch. The same way a couch has arms and a back, a daybed has a decorative headboard, footboard, and back. Daybeds are designed to sit against a wall.

Pros: I highly recommend daybeds for studio apartments. When you add a plain comforter and matching pillows along the sides and the back, it looks just like a sofa. If you don’t want to use the daybed as a sofa, I still recommend it for studios because it looks more like a living room piece than a traditional bed does. This will allow your guests to feel like they are hanging out in a living room, instead of a bedroom. If you are lucky enough to have a private bedroom, the daybed is still a beautiful way to save space and get away with the twin-sized bed.

Cons: I don’t think that the daybed looks good unless it is sitting against a wall. If you already bought your furniture and didn’t plan to keep a wall open, then you probably can’t use a daybed.

Trundles are simple frames that slide underneath traditional beds. Daybeds are very often sold in versions with trundles underneath.

Pros: If you are someone who doesn’t have guests over too often, but still want to be prepared for an overnighter, then a trundle will work beautifully. All you have to do is roll the spare bed out from underneath the bed you sleep on and your guest can sleep on an actual mattress!

Cons: You have to make sure that there is room to roll out a second mattress next to the bed that you sleep on. If you can’t, then the purpose of a trundle bed is defeated. Also, the trundle frame requires you to buy a mattress to put on it, which is an added expense.

I never knew much about Murphy beds until recently, but I’ve learned that they are beds that fold away completely so that you cannot see them anywhere in your room! The built-in wall system looks like a wide bookshelf or a wall storage unit, and it is surprising that a bed actually folds down from within it. I found this awesome site that explains the Murphy bed and offers a ton of styles.

Pros: The bed takes up virtually no space in your room, and you get a load of bookshelf space and a wall unit that looks classy. Its also really easy to pull down the bed and tuck it away.

Cons: I think that this method can get really costly, because you usually have to let the company come in and install the system for you. The system on its own can cost a few thousand dollars. I’m guessing that once you finally find the best unit, the delivery and assembly time is longer than your other options.

I think that I have touched upon every sleep option there is! Let me know if I forgot anything.

Look out for my next post, I’m going to post some pictures of the day I got the keys to my apartment! My boyfriend and sister had a ball cleaning and helping me set up and I can’t wait to show you guys.

Remember to leave a comment and let me know if you enjoyed my post!

Photo credits:
Sofa bed –
Futon –
Day bed –
Large bed –
Storage bed /Captain’s bed–
Murphy bed –

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Author My First Apartment

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I am the type of person who likes to get involved in everything I can, which keeps me endlessly busy! I moved into my very own apartment in Manhattan after graduating college, and every day has been more exciting than the last. Furnishing my apartment is just one of the many ways I satisfy my shopaholic tendencies; I especially enjoy finding cute one-of-a-kind items that fit my style. Most recently, I created, a New York-centric blog dedicated to the best addition to my home: my little puppy named Minnie!

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Comments (12)

  1. Avatar Stephanie Smith

    Wow, there are a lot more styles than I originally thought. I’ve been wanting something like a sofa but my apartment doesn’t have much space, so maybe a futon is what I’ll be getting. Thanks for listing so many insightful pros and cons to each item!

  2. Avatar Jen Beverage

    You forgot the Japanese futon! They roll up at day and at night you roll them onto the floor. They are actually very comfy! I’m buying one for my place because I like light furniture (I move a lot and cannot stand moving heavy furniture). I found an Amazon seller that has them for $85~.

  3. Avatar VeNette Tivey

    I am looking for a small double bed (48″ x 75″ ) with drawer storage below to replace my double electric bed. All I get is stares. Any suggestions? And, no, a twin won’t do — my 2 dogs suffer me to share the bed with them (barely).

  4. Avatar Amber

    Or I’ve heard of using hammocks as well, and they are a nice, unusual sleeping choice for smaller space. Do you know anything about the pros of cons to those?

    • Alex Alex

      Hi Amber, this is a great question. With a hammock, I’d always heard it was bad for the back, but others swear by hammock-sleeping. If you’re serious about a hammock, check out this article. It’s a proprietary website (they’ll sell you a hammock), but it’s a great start for researching if a hammock is right for you.

  5. Avatar rainbow

    I slept in a daybed in my first off-campus apartment. It was too small for me (I’m tall and have long legs) and was really quite uncomfortable.

  6. Avatar Christina

    Hi Arbor Lakes,

    I totally agree! I think that the daybed is a versatile piece with a really charming appearance. I’m glad you enjoyed my post!


  7. Avatar Christina

    Hi gar2668!

    I’m sorry I didn’t touch upon loft beds! A lofted bed seems like a great option for a small space, but I would have to consider a few things before deciding that it’s the best option.

    They are definitely a space saver! I love that you can put a desk to work on, or even a couch underneath the lofted bed. It usually looks cute, too. Very city-feel. However, some people don’t like the way the lofted beds look because they can dominate the attention in a room. Remember, they have large frames and they are very tall, demanding attention.

    Loft beds are hard to move without a lot of disassembly, so if you move fairly often I would keep that in mind. Furthermore, if you decide to move and you want to buy a different/bigger bed, a loft bed will be harder to sell than a bed with a regular height.

    You’ll have to make some sacrifices in comfort, such as having to climb in and out of bed (think about the middle of the night, or if you aren’t feeling well..) and I don’t even know how I would begin to make this type of bed. Attempting to pull that fitted sheet over the mattress seems like a real challenge!

    However, we all must make some sacrifices in order to gain space in our apartments! If you’re wiling to let the bed be your space sacrifice, then you will have more room for your guests to be even more comfortable. Despite the inconveniences you may encounter with the loft bed, it still stands out to me as an item that would really help to utilize the space in your apartment.

    Hope this helped!


  8. Avatar Arbor Lakes Apartments Arlington Heights

    I love daybeds! They usually look so multi-functional as you can put it anywhere in your apartment. Whether you want a sofa or a bed, daybeds can be just that. And most of the time they offer a variety of designs that could blend with your4 home style.

  9. Avatar gar2668

    What about loft beds? I’m moving to a tiny apartment and a loft bed is pretty much the only option.