No, I’m not preggers. This post is about the lonely ol’ twin bed, which you don’t see so much anymore, even in kids’ rooms. Yet sleep researchers agree we’d all sleep better if every person slept alone. But what fun would that be?
I grew up watching couples on TV who slept happily in twin beds–Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, Laura and Rob Petrie, come to mind. Both had a TV family, so they must have stepped across the space between the two beds once in a while. I remember, too, a friend whose parents had twin beds. I thought they were oh-so-sophisticated because they were like Rob and Laura! But the only twin beds in our house were in the room my two brothers shared.
Maybe that’s a key to why we don’t see twin beds so much anymore: a trend toward fewer children and enough bedrooms for each child to have his or her own room, regardless of sex. And if your guest room is like mine, the guest room bed is a hand-me-down; in our case, from when Chris and I got a bed upgrade. It goes without saying that f you don’t have twin beds to begin with, you can’t pass them along to the guest room.
And yet twin beds are more versatile than doubles, queens or kings. They lend themselves to different arrangements that may open up more space in a room, particularly a room that’s not master-sized. And when guests aren’t a couple, they’d probably prefer their own bed while visiting even if they can’t have their own room.
Joined at the head
|Moises Esquenazi and Associates|
These twin beds share a headboard and could be arranged differently beneath it. They look great spaced apart at either end but could also be pushed together or arranged in a L to emulate a sectional look, with the upholstered headboard serving as a sofa back. If the room had only one occupant, it would be like having a bed and a sofa.
|Top Home Designs via Livinator|
Two guests that are a couple? Just push the beds together as one. This works with the long headboard in the previous photo, no headboards or separate but matching headboards, as in this photo. Identical bedding and benches give this room unity but still allow two people to toss and turn without disturbing each other.
Aside from the obvious girliness of this room, the multifunction bed unit reminds me of my college dorm room. Our beds were also arranged in a L, but both were on wheels and each one had an upholstered storage bolster over it. During the day, we pushed the beds to the walls and together at the heads to make an L in the corner. It gave us more floor space and seating that resembled a living room sectional. The bolsters were padded so doubled as comfy sofa backs. And because we could keep stuff inside and on top, they also functioned as combination nightstands/console tables.
Share and share alike
Twin beds often mean you can get away with just one night table. Here occupants each have their own lamp, and the low bookcase has plenty of surface for sharing. But I would warn against getting the long side of either bed too close to a wall, as making the bed becomes more difficult. I do love these striped walls and the mix of color and pattern in this room. So refreshing!
|Architectural Digest via Livinator|
As beautifully as this room is decorated, it looks a bit cramped to me. The one bed is still too close to the wall and likely interferes with the draperies. I’m swooning over the dusty lavender and butter yellow palette, but I think I’d lose the slipper chair in favor of more floor space.
|Decorpad via Livinator|
Spacing is perfect in this room—enough room to walk between the wall and the bedside, open and close curtains without impediment, and make the bed easily. I also like that the shared night table is a vanity with a mirror above that allows guests to pull up one of those pretty stools to fix their hair or makeup. They’ll appreciate that little detail!
|Desiid via Livinator|
I adore the palette in this room, drawn from the beautiful rug. It’s so relaxing and bright all at once, and those lamps were absolutely made to flank that painting.
Lighten up on lights
|Martyn Lawrence Bullard via Tidbits & Twine|
This arrangement is the best of both worlds. One lamp base with two lamp heads conserves table-top space but allows both occupants their own light. The bed curtains can also be drawn for a bit of privacy. I love the salmon and black color combination and the wonderful mix of vintage, global and modern in this room.
|Robin Henry via Aesthetic Oiseau|
One lamp between the two beds is better if the night table is small, as in this photo. We can’t see the outsides of either bed, but ideally, particularly with the center night table so small, there should be some sort of nighstand on either side too.
These beds and the ones in the next photo look narrow and may be what’s called a “small single”—six inches narrower than a standard single but the same length. At 38-39 inches wide, the standard twin bed provides the same or an inch more sleeping room per person as half of a king-size bed and three inches more per person than half a California king.
|Via Mix and Chic|
This room gets the lighting right. Even though there’s only one lamp on the shared nightstand, each bed has its own ceiling fixture. BTW, I love the antler pillows paired with the birch tree wallpaper. And that geometric rug seems to repeat the sharp angles of the antlers. A hat-tip to the great outdoors without being lodgey.
This shared nightstand may have only one lamp, but the table itself has two drawers—one for each room occupant. I always like to have a bedside drawer I can use, whether I’m staying in a hotel or someone’s home. It gives me a place for medication as well as any jewelry I’m traveling with.
See more photos of this home at House Beautiful.
Remember fraternal twins?
Twin beds lend themselves to symmetry and identical matching, but make sure something is varied to give the room energy.
|Home Edit via Livinator|
In this bedroom, the owner has kept everything the same from bed to bed except the artwork overhead, although it’s framed the same and the subject matter and style are similar.
But don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit more…
If you look closely, you’ll see that one of the throw pillows on each of these beds sports a different geometric pattern, though both share a color palette. Again, this creates energy.
But you can go further still…
These twin beds are dressed identically and even have a small, shared nightstand in between but larger nightstands with separate, matching lamps on the outside. So what’s different? The gorgeous, colorfully woven rugs that hang in place of headboards. The room has a welcoming, boho feel, don’t you think? I love that overhead light fixture as well as the vintage lamps.
Don’t be afraid to take it even further…
|This Old House/Eric Piasecki|
Here the headboards are the same color and scale, but the design of each is different, which makes for an interesting “skyline” in the room. The headboards become the focal point, particularly when everything else is the same. It’s a sophisticated look, don’t you agree?
6 more considerations
- Twin bedding is less expensive than bigger sizes. But since you’ll need two sets, it could cost more overall.
- Twin beds are easier to make, and the smaller size is much easier to launder and fold.
|Top Home Designs via Livinator|
- Not all beddings styles are offered in Twin XL, and even when it is, it’s often difficult to find.
|Schoolhouse Electric via The Inspired Room|
- King bedding may or may not fit over two twins pushed together. It just depends on how generously the sheets are cut, as well as mattress depth.
|Decorating and Design Blogspot via Livinator|
- Mattress sizes vary slightly by manufacturer and/or country of manufacture, so it’s a good idea to check before you buy. That imported bed may be the cat’s meow, but you’ll be hissing and spitting when your domestically purchased fitted sheets don’t actually fit.
|Cheryl Ketner via Cote de Texas|
- In addition to small singles, there are small fulls and jumbo kings. You may need to resort to a flat sheet on the bottom as well as the top to accommodate an odd size. Before you buy is the time to consider whether you really want to be tucking that bottom sheet back in constantly. This would be a deal-breaker for lazy ol’ me, but you might like the daily challenge.