The 10 Best Kids Bunk Beds in 2017: A beginner’s guide

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One of the first things that I realized when I separated from my partner was that I needed to start making smart decisions for myself and the kids. Due to the split we moved house and suddenly there was much less space for all of us available. The children and I struggled to fit everything into our tiny new bedrooms. Cheap bunk beds were a sensible solution in our situation, so I started looking into this matter straightaway to find the best bunk beds available.

No big deal, you might say. But since I previously let my partner decide on big expenditure like furniture, I realized that there was much more to it than I thought.

On top of that I didn’t have a car at the time. So I was glad to know that I could order a cheap bunk bed online and have it delivered. I wasn’t too worried about assembling the bed – I have a great friend which excellent DIY skills.

When you think about it, a bed is one of the most important purchases that you will undertake for your child. They spend a fair bit of time in it (even more when they morph into tiny monsters, eh… teenagers) and you want the bed to be comfortable, sturdy and sensible. You also want it to look attractive so that it will be accepted by your child and not just treated as a space-saving solution. It needs to be an integral part of their bedroom. Lastly, you don’t want to spend too much money on a bed, in particular if that’s not the only thing you need to buy for the room.

Now, with three children who are not used to sharing I eventually came up with the plan of buying a loft bed for my oldest, and a bunk bed for my middle child which would give us the option of sleepover guests. For my youngest I decided to purchase a junior loft bed which I intend to sell once he is old enough to upgrade to a bigger bed.

After much research I came up with these amazing children’s beds in their respective categories. And since I know how difficult it is to find the right bunk bed for your kid, I want to share with you my findings.

The following buying guide will give you all the information you need for your first bunk bed purchase. I will share with you reviews of the most popular models, and help you with tons of ideas to make the most out of your new bed.

Quick Comparison: The Best Loft Beds, Bunk Beds, and Junior Loft Beds for Children

Brand/NameTypeBest ForMaterialBest FeatureOur Rating
Bedz King Tall Mission Bunk Bed Twin over Twin with End LadderPrimary School aged boysSolid Brazilian PineConverts into two twins
Dorel Home Products Abode Full Size Loft Bed with DeskPre-Teens and TeenagersSilver Metal FrameTwo Ladders
DHP Studio Loft Bunk Bed Over Desk and BookcaseTeenage GirlsGray Metal FrameAdditional Book Shelves
Coaster Kid's Oates Lofted Twin Bed with Slide and TentToddlers BoysSteel Frame with Army Style CanvasSide ladder, tent underneath and slide
DHPTwin Over Twin Bunk BedSiblingsBlack Metal FrameNo-nonsense, gender-neutral design
DHP X-LoftBunk Bed with Desk and Front LadderPre-Teens and Teenage GirlsBlack X Metal FrameStylish design, space-saving
DorelTwin Over Full Bunk Bed Pre-Teens and TeenagersSilver Steel FrameElegant and functional design
DONCO KIDS Circle WhiteLow Loft Twin with Pink TentToddler GirlsWhite lacquered Wood FramePink play tent or storage space underneath
DHPTwin-Over-Full Bunk Bed with LadderPre-Teens and TeensBlack Metal FrameSleek and space-saving design

*All links above will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com or you can read our in-depth bunk bed reviews below.

Do I need a bunk bed for my child?

There are many reasons why families decide to buy a bunk bed or a loft bed for their child. There are practical considerations as well as the comfort and well-being for the child that families need to consider.

In our case, bunk beds were a no-brainer because of their amazing space-saving qualities. Lifting the sleeping arrangement off the ground offers a wealth of possibilities. You can add an additional bed, a desk, storage, or a play area to the room.

We also loved the added flexibility that comes with bunk beds. Now it was easy to host a pyjama party, have guests for a sleepover, or stay close to a sick child at night.

Bunk beds can also be a very economical solution. Many designs have additional furniture items integrated such as desks, shelves, a second bed, a trundle, drawers or a wardrobe. Some beds can be taken apart into two twins, giving you two beds for the price of one.

With the right research you should easily find a cheap bunk bed that you will enjoy for years to come.

