The Ultimate Kids Bunk Bed Guide

How many different types of bunk beds are out there? What size mattress will you need? How old does a child need to be for a bunk bed? We answer all these questions and more in our ultimate guide!

Perfect for siblings and sleepovers alike, our guide to kids bunk beds is the ideal partner in your quest to find the best sleeping solution for your child.

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Why choose a bunk bed?

Growing up, I remember desperately wanting a bunk bed – but just for me, not shared, that was the catch, it had to be my very own cool, awesome bunk bed, giving me loads of sleeping options, bragging rights at sleepovers and a lot more bed real estate than the rest of the family (distant cousins included). At the time, I couldn’t think of anything worse than having to share a room with either of my sisters, let alone a bunk bed! So the request note to my parents to get one needed to be carefully scripted and needed to include a sob story about a one eared, infirm teddy that needed his own space. The request, even with teddy’s reluctant approval and a small painless ear amputation, was still very risky indeed. What if I woke up one morning to find teddy evicted and one of my sisters in the lower or upper bunk. Worse still, if they nabbed the top bunk then they may accidently wee on me in the middle of the night (or purposely, and I wouldn’t put it past either of them!) and if they chose the bottom bunk then they’d have a quicker escape route in the event of a zombie attack and there were loads of these reported in our home city of Bath at the time – so both not good options.

But alas, I never did get my dream bunk bed, I had to make do with a four-poster king size bed! Now there’s a first world problem, I can’t believe how spoilt and lucky I was! My sisters, you ask, after this heart-wrenching story of hope and loss, what happened to them? Well, now there’s a thing, one of them (my youngest sister) now lives in zombie free Florida (she has personally thanked Donald Trump for this) and the other one (my middle sister) has taken over our spare room, having come to “visit” over 2 years ago! But don’t worry, before she arrived, we got rid of my sons Bunk Bed – there was not a hope in blue heaven that she was ever going to get a bunk bed on my watch, not even if she had turned into a beautiful, kind and considerate human being that now worked for the Red Cross helping Andrew Lincoln get rid of zombies all over the world; never, not under my roof!

So there you have it, the story behind the passion behind the Bunk Bed. And with that firmly behind us, let’s delve a little deeper into the origins, the evolution and the variety on the market today and why these make such brilliant beds for children.

Bunk beds are a popular choice for many family households, due to their space saving and multiple sleeping designs. They have come a long way since my childhood in terms of style, there were probably 2 options back in my day – orange stained pine or metal… neither would particularly inspire me now! I’m like a kid in a sweet shop when I browse through all the cool designs and finishes that are available today, I wander if I could persuade my husband… no Nathalie, stop!

The Origins of the Bunk Bed

All this talk about bunk beds got me wandering about who actually invented this clever multi-level bed. The origin of bunks beds however is about as mysterious as the dark side of the moon, with no accolade going to a particular inventor as such. Early recordings of such a bed can be found dating back to the middle ages, when sea farers used bunks in the cramped sleeping quarters of their ships. Packed in like sardines, these hardy men shared every moment together including hunkering down at night on a bed that was as comfortable as sleeping on a plank of wood! Thankfully, like I said, bunk beds have come a long way since these early designs, however the concept remains the same; a bunk bed is essentially 2 (or sometimes 3) beds stacked on top of each other, this defining characteristic is what differentiates a bunk bed from a standard, regular bed. Who knew? What, all of you? Ok moving on…

So now I’ve established we’ve probably got the swash buckling sailors to thank for inventing the bunk bed, let’s take a look at all the fancy new designs. Choosing which style of bunk bed will suit your needs will largely depend on: a) How much space there is in the bedroom & b) How many sardines you need to accommodate! Here are some of the different types of bunk beds available from Cuckooland.

Campervan Bunk Bed by Julian Bowen
Kids Treeshouse Bunk Bed From Mathy By Bols

When will my child be old enough for a bunk bed?

