8 Things to Consider Before Buying Bunk Beds

Consider Before Buying Bunk Beds

Bunk beds can be great space savers for bedrooms. When deciding to purchase bunk beds there will be more considerations that will need to be made. Some considerations you may have already thought of, but some considerations available may be of information you never would have thought of.

Read on to find out about the different styles and types of bunk beds available today. Also, about safety precautions that can be taken for both the bunk bed set up as a whole and top bed safety. Furthermore, why deciding on choosing ladders or stairs could make climbing to the top bed a smoother process.

What to Consider When Buying Bunk Beds

Bunk beds can be versatile for children that need to share a bedroom. Bunk beds come in different types and will be built differently. Finding the type of bunk beds that fits your family’s needs is very doable. The different considerations and thoughts may be overwhelming at first, but a lot of your questions can be easily answered with some extra reading.

How Many Beds Are Needed?

Bunk beds come in many different shapes and sizes these days. When thinking of purchasing bunk beds, your first decision should be on how many beds will be needed. The original form of bunk beds with one bed directly above another bed is still an option. However, many other layouts for bunk beds are available also.

Bunk beds are being made to fit any family’s needs now. Some examples of bunk bed types available now are:

  • Twin bed over twin bed
  • Twin bed over full bed
  • L shaped twin bed over twin bed
  • Triple bunk beds
  • Full bed over full bed
  • Full bed over two twin beds

Not only are all these different bunk bed styles available, but many can also give the option to add a trundle bed under the bottom bed. This way three kids can sleep in one room if needed while only taking up the space of regular bunk beds because the third bed can be pushed back underneath when not in use.

Some trundle beds available will be located in a drawer underneath the bottom bed and some will be available on a set of wheels that can roll out from underneath the bottom bed. The types of trundle beds that will fit inside of a drawer will be seen more often on bunk beds with wooden frames. This way the drawer with the extra bed can be built into the main base frame of the bunk bed itself.

The Available Room Space

Another thing to consider when purchasing bunk beds is the space availability of the chosen room. Depending on how many beds you will need or the layout design of the bunk beds, measurements will need to be taken. 

If the room is smaller having bunk beds that have the top bed and bottom bed run parallel with each other will allow for more floor space as long as the type of bunk bed chosen is a twin bed over another twin bed. If the room is larger and the style or size of the bunk beds does not matter the choice will be up to you. 

You will also want to make sure there will be about two feet of space between the top bunk and the ceiling. Leaving enough space between the top bunk and the ceiling will take away any accidental heads hitting the ceiling when sitting up in bed. This will also depend on the age of who is using the bunk beds. Older children will understand to slowly sit up easier than younger children will.

Another important thought to consider is can you place the bunk beds in the corner of a room. Yes, bunk beds can still be placed on a single wall but placing bunk beds in the corner of a room can add to the stability. This way the bunk beds will have two walls for support instead of just one.

Will the Bunk Beds Be Used Short Term or Long Term?

Short-term or long-term use of the bunk beds can help you decide if this option is best for you. Are you getting bunk beds to keep in a spare room, or will your children be sharing a room for years to come? The two main materials used in bunk bed construction are:

  • Metal
  • Wood

While choosing a bunk bed based on how it will look in the room is great but understanding more about each type will be helpful as well.

Metal bunk beds can be cheaper in price and can be lighter than wooden bunk beds. Having the bed frames be lighter can make moving the bunk beds easier in case down the line rooms need to be switched or the bunk beds are no longer needed. Being a little on the cheaper side can make the metal framed bunk beds a better option for a short-term solution as well.

Wooden bunk beds would be best for a long-term solution. Wooden bunk beds will be heavier once completely put together and could be a little harder to move down the line. Wood bunk beds can be more expensive than metal ones but may have more options choices available in different colors.

Top Bunk Safety

When choosing bunk beds check the safety of the top bunk. While both beds need to be safe, someone sleeping on the top bunk will have a higher fall than someone sleeping on the bottom bunk. Guardrails need to be visible on both sides of the top bunk. Having guardrails on both sides will ensure children stay in the bed while sleeping.

Bunk beds are usually placed against a wall, but if there is any type of gap between the bunk bed and the wall the guardrail on the wall side can prevent any rolling accidents. Continuing with guardrails, they need to sit at least five inches above the top of the mattress. This will also prevent anyone from rolling out of the bed and falling. 

If your child prefers using a mattress pad or added blankets that would make the mattress higher, the five inches will need to be measured from the top of their bed. Since bunk beds have frames that only require a mattress, you can measure the height from the bottom of your child’s mattress to the top when their bed is fully made. This way when you are searching for a bunk bed, you will already have an idea of what the five inches would look like.

If sleeping on the top bunk will be a new experience for your child you can place a night light or provide some type of way to keep the ladder or stair area lit. This can help climbing up and down in the middle of the night easier because your child will be able to see what they are doing.

For types of bunk beds where the ladder is attached to the frame of the bottom bunk, be wary if your child rolls around or moves around in their sleep. These types of ladders can be rolled into accidentally in the middle of the night. If this type of bunk bed option is your only option, having your child sleep with their head on the opposite end of the ladder can aid in preventing accidents in the middle of the night.

