Loft Beds vs. Bunk Beds (Which is the Right Choice For You?)

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Choosing a bed is a difficult decision, particularly if you live in a small space. So little room, so many possibilities.  

The sheer amount of loft and bunk bed options can make the thrill of a room makeover fade overnight.

I distinctly remember standing at the entrance of my daughter’s new room and wondering, how on earth would I fit a bed with enough space for her to play and do homework?

But I found that small spaces don’t have to mean cramped and impractical. In fact, they can be eye-catching and functional. 

You just need to consider the size and purpose of an area, as well as the age and number of people sharing the space. 

Here are some tips, pros and cons, and essential questions to ask yourself before purchasing a loft or bunk bed. 

2 bunk beds in a row

Is a bunk bed the answer? 

When thinking of bunk beds, one often thinks of kids’ sleepovers and camps. But sturdy bunk beds work equally as well for adults. 

That said, many adults prefer not to share a room with someone who isn’t their significant other unless they really have to (yes, there are exceptions like college dorms, but they probably don’t have much of a choice). That’s why they tend to be more popular among families with children. 

Situations where bunk beds may be the answer

Small families living in tight spaces

If your apartment is small and you’re trying to maximize space wherever you can, you might want to consider a bunk bed with a lower-level queen or king-size bed for you and your partner, and an overhead single bunk bed for your child. 

It’s not a solution that works for everyone (and I don’t blame you if you’re questioning my sanity right now). However, this works well for severely space-deprived families with younger children. 

Families with more than one child 

Ask any child if they’d like a bunk bed, and most will answer with a resounding ‘YES.’ 

The great thing about bunk beds is that you can get two or three beds in a room and only use one bed’s floor space. This is fantastic if you have multiple kids and need to save space for desks, play, or chill-out areas. 

If your children enjoy sleepovers, look for bunk beds with the option of a trundle bed below the bottom bed. 

It’s only a matter of time before your children start nagging you for a sleepover, and believe me, a trundle bed will be a LOT simpler than dragging through (and setting up) a blow-up mattress. 

You’re on a budget

Purchasing multiple single beds when you have multiple children can get costly. Bunk beds work out considerably cheaper than buying single beds, and they tend to be marginally cheaper than loft beds.

You want to maximize space

You can also find bunk beds where the lower bunk is a futon that can convert into a bed. The futon can be used as a relaxing space during the day, opened out, and used as a bed overnight. This option can work well if you live alone or own a small holiday apartment.  

Bunk bed restrictions and considerations

Ceiling height

You’ll want to consider ceiling height when choosing between a bunk bed with two or three beds. Ideally, there should be a minimum of 33 inches (or 84cm) of space between the top mattress and your ceiling. 

Outgrowing bunk beds

At some point, your child will transition from adolescence to teenager. They’ll outgrow their bed, and before you know it, you’ll need to buy a new one.

You can avoid this by opting for a full-sized bottom bed and a twin-sized bed above, but this isn’t always a feasible (or ideal) option. 

Safety and age

Bunk bed injuries are relatively common and usually result from falls while sleeping or playing. Pediatric associations have recommended that children younger than six should not t sleep on top bunk beds

If you have younger children, make sure that they sleep on the lower bunk. You might also consider a bunk bed where the lower bed touches the floor. This option means your child will need to climb fewer steps (and will need to cover less height) to get to the top bunk.

Don’t forget to ensure that there are sturdy rails on the higher bunks. This is essential for everyone, but it’s crucial if your little ones are active sleepers. 


Bunk beds aren’t the best storage solution. That being said, you can get bunk beds with built-in storage (either below the lower bunk or attached to the side) if you want to go the bunk bed route. 

Is a loft bed the answer? 

Now that you know when a bunk bed makes sense, let’s move on to loft beds. 

A loft bed is an excellent solution for freeing up space in a small to medium-sized room. It’s ideal for older children or adults who want their rooms to appear bigger or need additional space. 

Situations where loft beds may be the answer

To save space in your child’s bedroom

A child with a small to medium size room will benefit from a loft bed. If the room space allows it, you could place more than one loft bed in the same room.  

Choosing a loft bed frees up the space below it, which you can use as a study nook, storage space, an arts and crafts station, a dresser, or a relaxation area. These spaces usually come custom built with your loft bed, so consider what you want to use that space for before deciding on a specific model. 

A work and sleep area

Loft beds can add charm to any room and can be easily customized and designed to suit your needs. They’re not just for kids and teenagers. In many cases, they are an excellent option for adults. 

Remote work has become more common since the pandemic and is unlikely to go away anytime soon. If you live in a small space and don’t have enough room for an office, having a loft bed allows you to carve out a work area without taking up too much space.

Some loft bed restrictions and considerations

Room sharing

Loft beds are typically made with one person in mind. If you want to accommodate more than one child in a room, then a loft bed may not be the solution. 

Although a stand-alone bed can be added to the space below the loft bed for sleepovers or an additional child, better bed options are available for this purpose. 


Loft beds are marginally more expensive than bunk beds. However, if you’re looking at purchasing a custom bed, the price can increase tenfold. 

Some loft beds will include storage, build-in cupboards, and drawers, which can save you from purchasing additional furniture. 


As with bunk beds, the loft bed height can be dangerous for younger children. Lower options are available, but if this means minimal space under the bed, it defeats the purpose of a loft bed in the first place.

Loft beds are usually made purposely high to maximize the space below. For this reason, the loft bed may be better suited for adults and older children

Final thoughts

Loft and bunk beds are great options for small spaces and maximizing your space. Bunk beds, on the other hand, works well if you need to accommodate multiple beds in a small room. 

At the end of the day, whether you choose a loft bed or a bunk bed should depend on your budget, purpose, and size of your space. And if it’s for your little ones, don’t just think about what works best for them right now, but also what might be best for several years to come. 

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