Trundles or Bunks?

Updated on January 10, 2013
I.X. asks from San Clemente, CA
21 answers

sorry this is basically a repeat question, but I din't get enough responses to be helpful over the weekend so trying for a weekday response.
My little girls will soon be sharing a room and I am selecting furniture for them. I lean towards a trundle and husband wants bunks. He thinks trundles will be a pain for daily use. I think bunks are bulky and a safety hazard with a new baby on the way.

What I'm really hoping to get some responses on here is does anyone use a trundle daily? Is it cumbersome?
Did anyone purchase a high end trundle (like the pottery barn one that is on drawer pulls not wheels). Do you think quality can make a big difference in the ease of use?

And for bunk owners; were sheet changes difficult? Were they a safety hazard for younger siblings? We have a baby on the way and the soon to be middle child is 2.5.

(our toddler will be in toddler bed until after 3 but need to purchase the twin beds soon for my growing 5 year old who is currently in the toddler bed).

We have tiny bedrooms so space savers are the direction we need to take. Thanks for your help.

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So What Happened?

NYMetro mom, I'm so with you on the claustrophobic massiveness of bunk beds. It takes away all the plans I had for great wall decals/or stencils. I will have no walls to work with!

Here are some of the options we are looking at (this is the one I really really want, but the trundle is on wheels) (and yes the caining does concern me) (did I mention I'm in love with this bed?) (pricey, but its on drawer pulls so don't have to deal with wheels on carpet, plus it can be my guest bed when my kids are all grown up) Thanks for the advice for the Costco knock off. We are actually considering that one too.

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answers from San Francisco on

I have used a trundle on a regular basis and it wasn't a problem at all. Just straighten the covers and slide it under the bed. Done in no time!

I haven't had bunk beds, but I don't see them as being that safe, especially if you're going to have a little one around. Also, they take up all the wall space and I don't imagine that the kids will like it for long. Too hot on the top and too enclosed on the bottom.

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answers from Chicago on

the bottom line with trundles is you have to pull them in and out and in the night kid on top bunk invariably steps on kid on bottom when getting in and out. you have to mess with putting them back away each day so the kids have room to play. I have had both. in fact have one now in our spare room. the idea is wonderful the in reality is not so much. ours has a hard time putting them in and out if you have bedding on them. so just something else to think about. a lot of people don't like bunkbeds. we love ours. in fact our grandkids are now using a set that used to belong to my own kids. so we are firmly in the bunkbed camp.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Trundles are a HUGE hassle for daily life. I shared a set as a child and it was not fun at all. The biggest problem is that the child who sleeps on the pull out bed will only have a space of her own at night. The rest of the day, if she wants to sit in the room, she'll have to sit on her sister's bed. That doesn't sound like such a big deal to an adult, but it leads to all sorts of problems with small kids who share a room.

We never had a problem with the actual mechanics of the trundle, and we didn't have an expensive one. The problem was sharing the bed during playtime, bumping our shins on the trundle during the evenings, and keeping everything cleaned up (where will the comforter and pillows go during the day?).

We have a small bedroom for our kids too and they'll be going into bunks very soon.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

NOTE: We have a very streamlined set from IKEA - I know! They are great and not clunky at all. I saw in your SWH that was a concern. they can really be as large or as clean as you want them:)

My sister had a trundle growing up and I cannot imagine how much a pain that would have been to put away on a daily baisis. If you like the trundle idea, have you considered just getting two twins?

However, my boys have bunk beds and no safety issues to-date. The oldest was 3.5 when he went to a loft bed and then when the younger was olde enough for a "big boy" bed we got a real bunk bed.

I love them. They go up, not out, so it provides floor space for activities! (lol - line from stepbrothers with will ferrell) But for real. More floor space.

I highly recommend bunks:)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Bunk all the way. Trundles are a pain. And they are not easy to make, either. Plus you can't really keep a comforter on it and roll it back under.

Don't get the one from Ballard. It's gorgeous - but your kids little feet with go through the cane in no time!!

Pottery barn is always a safe bet. Try Costco too! They have very sturdy products that look just like PBK but for a lot less.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I would not be trundle bed. I have a day/trundle for our guest room. Works perfect for that but I would not want to do that everyday. My dad grew up with bunkbeds no issues.

You have gotten some good advise below. I would look at websites and see what you can order bunkbed wise and safety items that can be attached. If that isn't really an option, I would get twin beds. Really wouldn't do trundle.

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answers from Washington DC on

You get used to changing sheets on a bunk. It's not that bad. I grew up with a bunkbed. Children under 6 should not be on a top bunk and whatever bed you get, make sure you can pull them apart at a future point. Also, bear in mind that bunks give each child a "space" and they will have a harder time doing things like rolling off the bed onto the trundle or otherwise harassing the trundle child at night. My sister didn't like me hanging off the bunk and bothering her at night, but most of the time we shared just fine. She even made her bed (bottom) in to a "cave" with blankets. I would not use a trundle for everyday use. We have a trundle for sleepovers in our rec room, but that's a different thing. Most of the time the extra bed is put away. There are also a lot of different bunking configurations so take a look at what you need and what your kids can grow with.

ETA: I think the first one is better as an adult guest room bed. I like the last one. If you move or otherwise shift the beds around, they can become twin beds and that looks like something kids can grow with.

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answers from Rochester on

We have two children, 7 and 2, and they have a bunk bed. It's the kind with a staircase (with drawers in the stairs) up the side, instead of a ladder.

Safety is a HUGE issue...I had to design and build and swing gate with a lock and attach it to keep our toddler off the stairs. It's ugly, and I hang a blanket over it, and it's a bit sad because it's a beautiful bed and the staircase is beautiful and yet I had to make and attach a door. :( However, that solved our safety issue. A ladder would have been MORE of a problem, because I wouldn't be able to block it from our two year old.

Sheet changes on the bottom are no problem, but my 7 year old has to get on top to help me change her sheets and it's a pain in the butt. She also has to make her own bed (which she would anyhow, but still) because I can't get up to do it.

After all that, would I switch to a trundle? NO WAY. In my opinion, they are a mess, one child doesn't get to have a bed during the day, and if you leave it out you might as well just get two twin beds. I think a trundle would be a bigger hassle than a bunk bed. :(

I did see a corner bed I wish I had bought was two twins, with their heads meeting at a cube that would go in the corner and serve as a nightstand for a lamp, etc. I didn't see this until afterwards, and even though it would've taken up so much space I really did like it.

Check out for ideas. I bought our bunks there, with free shipping, and don't regret it.

*****UPDATE****** I also want to address your issue with not having decorative wall space. Each of my children have their wall decorated. My seven year old, over her bunk, has a HUGE American flag with Native on horse, and over her head side has all of her wall decals of planets. The ceiling sports her glow in the dark stars.

Under the bunk, around my toddlers mattress, are her wall decals of Sesame Street characters. They are plenty big, and there was plenty of room to do them up in a nice way. I imagine she'll soon outgrow them, and I'll change them to something else, but I LOVE laying on her bottom bunk because it's so cozy, she is surrounded by little characters she likes, and a lot of my decorative style comes in with the duvets (SHAUN THE SHEEP!) and cute, brightly colored pillows. Of course, on top it's Dinosaurs. They don't match, but it's a huge splash of color and I love it. :)

***And I know the rattan one is precious, but they will outgrow it literally within years and I can't imagine spending a grand on something that would only get a few years use...and would probably be so broken down at that point that you couldn't expect much on resale. Rattan is not a sturdy material. To me, this looks like something in a guest room that never gets any use, not a comfy comfort spot for children. :( Sorry...I know...

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answers from New York on

We had a cheap trundle bed and loved it. The kids were almost next to eachother instead of above/below eachother. We'd hear them in there talking to eachother, holding hands, comforting eachother. It was a very sweet time in their life (brings back lots of memories!). It makes life pretty easy if company is coming - stuff that trundle under the bed and jsut make the top bed. Quick clean up. The comforter fit easily under the top bed and it was easy to roll away. Don't know why people think it's tough or not an every day option. if you're dealing with a small room to begin with you'll feel claustrophic with bunks in there.

I slept on a top bunk when I was a kid and always worried that I'd fall off. I don't think I had a good night's sleep for 5 years. Seeing how my kids sleep "actively" I worried about the top kid tangling himself/herself in the guardrails, etc.

Plus - visually, a trundle is more attractive - it doesn't block out the wall. bunks take up all kinds of visual space and make the room look smaller - who needs that!?

Good luck mama. I've always thought that moms should get to make all furniture decisions - we spend most time taking care of them!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We just moved our 3 year old (3 at beginning of dec) and soon to be 5 year old (in march) into bunks last week. I LOVE THEM. I am 32 weeks pregnant, and a friend told me they would be a pain. Yes, changing the sheets isn't super easy, but I figured out a way to do it that isn't too hard.

Our ladder is built in to our bunks. There is no way a little one can climb it, and the bunks we bought seem super safe. I also bought storage drawers that go under them. It's this bunk:

I bought it from a different vendor, but I am super happy with this purchase, and I have no doubt that the kids will be able to use these beds until they are teenagers --they separate out into twins.

This is nothing like what I had in mind when I started looking at beds. I had a bunch of very different styles picked out, but I am super happy I went with this traditional bunk. My kids love it.

BTW, I would not do a trundle bed. I can just hear the kids keeping each other up at night! With the bunk, my oldest reads books without disturbing her younger brother. There is no way this would happen with a trundle, and there is no way I'd put away a trundle everyday. I'd be scared of the baby getting trapped too.

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answers from Eugene on

We had bunks. I got around the difficult sheet changes by using a fitted sheet on the mattress and a duvet with washable cover on top.

None of my kids ever fell off the top bunk. They started sleeping up there from age 5 and the guard rail blocked all of one side except for the space for the ladder. However, I did learn later than my kids and their friends would take turns jumping off the top bunk for fun. And when I was a kid, we once had too many friends gather on the top bunk and the mattress broke through the supporting boards. Ah, so fun.

The rolling drawer under our bottom bunk would fill up with gigantic dust balls. I'm not sure how so much dust managed to collect in there, but I wouldn't want a mattress in that drawer.

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answers from Honolulu on

Trundles are a pain.
Over time, everyday.... putting it back into under the daybed, will be a pain and it will just end up staying out. Therefore, taking up room and space, in the bedroom.

Then the other thing to note is: a Daybed and Trundle, will be outgrown fast.
So then, eventually, you will need to get a "bed" for the kids.
Then the other aspect is: will your child be comfortable in a "daybed" like the one's in the link you posted here?
For me, it looks uncomfortable. And small/narrow/not long enough for a growing kid. It says it is twin mattress sized... but the design of it to me, looks confining. Not real comfy for sleeping on, daily.
These things would be more for visitors/guests to sleep on. Not daily... use.

I would get 2 twin beds.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

My best friend all through jr. high and high school had bunk beds. Her son fell off the top bunk, he was in elementary school, when he placed his hand in the wrong spot. He hit his head and died.

Do not get bunk beds. They are dangerous and not worth the money. I will never allow the kids to even spend the night if the home has them in it. They are too dangerous. If your child was going to go to a child care center or school that had tall toys but no fall zone with padding such as shredded tires or mulch or sand would you let them go? Of course not because when a child falls onto something hard they can die.

Bunk beds are totally unsafe, especially for kids as young as yours. You have the right idea. The kids will be safer in the trundles because YOU know they will all be climbing on the top bunk, even the baby as soon as it gets old enough t climb. Just think how you'll feel when you can't let the kids out of your sight because of those bunk beds. Don't do them.

Of course a lot of kids are on them and perfectly safe. So were all the other kids in my friends home. She has 6 children, well, 5 now, but they were all on those bunks all the time. He just placed his hand in the wrong spot and slipped and fell off.

My suggestion still remains. Get a full size bed and put the 2 kids in it. The 2 year old is old enough to be on a regular bed. If she's really happy in her toddler bed and sleeping great then don't make any changes right now. Toddler beds are for toddlers which are kids age 12 months up to age 24 months.

Once they hit 24 months they are really pushing sleeping on a baby bed mattress and that bed is getting smaller and smaller.

A 5 year old and a 2 year old and a baby on the way is a recipe for disaster with bunk beds. I wouldn't even consider bunk beds until they are all in school anyway. They are supposed to be for older kids.

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answers from Grand Forks on

We have bunk beds. Changing the sheets on the top bunk are kind of a pain, but not a huge deal. We have a removable ladder, and when I am babysitting little kids I just take the ladder off and lay it on the top bunk, or I keep the bedroom door closed. There are also bed rails all around the top bunk. I think a trundle bed would be a giant pain in the butt. At least with bunk beds each child kind of has their own separate space, whereas with a trundle bed they will always be in each others space. My boys share a room, but one can have a night light or a reading light on without bothering the other. Our bunk beds have drawers under the bottom bunk, so even more space saved.

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answers from Columbia on

Another vote for a bunk bed. :-)



answers from Washington DC on

I would say that if the room has space for a trundle to be pulled out every night, it actually has room for two twin beds if you reconfigure the furniture.

Bunks are ideal when there is actually only SPACE for one bed... hence stacking beds on top of each other. A trundle is better when there is floor space for two beds, but you'd rather use that space for play or just open space when the other bed isn't needed.

Sounds like you're going to need it every night, so I'd either do two beds or bunk beds.

What about beds with drawers beneath. You could maybe even put the beds on risers and put their existing drawers under. That way they each get a real bed... no one is like the overnight guest... and there is space for both beds.

Hope this helps,


answers from Washington DC on

i would NOT use a trundle bed - what a pain in the rear pulling the bed out every day and night. NOT THANK YOU!!!

Bunk beds - love them!! Have two sets right now!!! One has the futon couch at the bottom that makes into a full sized bed. The other is a typical wood bunk bed set.

Changing the sheets? yeah it can be a pain in the rear on the top one - depending upon how the slats are placed. But overall? LOVE bunk beds!!!

When I was in elementary and middle school I had two twin beds that shared a HUGE corner table. When one wasn't being used, it went part way under the table and could still be used as a couch or sitting area. I had room for my books and alarm clock. it was great! That's the closest to a trundle bed I've had. Friends have had trundles - and again - pain in the rear!!!

this was similar to what I had - not so W. in colors though!!!

this is similar to what my youngest son has - not drawers were available on the model we purchased.

this is similar to what my oldest son has. We will be purchasing him the wood set later this year.




answers from Detroit on

I would get a bunk bed with a staircase (not ladder). The trundles are awkward and who wants to sleep way down there?

Sheet changes are impossible. But they are on our twin beds, too. You can't win there.



answers from Los Angeles on

My husband and I purchased a bed on Amazon. It's a bunk bed with stairs and it has a trundle. The stairs was the selling point for me because the ladders, imo, are not safe for little ones. My daughter is 6 she sleeps on the top bunk. My son is 3 he sleeps on the bottom. The trundle is great for sleepovers & out of town guests. On the side of the stairs it has 4 drawers also. The bedroom is small so this really was our best option. My husband was able to put it together himself with a little help from whoever was standing near him at any given time and my husband is far from handy. Hope this helps. Good luck.

Oh forgot to add that changing the sheets was a problem until we realized we should just take the mattresses off the beds and put the sheet on and place it back onto the bed. Now it's no biggie.



answers from Billings on

My boys have to use a trundle bed at grandma's and they hate it. The one on the trundle always gets stepped on in the middle of the night when the other kid gets up. Yes, its a space saver but younger son gets mad cause "His bed" isn't out during the day.



answers from Houston on

We've had bunk beds for years! Our bunks are a full size bottom with a twin top. At the moment our 11yo is on the bottom with the 6yo on the top. Every once in a while they switch. So far, through these two and their older brother, we've had no injuries. It is a pain to put sheets on the top bunk though. :-(

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