In the blink of an eye (or so it seems), your chubby-thighed crawler has morphed into a walking, talking beanpole. You’ve waved goodbye to the days of dribble bibs and purees, and to the shrill shrieks of your babbling baby. And now? Well, before you know it, you’ll be tiptoeing down the corridor, listening to the hushed whispers of ghost stories and the muffled munching of a midnight feast. Could it be the start of a new era? The era of the bunk bed?

We can’t give you a one-size-fits-all age rating because every child is different. Do they wriggle a lot in their sleep or get up and down throughout the night? Maybe hold off on the bunk beds for a year or two. However, if your child is three or four years old and sleeping well, there’s no reason why they can’t enjoy multi-level fun!

Bunk beds are excellent space savers and are fantastically fun. Whether your children share a room or your child often has friends to stay, a bunk bed may just be the ideal solution. If the thought of a bunk bed conjures up the image of a rickety steel-framed mass of ugliness, then think again. Our spectacular range of bunk beds is guaranteed to blow you away.

Have you guessed that we absolutely adore kid’s beds here at Cuckooland? Our love for exciting designs and a good night’s sleep makes us one of the best bunk bed retailers in the UK. We can honestly say that you’ll be hard-pressed to find a range as unique and enjoyable as ours! To assist you in your hunt for the perfect new bunk, we’ve put together a handy guide.

Types of Bunk Bed

A standard bunk bed consists of two beds, one on top of the other, these are usually twin size beds (standard UK single). This twin over twin design offers a great sleeping arrangement for siblings who share a bedroom. Many models also allow for the beds to be separated and used independently, so when they’re old enough to fly the nest you could send them off with their very own bed! The Leo L Shaped 2 in 1 Combination Bunk Bed is a great example, its white and natural finish will suit any kid’s bedroom decor and its clever design makes it future-proof! If the kids need to change up their sleeping arrangements, this brilliant bed converts into a standard single and a loft bed down the line.

A bunk bed is simply two standard single beds which are affixed together in a ‘stacked’ format (one on top of the other.) Some bunk beds can be separated to make two singles, if required.

A bunk bed is a fantastic sleep solution if children are required to share a room and space is limited. Many bunk beds come with features such as storage and shelving which helps organise the overall dynamic of a bedroom.

These differ from a standard bunk bed as the bottom bed is free to move rather than being fixed to the top bed. This configuration does take up more floor space, therefore can’t really be considered a space saving bed, but they do offer a good set up for siblings who are sharing a larger room. And they can even see each other if they use the L shape configuration wisely. L shaped beds come in various designs, offering up options with a standard bottom bed or a sofa bed that can be pulled out when required then popped back to a sofa, ideal for children who only share their room occasionally.

Similar to a standard bunk bed, trundle bunk beds have the added benefit of a trundle under the bottom bed, making it a super choice if your kids are keen on having friends for sleepovers. No more huffing and puffing to blow up the inflatable mattress! The Parisot Bibliobed Bunk Bed is one of my favourites as it comes with storage shelves and the trundle can be used as either a storage drawer, or by adding a mattress, a spare bed.

Novelty bunk beds are aimed at younger children and are a perfect first “big kids bed”. Novelty beds can help to make bedtime much more appealing to young children – imaginations run wild, with wondrous site seeing in a London Bus Bunk Bed or adventures to be had in a Camper Van Bunk Bed. They may not offer the longevity of the bunk beds featured above, but they are sure worth it for the sheer look of joy on your kids faces when they see if for the first time and the hours of fun spent in imaginative play.

A high sleeper or loft bed is a single bed which is elevated and reached by a ladder. Unlike the standard bunk, the space located underneath the loft bed can be used for a variety of reasons.

Some of the high sleepers come with a futon style addition which can be provide a seating area in the day and pull out as a bed at night. Other options for high sleepers is to place a mattress or airbed in the available space as a temporary bed for guests.