Lastly, bunk beds are fun. Most kids love the idea of having their own space out of the adult’s line of sight. It offers them new perspectives and access to parts of their room that would otherwise be off-limits to them. Many loft beds that are designed for smaller children have creative add-ons that transform the space under the bed into secret coves and pirate nests.

Things to consider when buying a bunk bed

While bunk beds are a great solution for many families and for many spaces, there are some things you need to consider before deciding to buy a bunk bed for your child.

Talk to your child

Even though you personally may like the idea of having a bunk bed in the house, some children will not warm up to the idea of having to sleep several feet above the ground. Vertigo can play a critical role in the acceptance or non-acceptance of a new bed. Depending on your child’s age, speak to them to understand their preferences. If the child is not excited about the idea of a bunk bed in their room, you may want to consider other options instead.

Space considerations for children’s bedrooms

Mattress Size: Bunk beds come in all different shapes and mattress sizes. Before you fall in love with a specific design check whether you are dealing with a twin, king twin, full, double etc sized bed.

Height: While bunk beds are space-saving solutions, they are not suitable for every room. The most common mistake is buying a bunk bed that is too high for the room. It is important that you have a clearing of at least 2 feet of space between the top bunk and the ceiling. The more the better. If the child cannot sit up on the top bunk, it is generally not fit for the room.

Position: Also, check if the place that you have selected for the bunk bed is suitable in terms of safety. Children on top bunks should not be able to touch ceiling fans and ceiling light fixtures. They should have no access to curtains or shutters.

Floor Space: Think about how you want to attach the ladder, slide or stairs of the bunk bed. You don’t want to block any doors or other furniture in the room. Also, some solutions require more space than the actual bed, i.e. slides or ladders may reach far into the room and take away much needed floor space.

How a bunk bed changes your lifestyle

Having a bunk bed in the house does have an impact on your lifestyle.

Downtime: If you have been used to cuddling up at night in the kid’s bed for a night-time story, then this may no longer be possible if they sleep on the top bunk .

Bed Wetting: Some children may refuse going to the bathroom at night if it involves climbing down a ladder in darkness.

Sibling Rivalry: Siblings who share a room might fight over who gets to sleep in the top or low bunk, or they might refuse to sleep in the same room after a big fight.

Changing Linens: Changing the linen on a top bunk is more difficult than in a normal bed (trust me, there have been many times where I wished somebody would come up with a self-laundering solution for bunk beds). Here are some solutions that work well for bunk beds.

Why you need to plan for the future

Twin bunks are great for younger children but once they become pre-teens and then teens their priorities shift. A bunk bed might become uncool or impractical at some stage.

Some solutions that offer more flexibility for future set-ups include bunk beds that can be separated into two twins, or loft beds that have plenty of space for a lounge or a small sofa for day-time procrastination. Double-sized loft beds might also be accepted for a much longer time than just a twin sized version.

These are the different types of loft beds

I was amazed at how many choices there are. Bunk beds come in all shapes and sizes.

The standard twin bunk bed will have two twins set on top of each other. Other versions will see a double bed on the bottom and a single on the top – see below “triple bunk beds“. Bunk beds can have ladders or steps to reach the top bunk. L shaped bunk beds can be a clever solution for room corners. Some bunk beds will come with an additional trundle bed or storage drawers under the bottom bunk – thus maximizing the available space even better.

Loft beds usually have just one bed which is raised from the floor to free up space underneath for other purposes. Loft beds either have empty places that can be fitted individually with lounges, desks, or storage like a dresser. Sometimes these beds are called bunk beds with desks underneath, but in reality they are loft beds. Or they come with fixed add-ons such as desks, shelves and wardrobes. Loft beds can be twin sized or double sized. Full size loft beds for adults are a great solution for small studio apartments.

Futon Bunk Beds have a twin sized bed on top and a futon, lounge or sofa underneath. These are perfect for teenagers who need a comfortable option during the day. The bottom part of a futon bunk bed generally slides out to make another sleeping option – a wonderful idea for small teenager bedrooms.

Depending on your child’s needs and age you can find beds to fit two or even three children – these are triple bunk beds. Alternatively, if you don’t require a permanent solution, a twin bunk bed with trundle may be a great idea.

