The multicolored galaxy of options available today may seem dizzying to the uninitiated, so we are here to help narrow the choices down to what works for you. To that end, we’ve gathered a selection of some of the best examples of each type of bunk bed, breaking them down by build material, design, and style.
For example, our example above is a wooden, L-shaped, rustic model that flaunts an array of storage options and built-in desk space.
This guide has been crafted to help you find the perfect fit for your given room, whether you’re looking to conserve space or create a sprawling bedroom play place. These are certainly not your grandparents’ bunk beds.
Table of Contents
- Basic Design
- Frequently Asked Questions
The first aspect to consider is the build material. Bunk beds are comprised of either wood or metal construction, no matter the design or style. Let’s look at examples of each before moving on to the fun stuff.
Wood is the most popular material for crafting bunk beds by some distance. It offers extreme versatility in shape, style, and color, as well as a rich, sturdy construction that ensures a complicated structure like the bunk bed lasts for years.
Metal frames, in contrast to their wooden brethren, are less commonplace. Metal allows for a lighter weight build, often granting a more open and airy structure to the bed. This can make assembly and moving easier.
With construction material taken care of, let’s look at the wide variety of design options. The design of your new bunk bed may be the most important aspect. More than style even, this defines how and where the bed will fit into your home, and what functionality it offers. The wide range of design encompasses simple two-tiered standard bunk beds and sprawling set-pieces that allow for three sleepers, covering half of bedroom.
Standard bunk bed design incorporates two beds, one atop the other. Usually a pair of twin beds, they occasionally pair a twin bed over a full size model. Many models allow for the beds to be separated and used individually. The twin over twin are typically the small bunk bed option.
These bunk beds combine a standard upper level bed with a lower level futon, for added versatility. Not only can they sleep two people comfortably, but the futon acts as a comfortable sofa during waking hours. These are great for bedrooms with televisions or for simply hanging out.
A standard trundle bed tucks a secondary bed below the main one, usually on casters, so that it can be tucked away hidden when not in use. When combined with a bunk bed, this creates a piece of furniture that can comfortably sleep three people. Our example below is a classic twin over double bunk.
Offering the same amount of sleeping space in a novel configuration, the L-shaped bunk bed sets the lower bed at a right angle to the upper one. This takes up more floor space, but offers a sprawling, luxurious setting for those who have enough room. See our gallery of 21 L-shaped bunk beds for more of this type of bunk bed.
The loft bunk bed design uses the basic framework to open up extra floor space in a bedroom by hoisting a bed up, while leaving empty space below, instead of a second bed. This gives flexibility, allowing for a desk, storage, or simple open play space below the bed.
The novelty style is loosely defined as any bunk bed that centers around a whimsical theme. There are sports, fantasy, doll, and even playhouse styled novelty beds in elaborate, meticulously crafted shapes. Our example here is a treehouse themed bed, replete with tiny roof and cubbies for storage.
The study design bunk bed with a desk utilizes the standard loft platform to place – instead of a lower bed – a desk or work station below the upper level. Some will simply have a shelf, while others will contain a fully equipped built in desk and shelving.
As the name implies, a triple bunk bed has sleeping space for three. Some configurations stack them vertically, which works if you have ample headroom and high ceilings in your home. Most examples spread the beds around, with either an added trundle or like this L-shaped configuration.
A bunk bed in any given configuration is still defined lastly by its overarching style. This aspect is what defines the surface level visuals, the very textural nuance that sets the furniture in sync with its surroundings.
Once you’ve decided on a design shape, the style is the most important consideration. Do you want a relaxed, rustic look or traditional style bed? Do you want something starkly modern, direct, and minimalist? We’ve gathered fine examples from each of the major styles you’ll find when shopping for a new bunk bed.
Traditional style defines a sort of timeless look, with carved wood construction in a functional, appealing, but not overly fussy manner.
Rustic is a style meant to evoke a pastoral, natural, woodsy feel. Furniture will often have unpainted or otherwise natural wood, sometimes even left in log form, for a handcrafted feel.
Related: Kids Loft Beds with Slides
This style conveys a sense of rural, relaxed old fashion that wouldn’t look out of place at a cottage or mountain getaway. It’s a more filigreed, delicate look than the tough, rugged style.