Well the saying goes to save the best until last – now I may be slightly biased here, but wow, if you’re looking for a hands down, show stopping, jaw dropping enviable bunk bed for your kids’ bedroom, a treehouse bunk bed is the one. Now, you remember me saying as a kid that I really wanted a bunk bed… well, as an adult, I still really want a bunk bed (sorry teddy… and husband, you get the bottom this time!) It’s not just me that rates these bunk beds so highly, the Mathy By Bols Treehouse Bed was featured in the “Best Kids Bunk Beds You Can Buy” article, this bespoke, handmade and finished in your choice of the 26 available colours, will create a true statement in your children’s bedroom. Crafted in a traditional Belgium factory, these beds are a masterpiece and therefore do command a higher price point. For those with a smaller budget there are plenty of other options, Cuckooland’s very own Explorer Treehouse Bed (I helped design and source it!) offers great value for money and can be styled in many ways to fit with the theme of your children’s bedroom.

Leo L Shaped 2 in 1 Combination Bunk Bed with Storage
Three Tiered Triple Bunk Bed in 'Dominique' Design

Types of Triple Bunk Beds

Taking the standard bunk bed to new heights, the triple bunk bed is a stack of 3 beds. Now if we were talking about food (I’m known to do that a fair bit…) you could see this as the burger of the bed world, one lovely juicy burger (vegetarian, of course) sandwiched between 2 buns – brioche, if we’re getting down to the nitty gritty, lightly toasted… sorry, sorry, back to beds! Triple bunk beds offer a sleeping arrangement that could suit larger families where bedrooms are limited. The Aviary Triple Sleeper Bunk Bed has a modern design, pairing a single and double bed. These are often referred to as a family bunk bed and could be suitable for families who are experiencing challenges with children suffering from sleep disturbances, as they offer a level of comfort knowing that they have company in their room at night-time. They’re also a great option if sleepovers are on the cards!

A bunk bed with trundle is considered a triple bunk bed. Unlike the standard triple, this model is built like a standard two person bunk bed with a an extra bed located within the base.

The trundle bed pulls out and slots back easily, meaning that even modestly-sized bedrooms can accommodate three. And because the beds are separable, they’ll be able to see your kids into their teens.

A family sleeper is a two level bunk which features a single sized bed on the top level and double sized bed underneath.

The term family sleeper comes from a family of three (so mum, dad and kiddie) sharing the same sleep space. Parents sleep snuggly on the bottom double bunk as a little one snoozes peacefully on the top bunk.

For siblings with a large age gap, the family sleeper is ideal. Teens will have all the space required on the bottom double, whereas younger ones can rest easy in the single above.

What size mattresses do I need for bunk beds

A typical bunk bed will require either a UK or European sized single mattresses. Whereas bed frames for bunk beds and triple bunk beds can vary due to structure and design, the standard sizes for mattresses remain the same for children’s bunk beds.

The exception to this rule is triple bunk beds which may feature a double mattress on the lower bunk. Always check the measurements carefully when selecting a bunk bed to ensure you purchase the correct mattresses.


75 cm x 120 cm

30” x 75”

2’6” x 6’3”


90 cm x 190 cm

36” x 75”

3′ x 6’3”


90 cm x 200 cm

36” x 79”

3” x 6’6”


120 cm x 190 cm

48” x 75”

4′ x 6’3”

Bunk Bed Materials

Wooden Bunk Beds

Thanks to sustainable sourcing, bunk beds are available in a wide array of wood. From maple to oak, pine to MDF, Wooden beds are the ever popular choice.

As timber is durable and long-lasting, it is held in high regard when it comes to bed manufacturing. What’s more, non-toxic, water-based lacquers are often used to protect timber from stretches and bashes, making wood a perfect choice for children’s beds.

Children’s bed designers tend to prefer Pine and MDF. These two types of material lend themselves well to a bunk bed or triple bunk design. Pine creates a solid base whereas MDF can be manipulated to create unique designs, which are favoured when its comes to kids beds. As sturdy as wooden bunk beds are, it’s worth noting that moving a wooden bunk bed once assembled can prove difficult.

Dominique Triple High Bunk Bed with Tree Bookcase
Oscar Metal Bunk Bed

Metal Bunk Beds

Metal bed frames can be made from steel tubes or wrought iron. A good quality metal framed bunk bed is usually made from steel and features a tubular design. Steel frames are often coated with a powder-coat finish which adds to the aesthetics and keeps the frame looking better for longer. What’s more, Steel provides a structure which will support growing bodies.

