When trying to accommodate extra sleepers in a kids room, many parents struggle to decide between bunk beds versus trundle beds. After trying out both types of beds, I’ve found that they have key differences in their space usage, safety, and versatility, making one better suited for certain situations.
Without thoroughly comparing a bunk bed vs trundle bed, it’s easy to choose the wrong type of bed and end up with a frustrating or even dangerous setup. I’ll compare the critical factors between bunk bed and trundle bed to help you make the best choice for your needs.
Ultimate Showdown Between a Bunk Bed vs Trundle Bed
Here are the key things to know about bunk beds vs. trundle beds:
- Bunk beds are stacked beds, with one bed on top of the other, to save floor space. Trundle beds hide a second bed underneath the main bed.
- Trundle beds take up more floor space when pulled out but don’t require as much height. Bunk beds take up less floor space but need more vertical room.
- Bunk beds require a ladder for the top bunk, which can be dangerous for young kids. Trundle beds sit closer to the ground, making them safer for younger kids.
- Trundle beds allow occasional extra guests. Bunk beds work well for siblings sharing a kids room.
- Kids may like having their own defined space with bunk beds. Trundle beds don’t offer a designated personal space.
- Bunk beds can allow space underneath for drawers and storage. Trundle beds don’t allow under-bed storage when in use.
Overview of Trundle Beds and Bunk Beds
Before I dive deeper into comparing bunk beds and trundle beds, I’m going to help you identify the two bed types, along with their benefits and disadvantages.
A bunk bed is a piece of furniture with two beds stacked on each other. A lot of people love bunk beds because they are a great way to have more than one person sleeping in a room without taking up a lot of floor space with an additional bed.
Suppose you have a smaller room and want to give everyone a bed. In this case, bunk beds are a great idea. They make it easy to put several people into one room without everyone being cramped or uncomfortable.
For example, the Donco Kids Deer Blind Bunk Bed has whimsical beds stacked on top of each other. There are also curtains that provide a private playing space for kids rooms. You can also look for a triple bunk bed with storage options.
Bunk beds don’t usually need a box spring since the mattress can rest on a solid piece of wood on the frame. This ensures that the top bed is not too close to the ceiling. Four vertical poles on a bunk bed lift the top bed.
A ladder is built into the furniture or leans up against the top bunk for easy access when climbing up and down. It’s easiest to find a twin bunk bed with twin-size mattresses. Meanwhile, full over full bunk beds are less common options.
It’s increasingly becoming more common to buy bunk beds that have a larger bed on the bottom with a twin on top. There are also bunk beds where the top one is turned at a right angle from the bottom, creating space below the bed for a desk or dresser.
- If you are on a budget, you can usually find bunk beds that are much less expensive than buying two separate twin beds.
- Bunk beds are ideal for smaller rooms where you don’t want to use up the floor space, yet you need more space to accommodate more people in the same room.
- Certain bunk beds have drawers that are built in under the bottom bunk. This makes this piece of furniture even more ideal if you need to save space in guest rooms.
- Some bunk beds come with a trundle bed option under the bottom bunk.
- Kids love having their own defined space, and bunk beds provide their own areas in a shared room.
- The child on the bottom bunk may become frustrated because it often becomes the default place for guests in the room to sit, which takes away some of their autonomy and personal space.
- Bunk beds are notoriously difficult to make in the morning or after changing sheets.
- Navigating the ladder in the middle of the night for a drink of water can be quite scary.
- Because the top bunk is often so high and close to the ceiling, any horseplay or sudden sitting up can result in accidentally bumping the person’s head.
- Whenever the kid on the top bunk is sick, it’s tough to get to them and care for them without waking the other child on the bed that is low to the ground.
While trundle beds provide two spaces to sleep, they don’t take up a lot of room in a guest room when they are not in use.
For instance, you can get a twin trundle by transforming the ZINUS Suzanne Trundle Daybed into two twin beds for kids’ rooms. There are also several options for twin trundle beds or a daybed with a trundle.
They appear to be normal beds, and the second bed, low to the ground, remains hidden out of view when not in use. The second bed is on casters or wheels and rolls out from under the main or existing bed, sliding back under when nobody needs to sleep.
The lower bed doesn’t have a box spring, which makes it small enough to fit into this smaller space without any problems.
- Trundle beds offer a second sleeping space in your home without having guest rooms dedicated to overnight guests.
- Newer, high-quality trundle beds will easily slide out and under the top bed without being noisy or too difficult to operate.
- These beds come in many sizes and designs, making it easy to find one that will sleep more than one person if necessary.
- When used in a kid’s room, they offer the perfect place for sleepover guests to spend the night.
- When you outgrow the trundle or decide to upgrade to a separate bed, you can keep the main bed and sell the trundle.
- The bottom bed will not hold up to years of daily use and will begin to fall apart and wear out well before the top bed.
- Children who sleep on a trundle bed regularly may be frustrated that they don’t have their own space during the day as it gets pushed back under their sibling’s bed.
- Because the trundle bed is under the main bed, it eliminates any storage space you would otherwise be able to take advantage of.
- The child sleeping on the top bed has to be careful when getting down during the night, or they will easily step on the person on the trundle and wake them up.
- Using the trundle bed means you need a large space on the floor cleared.
