When Elizabeth Boyce goes to bed at night, she knows exactly where her children are. Well, five of them anyway.
The eldest of Boyce’s six kids is grown up, but the younger five still live at home and sleep with Mom and Dad. So how do two adults and five kids fit in one bed? The Boyce family bed is not just your regular old family bed. It’s a viral masterpiece their crafty mom created all on her own.
Boyce posted this photo to Facebook one night and woke up to more than 30,000 views:
Boyce is a photographer and the blogger behind Wandering the World Below, where she chronicles her family’s frequent travels. She told SheKnows that it’s all that traveling that set the stage for the bed that’s making its way around the world via social media.
“It came completely out of necessity!” Boyce said. “We had kids sleeping on the floor on blankets every night. Our mattresses were already on the floor since the baby and toddler were still in our bedroom. The big kids would start or move in every single night. In July, I was working 18-hour days to prep for our first Birth Photographers’ conference, and so they were sleeping with Dad a lot more frequently. As soon as the conference was over, we hit the road for several weeks of travel into the Rockies. When we came home, I said I was sick and tired of tripping over kids all night, that they weren’t sleeping comfortably on the floor and that I had bedrooms completely empty.”
So what’s a mom to do?
“I am the queen of thriftiness,” Boyce explained. “I realized that if I modified the Kura beds we already owned, we could fit everyone in our room, where our bed was already. It wouldn’t take up any more space than it already did, and I would have rooms empty for other things!”
She started with loft beds, but after chatting with fellow blogger Rebecca of Older and Wisor, Boyce devised a way to make one inexpensive, cohesive unit with embellishments for each of her five younger kids.
Because she already had the beds, she was able to minimize cost. In fact, Boyce boasts that her total payout was just $17 for the bed pieces she didn’t have in her home. (Handy tip: She suggests Craigslist for scouting for the beds themselves to save yourself some money.) The work she did herself, with her family’s needs in mind.
So what about the reaction to the bed online?
“At this point, everyone who knows me personally knows I am a little strange and never do things the way I am ‘supposed to,'” she joked. “So I don’t think anyone who knows me in real life is surprised. Most people say, ‘Wow! That is brilliant! So many people need that and don’t even know it!’
“Sharing your bed with your kids is so common. It is just not talked about. It was how I was raised; it is how we wanted to raise our kids. I don’t think our plan was to have a giant family bed, but our room was always a comfortable, inviting space for our children to feel safe and loved. If there are naysayers in our lives who don’t agree with our choice, they certainly don’t say it to us! Although I am sure there are a fair share who say, ‘Well, it’s Elizabeth.’ And that says it all!”
Want to make your own family bed? Wandering the World Below has a complete tutorial available, including the cost breakdown.