Bunk Beds: The Buying Guide
A bunk bed is a versatile way to decorate a child’s room, especially one that will be shared by two siblings. Before purchasing a bunk bed, here are some general guidelines to help you select one the will be safe, comfortable and stylish.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Bunk Bed
Bunk beds should be used by children six or older. If one of your children is under six, plan on assigning the bottom bunk to the younger one
Types of Bunk Beds
Most of us will immediately picture the standard style bunk bed for kids as two twin beds, one above the other, made of wood. But today, bunk beds come in a variety of styles and types, with different features such as under-bed storage, a built-in student desk or a trundle bed.
The twin over twin bunk bed, also known as a standard bunk bed, is two twin beds stacked one on top of the other. Most twin over twin bunk beds can be separated into individual, freestanding beds. Twin bunk beds can be made of wood or metal or a combination of wood and metal. They are great space-savers. Even if you’re decorating the room for one child, a twin bunk bed is an ideal way to be prepared for sleepovers or unexpected guests.
The twin over full bunk bed resembles the standard bunk bed, but is designed to accommodate two different mattress sizes, a twin on the top and a full or double mattress on the bottom. This is an ideal configuration if one child requires more room.
The full over full bunk bed is comprised of two full or double sized beds. This type of bunk bed is a real space-saver, doubling the room’s sleeping capacity. A full over full bunk bed would also be ideal for a guest room or when decorating a teen’s bedroom.
The loft bunk bed is available in a variety of combinations. Essentially, it is a top bunk with space underneath for any number of furniture groupings. A loft bunk bed can have a freestanding bed, nightstand and a bookcase or a student desk or futon. They can also be an inclusive unit with a sleeping area, work space and built-in or under-bed storage.
Futon bunk beds have a futon sofa as the bottom bunk with a regular twin bed as the top bunk. A futon bunk bed is not only a great way to decorate a child’s or teen’s room, but, it is also a good choice for decorating a multipurpose room or adding sleeping/seating options to a small home office.
A triple bunk resembles a loft bed, but has two twin bunks on the top, usually in an “L” formation, with the third twin on the bottom. Many types of triple bunk beds are also available in X-long (five inches longer than a standard twin), which makes them a popular choice for a teen’s room or a dorm room.
Bunk Bed Features
Storage drawers are designed to fit underneath the bottom bunk. They can be on casters or be a part of the bunk bed’s structure and slide out, much like a dresser drawer.
The trundle bed fits underneath the unit, and usually accommodates a twin mattress. It can be one of two kinds: resembling a large drawer, it pulls out from under the bottom bunk or it can be a pop-up trundle, which is basically a folding frame designed to hold a twin mattress.
The bottom bunk can be a captain’s bed box, which provides a built-in storage system, usually consisting of drawers, below a sleeping area.
While a ladder is the most popular style, bunk beds with stairs are another option. Many have built-in storage drawers to make the most of the space.
Bunk Bed Style
You want their space to look just as good as the rest of your home. Style is important. But it can’t just look good; it also has to be practical and durable. Select a style of furniture that reflects their interests and who they are, and you will create an environment that will have a lasting appeal.
Inspired by historical periods and their social customs, traditional children’s bedroom furniture can be ornate, with lots of decorative details. Traditional elements include scalloped edges, turned legs and crown molding are popular choices for white bunk beds for girls.
Country furniture has a relaxed, comfortable look and feel. It includes many whimsical decorative details such as stenciling, embossing, and beadboard. Country furniture is typically made of wood and a combination of wood and metal. It has a warm and homey feel that can make a child’s room instantly inviting.
Contemporary children’s furniture typically has simple lines and relaxed ornamentation. A contemporary bunk bed can be made of wood, metal or a combination of wood and metal. With its uncomplicated forms, this style is inviting, while being unpretentious.
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 for the bunk bed frame because of qualities like durability, 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.
Bunk Bed Mattresses
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. The bunkie board or slat kit can be included as part of the bunk bed package or are sometimes offered as an accessory item to be purchased separately.
Bunk Bed Safety Tips
Bunk beds are a convenient way to decorate a child’s room, whether they will be sharing the space with a sibling or an overnight guest. Especially when the room is small and you want space for "extras" like toys and other neat stuff, the bunk bed can be the ideal space-saver. But is it safe? This is a brief guide that outlines ways to give you peace of mind and keep your children safe and happy when using a bunk bed.
General Bunk Bed Safety Protocol
Bunk beds must meet specified industry standards. To produce the best product they can make, many manufacturers follow voluntary standards in addition to the standardized ones. When assembling the unit, follow all of the instructions and don't make any modifications or substitutions. Any alterations you make might compromise the safety of the structure, and in most cases will void any warranty offered by the manufacturer.
Other Safety Things to Keep in Mind
Bunk beds are a great space-saving way to decorate a guest room or a child's bedroom, especially if siblings have to share. While manufacturers, agencies and organizations do everything in their power to make them safe, sometimes they aren't. Following these general guidelines will go a long way to keeping your child safe around bunk beds. And as a parent, you can achieve the peace of mind to sleep soundly yourself, knowing that you're doing everything you can to keep your children safe and sound.