The $100 Bedroom Makeover

This is not a post about minimalism. This is, in fact, a post about buying something new, which I think is okay to do every now and then. We don’t buy new stuff that often, not only because we have minimalist aspirations, but because we are graduate students. In its simplest distillation, this means that we are poor. And happy, and over-caffeinated. Also that for the last three and a half years (since we’ve been married) we’ve been sleeping on a mattress on the floor. This is not because we’re so minimalist that we eschew furniture. Just that we couldn’t quite afford a real bed.

This is what our bedroom has looked like (the dresser is one my wonderful parents got for me at a secondhand store when I was in college. The table is from my husband’s student days. Even the lamp, jewelry stand and quilt are gifts/hand-me-downs. The only things we’ve purchased new are the alarm clocks.)

Posh, eh? But here is a secret that will surprise no one: I love shelter blogs. They’re not exactly minimalist (well, most of them aren’t) but I love the creativity that people pour into their apartments/houses/airstream trailers. I love the idea of home. And I’d like to make our home a little more, well, homey. Still, we’re graduate students. I didn’t think a bed frame would be within our budget.

Then…we went to Ikea!

Probably we should have gone to the secondhand store. In fact, we’ve been to several, looking for a bedframe, but never found one in good condition that we both liked. Also, we don’t have a truck, and it would have cost as much to rent one as to buy a cheap Ikea bed in a flatpack and drive it home. We spent a good while strolling around Ikea like starry eyed yokels (there isn’t one in our hometown – we were in an Ikea city for a wedding). My husband was totally enamored of this loft bed in a tiny model apartment:

I, however, had the childhood nickname “Grace.” Not without irony. To me, that bed is just a trip to the emergency room waiting to happen. So I’m very glad to be able to say that we found a bedframe within our (loooow) budget that was a little closer to the ground. I had a couple of other ground rules (ha!) about the purchase. For one, no thinly veneered particle board. If we’re going to buy something this big brand new, my sustainability credo dictates that it has to be something that will last a lifetime. It also had to work with our existing mattress and box spring. I’m not looking to replace something that works perfectly fine. Third, it had to fit our $100 spending limit. And on this shining Ikea day, we were in luck:

This, my friends, is a depiction of the lovely “Leirvik,” which I’m pretty sure is Swedish for “super affordable bedframe that reminds you of the one you grew up with”. It’s like the white four poster from my childhood bedframe married the brass bed my husband grew up with. Sort of fitting, really. We had help getting it out of the flatpack:

Fat George is always helpful. We learned something from this experience about ourselves, as well: we as a couple are capable of assembling a piece of Ikea furniture without killing each other. Perhaps a few snarky comments were traded, but all in all, our marriage emerged from this adventure unscathed. And so it is that I can happily offer…the big reveal:

 Ta-Da! That’s Fat George peeking out from the new favorite cat hangout – under our bed. I think it’s remarkable the difference one piece of furniture makes. My husband and I finished assembling it, put the sheets and blankets back on, and agreed: we feel like grown ups now. Granted, we’re grown ups who still have to do homework. But at least I can now do mine sitting in the comfort of my lovely new bed.

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10 thoughts on “The $100 Bedroom Makeover

    • Thanks! I had this image in my head of something really spare and simple, but this one makes me feel all nostalgic for the one in my childhood bedroom. I think maybe warm and cozy is a better aesthetic for the room in which one sleeps than sleek and minimalist anyway!

    • Well, we get a B+ at best. Anything short of an increase in household mortality statistics is a pass, when it comes to assembling Ikea furniture, and we’ll award a B at minimum to anyone who can make it through without intentional bloodshed. One of our favorite couples says that the secret to a happy marriage is to have two such projects going simultaneously, and each tackle one of them in a different part of the house…

  1. Pingback: Craigslist Makeover: Guest Room Edition | Project Minify

  2. did you use bed slats under the matress or a box spring? I’m going to buy this bed but I’m not sure how low or how high I want it under the matress and yours looks at a perfect height. What do you have between the bed frame and the matress?

    • Hi Carola, we used a box spring – it was from our old bed. The Ikea slats will give your mattress more support, but I don’t think they’ll add much height. We also have a 2 inch thick memory foam topper (from overstock.com) on top of the mattress. We were glad to be able to re-use our box spring, and it made for the most comfortable bed ever!

  3. I was wondering how you used your existing box spring? Does the bed seem to have enough support? The box spring isn’t bowing or making the bed too high? I think the bed is adorable but just spent money on a box spring that I’m not willing to part with.

    • Hi Ashleigh,

      We’ve used this bed with and without a box spring,and both ways worked just fine. Our box spring worked with the bed (with the midbeam, of course) for several years! It worked well, the spring never bowed, and the bed was pretty tall, but we’re both 5’8″, so that wasn’t a problem for us. The box spring did sit above the bed frame, but our mattress never slid around on it. If you don’t like the look of the box spring showing, you can always cover it with a sheet, just as you do the mattress.

      When we moved, we weren’t able to get the box spring upstairs in our new house, so we made another Ikea run to get slats. Now we have just a mattress and topper on the slats. Both ways have been comfortable, and the bed has held up like a dream.

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