epic search for a bed…

So once you have a place to live, you need a place to sleep. Disclaimer: in Chicago I lived alone in a large one bedroom apartment. I had a queen sized bed basically to myself for the last 5 years. After living in the dorms and then a 4 bedroom apartment in college and having plenty of roommate drama, I was ready to live alone. I loved my Chicago apartment, it was fun to have all of my things well displayed, and being able to cook how I liked, wear what I liked, and not worry about always having to communicate with someone else. However, when planning to move to Sweden it didn’t make sense to move all of my stuff here or buy everything for an apartment for just being here a few years. So as I have posted before I began a search for a roommate and an apartment. My plan was to find an apartment that was mostly furnished so that at most I would need a bed/bedroom furniture.

Now, buying a bed. In the US I am weird because I like European slat beds. I don’t like box-spring beds and have often struggled to find a bed that I like. IKEA has actually been a great resource for these kinds of beds so I thought buying a bed in Sweden should be easier than in the US. On the day I was moving into my apartment we packed up my uncle’s car with my suitcases, laundry bag, and computer and dropped it all off at my apartment before heading out to buy a bed and maybe a vanity/desk.

I had gone to my new apartment and measured the room a few days before, drawing a map of it showing the widow, door, and wardrobe. Then I had done some research on beds online and learned that standard sizes were 90, 120, 140, 160, and 180 cm (x 200 cm, Wikipedia plus a few other sites even said that these were becoming common through Europe because of IKEA).

I planned to get a 120 or 140 cm bed, so it would fit into my room and not be too small, wooden frame with slats, and a thick US style mattress that I might even sew a fitted sheet for since Swedish bottom bed sheets are flat sheets. Or so I planned…

It is only half true that  120 and 140 cm are standard bed sizes…90, 160, and 180 are very common, in fact all the beds at IKEA come this way. However, to have a wooden frame with slats I would have to go from a queen sized (137 x 191 cm) bed in the US to a 90 cm bed, which seemed impossible or to a 160 cm bed, which would make it impossible for me to open the doors to my wardrobe in my room. I did find some bed frames for 140cm beds, but IKEA only had thin mattresses that were supposed to go on “swedish” beds this size…

What is a Swedish bed? Well it is basically a wooden framed box-springs box that you can attach feet to. Then on top of these box-springs you place a thin mattress (which you wrap in a flat sheet) and then a duvet blanket on top for covers. Now there are thick mattresses to go on top of these spring boxes but they only seemed to come in 90 and then 160…no 120 or 140. So IKEA had a 140cm frame for a slat bed but no mattress thicker than about 4in to go inside this frame…????

After my being blindsided with the bed types and that the choice wasn’t easy, my aunt suggested we try two other stores that are close to IKEA…

So store number 2, no non-Swedish beds…

So store number 3, had a bed frame that was nice and you could get a mattress like I wanted but it was over 9,000 SEK (> $1,300) and finding a 140cm bed was basically impossible…ok so maybe not so much…

So try a specialty bed store…(#4), had no mattresses like I wanted but had a very nice Swedish bed that at least by sitting on it felt more like the kind of bed I wanted. My main problem with box-springs is they are too bouncy…or way to stiff…I feel like Goldilocks not being able to find the right bed. This bed was also over 8,000 SEK and then you had to wait 6 weeks for it to come in…

After driving all over, and with patience running thin, and everyone tired and hungry we headed back to IKEA to eat something and so I could have time to think about what I wanted. Now my last bed cost < $500 including the good mattress that was more expensive that I was planning to spend. Buying a bed that cost so much more for just two years seemed ridiculous. Plus paying so much for a bed that wasn’t even what I really wanted seemed counter productive.

Finally, I settled on getting a Swedish bed…What bed would fit in my room? What bed was large enough for me to not fall out of? What bed could I afford? What bed could I find sheets for? a Swedish bed. So I got a Swedish wooden slat bottom box-springs with a “thick” mattress topper (3 in thick) and 4 oak legs and sheets etc. to go with.

"swedish" bed

“swedish” bed

In the end I think my bed is nice and I have not been too uncomfortable in it but seriously there should be a website on how to buy a bed in a foreign country….that would be useful.


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