Without considering creative bed alternatives suitable for small spaces, you may end up with an unusable, uncomfortable sleeping area or give up precious space for a cumbersome traditional bed. Look beyond just mattress and frame options to find the right space-saving sleep solution.
Bed Alternatives to Transform Your Sleeping Space
A hammock is one of the best bed alternatives for small spaces since it is highly portable and space-saving. A daybed and sofa bed offer style and versatility as both a sofa and bed. For guest rooms or living areas, a sofa bed or sleeper sectional allows seating by day that easily converts to a bed for overnight guests.
The bed is one of the most basic things in homes and apartments, although it can also be bulky and take up a lot of space. When you come to think of it, what you need is just a comfortable space for sleeping.
With that said, you can take a creative approach to your sleeping bed alternatives and options. Scroll down for some ideas and inspirations should you find yourself looking for some space-saving ideas or thinking of a bed alternative for guest sleepovers.
|Hanging bed, encloses you
|Temporary spaces, guest room
|Difficult to share
|Sofa-like, built-in bed
|Studios, kid rooms
|Converts into a bed
|Guest rooms, studios
|Bulky when open
|Sectional converts to bed
|Lays back flat
|Not for side sleepers
|Armchair with ottoman
|Chair and ottoman form a bed
|Awkward sleeping position
|Efficient use of vertical space
|Dangerous for young kids
|Thin, needs occasional airing out
|Chair reclines flat
|Stylish, some storage
|Folds into a wall
|Studios, guest rooms
|Expensive, moving parts
|Folds for storage
|Elevated bed, uses vertical space
|Gains floor space underneath
|Dangerous for young kids
|Wheeled, stores away
|Bulky, setup required
|Drawer or trundle bed
|Kids’ rooms, guests
|Efficient use of space
|Limited in size
|Firm padded mat
|Pad in sleeping bag
|Ultra compact, flexible
|Japanese floor mattress
|Thick floor mattress
|Portable, firm support
|Takes up floor space
|Pile of cushions
|Takes up floor space
|Suspended, encloses you
|Potential to swing
A hammock is an enclosed hanging bed that maximizes space vertically, which is great for small rooms or temporary sleeping spaces. Even an extra-long hammock won’t take much time to set up or break down, making it ideal if you don’t want to dedicate a whole room in your home to your bed.
- Pros: Takes up much less space than getting a permanent bed; less expensive than a bed frame and mattresses
- Cons: Impossible to get comfortable with two people in the space; wears out faster
A daybed is one of my favorite standard bed alternatives because of its versatility as a sofa-bed hybrid, suitable for studio apartments or kids’ bedrooms that need flexible seating in limited sleeping spaces. Its multifunctional design offers comfort and style, making it a perfect addition to any room.
- Pros: Versatile for seating and sleeping; perfect for studio apartments or kid rooms
- Cons: Mattresses may wear faster with dual use; bedding is more visible than a typical bed
3. Sofa Bed
Often called a pullout couch, convertible sofa beds easily transform seating space in family rooms or guest rooms into a comfortable spot to sleep for visitors. It’s easy to find a sofa bed with upholstery that will match the decor of the rest of your home.
- Pros: Multifunctional seating and sleeping; space-saving for guest rooms
- Cons: The conversion mechanism may break down; bulkier than a standard couch
4. Sleeper Sectionals
Quite similar to a sofa bed, a sleeper sectional sofa incorporates a pull-out bed into a space-saving sectional, ideal for accommodating overnight guests in your living area. I often recommend these as bed alternatives to clients who want ample space for relaxation by day and a cozy sleeping area by night.
- Pros: Allows seating and sleeping in living spaces; more space-saving than a sofa bed
- Cons: Significantly more expensive when you add modular pieces; difficult to move
A recliner lays flat to become a compact and adjustable sleep space for small rooms or temporary use in a guest room. As someone with bad allergies, I find it easier to nap in a smart and comfortable recliner without my nose becoming clogged and struggling to breathe.
