With two growing boys sharing one small bedroom, the struggle for beds is real. I am constantly looking for a better way to ensure both my children have a place to sleep and, that credible arguments can be made for why each boy’s bed is better than the other one’s. This is important since, if there’s one thing my kids are more attuned to than shadows in the dark, it’s the perception of injustice. If one bed was a clear winner, there would be no sleep in my house. Just howls of complaint. In any case, in my searching, I have stumbled across three bunk beds I think are worthy of any cramped quarters. From a no-frills Ikea model to a twin-over-twin setup with storage galore, here are, in my humble opinion, three of the best bunk beds parents can buy.
The Best Low-Priced Bunk Bed: Ikea KURA reversible loft beds
If you have enough surface area, loft beds are the way to go. Right now we’re got a pair of KURA reversible loft beds from IKEA which are pretty sweet. The loftiness of the bed creates a personal space underneath each one. These 79″ x 42″ zones are like the Christiania Freetowns for my kids. They can pretty much do whatever they want down there. Except in extreme cases, my authority stops at the border. What’s also nice about these are a) they’re cheap b) they’re sturdy-ish (they do need some reinforcing) and c) the ladder is vertical. An angled ladder might be easier to climb but devours a room. Though it didn’t apply to us, in a signature touch of Swedish cleverness, the beds are also reversible. If your kid is under 6, the company recommends using the bed in a “low” position. We didn’t and our 4-year-old still survives. But since the clearance is only 33 inches the time will soon come when these cubby holes are no longer useful. And then we’ll be on the hunt for a new solution.
The Best Mid-Priced Bunk Bed: Camiflex Mission-Style L-Shaped Twin-over-Twin bed
Bunk beds come in various configurations. Some can be excluded from consideration either due to spatial concerns or, more importantly, an inequality in desirability between the beds. The twin over full model, for instance, would never fly in my house since no credible case can be made that height trumps size of mattress.
Thankfully, there are manifold other options. Perhaps the most intriguing is the L-shaped bunk bed consisting of the lower bed jutting out like the bar of the letter L beneath the top bunk. For a small room, like ours, this leaves a nice open space in the center. Also, importantly, you can convince one child he’s got the better deal because he’s on top while convincing the other kid he’s got the better deal because there’s he gets to sleep with his head in a cool cave.
As with all bunk beds, the trick here is to have a frame sturdy enough that one kid’s tossing and turning doesn’t wake up the other. I think the perfect model here is the Camiflex Mission-Style L-Shaped Twin-over-Twin bed. It’s made of solid wood so it doesn’t budge. The styling is unobtrusive (it comes in white or natural wood) and so inoffensive it’ll age well as the kids move their interests from Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh to, I don’t know what comes next, Sartre and Camus?. The ladder is angled but that space is being used anyway by the lower twin bed so nothing’s lost there. The other nice thing about Camiflex is that the entire system is easily modified as the kids get older. This system, for instance, can quickly become a two twin loft beds if, our ship comes in and we can afford a three bedroom.
The Best High-Priced Bunk-Bed: Discovery World Furniture Mission-Style Twin-Over-Twin
Whenever we contemplate an upgrade and involve the kids in the process, they are ardent advocates for a far-out models like the Blue Train twin-over-twin or the Rustic Cabin bunkbed for $2,245. But sooner or later, they’ll move on to some other aesthetic and you’ll be the asshole selling your treehouse-style bed on Craigslist for $200. Classic is best when it comes to the changing tastes of children. If your kids room is truly tiny — as mine is — the best option really is just a straight-up twin-over-twin bunk bed. But, of course, since a kids room can’t only have a bed in it, if you can ever combine a storage and a bed, well, fuck man, go for it. I love the Mission-Style twin-over-twin for how the storage is cleverly cached not only beneath the bottom bunk but in a dresser built in to the foot of the bed. It’s pricey, for sure, but also preempts a dresser. It’s not just a twofer. It’s a threefer. And that’s a good deal.