To Loft or Not to Loft, That is the Question

Whether or not to loft their dorm bed is a question many freshmen struggle with when designing a dorm room. Bed lofting is when a bed is set up bunk bed style, only with no lower bunk. The advantage of lofting is that you have additional space under your bed to put your desk or other furniture. Most universities offer students the option of lofting their bed for a fee, typically costing about $150 per semester. It’s a lease situation so you can’t take it with you.

In the dorm decor business we have the opportunity to talk with a lot of Housing Directors and one thing they seem to all agreed upon is that for many students lofting is not all it’s cracked up to be, especially in smaller dorm rooms. In a recent conversation with a housing director in Nashville, Tennessee I heard, “The same students that are calling the make sure their bed will be lofted in August are calling again in October to have it removed.”

Why the change of heart? Most students loft their bed and put their desk and small dresser underneath. After all, in a dorm room it’s all about maximizing vertical space. The problem is your dorm bed doubles for many things. In addition to sleeping, your dorm bed acts as a sofa. It’s the place you flop and spread projects out to work. When you come in from a long day do you really want to climb a ladder to relax? Think about it, every time you get in and out of your bed, you have to climb up and down a ladder. You’re on your bed, not necessarily sleeping, just watching something on your computer, there’s a knock on the door and you have to climb down a ladder to let your friend in. Then, in order for you to have a place to sit and hang out together you, and your friend, have to climb the ladder up to your bed.

This fall I overheard a conversation between a student and her parents.

“You just had to have new dorm bedding and you don’t even bother to make your bed, and you knew we were coming!”

“Mom, I’m sorry but, it’s impossible to make a lofted bed! I haven’t even changed the sheets because it’s such a pain!”

She has a point. Have you ever tried to make a bunk bed? It’s a nightmare.

So here’s the Dorm Diva’s bottom line of things you should consider before making the loft or no loft decision.

  • The cost to lease a loft for two semesters is about $300. With that money could I buy storage items that I can keep that will provide the vertical storage I need?
  • Is my dorm room large enough that I can have a sofa or futon that I can sit on? If not, am I going to get weary of climbing a ladder every time I want to sit on my bed.
  • Are you prepared for the extra work involved making up a lofted bed?

Last, but certainly not least, Dorm Decor Diva would never loft a bed because, well, it’s just not pretty! You can’t really see the lovely headboard and bedding you picked out. You can, however, see the ugly underside of the mattress springs and even when students try to drape it with fabric it still just looks messy. That’s the Dorm Decor Diva’s opinion. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

(lofted bed image via dorms direct)