Choosing a Bunk Bed with Ladders or Stairs

Another decision to make when purchasing bunk beds is choosing ladders or stairs. Helping you make your decision will be the ages of whoever will be using the bunk beds. Older children or children who can quickly become adjusted to change will easily be able to use bunk beds with ladders. One of the reasons ladders may not work out well is if you still have younger children that are still learning to climb or children who are not fully up all the way if they get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

However, two different types of ladders come with bunk beds:

  • Straight ladders
  • Angled ladders

Straight ladders will usually attach the top bunk to the frame of the bottom bunk. It will be a straight climb to the top. This can help save space in the room the bunk beds are in by being connected to the bunk bed frame.

Angled ladders will attach to the top bunk with hooks and appear to be leaning against the bunk bed. The nice thing about angled ladders is they will usually come with a handrail as well to aid in a steadier climb. There will be a gap between the ladder and the bottom bunk so having a guard rail along the bottom bunk can be helpful. This can help a child from rolling out of bed and hitting the ladder on the way down.

Having stairs on bunk beds will be extremely helpful for younger children. The stairs offered for bunk beds are wider in size making the climb to the top easier. Another bonus to bunk bed stairs is most of the time extra storage will be built into the stairs. Some bunk beds will have drawers that pull from the forward-facing side of the stairs and some will have drawers that pull out from the side of the bunk bed stairs.

Bunk Beds with Extra Storage

Stairs having drawers in the sides is not the only advantage to bunk beds. Many wooden bunk beds can come with different types of extra storage:

  • Desks
  • Bookshelf
  • Under the bed drawers

By purchasing a larger bunk bed with extra storage built in has many extra uses. One of these extra uses is there will be less needed for extra furniture in the room. If the bunk bed you choose has a bookshelf this could be used for books or a display case for toys. Many loft beds will come with desks underneath, but bunk beds will come with a desk attached to either the headboard or footboard side of the bed instead. 

If you decide against getting a trundle bed for an extra bed you can have the option of getting pull-out drawers instead. Having one to two extra pull-out drawers can help replace a dresser or if your child has many clothes, extra storage space to fit everything.

Another bonus, but possible downfall situation dependent will be the amount of extra space this type of bunk bed will take up. Having the extra pieces of furniture built into the bunk bed frame will lead to a longer and possibly wider area on the floor. If getting a bunk bed is not for space saving purposes that getting a larger one will not be an issue. If getting a bunk bed is for space saving purchases, this might not be the best option.

On the plus side, choosing a bunk bed with extra pieces built into the frame will make the bunk bed frame itself sturdier. Due to the extra furniture, the bunk beds will have a wider surface area leading to a wider structure. While the thought of a bunk bed tipping over is scary, choosing a larger sturdier framed bunk bed can help ease your mind. 

Talk with Your Children

When purchasing bunk beds involving your children in the decision or at least having a conversation can help with your decision also. Children under the age of six years old should not be sleeping on the top bunk. Children who are six years of age and older will be better off in the top bunk. This is in case anyone falls from the top bunk. Children younger in age can get hurt easier or worse depending on the fall.

Are your children okay with sleeping on a top bunk? Is anyone afraid of heights? These are examples of questions you should be asking yourself when considering bunk beds. You will know your children better than anyone and all families will be different. Asking yourself these questions ahead of time can also help you decide on the style of bunk bed that would fit best if that is the route you would like to take.

Maybe your children are looking forward to sleeping on the top bunk. Moving from a regular bed to a top bunk of a bunk bed will be a change also. So, discussing these types of questions and what a bunk bed will look like will help.

You could also set rules for the bunk beds once they arrive too. Make sure your children know to use the bunk beds for sleeping only. Jumping on the bed or off the top bunk should be avoided so no one gets injured. 

If you are unsure how your children will respond to someone having to sleep on the top bunk getting a bunk bed with a trundle bed included can make the transition easier. This way your child can work up to sleeping on the top bunk if necessary. Or if you buy the bunk beds and no one ends up wanting to sleep on the top bed there will be other sleeping options available.

Adding Extra Stability to Bunk Beds

Another thing to consider when purchasing bunk beds is any fears you may have of them tipping over. This fear is valid and is a reasonable fear to have but can be fixed with some added preparation.

If where you live you can put holes in the walls these fears can be eased by attaching the bunk beds to the wall studs. Attaching bunk beds to the wall studs will prevent any tipping from happening because the bunk bed will be attached to the wall. Mentioned earlier was placing bunk beds in the corner of a room if possible, this way the bunk beds will be attached to two separate walls adding more stability.

Accidents can still happen, however, there will have to be some heavy lifting or tipping done for the bunk beds to fall out of the wall. If you are unable to put holes in your walls due to renting or other circumstances it would not hurt to ask to put holes in the walls for the bunk beds. 

Purchasing the L-shaped bunk beds will work for situations when putting holes in the walls are not possible. The way the bunk beds are stacked perpendicular to each other will add more surface area to your floors thus adding extra stability to the bunk beds.


Deciding to purchase bunk beds can be an easy decision or may be more difficult. Considering the different types and choices can be overwhelming in the beginning, but a decision can be made by reading up on the information available. Always remember you know your family’s needs best. While multiple considerations could be made, making sure if you will have the available space for the type of bunk bed you would want to get will be number one. 


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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