Hanging beds give hanging out a new meaning

By Paula Felps

We spend approximately one-third of our lives sleeping, so it makes sense that we’d need a comfortable bed. These days, though, the hottest way to catch your zzzz’s doesn’t involve flopping in a featherbed or resting on the gentle waves of a waterbed; it’s about getting your shuteye while hanging from the ceiling.

From minimalistic materials to exotic looking canopy beds, hanging beds can transform the look of a room. And they can help you get a better night’s sleep.

“The sway of a hanging bed has a calming effect,” so it actually has proven therapeutic uses, says Floating Bed Co. founder John Huff. “Any mother who has ever tired of getting a crying baby back to sleep understands the science of rocking. That’s what a hanging bed does.” (He emphasizes that the sway is slight, so those with a tendency for motion sickness need not worry.)

Do your hanging bed homework

It’s not just beds that are dangling these days; hammocks — long a staple of the backyard — have moved indoors and are being used as couches or even beds.

“In other countries, it’s pretty common to see a hammock in the bedroom,” Huff says. “That’s not the case here. We’re getting more comfortable with it, but it’s going to be a few more years before that becomes commonplace here.”

Of course, those who want to jump on the cutting edge of the suspended sleep trend need to make sure that they’ve done their homework before they make their bed and lie in it. Hanging a bed or a hammock indoors requires a bit more work than setting up a standard four-legged bed.

For a hammock, locate a wall stud or ceiling beam; for a bed, you’ll need to locate ceiling beams and, depending on your home’s construction, you may need to add a beam for additional support. (You may even want to add reinforcement to the ceiling joists just as a precaution.) Be advised that most companies that sell hanging beds, such as Floating Bed Co. and Anthropologie, recommend professional installation.

Map it Out

Once you’ve found the appropriate support in the wall or ceiling, you will need to plan your project carefully.

While you can get all the supplies you need from your local hardware store, you’ll have to do some math to make sure your project is going to stay afloat! Based on the frame you’ve built for the bed and the size of your bed, plus the weight of the occupants on the bed, you can determine how much weight it needs to be able to hold.

Coated wire (3/32”) should be sufficient to suspend your bed, and you can install large (6-8”) ceiling hooks in the ceiling beams to run the wire through. (Make sure you check the weight rating on the hooks you use, based on a vertical safe load. This will tell you if they’re strong enough to support your bed.) Calculate the length of the wire needed and always buy extra to allow you to adjust it if needed! If you don’t like the look of the wire, wrap it with ribbon, cloth, or even with a more attractive decorative chain.

To hang a hammock, screw an eyebolt lag screw into the wall stud or ceiling beam and then attach the hammock with S-hooks. Always make sure that the screws are placed high enough to allow about three or four feet of clearance beneath the hammock, because it will sink as soon as it is occupied.

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One Comment

  1. Clint
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    My wife insisted on a hammock in our front room so I hung it up with my father in law a few months back. Your way is a bit more efficient, I had faux wood ceiling beams to navigate around but in the end it turned out nice! Pictures ended up in the living section of the Houston paper!

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