Metal framed bunk beds tend to be cheaper than their wooden counterpart and are good for creating a modern look. Some metal bunk bed or triple bunk beds can be separated to create single beds too. The drawbacks of a metal bunk bed are that over time, they can become noisy and squeak when weight is applied to the frame. This is a common issue because of wear and tear.

What are the Benefits of Bunk Beds?

Bunk bed and triple bunk beds have come a long way in the design department. Cuckooland’s bunk beds showcase the best of the bunch thanks to our team’s tireless dedication to finding the most exciting designs in Europe. With the top designers increasingly aware of the need for specific requirements, our bunk beds now feature:

  • Additional Storage

    Always a bonus when it comes to kiddie furniture, additional storage is now the main feature for some bunk beds. pull out drawers and built-in wardrobes are amongst the most popular storage additions for bunk beds.

  • Cutting Edge Design

    Kids love creative design and bed designers have heeded this call in the most spectacular way. For replica rockets, race cars, castles, and treehouses; bunk bed designs are as limitless as a child’s imagination.

  • Separation Capabilities

    When those little rascals outgrow the bunk bed set-up you no longer have to rush out and buy new beds. Thanks to the separation capabilities of some bunks and triple bunk beds, personal space is only a few tools away.

  • Pull Out Trundles

    A sleepover can be a nightmare when it comes to finding space for everyone. Luckily designers have jumped on this issue and created bunks with an additional pull-out trundle bed. The trundle bed does not compromise on the structure or integrity of the overall design and can be easily stowed away when not in use.

  • Shelving

    You can never have too many shelves in a child’s room. From knick-knacks to books, teddies to flowerpots; a good shelf has 1001 uses in a kids bedroom. So it’s only natural that some bunk beds have doubled up with shelves to create some extra space for all those displayable bits and pieces.

  • Fun Add-Ons

    Adults, prepare to go green with envy. For the bunk beds of yesteryear have nothing on today’s fab designs. With fun as standard, bunk beds of today feature crazy and cool add-ons such as rope ladders, slides and even swings!

Safety First...

As with all children’s furniture, it is important to make yourself aware of the manufacturers instructions, particularly if you are building and installing the bed yourself, and you must please follow these without cutting any corners! Aside from the manufacturers guidelines here are a few points of safety to consider:

Your children’s safety is of paramount importance and should always be a priority. Being that there is extra height involved with a bunk bed, they are associated with more accidents than a standard height bed, I’m not saying this to alarm you, but to highlight that there are safety guidelines that you should be aware of if you are buying a bunk bed for your children. Every bunk bed sold in the UK must conform to the current safety regulations: British Safety Standard number BS EN 747:1993, these standards of safety cover regulations that must be adhered to during the manufacturing process. For more information about UK bunk bed regulations please follow the link. I’ve also put together a simple bunk bed safety check that you can carry out yourself at home.

If you can lay down a few ground rules (yes, hard to tackle sometimes, but when safety is involved they’re pretty crucial), bunk beds provide a brilliant option for many families. Kids love them and let’s face it; they have probably solved many-a-parents’ nightmare of trying to configure a shared room like it’s a game of Tetris.

Kids Bed Guides

Need further assistance?

We are super-duper proud of the bunk beds that we source at Cuckooland. Our collection is characterised by ingenious design and top quality, and the beds we offer are always original and delightful. Kids: prepare to be the envy of your school, and parents: prepare for the little queue of children that are just desperate for a sleepover.

At Cuckooland, we like to make everyone happy. A fun bunk bed will make bedtime much more appealing, whilst ensuring that playtime is extra special for the children. And your life may become a little bit easier when bedtime arrives. No doubt those space-saving storage solutions will come in handy too. When you’ve finally made up your mind about which brilliant bed to buy, there will only be one difficult decision left to make… who on earth is going to get the top bunk!?

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