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Funky Children's Furniture

putting the fun back into furniture

 
Brian Bailie, furniture designer

international best-selling
children's furniture designer,
Brian Bailie

Funky Children's Furniture

 

Funky Furniture originally enjoyed huge best-selling success at Harrods, London and has since become a favourite of happy boys and girls all over the world.
From Holywood California, to Melbourne Australia ; Singapore, to Bucharest ; Belfast, to Johannesburg, Funky furniture is a favourite of happy children all over the world

 

Choosing the Right Kids Bed

If this is a first bed I'm guessing that your child is about two years old, so you have the option of purchasing a small starter bed.  This will have the same mattress size as a standard baby-bed of 1400 x 700mm.
The advantage of buying a bed this size is that it leaves lots of floor-space in the room, and an average child [what is an average child?] will be able to use a bed this size until the age of seven or eight.  (Another advantage of this size bed is that the mattress is readily available in sprung format with a wipe-clean body and breathable foam head area; this means that those tiresome bed-wetting nights while junior gets used to getting out of bed to pee are not such a burden for cleaning up.)

Single beds have a choice of mattress sizes.  The standard mattress is [in the UK] 1910 x 900mm. A Twin mattress size [preferred by Americans] is 990 x 1930mm. European and Baltic countries also have their own standard sizes, (so remember this if your an IKEA shopper).
The benefit of the larger bed is that your child can have a friend to sleep-over and simply share the bed.  The other option is a trundle-bed or pull-out bed which is stored below the bed.  It all depends on the size of the room you have to work with.

Hardware
Beds come in many shapes and forms.  When you find one you like, take a closer look.  A child's bed will be a sofa, a trampoline, a den and, occasionally a place to sleep, it will take more abuse than any other bed in your house so check out the materials, and double check the hardware that holds it all together.  Get onto the bed and sway left-to-right and up-and-down; give it a bit of a bounce; now pull back the mattress and keep an eye on the corner connectors while you push and pull on the joint.  If there is movement when the bed is new, you can bet that it won't get any tighter with age; there should be no unacceptable movement, no creaking or cracking.  The best bed connectors I have found are the Australian Maxi-Lock bed connectors which key together and tighten up with a threaded bolt.  Most UK beds still use the traditional ‘hockey-stick' type connector which are okay if they are fitted correctly.  Regardless of the type of fitting, check it for strength and slackness.

Mattress Foundation
There are two main types of foundations:

The Box Spring bed utilises a sturdy upholstered wooden frame containing springs or some other form of torsion. The box-spring serves three main purposes: To help raise the mattress's height; to help absorb shock and reduce wear to the mattress; and to help create a perfectly flat and firm structure for the mattress to lay upon.

Wood Slats are common, and these usually consist of at least a dozen solid wood planks strung together and fixed to the bed-rails.  The slats should have soft edges, not machined to a sharp corner edge, or they will damage the mattress.  They should be of good knot-free timber and preferably no more than 50mm apart.  The main benefit of using a slatted bed is that you have much better access to below the bed for storage, retrieval and cleaning. And it allows the space for the pull-out trundle-bed.Theme beds, such as car-beds, train-beds, digger-beds, fairy-tale designs, etc. Pay particular attention to these beds. These bed designs cost more to manufacture, so it is not unusual to discover that the manufacturer has attempted to save a little money by compromising the quality, which may affect stability and the serviceable lifetime of the bed.

Buying a bed online is made really easy nowadays, but there is nothing to beat going to a shop and handling, kicking, lying on the bed to check it over before you part with your money. If you buy online be sure that you have the option of a full refund for ANY reason; and that refund should include pick-up from your home. Most retailers will demand that the goods are returned in original condition and that the original packaging is used, so if in doubt, hang on to the packaging when you first receive the goods.


 

Funky Single Bed
103cm high x 110cm wide x 211cm long

Funky furniture

 

 

funky child bedFunky furniture

 

funky kids bed

 


Funky Bedside Locker
58cm high x 51cm wide x 47cm deep

Funky furniture

 

 

Funky furniture Funky furniture

 

 

 

 

Choosing the Right Bedroom Storage

Storage
The primary function of this furniture is storage, so before you choose a style or design that you like, check that the storage facilities meets your needs.

Materials
Regardless of what it looks like, knock the doors with your knuckles to check they are sound and solid; is the back panel flimsy [the back panel is the section that supports the furniture against side-ways movement]; do the gables feel weak; do the drawer-boxes feel strong enough to support the use you need to give them?

Build
Is the cabinet Knock-Down or Self-Assembly construction?  If it is K-D pay particular attention to the K-D hardware.  If the hardware is cheap, regardless of how much quality is put into the rest of the cabinet, it is only as strong as it's weakest component, and unsuitable K-D fittings mean that the cabinet is unsuitable for everyday use.

The showroom should have a bedroom display for you to test, so give the furniture a good shake; lean it to one side, and then the other.  There should be minimal movement.

The problem with K-D furniture is not when it is built and set in position; the problem comes a few months later when the furniture is pushed, pulled carried and dragged into another position.  It is not uncommon for the K-D furniture to fall apart (ask any furniture removals expert).

