Trundle Beds 101: The Pros, Cons, and Alternatives


If you are living in a small space or just want to purchase a new bed for yourself, child, or guest room, you might come across a trundle bed (amongst several other types of beds). If it’s piqued your interest, you’re not alone. But are you making the best choice of purchasing one? You need the facts before diving into a trundle bed.

What are the pros and cons of a trundle bed? Trundles beds offer optimum storage solutions for small spaces while also offering two beds for the price of one. They are stylish and safer than bunk beds. However, there is no box spring, the thin mattresses may compromise comfort levels, and the under bed can be inconvenient.

It’s important to know all the aspects of something before purchasing it, especially something as big (and pricey) as a bed. We are going to dive into the world of trundle beds and explain- in detail- all the pros and cons when it comes to trundle beds. We will also be sharing some great alternatives to check out.

What is a Trundle Bed?

If you haven’t seen them on your hunt for the perfect bed, then you are probably wondering what a trundle bed is in the first place. Well, to put it simply, a trundle bed is a bed that includes a pull-out bed underneath it. They are compact, and most of the time, you can hardly tell that there is an additional bed underneath the top bed. 

Trundle beds come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can find twin-size trundle beds up to king-size trundle beds; there are even bunk beds with a trundle! There are also a variety of designs, from trundles that appear more like couches and fancy, sophisticated designs made of wood. 

The Advantages of Trundle Beds 

There is a slew of benefits when it comes to trundle beds, which would make one wonder why they are not as popular as other types of beds on the market. Regardless, trundle beds can be the perfect solution to a smaller space that lacks storage. It also makes for a perfect option for a guest room as there are two beds instead of one. Let’s take a closer look at the pros of trundle beds.

You Get Two Beds for the Price of One

One of the biggest benefits of owning a trundle bed is you get two beds for the price of one. As mentioned previously, this means that you can have multiple guests staying at once. Simply pull out the under bed and voila! There is a spot for multiple people to rest while staying in your home.

Another reason why the double bed feature is key is when kids are sharing a bedroom. It can be seriously difficult to find space for two beds in a single bedroom, especially if you are in an apartment. Well, a trundle bed means that you can save more space while still having separate beds for your children. 

But let’s be honest- who doesn’t want to get more for less? When it comes to a trundle bed, you really are getting the biggest bang for your buck. Even if you do not use the trundle bed right away, it can be a wonderful solution for sleepovers in the future, or any kid just wants a little wiggle room.

There Are Lots of Styles

There are seemingly endless amounts of styles when it comes to trundle beds. From their looks to their actual construction, it’s easy to find a trundle bed that matches your particular look and style. Let’s look at some of the most popular designs you can find on the market:

  • Daybeds. A daybed is made to look similar to a couch. This is a wonderful option for anyone who wants to utilize their space as a place to relax with other people during the daytime but still wants a cozy spot to lay their head at night. This is most commonly found in children’s rooms and guest rooms.
  • Sleigh Bed. A sleigh bed resembles a sleigh as they are slightly curved on the headboard and footboard. This look can be playful enough for a little girl’s room or sophisticated enough to be the talk of the guest room.
  • Captain Bed. This is the style that offers superior storage space. Up top, you have the main bed with a pull-out bed underneath. However, this trundle style also includes drawers and other storage options.
  • Bunk Bed. Yes, you can even get a bunk bed with a pull-out trundle bed underneath. This is a great option for those who have multiple kids in a single room or have visitors with kids who come over often.

As you can see, there are plenty of styles to choose from. You can opt for a metal frame that is sleek and cool or go for something more rustic with a woodsy appearance. You can find anything and everything in-between, so finding a trundle bed that suits your needs and wants is a cinch.

They Add Extra Storage Space

Another major benefit of a trundle bed is that they offer extra storage space. Now, this can be done in two ways:

  • You can use the pull-out compartment as a storage area instead of a second bed, or
  • Purchase a captain trundle bed that comes complete with an extra bed and drawers for storage.

Really, it works either way. Even if you do not need a second bed, a trundle still comes in handy as you don’t necessarily have to put a mattress in the compartment. So don’t! Utilize the pull out ‘bed’ as a storage area instead. Place anything from toys to shoes to clothes to blankets and so much more.

Just make sure that you double-check if the under bed has a solid, intact floor or not. If there is any type of spacing on the floor, then you will need to either place a liner, boards, or under-bed storage units to keep your items from falling between the spaces. Of course, this isn’t necessary if you are storing blankets or larger items- it’s simply something to keep in mind.

Safer Than a Bunk Bed

Many parents opt for bunk beds because they need to fit more than one child in a single room, and two beds simply take up too much space. However, the major drawback when it comes to bunk beds is they are fairly unsafe. There are 36,000 injuries reported annually from bunk bed falls.

With that being said, a trundle bed is a safer alternative to bunk beds. You don’t have to worry about anyone falling out of the top bunk and getting hurt (or worse), but you still benefit from having more than one bed in the room without taking up too much space. This gives you peace of mind, especially when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep.

Good Price

The last benefit of a trundle bed is that most are decently priced. Remember what we said earlier about getting the biggest bang for your buck? Well, it’s true. Even fancier, sturdier models can range around just $500, compared to bunk beds that can be well over $1,000. 

The Disadvantages of Trundle Beds 

Just like everything else in life, trundle beds have their downfall, too. The good news is that most of the time, you can overlook these disadvantages as there is nothing overly serious. It is something to think about, though, so let’s take a closer look.

