Furnishing a bed bug-free home: suggestions?

by nobugsonme on December 19, 2006 · 5 comments

in bed bugs, consumers, furnishing bedbug-free homes, tools and weapons

The recent invitation for readers to ply (Bed Bug) Helloise with requests for advice gave way to a discussion of products which make it easier to get rid of bed bugs, or prevent reinfestations. Although some would argue that furniture does not need to be discarded, some of you have gotten rid of wooden furniture, especially old stuff without sentimental value. Others have not discarded anything but are nevertheless in the market for new furniture and solutions to storage issues.

Those of you who battled light infestations might not need to shop in this way, but for those who live in multi-unit dwellings, where the possibility of reinfestation is there, or if you just want the peace of mind of knowing that your all-metal bed frame or glass and metal table are not ideal bed bug homes, it’s worth giving this some thought.

Personally, my home design tastes run toward the Ikea pine end of the spectrum; I always liked me some nice light-colored wood, and had a distaste for metal futon frames, glass tables, and the like.

But once I met Mr. Cimex Lectularius, my wish list moved away from wooden television stands and computer armoires (I’d been coveting that one for several years), to metal and glass, alas.  Here’s a nice find from cb2.com, the Trig Desk (Crate and Barrel’s newer division):

trig desk

(Disclaimer: bed bugs can live in the joins and screwheads of metal furniture just as well as in wood; however, the wood itself provides lots more opportunities for them.)

I am going to paste the suggestions here which came up, since they may have been lost under the Helloise banner.

If you have a product or type of product (besides insecticides, plastic bags, and so on) that has helped you fight bed bugs (or makes you sleep better once they’re gone), please add a comment below, with links if possible. We’re talking furniture, storage solutions: products or clever solutions. We’re not trying to sell anything, so much as to give people new ideas.
Here were the suggestions for wire shelves, metal daybeds (for beds/ sofas):

Deblynn suggests:


This is a company that sells wire shelving and industrial products. I purchased some wire shelving from them. I think they sell it retail and wholesale. This particular shelving was not cheap but it is really good. It is an investment for life. I got the adjustable shelving -polybrite finish- I have four units, some with three shelves some with four shelves. The first shelf is well above the ground, as they are adjustable you can put them at any height you like. The poles are all metal. I have the bottoms of the poles sitting in little rubber furniture protector/cups that I purchased at Home Depot. I have oil inside the cups which themselves are tall and thin..they are like the ends one would find on a cane to protect the bottom of the cane. They don’t have a wide mouth so they hold the oil well and don’t spill over. I have them away from the wall, free standing. I have put all of our socks, underwear, jeans, any foldable clothing, inside plasic bins that sit upon the wire shelving. The reason I like these shelves is because they are sturdy, they will not knock over, which makes them good for people with children. I am certain there are other less expensive wire shelves, but wanted to pass the idea along because this makes for good bed bug furniture. Everything is out in the open, easy to see and accessible. Please contact me for any help. deb

Nobugsonme, always looking for a bargain, notes that


Costco has a nice wire shelving unit in their stores (not online) — large, 6 shelves, assembled with feet (rather than casters, also included). It was under $75. Could be made into two units as well, very solid.

Helloise’s suggestion:



Helloise tells me she has seen a lot of black metal daybeds in various stores–they’re not as comfortable as a sofa or bed, alas, but for people without much furniture, perhaps a twin size bed / seating is something useful.

Deb says:


Here is a great catalog that contains very good “bed bug” tools. I phoned them and they sell to the public. For example, Here are some great items in the war against bed bugs Vac Blo. “super suction” 7 lb. vacuum with upholstery and crevice tools. This is like the ones that exterminators use to vacuum around door and window moldings and staircases. Then they sell long Shrink Wrap which can be used to hermetically seal all kinds of things like paintings, small peices of furniture, toys, if done properly the bed bugs will be sealed in and they will die .also they sell large plastic containers good for storing items. The website is www.globalindustrial.com toll free number is 1800 645-1232 deb

Now, I know you have some great suggestions. Click “comments” above the message to add them below. And remember, you can use a pseudonym and fake email if you’re worried, but take Jess’s advice and please be creative with the nickname you choose! And keep using it, so we remember you. Thanks!

