Kids’ beds: the 10 essential things you need to know when buying a children’s bed for the first time

Neutron High Sleeper Bed with Alexia Bed underneath

Buying your first bed for a child? Here are the key things to make sure you get it right…

They grow up so fast, don’t they? One moment a tiny baby is sleeping next to you in a cot, and the next you’re clearing out the spare room and turning it into a Proper Bedroom, with their first Proper Bed.

It’s a big moment: your kids will sleep, dream, play, learn to read, make dens and bounce with their friends on that first proper bed. And they’ll remember their childhood bedroom forever.

So it’s important to get it right. Here are the 10 key things you need to know…

1) Children need a full-size single bed – but not like a grown-ups’ one…

One thing that catches some new parents by surprise is that children’s beds are big – the same size as an adult’s full-size single bed, or a twin bed.

As well as space for all their teddies, children need room to grow – and you don’t want to have to replace the bed every couple of years.

The bed size is handy because you can use ordinary single bedding. But – and it’s a very important ‘but’ – that doesn’t mean you can simply buy a normal single bed for your little one. Children’s needs are very different to grown-ups’…

2) A kids’ bed needs to be bounce-proof…

Children bounce on beds. That’s just a fact of life. They also like inviting their siblings, cousins and friends to bounce on the bed with them.

So, unlike a normal single bed, a kids’ bed needs to be seriously durable. At The Children’s Furniture Company we make our beds from solid hardwood (rubberwood) and high-quality composite wood. The wooden slats are much thicker than in an adult’s single bed, so we make sure they’re fully bounce-proof and ‘kid tough’.

3) …And it needs to be scratch-proof

Kids have a quite amazing ability to scuff, mark, scratch, chip, draw on and generally wreck the paint surface of any furniture they go near. So if you want the bed to be presentable for more than a few weeks, it needs to be able to withstand everything from felt tip to mysterious sticky substances.

The Children’s Furniture Company has three special coats of paint, specifically designed to protect against knock, scuffs and sticky fingers.  

4) Kids need lots of storage space

For such small people, kids accumulate an astonishing amount of stuff. Toys, books, artworks, clothes, shoes, school bags, sports kits… as they grow it all mounts up very quickly.

So it really pays to think about how the bed can help you out with storage from the start, before the clutter creeps up on you.

From cabin beds with built-in drawers and storage headboards, to all-singing, all-dancing high sleepers with cupboards and storage stairs, there are plenty of clever options to help you nip the ‘where do we put all this stuff?’ problem in the bud.

Our Butterworth Captain’s Bed (with plenty of storage)
 

5) Think about room layout

When choosing a bed, don’t look at it in isolation but think carefully about how it will be positioned in the bedroom – particularly how it will fit in with the doors, windows and other furniture like wardrobes and bookshelves.

For instance, if you’re buying bunk beds, make sure the ladder is on a side where your kids can safely access it. (At The Children’s Furniture Company most of our bunk beds are designed so that the ladder can be fixed on either the left or the right hand side.)

Check out our complete guide to buying children’s bunk beds here.

6) Bedroom furniture needs to fit real life…

It’s lovely to design a stylish, perfect-looking kids’ bedroom – but don’t forget the practicalities of real, everyday family life. When choosing bedroom furniture you need to think about your home as a whole, and what the room will be used for.

Is the bedroom the main playroom in the house? If so, you’ll want spaces for storing toys where they can be accessed and put away easily. Will your kids need to do their school homework in their room? You might want a mid sleeper bed with an accompanying desk.Need more info? Read our guide ‘What is the difference between a cabin bed, a mid sleeper and a high sleeper? 


7) … and it needs to be family future-proof

We recommend that top bunks and high sleepers are for ages six and over, while mid sleepers are for four and over. But don’t just think what you need right now, but what you’ll need for your family in the years to come. Will you need to fit an extra child into the room in a few years? Can your bunk beds split into two single beds when the kids grow and no longer share a room?

What if siblings need to inherit the bed? For instance, if your daughter will hand her bed down to a younger brother it might be best to go for a style that’s ‘gender-neutral’ and not too princessy!

8) Plan for sleepovers

Sleepovers are one of the very best things about childhood – whether it’s the cousins at Christmas, or midnight feasts with school pals.

Some kids’ beds come with sleepover solutions, like trundle beds, which are stored under the normal bed, and very clever Captains’ Beds which also include lots of storage.

(By the way, trundle beds are also handy if your little one has an ‘accident’ in the night – you can just pop them straight on – and for when your child is ill and you want to sleep in the room with them.)

Our Willow bed with integrated trundle bed. 

9) Choose the right mattress

The right mattress is just as important as the right bed (if your little one gets a good night’s sleep, so do you), so don’t skimp!

At The Children’s Furniture Company we like hypoallergenic mattresses, which have been specially treated to prevent bedbugs, and super-comfy no-turn memory foam mattresses. Waterproof mattress protectors are also worth investing in, especially when the kids are little.

10) Accessorise and have fun!

Lastly, don’t forget the magic! Kids spend a big chunk of their childhoods in that bed… And of course it’s not just a bed. It’s a secret den for reading Harry Potter by torchlight; or a playground for teddies, or a rocket ship for exploring outer space.

You can have all sorts of fun with bedding and stickers and bedside lighting and more. Go accessorise!

At The Children’s Furniture Company we think bedrooms should be practical and durable, but with a sprinkle of magic dust. Browse our range of kids’ beds here.

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