How to Choose A Bunk Bed


Many parents remember the thrill of climbing into a bunk bed every night as a child. Why not share that experience with your children today. Choosing the right bunk bed for your kids room is an important task for any parent. Not only should a new bunk bed look good, but it also needs to work for your particular needs. Here is a quick guide to finding the perfect bunk bed for your home.

l shape south shore newton

South Shore Newton Bunk Bedroom Suite

What is a Bunk Bed?

Before we begin, it’s a good idea to define what a bunk bed is. Simply put, a bunk bed is a pair of single beds that are stacked one on top of the other. Bunk beds are a popular choice for children’s bedrooms or guest rooms. Whether you have twins or siblings close in age, sharing a bedroom is a reality that many families have to account for. A bunk bed is a great way to do it and most kids are thrilled by the idea of having such a fun way to sleep every night.

Measure Once

Buying a bunk bed that is too big for your space is a waste so it’s important to ensure that you have enough room. If you choose a bunk bed with extra features, such as trundles or pull-out drawers, you will need to make sure that there is enough room to accommodate them.

Start off by taking a few simple room dimensions. Then be sure to measure your ceiling height as well. You will want to leave at least two feet from the top of the bunk to the ceiling. The average ceiling is 8′ which is perfect as many bunk beds fall in the 5 ½ to 6 feet tall category.

Bunk Bed Sizes

The size of the bunk bed goes hand in hand with the size of the room.

Twin over Twin
A twin over twin bunk bed is by far the most popular style. It’s also the smallest, taking up just slightly more space than the average standard bed (or single bed). Be sure to pay close attention to the size as some college or loft bunk beds are twin XL which take a different mattress than a regular twin bed that is 5 inches longer.

Twin over Full
A twin over full will naturally take up more floor space than a twin over twin. A full bed (or double bed) offers an older child plenty of space to spread out and relax. This arrangement is often preferable for teens or youth that share a room with a younger sibling or have frequent sleepovers.

Full over Full
A full over Full is the largest size of bunk bed and is the perfect fit for teens or for your spare bedroom.

south shore twin white

South Shore Imagine Twin Loft Bed in Pure White

Bed Configurations

In addition to their size, bunk beds offer the option of L-shaped or loft configurations.

An L-shaped bunk bed is wonderful for larger spaces. They usually also feature added storage or safety features like a built-in staircase or desk. Some L-shaped bunk beds are attached while others can be separated. The ability to separate the beds can come in handy in the future once siblings are a little older or if you move to a larger home.

A loft bunk bed differs from a traditional bunk by offering a sleeping area for only one person. Many loft bunks come with built-in desks or storage below. Some loft bunk beds that are designed for children have play areas or tents. A more minimal approach is a loft bunk bed that leaves the space below totally open, so that you can use it for whatever you wish: extra storage, a desk area or simply for more play space.

Futon bunk beds offer a futon in exchange to the bottom bunk. They are a popular choice for youth and teens as many appreciate their ability to transform a room into a comfortable place to hang out. Use the futon as a daybed and as a regular bed at night.

Triple bunk beds are large designs that are perfect for triplets or three siblings who are close in age.

Design Features

Bunk beds can offer a place to sit, a place to study or a place to store your clothes or toys. Go for a built-in desk to create a convenient zone for homework. A futon bunk bed is great for older kids or teens and offers the perfect place to hang out and play video games after school. Many bunks offer bed frames with shelving or drawers that are built into the frame or headboard (some of these are called a captain bed). Some bunk beds offer a play area with a slide or tent, which is great for really young kids. Think about your needs and your child’s preferences before making a decision.


Choose from metal or wood bunk beds to create a variety of designer looks in your home. Metal usually has a modern appeal and is perfect for youth and teens. A wood bunk bed offers a classic designer look for your home. Whether you choose real solid wood or go for a wood laminate look that offers both durability and a cost savings. Wood (or wood look) offers a warmth that metal does not. The wide array of finishes–including maple, oak, walnut, cherry and more—ensure that there is one just right for you. If you have an existing bedroom set, choose a finish that matches your existing bedroom furniture to create a cohesive look. Colored finishes are another option. Those tried and true children’s bedroom colors like pink and blue are always a great choice.


Canwood Alpine II Loft Bed in Espresso

What’s Your Style?

Today, furniture designers from all the top rated furniture brands offer numerous design styles. Go for a contemporary look with a finish like black metal or white lacquer. Go traditional with elegant wood tones like mahogany and cherry along with period-inspired details like raised panel headboards. Your young daughter will fall in love with the romantic country style of an ornate white girls bunk bed. For something in the middle, a transitional bunk bed design in deep espresso will take your children all the way to their college years.

Another approach that is popular for young children is the novelty bunk bed. Make bedtime fun for your little ones and create a princess castle or race car themed bedroom. Some novelty bunk beds include your child’s favorite cartoon characters while others feature fun additions like a slide or a tent. Adding some character and style will help to stoke your child’s imagination—a very important part of every childhood.

Getting to the Top: Ladders or Stairs

All bunk beds offer a different solution to ascend to the top bunk. A built-in ladder takes up virtually no space but some parents might be uneasy about letting young children climb it. A leaning ladder is usually larger and less intimidating to young kids while a built-in staircase is the ultimate luxury. Most of these stairway bed designs feature storage drawers built into the steps so you get the most bang for your buck.

Optional Additions

The additional purchase of a trundle or pull-out storage drawer might be something that you should consider. Even in a room with a bunk bed, extra sleeping space is sometimes needed and a trundle bed is an easy way to achieve that. A trundle is easy to roll out to create extra space. Another option is the bunk bed with freestanding dresser or shelf. They are designed to be used in the bed itself but can also be pulled out for use elsewhere in the future.


Your available budget is the final determining factor in your bunk bed purchase. Bunk beds used to be a specialty item with a high price tag to match but times have changed. Bunk beds are widely available at numerous price points, so whether you are looking for an heirloom or a quick fix, there is a great bunk bed waiting for you.


Atlantic Furniture Columbia Wood Staircase Bunk Bed


All baby and children’s furniture today is subject to the strictest safety regulations that have ever existed. Ensure that your bunk bed is up to code by purchasing a brand new bunk bed. he good news is that even cheap bunk beds are as safer than old or used beds. Second hand bunk beds or hand-me-downs might have been recalled or even damaged during normal use to be past the point of repair. Put your mind at ease by purchasing a safe brand-new bunk bed. Guardrails, headboards and footboards help to ensure that your child stays safely in the top bunk. With any bunk bed, it should be noted that according to safety guidelines issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission children under the age of six should not be allowed to sleep on top bunks. However, low-profile loft beds that have been designed specifically for young children that feature slides are an exception to this rule.

Choosing a bunk bed can be a somewhat complicated decision but breaking down the task into a few key elements is a great way to make an informed decision.

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