Trundle Bed Vs. Bunk Bed: What's The Difference?

If you're looking to maximize space while providing a place to sleep for two, chances are you have come across both bunk beds and trundle beds in your search for new furniture. Bunk beds are a mainstay for parents of young children, as their stacked design allows them to accommodate two children while taking up the floor space of a single bed. In fact, according to Furnishing Tips, "bunked" sleeping arrangements have been used since the times of ancient Egypt.

Trundle beds, on the other hand, feature built-in storage for an extra bed inside their unique frame. The spare bed can be used whenever the situation calls for additional sleeping space, but won't take up room when it's not needed. While bunk beds and trundle beds may not be your first choice when it comes to a night of blissful sleep, they are a versatile option for young children, in addition to providing a bed for overnight guests even on short notice.

Where to use trundle and bunk beds

You may think twin-sized beds are small, but try to fit two of them in a small room and you will quickly see why many parents turn to bunk beds in order to maximize floor space and give their children room to play. Furniture Fair points out that a twin-over-twin bunk bed is ideal for smaller bedrooms where available space is at a premium. However, it might not be the best option for only children, or for spaces such as low-ceiling bedrooms. 

A trundle bed will give you the versatility to provide sleeping accommodations for friends and family when called upon without crowding the space when it goes unused. However, trundle beds will require more available floor space when pulled out, so they might not be appropriate for narrow or oddly-shaped rooms.

Maximize storage space

Bunk beds have their advantages, but they aren't known to provide homeowners with a wealth of storage space. Although you could store boxes of your off-season clothing on an unoccupied top bunk, this is probably not a practice that will score the room any style points. However, many people like trundle beds specifically for their underutilized storage capacity, per Furnishing Tips

If you are not expecting overnight company for a while, you can easily remove the trundle mattress on certain models so that you can store clothes, extra bedding, linens, or whatever your heart desires. That being said, there are also some innovative bunk beds on the market that utilize lower drawers to provide parents with a convenient place to stash their children's bedding or other belongings.

Is the size right?

When it comes to mattress size, trundle beds usually offer a little more variety than the average bunk bed. According to Living Spaces, trundle beds are made in sizes ranging from twin-sized to queen. However, the height of a trundle bed's mattress is a significant factor, as it needs to be low enough to nest underneath the main bed while not in use. Keep in mind that, unlike bunk beds, some trundle beds require special mattresses that offer less depth than traditional mattresses, so picky sleepers may not get the luxurious feel that they crave.

The twin-over-twin bunk bed is by far the most common setup that you will see in rooms that have at least one bunk bed. However, nowadays bunk beds also come in twin-over-full models, which is great for larger bedrooms or instances where one sleeper is a few years older than the other.

Styles make the bed

Bunk beds and trundle beds can really make your life easier. Some people opt for pop-up trundle beds, in which the lower bed can be raised to the same level as the upper bed to create a more intimate sleeping arrangement for two, as House Beautiful explains. This expands the functionality of the trundle bed to meet the needs of adults as well as children. Still, a pull-out trundle bed might better suit your needs, as its stationary platform will provide more stability. Although MasterClass states that these models might not be able to support as much weight as roll-out trundles, a young child is unlikely to cause strain on the platform.

A favorite bunk bed design is the futon bunk bed since it provides children with a comfortable seating option when they are not accommodating guests. Triple bunk beds are also a fun option for parents with man small children, as this arrangement makes excellent use of vertical space that would otherwise go unused. Compared to trundle beds, bunk beds also offer more novelty styles — great news for parents of children who wish to sleep in a treehouse, a pirate ship, or a princess castle.