Tiny House Sleeping Arrangements: Making Room for Everyone

There's a question I've never answered here at the Small Home Family blog, but I'm sure many people have wondered...

Where do we all sleep?

When Chris and I first moved into our home, everything was pretty simple and straightforward: we slept in the bedroom on a queen-size bed. The bed barely fit in the room with just enough space to walk around, and we kept it that way for several years. (Most of the photos I can find of our bedroom set up from years past have cats in them. We had three cats once upon a time. The photo on the left shows our bed in the bedroom.)

Here is another pic of our bedroom with a queen-sized bed in it once upon a time.
A few months before Sunshine was born, I was finding it very hard to share that queen bed and get any kind of quality sleep myself, so we decided that it was time to make some changes. We got rid of our queen bed and moved the mattress upstairs to the loft where Chris slept on it. As you can see from the photos, the cats liked to sleep on it, too.

Next, we turned the tiny bedroom into a nursery, and we included a twin bed in the plan so that I could sleep downstairs in my own bed during the last few months of my pregnancy. Long term we anticipated that it would be best for all of us if I slept in the room with the baby and Chris slept alone upstairs so that we wouldn't disturb each other with his early morning work schedule and the baby's night wakings. Sunshine would sleep in the pack n play next to my bed to start.

She didn't get the memo.

What ended up happening was that I slept in the living room with the baby, who absolutely would not sleep alone. Period. And Chris slept upstairs (usually with the cats, as you can see from the photo at right). For quite a few months, no one slept in the bedroom. (For quite a few months, no one slept much at all.)

Eventually, I moved into the bedroom with Sunshine, but she never did sleep in the pack n play. Somehow we turned into a bed-sharing family, and it really seemed like the most natural thing in the world at that point even though that was never part of our plan.

When I weaned Sunshine at 18 months, we put up a mini-crib-turned-toddler-bed for her side-carred to my bed, and over the course of the next few months, I worked with her on sleeping in her own bed.

When she turned two, I was pregnant again, and she was quickly outgrowing her little bed, so we decided to purchase an IKEA SNIGLAR small bed for her and put it on the other side of the twin bed. There was just enough room for the three beds in the little bedroom with my bed sandwiched between the two little ones.

When Sweetheart was born, Chris moved into the bedroom with Sunshine for about six months while I slept in the living room with the new baby. We had long since abandoned the queen mattress in the loft because one of our cats would not stop peeing on it. When Sweetheart was six months old, I moved into the bedroom with her and Sunshine, and Chris started sleeping on the couch again.

Sweetheart slept either with me or in the mini crib until her first birthday when we realized her sleeping habits were different enough from her sister's that she was going to need a bigger bed much sooner than Sunshine had. This created a dilemma for us because while the mini crib fit well in the space available, a standard crib or toddler bed would not fit. Even the smallest beds I could find were still an inch or so too wide. We ended up making a bed for her ourselves designed to fit perfectly in the gap between the twin bed and the wall. It fits a standard crib mattress, and that's where Sweetheart spends most of her nights now that she is no longer nursing.

When we fixed up the loft last summer, Chris started sleeping on the new couch upstairs, and this arrangement has been working well for us. Chris and the girls go to bed earlier than I do (Chris has to get up very early for work), so I get an hour or so to myself in the living room after everyone else is asleep.

We're getting ready to take apart the beds in preparation for painting this weekend, so everything is about to change again. Ultimately, Sunshine will have the top loft bed, and Sweetheart will sleep on the bottom. We're adding a trundle underneath the IKEA KURA bed so that I can sleep in the bedroom still as needed, but I'm hopeful that this will be the beginning of the transition to our girls sleeping alone in their own bedroom together without me.

Our sleeping arrangements have varied a lot over the years as our needs have changed. Part of the beauty and the challenge of living in a small space is learning how to adapt to any given situation that arises. We definitely have abandoned traditional sleeping arrangements in favor of doing whatever works to get the most sleep for everyone in our family.