The compromise with K-D furniture is of course the price.  It is much cheaper to ship because it takes up much less shipping space, and if it is assembled with good quality K-D fittings together with wood-glue, it can be an excellent buy.  However, in my experience, K-D fittings and chipboard do not a good cabinet make, so check that the core material of the cabinet is solid enough to carry the stresses which K-D fixtures will create. (Chipboard K-D furniture works in the kitchen because kitchen cabinets are fixed in place and secured to worktops and walls, but free-standing furniture must be strong against movement.)

Hardware
You don't naturally see the hardware, but if the hardware is cheap and unsuitable for its purpose it makes the cabinet worthless.

Hinges
Modern hinges [like the typical kitchen cupboard hinge] allow for adjustment up-down, left-right, and in-out.  Most modern hinges are also self-closing so you don't need door catches or locks.  However the modern hinge is made up of several components, so check the hinge for quality; check that there is no slackness in it, that it opens as it should and closes properly.

Butt hinges [like the typical house door hinge] have no adjustment, they have no self-closing option, so they must be used in conjunction with a lock or door catch.

I prefer the use of the modern self-closing hinges for the simple fact that, if a child climbs into a cupboard they can easily get out again; a door with a latch or lock can trap a child in a cupboard, and although maybe not life-threatening it can be very frightening for them.  So if your cabinet has catches on the doors check that the doors can be easily opened from inside.  (I remember explaining this feature to an Asian factory once, and they all looked at me as if to ask why Westerners keep their children in cupboards?)

Drawers may run on wooden rails or use modern drawer glides.  The benefit of the modern drawer glide is that they don't fall out if they are pulled too far.  Drawer glides come in two basic formats: single extension and, full extension.  The full extension allows the drawer-box to open out fully exposing the entire drawer.  Single extension only allows for most of the drawer to be exposed.  Having said this, a single extension drawer glide offers more stability to a dresser by lessening the danger of a child opening too many drawers and having the cabinet topple over, (I have seen this happen; I have seen a child being eaten by a wardrobe: the child opened the wardrobe drawer and doors and then stood in the drawer to see better; the cabinet toppled and swallowed him whole.  How he screamed).  Toppling over is a risk that can be minimised by the use of wall-ties.  These wall-ties can be improvised, or purchased at a DIY store. They simply fit to the top rear of the cabinet and are screwed tight to the wall.

Handles should be fitted with a threaded machine screw, not a wood-screw.  If a child unscrews a handle and exposes a sharp pointy screw you have a potential hazard.  Check the tightness of the handle fitting; often a handle will be fitted with a threaded metal or plastic insert that accepts the machine screw.  If the insert becomes loose the handle will fall off, and it is not so easy to repair or replace.Shelf-Supports come in many varieties from barely satisfactory, to excellent.  There are many excellent plastic types, and some rubbish metal types, but generally the metal ones are superior.  The thing to check is that they are locked in place with the shelf – in other words, when the shelf sits on the support, the support cannot come lose.  This is a useful feature in children's furniture because if a child manages to pull out a shelf-support, someone could get hurt.  And are there enough shelf-supports to carry the shelf?  Press on a shelf and see if it sags in the middle, or if there is a central shelf-support on the back panel.

Also check if the shelf-supports are adjustable or removable.  Often a closet will offer the option of a hang-rail or shelves.

The Hang-Rail needs three checks: check that the hardware supporting the rail is strong enough for purpose and fitted to a suitably strong section of cabinet; check that the rail does not sag with moderate weight; and check the ends of the removed rail for sharp or rough edges.

As I said before, children do not use furniture for the purpose intended, bedrooms are playgrounds and furniture becomes toys; the wardrobe will become a tree-house and the hang-rail will be used for swinging off, and dismantled to use as a sword.

Door and Drawer Bumpers are a nice feature that protect the furniture from slamming shut.  They are a soft button of plastic that is applied to the back of a door or drawer.  Check that these bumpers are well fixed and cannot be peeled off and swallowed by your mother-in-law.


Funky 3-Drawer Dresser
76cm high x 100cm wide x 57cm deep

Funky furniture

Funky furnitureFunky furniture funky dresser

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funky 5-Drawer Dresser
141cm high x 101cm wide x 57cm deep

Funky furniture

Funky furniture Funky furniture


 

Funky Wardrobe
183cm high x 133cm wide x 53cm deep

Funky wardrobe

 

Funky armoireFunky wardobe

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing the Right Toy Box

Toy Boxes come in many shapes and sizes.  However, toys come in even more shapes and sizes, and if your toybox is a simple open box you will soon realise that all the smaller toys become lost below the big ones.  Either have a box for each size of toy, or buy one with separate compartments for storage.

Toyboxes will, by their purpose, suffer more abuse than most other furniture, so check it for build quality and check the finish for knock-resistance [by gently pressing your fingernail into the surface].

If it has a lid, check the hardware is fit for purpose.  If the lid is hinged, is there a risk of the lid nipping fingers?  And there should be a lid support which has a nip-free action and fully supports the weight of the lid so that the lid requires some effort to push it down closed.

Children may use the toybox to climb into, so check that a child cannot become locked in or trapped.

 

 

 

 

Funky Toy Box
40cm wide x 81cm long x 43cm deep

 

 

 

Funky Doll House Dresser / Toy Box
82cm high x 90cm wide x 56cm deep

Funky DollHouse Dresser

Funky DollHouse Dresserdoll house toy box

 
   

 

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