To Bunk Bed or Not

Updated on May 25, 2011
D.W. asks from Frisco, TX
17 answers

Mom's, I need your wisdom. My boys room is small, approx 11 X 13. Today we have two twin beds, two small dressers and that's it. There is another bedroom across the hall the exact size. Today we use the room across the hall as their playroom. It has the TV, two toy boxes (that are getting cleaned/emptied this weekend) and a Foos ball table. Trying to decide if I should split the boys up into two rooms (which they want to do) or get bunk bed with some storage and keep them in the same room. They are 8 and 6 1/2 years old and lets call them frenemies, but mostly best buds. My question is, if I go with the bunk beds, will I end up buying beds again as they get bigger, taller? I know the beds can be split up, but my older son doesn't necessarily like footboards, even though he would be ok with it as bunk beds. I am trying to think long term here, and not have to buy beds again in another 5 years. The reason this is coming up now is because I bought cheap mattress sets about 4/5 years ago as they transitioned from toddler beds. Both mattress set now need replacing. I want to be a little smarter this time around. Please share with me your experiences in setting up and working with small spaces for the kids. Thank You.

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So What Happened?

Just wanted to thank everyone for their comments. LOTS to consider, especially making the top bunk and the stories of children getting hurt or worse. Thanks again for sharing. I love this community.

Featured Answers


answers from Lynchburg on

"Book 'em danno"...

I mean 'bunk em' D.!!

My kids now (there are only 4 at home) are still bunked!! And when the 'olders' are home from college...they 'take over' the remaining bunks!

At first...we 'bunked' as a space concern (so many little room)...and now they are older/fewer...and still prefer the bunks (although they could be separated...)

Best Luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Those are normal-sized bedrooms in my experience. I bet in just a few years, they really will want their own space. I would consider splitting them up now if you are going to buy new beds. If you feel space is too tight, there are beds that are lofts, where the bed is raised allowing for play or desk space underneath. Examples at the website below:

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

How about splitting them up, but getting bunk beds too.

There are bunk beds you can find that are "technically" bunk beds but there is no bottom bunk. Its only the top one, and you can turn the bottom space into something else. Like a play area, or if they have a toy chest put it there.

There is a picture for what I am talking about.

It will grow with the both of them and you can find them pretty cheap which is nice and decorate however you want.

Its great for small rooms and leaves a lot of space for other things.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I personally can not do bunk beds as I can guarantee they would figure out how to break something..FAST. We've already had one broken ankle because of bed jumping/mucking around (they though it would be a good idea to jump from the bookcase on to the bed and the oldest hit the footboard). I don't know what your boys are like but it is something you should think of. My boys were 9 (almost 10) and 6 (almost 7) at the time of the broken ankle.
You're lucky you can have the boys share rooms. There is no way on earth I could have mine share a room!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Short answer....I suggest taking a measuring tape and thinking through where things will go. Think of all the dimensions of the beds.
I let my son get bunk beds They were promised while house hunting - we would up choosing a small house.
The thing I regret is that they don't fit anywhere! They're massive and dominate the room. The best we could do was put them against the wall opposite the door and there is an awkward wasted foot or so of space at the end of the beds.
The previous owners had two little boys sharing the room. They had two un bunked twin beds with a nightstand in the middle. It worked beautifully.
Also, I figure that eventually you will need to put your boys in separate rooms so if you want to think ahead as far as furniture i'd just do it now.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My girls share a room with bunk beds. Oldest got the top automatically so no arguing. We asked them if they wanted to split up and they said no. Ask the boys if they want to be separated. They will let you know what works for them. Worst case, most bunk beds allow you to separate into 2 beds, so if you decide in the future to put in 2 rooms, you should still be able to use the beds.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tyler on

I used bunk beds for years. There are always scare stories associated with anything. Even after we bought a house big enough for each child to have her own room, the bunk beds were great when friends spent the night. I was losing my mind trying to clean a tiny room with 3 half beds lined up! Bunking saved my sanity. As for separating your boys . . . only you know if they need the lesson in sharing. I separated mine at middle school age when one became a neat-nick and the others were not.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albany on

My boys got bunkbeds when they were 4 and 6, they're now 18 and 16 and STILL sleep in them, seperated in their own rooms of course. Was a great investment for us.

Funny you should mention the foot boards, my oldest is 6 ft 3, the bunk beds are solid pine, very heavy and sturdy, 2 years ago we sawed off the foot board for him, tehehe.

As someone else pointed out, my only complaint is when they were together, they WERE a royal pain to make and change the sheets.

Otherwise, no problems!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I met C in 7th grade and we were best friends by the end of the 1st semester in band together. We ran away together, went to church together, I practically lived at her house when I could.

As we grew up we obviously ended up going different directions. She got married at 17 to a 16 year old guy, they had their first child on their first anniversary and had a child every couple of years after that.