Toddler loft beds are generally not as high as a regular loft bed. These beds are specifically designed for toddlers and smaller children, and often they come in a playful and fun design. The space underneath the raised bed can or can not be curtained off, creating some valuable toy storage space out of sight or a cozy play area. Some junior loft beds have a bunk bed slide and other fun add-ons like tents, tunnels, and a padded play area.

Common materials used in bunk and loft beds

The main materials used for bunk and loft beds are wood and metal. Both materials have their pros and cons.

Wooden bunk beds are generally very sturdy and have a solid look to them. Wooden ladders are more comfortable under foot than metal frames, and wood frames feel more homely and comfortable than metal. They age well and can be combined with a variety of textures, colours, and materials, making them an universally usable, high quality piece of furniture. The disadvantage can be felt during assemblage or when trying to move the bed to a different space as wood tends to be heavier than hollow metal poles.

Metal bunk beds are modern and light-weight. They have the tendency to squeak and move which gives them the feeling of less stability. On the other hand, transport and assembling a metal frame bed is much easier than a wood frame.

Both options have their place in the world of bunk beds. At the end of the day, it is a matter of taste, budget and personal preference. If you are going for a country house look, a wood frame is what you want. For a sleek and minimalist design, a metal frame should be your preferred option.

What age is recommended for bunk beds?

The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that children using the upper bunk should be at least 6 years old. Children younger than 6 years generally lack the coordination skills to climb out of bed safely. They are also more likely to not be able to prevent falling out of bed.

Is a bunk bed right for my child?

Every child is different and before you decide to place a bunk bed in your child’s bedroom it is important that you discuss with your child honestly and freely the pros and cons of such a bed.

Do not forget that children lack the capability of planning for the future. What might be right or exciting in the moment may not work out a couple of weeks down the line. They also don’t have the skills yet to fully comprehend all aspects of sleeping higher up than usual.

The best thing to do is to test a bunk bed with your child before you commit to buy. If you know of a neighbor, family member, or friend who already has a bunk bed – great! Ask them if your child can climb to the top to get a feel of the bed. If not, try a local furniture store. Unfortunately, many furniture stores block access to upper bunks due to safety concerns. See if you can find a store assistant and ask them to make an exception for a supervised test of the upper bunk.

Some children will only now realize that they experience vertigo and don’t feel comfortable. In that case a bunk bed or loft bed might not be the right solution for your child.

Should I buy a bed new or used?

Bunk beds are generally a very sturdy piece of furniture and they have great longevity. So it does make sense to consider buying a second-hand bunk that you could find through your church noticeboard, on an online platform, or through a classified in the local newspaper.

When buying a second-hand bunk bed consider the possibility that you may lose some of the sturdiness that the bed had before it was taken apart for transport. Removing screws to take the bed apart loses their grip ever so lightly.

Unskilled re-assembly of a used product may result in faults and human error. Material can suffer during transport or during the wrong re-assembly of the bed. If you make a mistake during the re-assembly or if the material is compromised, the bed may collapse some time in the future, thus there is a real risk of causing bodily harm.

Bunk beds belong to the more complicated pieces of furniture. Do not buy a bunk bed without the assembly instructions that go with it. Also make sure the set contains all the original, unaltered parts and original screws etc.

What kind of mattress is best for bunk beds?

Most bunk beds will not come with a mattress, so on top of having to select a bed you will also need to make decisions around the bunk bed mattresses.

You definitely need to be careful with what mattress you choose for the top bunk. If you use an ordinary mattress in the top bunk you risk that the guard rail is no longer high enough to prevent your child from falling out. Bunk bed mattresses are slimmer than ordinary mattresses. The normal height of a mattress is between 7 1/2 to 12 inches, whereas a bunk bed mattress would be no higher than 6 or 7 inches.

The size of the mattress depends clearly on the frame you select. Bunk beds come in all shapes and sizes, from twin to xl twin to double – just like with any other bed the measurements can vary. Make sure you buy a mattress that fits the dimensions neatly with no gaps or overlaps according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

You can use box spring mattresses in bunk beds, however these mattresses will encourage your child to bounce, and this is something you clearly want to avoid from happening in a bunk bed. Memory foam or latex mattresses are the best option for these beds.