- Pros: Doubles as a bed and as a chair; takes up a lot less space in your room than the main bed
- Cons: Difficult to get comfortable in a recliner if you are not used to sleeping on your back; not designed for sharing
6. Armchair With an Ottoman
In contrast to a sofa bed, an armchair paired with an ottoman can be arranged into a makeshift bed for tight spaces when needed. This compact solution adds a touch of elegance to your space while offering a comfortable retreat for relaxation or a quick nap, especially in a guest room.
- Pros: Adjustable to a makeshift bed; utilizes existing furniture
- Cons: Awkward and unstable sleep setup; the ottoman could slide apart
7. Air Mattress
Inflatable air mattresses offer portable and adjustable soft beds for house guests or camping that are stored away when not used. I often suggest these to clients who want to adjust how firm the mattress is, giving a lot of control over the comfort level. However, it may lose air at night when you sleep on it.
- Pros: Generally a lot less expensive than other bed styles; can easily be deflated and stored in the closet when not in use
- Cons: Indoor pets can damage the mattress; prone to deflating as you sleep on it
8. Bunk Bed
Bunk beds efficiently utilize vertical space by stacking two beds, suitable for maximizing bedroom space for kids. A bunk bed provides stacked sleeping solutions that combine functionality and a playful aesthetic without occupying all the space. Bunk beds can also have a twin-trundle bed.
- Pros: Efficient use of vertical bedroom space; fun for kids to have top bunk
- Cons: The top bunk is difficult to make neatly; ceiling height restrictions
9. Futon Mat
Thin, portable futon mats ensure space-saving floor sleeping, letting you fold them up and store them out of the way. My small room feels a lot larger whenever I use a futon mat for sleeping. You can also put bed linens on top for added cushion and comfort.
- Pros: Decreases the area of space needed; thinner than sofa cushions
- Cons: It can be hard for some people to get on and off the floor each day; absorbs sweat quickly
Embrace luxury and relaxation with a chaise, a chic bed alternative that combines seating and reclining in one elegant piece. Compared to a bunk bed, a chaise lounge chair that reclines flat can be a stylish yet exposed bed in a pinch.
- Pros: Ideal for solo lounging; adds a touch of sophistication to any room
- Cons: Open and exposed sleep space; not suitable for taller people
11. Murphy Bed
Also called a wall bed, murphy beds fold completely into the wall, making them ideal for studios or guest rooms with limited floor space. Aside from being affordable, you can even build one yourself. Moreover, it’s a clever way to save space while doubling the capacity of your sleeping spaces.
- Pros: Fully frees up floor space when stowed; customizable storage options
- Cons: Noisier than traditional beds; mechanism may require repairs
12. Folding Bed
Folding beds are like cots that collapse for easy storage and portability as temporary beds for visitors. While they are not as firm as a spring mattress, these portable beds are perfect for guests or temporary sleeping arrangements since they provide comfort without compromising space.
- Pros: Effortlessly tucks away when not in use; highly portable and storable
- Cons: Set-up required for use; mattresses are quite thin
13. Loft Bed
Loft beds elevate a twin or full-size mattress over desk space to maximize the vertical room for kids and teens. A loft bed is a great space-saving idea because it frees up the ground space for storage, a play area, or a workstation. You can even have a loft bed, hammock, and futon in a single area.
- Pros: Frees up floor space underneath; fun for older kids
- Cons: Accessing the bed can be tricky; not ideal for rooms with low ceilings
14. Rollaway Bed
Rollaway beds are cheap bed alternatives because they provide portable sleeping or resting space that can be folded up and wheeled aside after use. Like a trundle bed, rollaway beds are space-saving wonders that offer a comfortable solution without sacrificing style.