She came by one day to tell me of the death of her son. He had been on the top bunk, not playing, not roughhousing, just on the top bunk. He fell off and hit his head and died. He was in elementary school too, not even a young toddler that lost his balance or anything, just fell off and died.

So my advice is ALWAYS to say no to bunk beds. If they want to be separated then do that. They need their own personal space and room for their own things. They will appreciate each other more if they have time to themselves and can get away when they want private time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tyler on

My son's bedroom is even smaller than yours and I am seriously considering getting a "bunk" bed for my son - but only with the top bunk - so that he can use the area underneath it (and the rest of his floor) as a play area. Maybe this is something you can do for both of your sons - each in their own room. So, they have the separation, but also still have playspace. They sell these beds at Ikea.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I'd TOTALLY split them up (if that's what they want). I never really understood the concept of a "play room" since as a kid I really only had my room and the rest of the house. I understand that maybe you want to contain the mess or whatever but cleaning up/toy boxes are what I used.

Sorry for the tangent - anyway, I think that as your boys get older they are going to continue to want their own rooms so why not do it now w/ the twin beds they have and wait till their in middle school to buy them more grownup beds? (If the beds are really crappy though, I guess you may have to get new ones regardless).

Also, we have bunk beds for our 1 daughter (who's 5) and I DESPISE changing the sheets on either bed and she also hates it - thus either won't even try or will do a not very good job (since she's 5) which leads me to have to do it anyway. Also, she's gotten more lazy at making her bed in the morning (she'd be doing it since 3) because it's too hard. Plus the bottom bunk pretty much serves as a stuff-pile (which you won't have a problem with since you'll have 2 kids in 2 beds - but it totally drives me crazy). I wish we didn't have them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Youngstown on

My boys are 8 and 5 and they have bunk beds and the baby also a boy gets his own room. They actually have no problem sharing a room, they shared one before the baby was even thought of. Chances are as the kids grow they will need new beds. You could always get two double beds and seperate them like they want to. My kids bunk beds don't seperate. You can take the bottom slats off and make it a loft bed and it came with a foot board and head board so you could still have 2 beds. So just watch out when you buy the bunks if that's what you go with. They love their bunk beds they have so much more floor space since they lost their playroom


answers from Dallas on

My boys are 6.5 years apart (7 and 13), and get along great. My oldest has a huge room, and my youngest has a super tiny room - totally unfair, but he doesn't mind at all. My oldest has bunk beds and my youngest loves having sleepovers in his brother's room. They both have a blast, and they do this often; however, they both also love having their own space. We would like to get the desk/raised bed combo for my youngest to save space, but he needs to keep the ceiling fan in his room because his room is the hottest room in the house (I know, the poor kid has a small room AND it's hot!), and the fan would hit him if his bed was raised. He'll be 12 when our oldest leaves for college, and then he can move to the big room. He does have a bathroom attached to his tiny room, so that's a plus. Anyway, that's how we've handled it - separate rooms and bunk beds. Have fun designing the new rooms!



answers from Pittsfield on

We got bunk beds for my 2nd and 3rd sons when we found out we were expecting #4, and honestly, I HATED them. They are a big pain in the butt when it comes to changing the sheets, especially if the bunk bed has one side against the wall. I had to climb up into the top bunk and try to get the mattress pad and fitted sheet on, then try to get the flat sheet and comforter lined up while doing a balancing act on the ladder.
The bottom bunk wasn't really any easier because I would almost always wind up bumping my head when changing the sheets.
It also, surprisingly, to me made the room feel smaller because it was so tall, it was almost like a wall that visually shrunk the room.
The boys had a love/hate thing going with the bunks- loved it during the day, usually hated- or at least disliked it- at night.
At any rate, we wound up separating the bunks, and even though it takes up more floor space, it actually made everyone happier. I would say if you do get bunks, make sure you get the kind that can be separated, so at least you have options.

If I were in your shoes, I'd put them in separate rooms. I think when kids have their own space they can go to, they are more likely to get along. My brother and I each had our own rooms when we were kids, and when we would get mad at eachother, we would go into our rooms and slam the door. After a little time apart, doing our own thing, we'd cool off and be friends again. I can't imagine what it would have been like if we couldn't get away from eachother for a while. Ugly- lol.

Best wishes with whatever you decide :)



answers from Cleveland on

i would split then up especially if they want to be split up and they can have their own space their toys in their own rooms so they are not on top of each other all the time like they are not


answers from Dallas on

With them being older I think I would just kkep the twin beds and split them up to see how they like it. If it works, your not out any money and its a win win. Although, it may be a good thought but may not work out since they have been together! That's what I would do



answers from Dallas on

If it were me, I would buy two twins without foot boards. I'd get rid of the two small dressers and get one larger dresser (6 drawer) if it would fit. You can get twins with drawers underneath which would help with storage too. Our dds have twin beds without footboards and it makes their room feel more open. I would never get bunks. I am tall and I still have no interest in changing the sheets on a top bunk. Plus, they always look messy to me because no one ever wants to make the top bunk.

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