1 parakeets December 19, 2006 at 2:28 pm

I am buying disposable furniture, in preparation for when I hopefully will move (once I figure out how to move without taking bedbugs with me, or how I might be able to afford a single family house.)

For example, I bought stackable plastic utility shelves at BJ’s (similar ones available at Home Depot) that you might normally use in a workshop, basement or garage. They come in black and white. I use them instead of bookcases. They are inexpensive, sturdy, and don’t look too bad when you put things on them. Sort of “student decorating” in style, but I feel very comfortable knowing they are just for the time being. I can take them apart, look inside of them; they have no screws or wooden parts, just all smooth plastic. Best of all, I know I can toss them when I move. Utilitarian is the word.

2 Bugalina December 19, 2006 at 3:29 pm

Yes, Utilitarian, minimulist, no frills. Having bed bugs is exhausting physically. And unfortunately my motto now is “if you had them once, you can get them twice”. I know this is negative thinking but I can’t help it…so with that kind of thinking in mind I want to save my back and my wallet from breaking completely. Thus, I am living with furnishings that will not prevent bed bugs, but rather furnishings that will be easier to see them in…easier to treat…that is the whole concept behind “furnishing for bed bugs”…I actually have purchased the glass table featured above from Crate and Barrel ! I overhead a salesperson at Crate and Barrel say that their entire line of furnishings are going to be changing !! Sleek, minimulist style !!! Gone are the fluffy overstuffed sofas….geez…I wonder why….Again..the suggestions we make here will not prevent bed bugs but they will make it a whole lot easier to treat if they show up…Bugalina

3 parakeets December 19, 2006 at 6:46 pm

I saw the very same thing Bulaina is talking about in a Crate and Barrel furniture display window in Boston, all chrome and glass, simplified furniture design. I posted about it on the Yahoo list, it was so striking to me. I think bedbugs have changed apartment design, particularly beginning with designers in Brooklyn and New York city.

I forgot to say that regarding furniture, I also threw out my bed and matching nightstand–furniture that was in our family for 60 years–and replaced them with a simple metal bed. My previous wooden bed had a mahogany veneer over hardwood, and a man I know who was very knowledgeable about bedbugs visited my apartment and told me the bedbugs could be living between the veneer and the wood on my type of bed, they are that thin.

So my new furniture so far:
–inexpensive plastic utility shelves as bookcases
–a metal bed
–bridge chairs, replacing a stuffed chair and love seat that I had to toss.
It is beginning to look like “police headquarters” around here, if you ask me.

4 jessinchicago December 19, 2006 at 8:06 pm

Nobugs, what a great idea for a post.

Yes, Bugalina and Parakeets, I have been calling myself a minimalist ever since I threw away almost everything I owned. It was then that I realized life would never quite look the same to me.

I’m hanging in for as long as I can to make sure the bugs here are truly gone before I leave this place to some poor unsuspecting soul, but I DREAM of what my new apartment will look like. Okay, actually, the only thing I really care about is that every single piece of furniture or shelving will have legs that will fit into bed risers. I’m telling you, people, EVERYTHING will be up off the floor and in risers full of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil has been wonderful at preventing the bugs from crawling into bed with me, and I’ve grown to adore the smell. I’m serious. My new apartment will REEK of it, and my new furniture (simple, basic, not-fluffy-at-all) will be protected by it forever. I think I’ll ask to be doused in tea tree oil when I die. I’m not kidding.


5 hopeless December 21, 2006 at 7:56 pm

I have a question that requires research which I mean to undertake but I was wondering if anyone already knew. What mattress retailers, if any, do not offer 30-day “comfort trials” and do not cart away used mattresses?

I find air mattresses–at least the one I’m using–extremely uncomfortable. They’re fantastic on a metal cot, easy to lift, clean, etc., but not a long-term solution for me, or is it a matter of quality? I have a really cheap one. As I’m sure is the case with most of you, I get so little sleep as it is, and hate to be in bed any longer than absolutely necessary… but I also want to think ahead to a day when I may want to shop for a new mattress. Just thinking about it makes me nervous.

If no one knows, I will start making calls after the holidays and will let you know.


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