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Choosing convenient, comfortable bunk beds

Fun and practical, bunk beds make efficient use of vertical space to pack two beds into the floor footprint that one bed typically occupies. Bunk beds are a favorite bedroom-furniture item for children, but adults can take advantage of this design as well for vacation homes and small-space living. The available options in this product category can be surprisingly diverse, and there s a bunk bed to suit just about every need in this section. In addition to variety in material options and furniture design styles, bunk beds come in several different sizes and formats.

Bunk bed terminology

The basic concept of a bunk bed is easy to understand, but the nature of the bed-on-bed stack can vary from model to model. Make sure you get exactly the bunk bed you want by learning the difference between different bunk bed styles. Considering these options prior to browsing may change your perception of which bunk bed will work best in your home.

Twin over twin: The classic bunk bed style, twin-over-twin bunks stack two twin-size mattress frames on top of each other. Though bunk beds typically stack the two mattress frames in parallel, some designs stack the two bed frames in perpendicular. This perpendicular arrangement may provide additional privacy or a less cramped feeling for those in the bottom bunk. This size arrangement is ideal for children s rooms, particularly if the room is small and doesn't offer a lot of extra space.

Twin over full: Twin-over-full bunk beds are the second most popular style, offering a larger mattress size on the bottom bunk. This arrangement is often the bunk bed of choice for older children who have larger rooms and may occasionally have friends over to spend the night. The larger bottom bed frame naturally protrudes out farther than the bunk on top, but usually only on one side of the bunk bed frame.

Twin over futon: The twin-over-futon bunk bed format provides a pull-out futon frame, often in a full size, in place of a bottom bunk. This turns the bunk bed into a dual-purpose sleep and lounge furniture piece that offers the option to create an extra sleep surface when you want to unfold the futon. If you choose to purchase a twin-over-futon bunk bed, be sure to determine the width of the futon in a fully unfolded position so you can ensure the bunk bed frame will fit in its intended location.

Full over twin: Some bunk bed designs place the larger mattress on top, with the lower twin mattress placed perpendicular to the upper full mattress to provide proper balance for the frame.

Full over full: Full-over-full bunk beds are less common than the styles that include at least one twin-size frame. These bunk bed frames accommodate two standard full-size mattresses, which are typically stacked in parallel but can also be perpendicular.

Queen over queen: In rare cases, bunk bed frames may be available in queen sizes. These beds tend to stack in parallel, and they accommodate standard queen-sized mattresses for a more generous sleeping space.

Loft: Loft beds are structured similarly to bunk beds, only with an open space on the bottom rather than a bottom bunk. This elevates the mattress above the ground, usually to a height of 7 feet or more, leaving enough room for furniture or storage in the empty space below. Some loft beds come with furniture like desks built into their under-mattress compartment area, while others leave this space completely open for you to customize however you like. Rarely, loft beds are available with full-size frames, making these beds a good choice for adults who live in dorm rooms or small apartments.

Trundle: A trundle bed is a hidden mattress that typically stows underneath a bed frame. You can pull it out to create an additional sleeping surface. Trundle bunk beds usually offer a total of three separate mattresses, which is ideal for kids who have a lot of sleepovers or for vacation homes that may host varying numbers of guests. In a bunk bed arrangement, the trundle is typically designed to roll or slide under the bottom bunk. It may or may not feature accordion-style legs or supports that extend to raise the sleeping surface up to a height that's similar to that of the mattress it fits under.