Bunk Bed Alternatives

Whether you are looking for a bunk bed alternative to maximize space or because your children have asked you over and over again for one, here is a list of some other options to consider. Read on to see what they are and learn what the pros and cons are for each one.

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What can I use instead of a bunk bed?

A traditional bunk bed is one way to go and works well for some families. However, there are a variety of alternatives on the market that offer storage, additional safety features and multi-use options. Let’s have a look at 10 bunk bed alternatives in detail.

Loft Bed

A loft bed looks a lot like a bunk bed without the bottom bunk in most cases. The bed is raised with a ladder to the top and then underneath there is room to suit your needs.

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Pros

  • A loft bed is an excellent space saving option. You can set up a workspace, play space or chill area for your child or simply use the room for storage. It’s a good choice for smaller rooms.
  • A loft bed makes a small room look much bigger.
  • Loft beds are future proof and work well for older children and teens too.

Cons

Futon

The futon originally came from Japan and offers a simple bed that can be folded up when it is not in use. It’s a popular choice among students but could be right for your children too.

Pros

  • Futons are notorious for being budget friendly and that holds true. They are affordable which is part of their appeal.
  • A futon can be folded into a couch when it’s not being used for sleeping. This makes it a great space saving option.
  • They can be moved easily into another room if needed.

Cons

  • Futons are not known for being the most comfortable bed out there. That is not to say you won’t find one that suits you, but it is worth shopping around and testing them out before you buy.

Connected beds

Connected beds are a lot like bunk beds but for more than one child. They can be built into your space and ensure that everyone gets the top bunk!

Pros

  • A connected bed is a huge space saver for families because it frees up lots of room underneath the raised beds.
  • There are no arguments about who gets the top bunk because they both can be up high!

Cons

  • Again, there is a risk that a child could fall when they climb up or down the ladder.
  • Children like to climb across and play up on their beds so it is worth considering how they will use the space and how you will keep them safe.

Bunk bed with stairway

A bunk bed with a stairway offers all the benefits of a traditional bunk bed but with the added security of stairs instead of a ladder.

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Pros

  • It’s usually safer for a child to climb up and down stairs than a ladder.
  • A bunk bed with a stairway is still a good space saving choice for families or for children who just really want to share a room.

Cons

  • A stairway either makes the entire bunk bed structure larger so it might not work in smaller rooms or it can make the beds smaller. This may not be an issue now when your children are little but it will shorten the shelf life of the beds as your children grow.
  • There is a risk of children falling when they climb up or down the stairs.

Built-in bunk bed

A built-in bunk bed works really well for awkward or small spaces and can maximise the space in your home.

Pros

  • All of a sudden that unusual or small space in your room can be transformed into a bunk bed for your children. A built-in bunk bed is a creative way to use your space well.
  • They are a fantastic space saver and make the best of a situation if you have a small room.

Cons

  • There is no quick run to the store to buy a built-in bunk bed. It needs to be measured and fitted to your specific space so it will require some research and expertise to install the bed.
  • A built-in bed is not easy, or sometimes even possible, to move after it is built.
  • It’s expensive to install.

Playground/Playhouse bunk bed

This option saves space and is fun. There is no doubt that young children will love a playground bunk bed. Some of them come with slides and others have child-friendly themes such as castles with bright colour schemes.

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Pros

  • A playground bunk bed offers all the benefits of a regular bunk bed with some added fun and young children will love a themed or play bed.

Cons

  • They can be expensive compared to a typical bunk bed.
  • Young children will like a playground bed but as they grow older they are likely to grow out of it.
  • Children may fall from a ladder, slide or another feature of a playground bed and very young children will need extra supervision.

Hideaway bed

A hideaway bed is essentially a roll or slide out bed that fits underneath a regular bed that can be pulled out when you need it.

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Pros

  • Most hideaway beds are affordable.
  • They are a good option for saving space when the bed is not in use because you can slide it back under the top bed. 
  • Hideaway beds are great for sleepovers and other times when you don’t want to have another full bed in the room but might have a guest stay over.

Cons

  • It’s not easy to climb in and out of the top bed when the hideaway bed is in use. Until you store it away it can be impractical to get around your child’s room.
  • They are best used for sleepovers or short stays rather than long term sleeping arrangements.
  • It can be hard to clean underneath a hideaway bed.

Sofa bed

A sofa bed does what it says on the tin. It’s a sofa that converts into a bed and they have come a long way in terms of comfort and style over the last few years.

Pros

  • Sofa beds are both convenient and multipurpose. Chill on the sofa by day and sleep on the bed by night. They can be a good use of space in your home.
  • They are perfect for overnight guests to use.

Cons

  • Not all sofa beds are made the same. Some are comfortable to sleep on and others are not especially nice to sleep on at all. Do your research and shop around first.
  • They are generally best for short stays rather than long term use. Firstly, it’s a pain to make the bed each night and secondly the comfort of sofa beds varies a lot.

Storage bed

A storage bed looks like a regular bed except that underneath there are either drawers that pull out or a sliding cover. This means there is lots of room to store things under the bed. 

Pros

  • Storage of course! This kind of bed is spot on for storing toys, clothes and everything else in between.
  • Storage beds are typically affordable.

Cons

  • Some storage beds have less back protection than a typical bed because they are designed to maximise space and not comfort.
  • It can be hard to clean underneath a storage bed.

Staggered bunk bed

A staggered bunk bed is a style of bunk bed that is both fun for children and usually comes with options for storage or play space underneath the raised bed.

Pros

  • Staggered bunk beds often look great and children like them.
  • They are versatile and can be adapted to different spaces and styles.
  • They offer flexibility for storage and play/work space for children under the raised bed.

Cons

  • The very nature of staggered beds and their shape mean they may not fit in every room.
  • Children can fall when they climb up and down a ladder or set of stairs.
bunk bed alternatives

Final thoughts

There are lots of choices out there for bunk beds and alternatives. The most important thing is to think about the space you have and your budget. Next, consider who will be sleeping in it and how often to determine what kind of bed you will need.  Finally, think about longevity. A novelty or playground bunk bed might be fun, but will your kids be bored of it in a year or so?

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