Modern style nods toward the designs of the mid-20th century, emphasizing efficient, clean shapes and a blending of functional and aesthetic values into a unified whole. Whether wood or metal, these designs have a captivating, purposeful look. Another notable feature of the bunk below is it has steps to the upper bunk (which is pretty cool).
Contemporary style is defined by its essence of the now. It can embrace myriad variations on a variety of themes, shapes, and textures, so long as they are up to date, fresh, and original.
Industrial style evokes the purpose-built look and feel of factory tools, utilizing metal and wood in hard edged, sturdy construction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to common questions about bunk beds.
How tall are bunk beds?
Bunk bed heights can vary, but the standard height for a bunk bed is 5 1/2-6ft tall. When choosing your bunk bed its advisable to measure from floor to ceiling and find a bunk bed that allows approximately two feet of space between the bed and the ceiling so the top bunk’s occupant won’t bump their head.
Can bunk beds be refinished?
For the most part yes, any wooden bunk bed can be refinished. However, to refinish a bunk bed it is best to disassemble the whole bed and treat every part separately to ensure proper refinishing all over every surface. First, clean the bed frame thoroughly, then take a look at the entire frame and assess its current state; make any necessary repairs. Remove the old stain or paint by using a finish stripper or a power sander, then apply a sealant to the bed frame. Once the sealant has thoroughly dried, you can paint or stain the wooden bunk bed frame. Once you’ve finished and the paint or stain has dried entirely, complete the job with a coat of finish to seal and protect the paint or stain.
Are bunk beds suitable for adults?
Most bunk beds are made for children, but depending on the weight some can safely be used by adults too. Bunk beds are not recommended for adults over 175lbs on the top bunk, 200lbs on the top, and 175lbs on a trundle. There are bunk beds made to withstand 400lbs and over on the top bunk, but the buyer must use caution when purchasing a bed like this as it requires a yearly certification by an independent research lab.
Can mice climb up a bunk bed?
Mice and rats both are both nimble little creatures that can scale walls and jump fairly high so they can most definitely climb up a bunk bed. However, unless you have a serious infestation, it is doubtful that they will.
Can cats climb up bunk beds?
Cats are capable of jumping great heights and can also find ways to climb just about anywhere they want to go, so unless the cat in question is an older cat with joint problems or other health issues then yes, cats can climb up bunk beds.
How much weight can a typical bunk bed hold?
Most metal bunk beds can usually hold 200lbs on the top bunk and up to 400lbs on the bottom bunk, however for the most part you will see many bunk bed types recommend only 175lbs on top and 200lbs on the bottom. Some bunk beds are said to be able to withstand up to 400lbs on the top bunk. Please refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure proper weight limitations.
Can bunk beds be repainted?
Wooden bunk beds are fairly easy and self-explanatory to repaint; however, it’s recommended to take them apart to do this to ensure painting every surface. Metal bunk beds are a little more challenging unless you know what to do. Disassemble the metal bed, protect the surface you are painting on, cover anything you don’t want to paint on the bed with painter’s tape, and work in a well-ventilated area. Wipe down the metal surface you wish to repaint with mineral spirits. Once the mineral spirits have dried, then apply a thin coat of etching primer with a latex paintbrush to all surfaces you wish to paint, allowing that to cure for approximately 4 hours. This will make paint adhere to the metal much easier. Once the etching primer is dry, begin applying thin coats of an oil-based paint with an oil-based paintbrush. This process will take the application of several thin coats to cover the etching primer completely.
What materials are bunk beds made from?
Bunk beds can be made with a variety of materials. More economy-friendly bunk beds can be made with materials such as solid plastic, metal, or a softwood frame with mattress supports made from wire and spring suspension. More expensive bunk beds are typically made from hardwood materials.
Can bunk beds be recycled?
If the bed frame is beyond repair and cannot be sold, bunk beds with certain types of metal frames can normally be taken to a scrap metal recycling place; some of these places will pay you for your recycling. Wooden bunk beds that cannot be repaired and sold can be disassembled and any of the good wooden pieces and hardware can be sold or used to turn into new furniture if you are the crafty type. To find creative ways to recycle a bunk bed that is beyond use or selling, look on the internet for a treasure trove of ideas.
Home Stratosphere is an award-winning home and garden online publication that’s a result of our talented researchers and writers who work directly with hundreds of professional interior designers, furniture designers, landscape designers and architects from around the world to create helpful, informative, entertaining and inspiring articles and design galleries.