From safety to style and storage - here’s everything you need to know about choosing the best bunk beds for your children...
If you had a bunk bed when you were a kid, you’ll remember what fun they were – once you’d sorted out who was sleeping on the top bunk. Now you’re choosing bunk beds for your own children, you’ll want them to have just as much fun as you did... but, as a parent, you’ll have other priorities too.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to think about when you’re buying bunk beds, starting with the five Ss – safety, sturdiness, space, style and storage, plus a few essential extras.
Bunk beds need to be safeThis has to be the number one priority for every parent. First and foremost, we recommend that the top bunk is used only by children aged six and over. To minimise the risk of falling from the top bunk, always make sure that the mattress is least 160 mm below the top of the lowest part of the guardrail (maximum mattress height = 200mm). And while we’re on the subject of guardrails, make sure that these, along with headboards and footboards, are firm.
Check that the beds have been tested to British Safety Standard or are covered by a guarantee. Bunk beds from The Children’s Furniture Company are all guaranteed for two years.
Bunk beds need to be sturdyChildren’s beds need to be robust enough to survive the School of Hard Knocks; after all they are so much more than beds: they’re playgrounds – and sometimes battle grounds, magical lands, dens, castles, spaceships, trampolines, and reading and hiding places. This is especially true of bunk beds, which offer children’s imaginations so many exciting possibilities.
Our bunk beds are made of solid ‘kid-tough’ hardwood or pine and, in some cases, with additional high quality composite wood. They’ll withstand years of bouncing and they’re sturdy enough for a grown-up to sit on either bunk (perfect for bedtime story reading). Our painted beds, such as the Taylor and the Holly, all have three coats of paint to give them the extra protection against the inevitable bangs, kicks and scuffs that they will have to endure over the years. Even the prettiest and most delicate-looking bed, like the Vanilla, with its butterfly cutouts, needs to be tough!
Make sure that you measure not only the floor dimensions of the bedroom where the bunk beds will go but the ceiling height too. (All our beds are suitable for average ceiling heights but if your bunk beds are going into a small or low ceilinged room, the Jango would be a good choice.)
Space, size and room layout
You need to think about room layout, to ensure that your children can get in and out of their beds – and up and down – easily, and that there’s still room for any other furniture that has to fit into the bedroom, such as drawers, wardrobes or desks, not to mention space in which to play and move around.Think about the best position for the bunk beds and which end and side the ladder or steps need to go. Are you happy to have bunk beds with the ladder (the Seattle) or steps (the Neutron - top) fixed in one position only (at the right end) or will it be better to have the flexibility of a ladder that can be fixed to either left or right end, as is the case with the Starlight or Hickory, for example?
You’ll find all the important information and measurements that you need for each of our bunk beds styles on the relevant pages on our website.
Choosing a suitable style that your children will loveKids do have clear ideas about what they like and what they don’t so, if possible, involve them in choosing their bunk beds from the outset. A budding astronomer, for example, might be very excited at the thought of the Starlight bed, while the Holly bed would be perfect for lovers of fairy stories.
A more neutral style like the Seattle would suit children who want to put their individual stamp on their bedroom and who like to ring the changes – or even children who can’t agree, as they can customise their own bed and make it completely different from the one below or above!
Seattle bunk beds
And while we’re on the subject of style, we should mention finish too. All our bunk beds come with a tough white paint finish and the Seattle is also available in natural pine. Either gives your children’s bedroom a clean-looking and neutral palette, so that the room can be themed (a pirate ship or mermaid’s underwater home, for example). You can add any colour that children want using paint, wallpaper, pictures, lamps, bean bags, rugs, and other accessories. (See The Children’s Furniture Company bedroom accessories section for ideas.)
Bunk beds that offer extra storage – for all their stuffToday’s children have far more stuff than their parents or grandparents ever did and they’re often reluctant to part with anything. Decluttering can be a scary prospect for a six year old! If that’s the case with your children, and especially if room space is tight, take a look at the Neutron with Stair Storage.
Not only does it have fun stairs rather than a ladder to the top bunk, but the stairs also double as storage space. You can maximise the Neutron’s storage space with underbed storage space too, as you can with our Hickory, Holly, Jango, Starlight, Taylor and Vanilla bunk beds. Our storage drawers are on wheels and come in large and small sizes. Two small storage drawers will fit under the lower bunk bed – ideal for keeping cherished toys and precious things apart and preventing squabbles!
Bunk beds – room for one more?If you’ll need to squeeze in an extra child at some point – your own in the future or someone else’s (think sleepovers and family visits) – the pull-out trundle bed on wheels is a practical and space-saving solution and fits neatly under the lower bunk when not in use. At The Children’s Furniture Company, all our bunk beds, apart from the Seattle, offer that option. If you decide that a trundle bed is an ideal extra, make sure that your third young sleeper rests soundly. Our trundle bed mattresses are slightly thinner than our standard mattresses, to ensure that they will fit easily under standard beds and lower bunks, but are coil sprung for super comfort.
Bunk beds – when it’s time to go their separate ways . . .For many bunk bed occupants, the time comes when they start to think that two separate beds might be better than one. If you’re thinking ahead, have the space, and want that option, look for bunk beds, such as the Taylor or Starlight, which can be converted easily into two beds.
Choosing the right mattresses for bunk bedsChoosing the right mattresses is as important as choosing the right bunk bed and good mattresses are just as important for children as they are for adults, so don’t think of bunk bed mattresses as second best. Children need to sleep well and soundly so that they have the energy they need for their very busy lives. (Parents need to get their sleep too!) Our advice is to buy the best mattresses you can for them. Hypo-allergenic or memory foam mattresses are often a first choice for children but The Children’s Furniture Company also offers coil sprung and pocket sprung versions too. You’ll find the full range of mattresses here. With a range of mattress types, you can choose the most suitable mattress for each child.
To self assemble . . . or not to self assemble?Ah, the Marmite factor – you either love self-assembly or you don’t. Although all our bunk beds at The Children’s Furniture Company are easy for two people to assemble – according to one happy customer, the Hickory beds took just 90 minutes to put together – you might prefer to leave it to the experts. That’s where our furniture white knights come into their own. If you opt for our special delivery service, not only will these superheroes deliver your furniture and take it to the room of your choice, but they’ll also assemble the beds – and take all the rubbish away with them. What more could you ask?
At The Children’s Furniture Company we think bedrooms should be practical and durable, but with a sprinkle of magic dust. Browse our full range of children’s bunk beds here.