Bunk beds are classic pieces of furniture for kids’ bedrooms. They help save space when space is at a premium, and they are often great tools for sleeping two children in one room. But bunk beds seem a tad limiting in how they are traditionally arranged within a bedroom leading one to ask: Should a bunk bed go in front of a window?
It is not a good idea to place a bunk bed in front of a bedroom window. Many of the reasons for this have to do with:
Given the fact that bunk beds are most often used for children, you will want to consider these categories in light of how they affect children.
Of course, your living space is your own and you can do with it what you want, especially if you own your home. However, before you put your kids’ bunk bed in front of their bedroom window, you should read this to acquaint yourself with why it is not a good idea. You can also get some ideas on how you can arrange a bunk bed.
A Bunk Bed Should Not Go in Front of a Window
In any given bedroom, you have a limited amount of space. Chances are you purchased or are thinking of purchasing a bunk bed only in part because of how it looks. The other reason is that you need it as a tool to save or even create more space in your child’s or children’s room.
Given that, you need to use the bunk bed so that you can create usable space and make the room feel more open. You have something working against you with a bunk bed and that is the fact that bunk beds are tall and their frame is often big. Big pieces of furniture can often feel like they are crowding out a room.
For this reason, you need to think carefully about how you will place the bunk bed, but aesthetics are only part of the concern. The other concern is safety and in that category, you should consider the following things:
- How playful and curious your child is and how fragile a window can be
- How many bunk beds are designed in relation to windows
- How the elements could affect your children if they are close to windows
There is a lot to unpack here, so read on to think through the details with regards to placing a bunk bed next to a window.
Bunk Bed Aesthetics and Windows
As was mentioned earlier, the purpose of a bunk bed is to create more usable space in a room. The problem can be that bunk beds, because they are tall and often supported with powerful frames, can seem to crowd into a room if placed poorly.
In this regard, one of the ways to place a bunk bed poorly is to put it in front of a window because the bunk bed is likely to block out light.
Natural light is a precious resource in a home and especially in a bedroom. Because bedrooms are small and often have only one window, they can seem:
- Darker than they need to be
- More crowded than they really are
You do not want to enhance that, especially with a bunk bed. Instead of making the room feel spacious, it will make it feel cramped.
Furthermore, when the bunk bed is placed in front of the window, the mechanism for whatever window coverings you have is probably going to be blocked. That lessens the chance of getting natural light into a room.
There is an exception to this rule about the aesthetics of a bunk bed against a window and that is if the opening of the bunk bed is large enough to surround the window without blocking it.
While this is a possibility, there are a couple of things that could prevent this from happening:
- The typical size of a bunk bed not accommodating the window
- The typical height of ceilings in a room, not allowing for a bunk bed to be higher than a window and have enough room for a sleeper
So while it is theoretically possible for a bunk bed to fit around a window, it is not likely going to work in most homes or apartments.
Bunk Beds and the Elements from Windows
You would not normally think of it, but bunk beds can expose the sleeper to elements that a window can let in, including:
- Cold and heat
Each of these things can be mitigated somewhat by window coverings, but not all the way, so it is important to consider each one in turn.
Windows Can Let in Cold and Heat
In general, windows are not as good at resisting heat and cold as insulated walls. Insulated double-pane windows do a much better job than older windows have done, but you can still feel some cold or heat leaking in through them. If nothing else, the surface of a window gets warm or cold, which releases heat or cold into the room.
If you have a bunk bed next to a window you are putting it in:
- The coldest part of the room during the winter
- The warmest part of the room during the summer
This is going to especially be true if the window is an older single-pane window.
A related problem is condensation. Condensation can form on the inside of windows if it is very cold outside and warm inside. When you add to it the moisture and the heat that a human body gives off, you can increase the amount of condensation around your windows.
In and of itself, this may not be a huge problem, but the possibility for mold growth can increase with condensation, and if you have the bunk bed right next to the window, it would be at ground zero for exposure if mold growth did happen.
The effect of light is less adverse on the health of the sleeper but annoying for the sleeper to deal with if the bunk bed is next to a window. Sunlight can leak in making sleep difficult at certain times of the day.
If it is nap time in the afternoon or mid-morning, the light leaking in could keep a child awake and make for an unhappy child and parent.
Bunk Beds, Windows, and Safety
Even under normal circumstances, bunk beds have some safety concerns. They are tall and require a bar around the open areas to keep a child from rolling off inadvertently. When a bunk bed is placed up against a wall, the height concern is usually addressed.
But placing a bunk bed next to a window can reopen the rolling-off concern as well as a few other safety concerns that are worth thinking through:
- The bunk bed could be blocking a potential fire escape
- Windows can give visual access to the wrong people
- Rambunctious kids can have a negative impact on windows
As with many safety concerns, these may or may not be a problem in your particular living circumstance or with your particular kids, but they are worth considering.
Rolling Off the Bed
Some bunk beds are made with bars going all the way around and some are not. Depending on what you have or the model you are considering buying, this may or may not apply to you.
But if you have a bunk bed that only has bars on the exposed areas of the bed, then you should consider the fact that windows can be inset from the wall from two to four inches. When you put a bunk bed in front of a window, this allows for a gap between the edge of the bed and the window itself.