They Are Just as Big as a Regular Bed

If you are thinking that a trundle bed is going to be a magical miniature piece of furniture, think again. While a trundle bed saves space for those who need more than one bed, it’s still the same size as a regular bed. So you still need to have enough space to occupy a bed of the trundle bed size you’re looking at, such as twin, queen, or king.

Bed Underneath Requires a Special Size

If you’re thinking about utilizing the pull-out bed as an actual bed, there is one major thing you need to keep in mind: the under bed requires a special-size mattress. These are not your basic mattress sizes, as they have to be slightly smaller than the bed on top. This can cause hassle for anyone who is trying to replace mattresses.

They Can Be Slightly Inconvenient

When you’re exhausted and just want to fall into bed, there is nothing more annoying than having to think ‘Wow, now I have to go pull out the under bed.’ While it’s not going to take a whole lot of strength to pull out the bed hiding below, it’s still kind of a nuisance. 

Think about it this way, too- if you have a trundle bed in your kid’s room, you will have to pull it out every single night and push it back every morning. If that sounds somewhat annoying, then you would be correct, especially as little ones will not have the strength to do it themselves.

It is Hard to Get Out of the ‘Main’ Bed

One of the biggest issues when it comes to a trundle bed is that it makes it challenging for the person sleeping on top to get out of bed. Since the beds are attached, it’s not like the person on top can just hop out of bed. They have to worry about the person sleeping directly next to them, and there is really no way around them.

There Are No Box Springs

Another major issue with trundle beds is the mattresses do not have box springs. While this might not be a major deal for younger kids or any adult who is utilizing the trundle bed in the short-term, adults might not like the way it feels after a lengthy period of time.

There simply isn’t enough room for box springs on a trundle bed. The way they are designed leaves only enough room for the mattresses to make an appearance. This can cause discomfort after an extended period. Again, this isn’t likely to happen with children, but teenagers and adults might not like that feature.

Another issue is that a lack of a box spring can also lead to damage if you find your kids jumping on the trundle bed. As there is no ‘give’ in the bed, it could cause some fairly serious damage to the trundle bed itself. 

Are Trundle Beds Comfortable?

After reading about trundle beds, there is likely one serious question you need to answer: “Are trundle beds comfortable?” Well, the simple fact is this- trundle beds lack a box spring, and, due to the lack of space, the mattresses tend to be on the thinner side, too. 

Does that mean that it feels like you are trying to sleep on a wooden board day in and day out? Of course, not! Just because the mattresses are a bit thinner and there is no box spring does not mean it’s uncomfortable, especially for children. The main concern is that the design might be uncomfortable for adults after an extended period.

The good news is that children won’t mind the lack of box spring or a thinner mattress as it will not have a direct impact on them. You can also add thick padding to the bed or opt for a thicker mattress in the first place. This will help to mimic the feeling of an actual bed, which you might consider for your children and the guest room.

Consider purchasing a mattress like the Zinus Memory Foam 5 Inch Bunk Bed / Trundle Bed / Daybed / Twin Mattress. This high-quality, superiorly comfortable memory foam mattress is designed with 1-inch memory foam, 1-inch pressure relieving comfort foam, and 3 inches of airflow high-density base support. This means that comfort is no longer questionable on your trundle bed.

Alternatives to Trundle Beds

Not sure if the trundle bed is right for you? Still looking for a bed that is going to save space and offer the most for your money? Don’t worry- there are a few other options that can get the job done. Let’s look at three wonderful alternatives to trundle beds.

Murphy Bed

The Murphy bed- also known as a wall bed- is essentially just how it sounds. It is a bed that can be tucked back into the wall in a flash. Most of the time, Murphy beds are concealed into something that resembles an armoire, although you can find some that hide into things like dressers

Murphy beds are incredibly unique and can be a prime pick for anyone who is short on space, such as anyone living in a studio apartment. However, they are noticeably much pricier than trundle beds.  Also, you are still stuck with a thin mattress issue that might not have the comfort you’re looking for long-term. 

The Murphy bed is, however, the best choice for space-saving. 

Futon

If you’re looking for a space-saving bed that doubles as a cool couch during the daytime, a futon is your best choice. This Japanese-style bed is the cream of the crop when it comes to versatility. It resembles a real couch as it folds in half like a sandwich, which means it can even be your living room furniture option. 

To turn your futon into a bed, all you need to do is collapse it down so that it looks just like a mattress. (Every futon will have its method for collapsing down into a usable bed). This makes it a convenient piece of furniture that works for day and night with ease.

Perhaps the biggest bonus of purchasing a futon is that they are incredibly cost-effective. Most futons are less than $300, but you wouldn’t notice just by looking at them. They are cool and fully functional and can change the way you see your living room or game room for good.

Fold Out Couch

Wanting something like a futon, but a bit more durable and sophisticated? Then a fold-out couch is exactly what you’re looking for. Again, the fold-out couch is exactly how it sounds- it resembles a real couch during the day but can quickly turn into a relaxing bed just by pulling out the mattress. 

Conclusion

Trundle beds are an excellent choice for those in a smaller area that want to maximize their space. They offer two beds for the price of one, while also being an optimum area for storing all types of items and materials from clothes to toys and everything in-between. Of course, they lack slightly in comfort and convenience, especially for the person on the top bunk. But aside from a few minor flaws, a trundle bed can be the perfect solution to a confined area. 

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