Bunk Bed Buyer's Guide
Size and Configuration
The two typical sizes for a bunk bed are twin and full. Bunk beds are available in three basic configurations: twin over twin, twin over full and full over full. Since older children, especially teens, need more room, a full bottom bunk would be ideal when the bunk bed is being shared by children at different developmental stages.
Two for the Price of One
Keep in mind that a bunk bed is essentially two beds in one unit. Many bunk beds can be easily converted into two, freestanding beds. This is a particularly useful should your child's preferences change or they outgrow the current setup.
Bunkie Boards Instead of a Box Spring
Most bunk beds use a type of support system instead of a standard box spring. A bunkie board is a flat, thin platform, usually made of wood, on which the mattress rests. A slat kit consists of strips of wood with spaces in-between and is designed to support the mattress without the need of anything else. Bunkie boards or slat kits can be included as part of the bunk bed package or are sometimes offered as an accessory item to be purchased separately.
Bunk Bed Construction Material
Most bunk beds are made of wood, metal or wood and metal.
Wood bunk beds can be made of engineered woods (produced from recycled materials) or real wood. Many manufacturers use wood from trees like maple, oak, cherry or pine because of qualities like durabilty, strength and grain density.
Metal beds can be fashioned out of iron, steel aluminum or other alloys. Metal bunk beds are a popular choice because they have a contemporary appeal, while being easy to care for and maintain.
The Storage Factor
Especially when decorating a small room, a bunk bed with storage drawers are the perfect space-saving solution. They can slide out from under the bottom bunk on casters or be a part of the bunk bed’s structure and slide out on glides like a dresser drawer.
The trundle bed fits underneath the unit, and usually accommodates a twin mattress. It maximizes the sleeping space by providing a place for overnight guests.
The ladder, of course, is a necessary bunk bed fixture, so that the top bunk is accessible. However, to prevent accicents (and other miscellaneous pranks), select a bunk bed with a ladder that cannot be easily removed. It should be sturdy and well-made.
Guard rails keep your child from falling out of bed. They should be on all four sides. The side guard rails should be high enough to leave five inches of unobstructed railing when the mattress is in place.