While it is not likely that the window will allow most children to fall to the bottom, it is more likely that a small child could get wedged in the gap. At the very least, you should take precautions against this if you are dead set on putting the bunk bed in front of a window.
The Fire Escape Problem
If you put a bunk bed in front of a window, you could be blocking a potential fire escape. Of course, everyone hopes that fire never comes to their home, but accidental fires are a very real possibility that homeowners need to be aware of.
If a fire does happen and it blocks you from accessing the room where your children are, then the only means of their escape is through the window in their room (assuming it is on the ground floor). If their bunk bed is in front of the window, it could affect their escape by:
- Slowing it down
- Hindering their ability to open the window
- Block the window altogether
If space requirements make it such that you have to put a bunk bed in front of a window, then you will want to take time to carefully consider how you can ensure your children’s ability to escape through the window if necessary.
Not all window covering is complete. If you use curtains, then they can leave a gap for passersby to see through.
It is not pleasant to contemplate but you may live in an area where you do not want people to be able to see into your child’s bedroom. This could most likely be an issue in ground-floor apartment living where you are not able to choose or change the window coverings to suit your needs.
If this is an issue for where your child’s bedroom is, then the best idea is to not put the bunk bed in front of the window.
High energy kids are a delight but can make a little more forethought necessary for your parenting. In the same way that you do not let your kids play tag in the kitchen, you also do not want them to wrestle on their bed if it is near a window.
Kids try to be careful, but accidents can happen. It is true that modern windows are strong, but putting the bunk bed in front of the window is bad news waiting to be told. Children like to play around on their beds and if brothers start wrestling, it is only a matter of time before a foot cracks the glass or goes straight through.
The fact is, there are better ways to organize a bedroom than putting a bunk bed in front of the window. If you want to know how to get the most out of a bunk bed, read on.
How Do You Organize a Room with a Bunk Bed?
If putting your bunk bed in front of a window is not a good idea, then how should you organize a room with a bunk bed? There are plenty of options that you can consider that allow you to both make use of the bunk bed as a way to create a space in a room and make use of it as a space of its own that does not make the room feel cramped.
The bunk bed can be a monstrosity or an element in a room that opens up space by creating an area under the bed that can be used in many ways. You want your bunk bed to be the latter. The question simply is how do you organize in that way. Consider the following ideas for using the space to:
- Have a dresser
- Opening up a workspace
- Establishing a sitting or play area
- Use it as a storage area
If you explore these ideas below, you will find that, if you manage them correctly, they can open up a world of practical and aesthetic possibilities. Just keep these two things in mind as you do so:
- You may be able to combine some of these ideas depending on how big the area is under the bed
- Most of these ideas will require some kind of lighting under the bed to make it warm and inviting
You will want to remember these two things as you read on. Your imagination is going to be a great tool when setting up the space that you have available.
Use the Area for a Dresser
The first thing you can do is use the space under the bunk bed for a dresser, so your child can climb down from the bed and get clothes for the day. You can establish this in two different ways. You can:
- You can set a free-standing dresser under the bed, either on the long or short portion of the walls against which it is placed
- If the bunk bed included a dress as part of the setup, you can usually put the dresser so that the drawers open under the bed or on the outside from the open end of the bed
As you can see, there are a lot of different options that you can do with just two pieces of furniture.
It all depends on the look you are going for and how you want to use the space. If you want to add something else to the area under the bed, then you may want to consider having the dresser drawers open to the outside if that is an option.
However, if you want the dresser to open under the bed, whether as a free-standing unit or as a part of the frame of the bed, you can also add a small chair for your shield to sit on while changing.
Use the Area as a Work Space
If your child needs space to do homework, then you can easily set up a workspace in the area under the bed. If your bunk bed is just a frame, then you will need to buy a small desk and chair to slide under the bed.
However, many bunk beds come with a desk setup designed into the frame of the bed, much in the same way that they may come with a dresser. In fact, some designs incorporate both.
Whichever way you choose to go, setting up a workspace is pretty easy. You might want to consider brightening up space with:
- Some light in addition to a desk lamp
- A colorful picture or painting
This way the area is inviting and does not feel like a dungeon your child is being sent to where homework is the torture device.
Make the Area for Reading or Playing
You can easily make the area under the bunk bed into a small but cozy place for reading a book or playing with toys. What you want it to be will depend on what you put under the bed.
If you put a bookshelf under the bed, then add a bean back chair or a large pillow to sit on to make it a reading room. If it is to be a play area, then you can use the space that displays your child’s toys.
Use the Area for Storage
This does not have to be as utilitarian as it sounds. There are a lot of really cute storage options that you can put under the bed to create both a sense of organization and a sense of charm.
You can put a bookshelf under there for books that get tossed about the floor and you can add a row of storage bins as well. It all depends on what you have available and what in the room most often needs to be picked up.
No matter what you put under the bed, do not forget to add light. Even in an area for storage, by using adequate light to make the area inviting, you make that space and the whole room feel more open.
For a variety of reasons related to both aesthetics and safety, putting a bunk bed in front of a window is not a good idea.
But with so many ways to set up a bunk bed and organize a room with a bunk bed in it, there really is no need to.