Comparing Trundle Beds and Bunk Beds
Here is a comparison table showing the key features of bunk beds vs trundle beds:
|Stacked beds, one on top of the other
|Main bed with roll-out bed underneath
|Tall, requires a high ceiling
|Lower profile fits in rooms with a standard ceiling height
|Small floor footprint, more vertical space
|Larger floor footprint when the second bed is pulled out
|Usually twin over twin, sometimes twin over full or queen
|The main bed can be any size, while a trundle typically has a twin-size
|Can have storage drawers underneath
|No underbed storage when the second bed is in use
|Less safe due to the upper bunk height and ladder
|Safer for younger kids since it is closer to the ground
|Can separate into two beds later
|Fixed two-in-one bed
|Harder to make top bunk
|Easier to make beds
|Defines space for each child
|No designated personal spaces
|Less expensive on average
|More expensive on average
There are a few similarities between bunk beds and trundle beds. These are reasons to consider them as suitable alternatives to a regular bed.
Bunk and trundle beds are great for space-saving, accommodating extra guests, and instant sleepovers.
Bunk beds offer two separate beds stacked on top of each other. Meanwhile, a trundle bed provides an extra bed that you can pull from underneath the existing bed. This way, more people can sleep in the same space.
They are the best solutions for families because they provide two sleeping spaces. These bed types are also generally get for kids while providing extra sleeping space for guests, especially during sleepovers.
Bunk beds brands have more customization options, especially since you can add ladders, bookshelves, small cabinets, and desk layouts. I used to own a bunk bed that allowed me to detach it into two separate beds. Essentially, I was able to place them in two different rooms eventually.
However, you can still customize a trundle bed, particularly in terms of the size. For example, you can have a full bed as your main bed, and then have the lower bed be a twin. By doing this, you’d still be able to use some of the space under the full bed as storage.
Major Differences Between Bunk Beds And Trundles
After knowing what bunk beds and trundle beds are, it’s time to look at their significant differences. This way, you can determine where one will be more valuable than the other.
Both of these will take up a larger footprint than a single bed. With bunk beds, you need to consider the size of the framing, if there is a ladder, and the positioning of the beds.
However, a trundle bed will typically take up more space than a bunk bed. At first glance, a trundle might not seem to take up more room, but once you pull out the second bed, that will double the footprint.
Go with bunk beds if you want the smaller option for your room.
Bunk beds offer an upper bunk that is normally a twin-size bed. The size of the lower bunk can vary depending on the bed’s design; however, it’s common to have both beds be twins.
The main bed can be any size with trundle beds, while the lower bed has to be a twin. You can’t get a trundle where the top bed is smaller than the larger bed, because the framing wouldn’t work with that setup.
I saw good mattress options at IKEA that would work well for both bunks and trundles, since some were thinner.
Ceiling Height Limitations
The two beds stacked in a bunk bed take more ceiling height than having a trundle underneath. Kids rooms with low ceilings may not be comfortable for the person who will sleep on the top bunk.
Permanence and Durability
A trundle bed doesn’t make a good permanent bed option because the bed parts tend to wear out more quickly. A bunk bed is a much better choice for permanent beds because it’s more durable.
You’ll have to pull the trundle in and out most of the time, wearing out the mechanism. In comparison, a bunk bed’s lack of special mechanisms to open and close can prolong its durability.
Adults can use bunk beds and trundle beds, although there are a few things to consider. The top bunk has a limited weight capacity, so it may be risky to hold heavy people. Also, some may have difficulty climbing up and down the ladder to leave the upper bunk.
Suppose your guest room doesn’t have enough clearance space between the ceiling and the top bunk. This can lead to discomfort and injuries, with a person accidentally bumping their head on the ceiling.
In such cases, trundle beds provide better space and safety for adults. The lower bunk also makes it easy to tuck away the bed to get more space. However, the mattress of a trundle bed is usually thin and less comfortable than a regular bed’s.
Trundle beds are generally safe for all ages because they are positioned low to the ground. Meanwhile, the stairs or ladders can be dangerous for those with limited mobility, especially older people.
Final Verdict: Which Is Better Between a Bunk Bed and a Trundle Bed?
Bunk beds are much better with limited space, yet you need a decent ceiling height. Meanwhile, trundle beds are better if you’re planning to have guests sleep over and have more space. Ultimately, the choice depends on your additional sleeping space, ages of sleepers, and usage.
Based on the pros, cons, and comparison between bunk beds and trundle beds, here are vital factors to consider:
- Bunk beds provide more floor space savings, which is often the primary concern in shared bedrooms. They also allow for under-bed storage.
- Bunk beds are less expensive on average than trundle beds. The lower cost makes them more accessible.
- While trundle beds are safer for younger kids, bunk beds can be made reasonably safe by using guard rails and ensuring the ladder is securely attached.
- The vertical design of a bunk bed makes it harder to make the top bunk. However, you can solve this using tight-fitting sheets or having adults handle it.
Given the space and cost advantages, balanced with reasonable precautions for safety, I recommend bunk beds for most families with kids sharing a room. However, a trundle bed may be better for rooms with low ceilings or very young kids.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Trundle Bunk Beds?
A trundle bunk bed is a type of bunk bed that has a trundle bed hidden underneath the bottom bunk. It combines the space-saving vertical design of a bunk bed with the roll-out convenience of a trundle bed, letting you maximize three usable beds in the same space.
What Age Are Trundle and Bunk Beds Good For?
A trundle bed is best suited for younger children under age six because it is close to the ground, eliminating the need to climb high. Meanwhile, bunk beds work well for older children over six who can safely use the ladder.
How Do You Choose Between a Bunk and Trundle Bed?
When choosing between a trundle and bunk bed, consider your extra sleeping space, who will sleep, and frequency of use. Bunk beds maximize floor space, while trundle beds offer more safety for young kids.
Bunk beds are better for families who need to maximize floor space, whereas trundle beds are good options for younger kids and occasional guests. Choosing between bunk or trundle beds depends on how you want to maximize space while making yourself comfortable.