- Pros: Portable guest sleeping solution; folds up compactly for storage
- Cons: Bulky and awkward despite portability; set-up required for use
15. Drawer Bed or Trundle Bed
Compared to a loft bed, a trundle bed is a type of pull-out bed that pulls out from a platform or the bottom of a large dresser. A drawer or trundle bed tucks a second bed under the main mattress as an efficient use of space for kids’ rooms or guests.
- Pros: Perfect for multiple kids or unexpected sleepovers; hidden bed remains made up
- Cons: Limited in size; mattress comfort often lacking
16. Tatami Mat
In contrast to trundle beds, firm padded tatami mats provide thin, portable floor sleeping commonly used in Japan. When the space is too small for a loft bed, a tatami mat is an innovative bed alternative to infuse your living space with Japanese-inspired minimalism and cultural charm.
- Pros: Thin and portable; ideal if you prefer firm support
- Cons: No bedding, so it’s just a mat on the floor; takes practice to roll up neatly
17. Bed Roll
Whenever I want to avoid using a frame for a trundle bed, I opt for simple bed rolls of cushioned pads in sleeping bags that offer ultra-compact, flexible, temporary sleeping solutions. This bed alternative resembles a sleeping bag since it’s cushy, thin, and can easily be rolled up.
- Pros: Cheap and portable; typically no larger than a twin-size bed
- Cons: Can slide around on smooth floors; very basic with little comfort
18. Padded Japanese Floor Mattress
Thick-padded Japanese floor mattresses are superb bed alternatives if you want to avoid twin beds while needing firmer and portable support for floor sleeping arrangements. Also called a Japanese futon, this low-profile sleeping solution brings a minimalist aesthetic to your space, allowing for a restful night’s sleep close to the ground.
- Pros: Portable and firmer than a mattress; more padded than a tatami mat
- Cons: Takes up floor space when used; difficult to roll up neatly
19. Moroccan-Inspired Floor Cushions
Moroccan-inspired floor cushions create flexible, guest-friendly padded lounges that can be used for sleeping space. Some are large enough to serve as daybeds, while the small ones make for low-profile seating for a loft bed.
- Pros: Versatile floor lounging and sleeping; guest-friendly
- Cons: Not as supportive as a mattress; cushions spread out during sleep
20. Hanging Bed
Hanging beds suspend an enclosed sleeping space. They are perfect for small rooms yet may swing during sleep. Instead of bunk beds, I use hanging beds when I want to add whimsical elements and a visually stunning focal point to my guest room.
- Pros: Fun, space-saving suspension; feels cocooned and cozy
- Cons: Awkward climbing in and out; weight capacity limitations
21. Thai Massage Mats
A thin massage mat can be as a multi-purpose and portable pad for temporary or floor sleeping. For someone who finds bunk beds too bulky, a standard massage mat is compact at around 3.5 inches thick, making it easy to roll for storage.
- Pros: Lightweight and multi-purpose; portable and easy to store
- Cons: Very thin with minimal padding; better for massage than sleeping
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is an Alternative for a Bed?
Options like a hammock, daybed, sofa bed, or sleeper sectional can provide a space-saving sleeping solution when you need a bed alternative. These result in comfortable sleeping spaces without taking up as much space as a traditional bed.
What Should I Sleep on if I Have No Bed?
When you don’t have space for a full bed, alternatives like a recliner, air mattress, bed roll, or chaise can serve as makeshift beds when needed. These flexible options can be set up as temporary sleeping spaces.
What Can I Use Instead of a Mattress?
Instead of a mattress, space-saving options like futon mats, murphy beds, trundle beds, bunk beds, rollaway beds, or tatami mats allow you to have a comfortable sleeping surface. These thin, portable mattress alternatives can maximize various layout options.
Rethinking your sleep furniture can open new design possibilities for even the tightest spaces. Thoughtfully chosen bed alternatives tailor your sleeping accommodations to match your priorities for comfort, aesthetics and practicality. With these options, you can select the right bed alternative and transform your small space into a relaxing oasis.