On the lower bunk you are free to use a standard mattress. Remember though that the thicker you go the less headroom you will have. This might not be an issue for your child, but if you want to sit on the bed and read a story to them, it might be of importance to you.

Things to consider before you start assembling a loft or bunk bed

As with many things in life, it is best to let a professional do the job. But when they are not at hand – as in so many cases – you may want to try assembling the bunk bed yourself.

  • Allow yourself enough time and read carefully all instructions before even picking up a single screw.
  • Insure you have all tools ready, and make sure you understand where each part of the bed belongs.
  • Clear the room of children, find an adult helper to help with the heavy parts. There might be steps required in the assembly where one person needs to hold a part of the upper bunk above their head – do not even think about attempting this on your own. Trust me on this: You will need help.
  • Lastly, building a bunk bed will require more space than you think. You will need to be able to get around the partly assembled bed. Also, check that you have enough clearance to the ceiling. Think of obstructions such as other furniture, door knobs, ceiling fans.
  • You will need to assemble the bed in the very room in which it will eventually end up.
  • Position the bed in a spot of the room that is the safest option. Ideally, you would want the bed to be in a room corner.
  • Before you allow a child to climb on the bunk bed, test the stability by climbing on top yourself.
  • Tighten all screws as a very last and keep the Allen key close at hand for regular re-adjustments.

Are bunk beds dangerous for children?

Time and time again we read in the news that bunk beds can be dangerous for children. And it is true, bunk beds pose greater risks than ordinary beds. However, there are some steps you can take to ensure that you minimize the risk for your child and everybody else.

  1. Before buying a bunk bed check if the lower bunk provides enough clearance for sitting up
  2. Openings on the upper and the lower bunks must be small enough that a child’s head, torso, or limb cannot pass through them
  3. Ensure that the bed has been assembled correctly and that it is sturdy
  4. Place the bunk bed in a corner of the room
  5. Only use bunk beds that have a guard rail on the upper bunk
  6. Guard rails needs to be on both sides
  7. Only use specific bunk bed mattresses in the upper bunk – they are thinner than ordinary mattresses
  8. Make sure child cannot touch ceiling fans, curtains, windows, light fixtures
  9. Children in the top bed should not be younger than 6
  10. Ensure that younger siblings do not spend time unsupervised in a room with a bunk bed
  11. Do not allow rough play on the top bunk – ever!
  12. Stairs instead of a ladder provide easier access for smaller children

Manufacturers and importers of children’s bunk beds must certify in a Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) that the bunk beds comply with the standard and the additional requirements after the bunk beds have been tested for compliance at a CPSC-accepted, third party laboratory. More guidelines here: US consumer product safety commission

What accessories can I or do I have to buy additionally?

 

If you consider buying a bunk bed, you also need to invest in a bunk bed mattress

Coming Soon!

If your child is struggling with bed wetting, a waterproof mattress protector is a must

Coming Soon!

While you can certainly use normal bed sheets in bunk beds it does become more difficult to make the bed and keep it all tucked in. Luckily, there are special bunk bed comforter sets and fitted sheet sets that are easy to put on and that stay in place.

Changing bunk bed sheets the easy way

Pimp your bunk bed: The best accessories for your new bed

Click here for our great bunk bed accessory ideas 

Bunk Bed Inspiration

Bunk Bed Design Ideas for Kid’s Bedrooms 

The best Twin Bunk Bed

Twin Bunk Beds are a space-saving solution for small bedrooms. They offer a neat and sturdy solution for children who have to share their space with a sibling. Besides, twin bunks can be great fun for children who like to sleep “in the clouds”. Do not purchase a twin bunk if you only want to assemble the upper bed though as this will take away stability and will compromise the safety of your child.

DHP Twin Over Twin, Metal Bunk Bed – Black

Design: This black metal frame bed will fit any bedroom and can be combined with any other piece of furniture. It has a modern, sleek look to it which will suit boys as well as girls.

Assembly: The bed is quick to assemble and you could easily be up and running in just about 1 hour. No special skills needed! Everything you need in order to assemble the bed will be provided.

Safety: A wonderfully sturdy bed that will not disappoint. We love the full length guard-rails and the attached ladder. The top bunk can easily accommodate an adult of 250 lb although manufacturer’s specifications state only 150 lb per bed.

