We wanted to upgrade Otto's (3yrs) bed to a full single-size bed. His previous bed served us well, the Montessori floor bed in this room was made specifically to fit into a small nook in his UK bedroom. His bedroom here in Australia is much larger but I still wanted a bed low to the ground.
A mattress direct on the floor can work wonderfully especially for those in the infant or early toddler stages, but lots of families like to have their children's beds just off the ground for ventilation or to avoid spiders and bugs, and I also like the bed to look a little more put together and finished. For a toddler or preschooler, it can make the bed feel more like a 'big' bed.
There are lots of Montessori-style floor or low bed options at Ikea but most of them require a hack or modifying the bed a little like shortening the legs. If you don't want to modify the bed what are the options? Ikea has a few cute toddler beds that can expand to a full single, but I wanted a 100% natural unstained timber unstained bed, that the child can easily get in and out of with an unobstructed view.
The Ikea UTÅKER bed meets all of my requirements. It is low to the ground, it is a natural unstained pine, a full single size, and doesn't require any modifications. It's also affordable which makes it comfortable for us to try. The total height of the bed is only 30cms (approx 12 inches) - from the floor to the top of the mattress, which is lower than many 'floor beds'.
The only catch is the UTÅKER bed comes in a set of two (yes, two beds) so it's perfect if you have twins or you need a spare, otherwise you can find someone to pass the other bed onto. The idea is that they work as stackable beds, they are able to be stacked on top of each other. It also works best if you use an Ikea futon-type mattress which is much thinner than most of our usual mattresses, but it works well for a three-year-old!
Otto can comfortably sit on the edge of the bed and put his shoes (or slippers) on. There is just enough room that you could store a few toys like puzzles or books underneath if needed.
Not being in a toddler bed with a safety rail, means the child's view is unobstructed, the child can easily see the room, see people approach the door, or concentrate on what is going on around them.
"The child should have the right to sleep when he is sleepy, to wake when he has slept enough, and to get up as soon as he likes. We therefore advise - and many families have taken our advice - that the old child's cot should be done away with, and that in its place a very low bed should be made, which the child can enter or leave when he likes. This simple little reform will solve many difficulties that seemed hard of solution... In many families this reform has been achieved by putting a little mattress on the floor, on a big soft carpet, with the result that the children go to bed themselves, and say goodnight gaily, and in the morning get up without waking anyone." - Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood.