Bunk Beds vs. Trundle Beds – Differences, Pros & Cons

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Bunk beds and trundle beds are often popular options for kids’ rooms and even guest rooms. They share some similarities in providing an extra bed for another child or a guest, while at the same time, being able to save some space.

Bunk beds and trundle beds share some similarities as well as differences. Before you decide which one to get for your home, check out the pros and cons of both bunk beds and trundle beds. Find out which one is better suited for you in terms of accessibility, comfort, and cost.

Differences between bunk beds and trundle beds

Bunk bedsTrundle beds
DesignTwo (and sometimes three) twin beds stacked on top of each other.Look like a regular bed, but has a second bed hidden under the main bed.
AccessA ladder is used to access the top bunk. The ladder is usually built into the frame.Have to be pulled out from under the main bed to use it and pushed back again when not in use.
StorageSpacious area beneath the bottom bunk can be utilized for storage boxes and under-bed drawers.Do not have additional storage space unless you replace the second bed with drawers or boxes.
SleepShare a single frame, which may cause some disturbance of one person moves around, but in return you get two proper mattresses.The main bed and second bed is separated from each other, and can even be moved away from each other. Sometimes, the second bed doesn’t have a box spring and isn’t always as comfortable as the main bed.
AppearanceBunk beds can’t collapse when they’re not in use, so you’ll have to make the beds every day if you want the room to look neat and well organized.Trundle beds resemble normal beds, and the second bed can easily hide underneath the main bed.

Bunk beds – intro, pros & cons

Bunk bed with a white wooden frame and rainbow colored bed linen in a bright room
For more bunk bed examples, check this product search on Amazon.

A bunk bed is a piece of furniture that has two beds stacked on top of another. They come with a solid frame where the mattress can rest on and four vertical poles that lift up the top bed. There is a ladder or some steps that allow the person staying on the top bunk bed easy access. Bunk beds built for your kids usually come with a railing so that they don’t accidentally fall out and get injured while sleeping.

Several bunk beds these days come with a larger bottom bed. There is also the option to buy a bunk bed where the top bed is turned at a right angle from the bottom bed, allowing a space beneath for a dresser or a desk.

Bunk beds are pretty popular because they allow another person to sleep in a room without having to take up additional floor space—something that can be helpful if you live in a small home. They are also pretty popular in college dorms, camps, and military housing. Families with several children also opt for bunk beds for their kids so they can maximize their living space.

Pros

  • Buying bunk beds is a lot cheaper than buying two separate twin beds.
  • If you have a smaller room and want to save up on floor space, but still need to have another person sleeping in that room, a bunk bed is a great solution. You can have space for them to do their various activities in the daytime without worrying about lack of space.
  • Some bunk beds come with built-in storage in the form of drawers under the bottom bunk. This is ideal so you can keep up things like books, toys, clothes, sheets, and other items but have them within easy reach just in case you need them.
  • Some bunk beds also come with a trundle bed under the bunk bed. It’s more expensive to purchase a bunk bed like this, of course, but it’s ideal if you want to fit a third person in the room or have an additional bed on standby for sleepovers for your kids.
  • You can opt to get a bunk bed with a larger lower bed, which can be used by adults and teenagers or can sometimes even fit two people.
  • If you have more space, you can get bunk beds that can separate into two beds so that you can style your room differently.
  • Bunk beds allow kids to have their own personal space even if they share a room.

Cons

  • The person or child on the lower bunk may not have that much privacy or personal space because the lower bed is often the default sitting space when there are guests.
  • The ladder can be dangerous especially if younger children attempt to climb it after their older siblings.
  • It can be difficult to change the sheets of the bunk bed, especially that of the top bunk.
  • Climbing up or going down the ladder in the middle of the night without any light can be dangerous and might result in a fall.
  • If your ceiling is low, playing around or sitting up suddenly in the top bunk can result in a person bumping their head.
  • If you have a sick child on the top bunk bed, it might be difficult to get to them during the night. It might also end up waking the child on the lower bunk bed.

Are bunk beds worth it?

If you’re looking for a bed that can accommodate two people at the same time while giving each person their own private space, you’ll find that a bunk bed can pretty much be the ideal solution. With a bunk bed, even if your room is small or you have limited floor space, you’ll be able to navigate around your area without worrying about where to put your things. This is also ideal for kids who have their own room but want additional space in case they have friends sleeping over.

Trundle beds – intro, pros & cons

Trundle bed with a white metal frame and blue-gray bed linen
For more trundle bed examples, check this product search on Amazon.

Trundle beds are like bunk beds, in the sense that they allow you to save space in a bedroom. Nevertheless, while bunk beds are twin beds stacked one on top of the other, trundle beds are lower to the ground with the second bed hidden under the main bed when it is not in use.

The main bed can sometimes have a box spring while the second bed doesn’t, to make it easier to fit under the main bed without any problems. The second bed also often sits on top of casters or wheels so that it can easily slide in and out of the main bed.

Trundle beds are a great option for families looking to save space in a bedroom where two people are staying. The lower bed, however, can be a challenge for the elderly or those with back problems. Additionally, pulling it out every night and pushing it back in every morning can sometimes be a nuisance, especially if you are in a hurry. Nevertheless, they are a great option for kids, teens, and even overnight guests.

Pros

  • If you have limited space but want to have a second sleep space in your home, it would be good to get a trundle bed. That way, in case you have overnight guests, you’ll be able to offer them a bed even if you live in a small home.
  • The newer kinds of trundle beds have better quality and can slide in and out from under the main bed without much difficulty.
  • Trundle beds come in several sizes and designs. If you’re looking for one that can even sleep more than one person, you’ll be able to. You can also find one that looks more suitable for a guest room or something that fits into a kid’s room.
  • If your child wants to have their friend over for a sleepover, this is a perfect place for them to stay comfortably for the night.
  • If you want additional storage space, you can remove the lower bed and place boxes or containers underneath instead. You can also do the same when you outgrow your trundle bed and want to upgrade to a separate bed.
  • If your trundle bed is unmade, you can easily shove it underneath the main bed and that will improve the overall appearance of your room.
  • It is safer than a bunk bed as parents don’t have to worry about younger children climbing up the ladder after their older siblings.

Cons

  • After years of use, the bottom bed will wear out and may fall apart before the top bed does. The bottom bed is usually not made for everyday use, and sometimes it doesn’t fit a full-size box spring either.
  • Having a trundle bed still requires that you have a certain amount of floor space. When you pull out the trundle bed, you’ll have to make sure that there are no toys lying around and other activities are all kept up or you won’t be able to pull the bottom bed all the way.
  • For those who sleep on a trundle bed, it can be frustrating to be unable to have their own private space during the day, unless they pull out the lower bed every time.
  • You can’t store anything underneath a trundle bed unless you remove the second bed.
  • Because a trundle bed is so close to the ground, getting on and off it can be a bit challenging. It can also cause back pain eventually.
  • It can be hard to get on or off the main bed at night because there’s a chance that you will end up waking the person on the trundle bed. As a result, people usually end up having to climb over the head or foot of the bed.

Are trundle beds worth it?

Trundle beds are great if you’re looking for a bed that can accommodate two people but you’re hesitant about getting a bunk bed because of the dangers a ladder can pose for younger children. Trundle beds are a lot safer and they are also great options for guest rooms so that you will have an extra bed if ever it is needed.

What is a bunk bed with a trundle?

White wooden bunk bed with a trundle and a storage shelf staircase
A bunk bed with a trundle bed offers a complete sleeping arrangement for 3-4 persons. Check this product search on Amazon for more examples.

If you can’t decide whether to get a bunk bed or a trundle bed, why not get both? There are bunk beds that come with a trundle bed underneath, giving you three beds all at once. When not in use, the trundle bed can be tucked underneath the lower bunk until it needs to be used.

This kind of three-bed setup is particularly helpful for people who live in spaces with a small floor area and are looking to accommodate as many people as they can in the room. The downside of this is that three people in a very small space can be challenging in terms of privacy. Even if they each have their own bed, going up to the upper bunk and pushing/pulling the trundle bed can be annoying to the person in the main bunk, especially if it is done at night. The person who claims the trundle bed won’t have much of their own space either unless they pull out their bed, which will take up space during the daytime.

Which one is better: Bunk bed or trundle bed?

Which one should you get—a bunk bed or a trundle bed? It all depends on what you’re looking for.

Accessibility

Bunk beds require you to climb up a ladder to access the top bunk. With a trundle bed, however, you can quickly access the main bed or pull open the trundle bed if that is your spot. It is a lot easier and more accessible than the bunk bed.

Comfort

Trundle beds come with limitations when it comes to mattress thickness. That’s because the mattress—especially for the smaller bed—has to be low enough to fit underneath the main bed. Bunk beds don’t necessarily have the same limitations, nevertheless, because they are mounted on a single frame, if one person moves, the other person may be able to feel it. Thus, bunk beds aren’t the ideal bed for light sleepers.

Cost

Generally, trundle beds and bunk beds cost more or less the same. Both types cost anywhere from 100 dollars to 5-600 dollars or more, depending on the material and build quality.