Flexibility: The ladder cannot be changed and the bed needs to be assembled as seen in the photo.

Comfort: The bed does not come with a mattress but it fits two standard twin mattresses which you could purchase elsewhere. Some squeaking noise may occur, as is to be expected with a metal frame.

Learn more

The best Loft Bed

Loft beds are a great option for pre-teens and teens who require more space in their rooms. The loft bed will provide space underneath which can be utilised for study, lounging, or storage. Many older children appreciate that the bed is “out of sight”, giving them additional privacy and a dedicated space for resting.

DHP Studio Loft Bunk Bed Over Desk and Bookcase 

Design: This modern looking metal frame bed is perfect for a girl’s bedroom. The curvy lines add a feminine touch to the metal construction. We love how the space under the bed is cleverly utilized by a desk AND a book shelf. This set-up turns the under loft space into a self-contained work space which will help your teenager stay focused on their studies.

Assembly: The bed comes in pieces which are neatly packaged. Assembly is easy and well documented. You will need a screwdriver as an additional tool. You will need around 2 hours.

Safety: You will find that not all metal frames are as sturdy as this one. Even an adult will feel safe on top of this loft bed. The weight limit is 200 lb In order to get into bed the sleeper needs to swing their legs over the guard – this may proof difficult to some younger children.

Flexibility: Not much happening in terms of flexibility. The ladder cannot be attached to any other side than pictured. Also, it is not possible to swap the desk with the book shelf. You get what you see.

Comfort: We had to take away a star in the overall rating as the ladder rungs are not very comfortable when climbing up and down.

Learn more

The best Junior Loft Bed

Junior loft beds are generally shorter than adult sized beds, making them a great temporary solution for small spaces. We specifically recommend toddler beds in loft style to utilize space in small rooms even better. The space under the bed can be used as a play area, or for storage. Additional equipment and accessories can turn a junior loft bed into a new, exciting play area. Toddler loft beds are not as high as regular loft beds or bunk beds which makes it easier to access for changing the linen. It is also less of a safety risk if the child does fall out.

Coaster Kid’s Oates Lofted Bed with Slide and Tent, Twin Size

Design: Which little boy wouldn’t love this secret all-in-one play area, bed and slide? Add to that the camouflage print, and you have a bedroom solution that will last you for years. The metal frame has a sturdy and no-nonse look to it. If you are going for a theme, there are many other bedroom items that would compliment the design, such as hampers, curtains and comforters.

Assembly: The bed is easy and quick to assemble. It is not much more than a bed on stilts with an attached metal slide. The tent is fastened underneath.

Safety: You could possibly place up to 300 lbs onto the bed without any further issues.

Flexibility: The space underneath the bed can be used for many different purposes: You can put a twin mattress for a comparable play and rest area or to sleep guests. You can install a TV set and add some bean bags to make this a cozy theatre. Or you can put shelves and boxes and close the curtains for a perfect storage solution. The slide cannot be moved and you need to factor in that it needs to fit the room.

Comfort: The ladder rungs are not very comfortable, but at least you don’t need to stand on them in order to make the bed.

Learn more

My favourite bunk bed for kids

We love the solid, time-less look of this twin bunk bed. It is suitable for boys and girls alike, and offers the option of separating the two twins to create two independent beds. Great feature when circumstances or preferences change.

Bedz King Tall Mission Style Bunk Bed Twin over Twin with End Ladder, Honey

Design: First of all, the honey colored hardwood design makes a solid impression and will fit in nicely with any kind of children bedroom design you want to go for.

Assembly: The parts come with easy to follow assembly instructions. We love that all tools are included. Allow around 4 hours for assembly.

Safety: The bed has been tested by an independent laboratory and is extremely sturdy. The finish is child-safe.

Flexibility: We love that the ladder can be attached to either the left or right, making it fit most bedrooms. The two twins can be separated, thus creating one twin with headboard and footboard and one without.

Comfort: There is enough headroom on the lower bed for an adult to sit up. The ladder is easy to use for children and feels good underfoot. There are 14 slats included per bed.

Learn more

More bunk bed reviews and comparisons

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