life in a tiny apartment.

April 29, 2015

army cot | life in a tiny apartment | reading my tea leaves

Tip #119: Ditch the couch. Get a cot. (Do what you wanna.)

We recently decided to shake things up a bit around here and go couchless. Not exactly couchless, but one couch less. I’ll explain:

Back in the summertime, we acquired a new-to-us couch that once belonged to my sister, had more recently been making the rounds of various New York City creative offices, and was headed out for a life on the streets if we didn’t give it a home. The couch wasn’t in very good shape—and if we’re getting technical it’s more of an upholstered bench than a couch—but we really liked its super simple shape and its wool batting and we had a little extra room in our new place, so we decided to stage a rescue and become a two-loveseat household.

Then, a few weeks ago, our babysitter moved into a new apartment with her boyfriend and let us know she was looking for a little couch to call her own. We seized the opportunity to try something new, so we kept the newish adopted bench (and committed to a summertime reupholstery project) and sold our much-loved little loveseat. Off she went with a little love pat and we readied the spot she’d left behind for something with an even smaller profile.

A cot, we reasoned, would take up less bulk than our loveseat while actually giving us an extra foot or so of lounging space. Like the loveseat before it, it’s long-legged so there would still be plenty of room for stashing Faye’s books and toys in the crates below. Best of all, it would be packable and easy to move back down our four flights when our next move inevitably comes around or if we ever spring for what you might call a “normal” couch. In other words, a cot could be a couch for a couple of couch commitment-phobes.
army cot | life in a tiny apartment | reading my tea leaves After only a little bit of searching, I found an inexpensive WWII-era Army cot with its original canvas on eBay and scooped it up. When the cot arrived a few days later it needed a little tender care—more on that tomorrow—but it was in pretty great shape considering its age. (If you’re looking for a new version, this sleeping cot post published on Remodelista has some good shopping ideas.)
army cot | life in a tiny apartment | reading my tea leaves A few weeks in, we’re loving our latest addition. Considerations of space aside, there’s the fact that a cot in our little garrett abode just feels right. The weathered wood and well-loved canvas fit in perfectly with the oldie-but-goodie furniture that we’ve collected from Craigslist, and tag sales, and street corners over the years.

Mostly, it feels good to have found something that works for us, even if the choice is a little bit unconventional. There’s the point. I’ve shared the particulars of our new cot situation here, but at the risk of repeating myself ad nauseum, the particulars don’t much matter. A more general decision to flout ideas about what you need to be comfortable, to try something slightly quirky, and to get creative in a small space is really what this tip is about.
army cot | life in a tiny apartment | reading my tea leaves To cozy up the cot a bit I replaced the very tattered gray cushion covers we’ve had since grad school with plain linen cushion covers from Muji (the ones I found aren’t stocked online—these are similar though more expensive), two new inserts, and one special pillow cover from Fog Linen.
army cot | life in a tiny apartment | reading my tea leaves I’ve said before that finding the perfect thing for a space simply takes time. For us, this cot’s been a good reminder that when you do finally hit the sweet spot the wait feels so worth it. And so completes the tale of the musical couches loveseats places to sit upon.

Tiny apartment survival tips #1 – #118, HERE.

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17 Comments

  • Reply Nikkiana April 29, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    You know, I would have never thought of that as an option… Now I want to ditch my couch and get a cot!

  • Reply Anonymous April 29, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Is it comfortable? I can't imagine watching a movie or curling up with loved ones on a cot…

    • Reply Erin April 29, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      We think it's super comfy! Definitely not the same as a luxurious couch, but it's the perfect solution for our space!

    • Reply admin April 29, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      We think it's super comfy! Definitely not the same as a luxurious couch, but it's the perfect solution for our space!

  • Reply Jana | One Drawing A Day April 29, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    I love it! Off to shop Ebay 🙂

  • Reply Amanda April 29, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I love the look of cots and this one is lovely. But is it comfy to actually lounge on? Do you find you're using it in the same way you would use your loveseat?

    • Reply Erin April 29, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      It's definitely not the same lounging experience as you would have on an overstuffed sectional, but it is quite comfy—especially for stretching out on which is something we couldn't do on our loveseat!

    • Reply Amanda April 29, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      The stretching would definitely garner support from my partner! He so rarely uses our loveseat (which is our only couch-like furniture) because he can't stretch out. I prefer curling up, and I'm short anyway, so the length has never bothered me.

    • Reply admin April 29, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      It's definitely not the same lounging experience as you would have on an overstuffed sectional, but it is quite comfy—especially for stretching out on which is something we couldn't do on our loveseat!

  • Reply catie April 29, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    love this idea!! and now you have a guest bed!

  • Reply jen April 29, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    So you have a bench and a cot for living room furniture? I suppose for chatting with guests, it works just as well…but what about watching movies? Do you watch those in bed? It doesn't seem like it would be comfortable at all – but I guess to each their own!

    • Reply Erin April 29, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      It is! Both are really pretty comfy–despite appearances!

    • Reply admin April 29, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      It is! Both are really pretty comfy–despite appearances!

  • Reply omoriala May 7, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Funny enough, I have the exact same Elton Settee from West Elm and am thinking about selling it to upgrade to a full-size sofa! I'm also located in New York (UES), so if anyone on here is interested in purchasing it, let me know : ) It really is a high quality sofa with a timeless design.

  • Reply stacy December 31, 2015 at 8:12 am

    late to this post. but i also have an army cot. i wanted something for my sitting room. i needed something to make it a little more cozy so i added a feather bed. love love love it. so does my grandson.

    • Reply Erin Boyle December 31, 2015 at 8:50 am

      great idea! love that you’re loving your cot, too!

    • Reply Merry Agape October 16, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      Stacy!
      I am new to this post so please pardon. Curious!
      What kind of cot do you have? Wooden frame?
      Weight capacity for sitting? We have one with metal legs & I LOVE wooden frame by Byer of Maine but their rep
      said she does not suggest using theirs as a sofa.
      We are in Austin in a tiny up/down carriage house.
      Am into Eco, no foam furniture, earthy/arty decor.
      Look forward to your reply.
      Best to you & yours!
      Merry

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