Bunk Beds for a Girl

February 12, 2013

My daughter turned nine last week and the thing she’s asked for in her room are bunk beds. I confess they weren’t my first choice for a girl’s room but she’s entering that sleepover phase where she wants to invite friends over and a single twin won’t work anymore.

The thing that finally convinced us was when she said she’d “let her younger brother camp in there too.” When they’re not bickering one of their favorite things to do is tell each other spooky stories at night – lately it’s zombies and one-eyed rats that star in their tall tales but they always end up laughing in their attempt to outdo one another. The idea of them sleeping in the same room from time to time is charming (we eavesdrop on those spooky stories, it’s priceless) so we’ve agreed to make the investment and buy her some white bunk beds.  

The challenge for me is giving them a more feminine look but Pottery Barn Kids always makes it look easy.

lavender linens on white bunk beds pbkids

PB Kids


How gorgeous are these from Restoration Hardware?  They’re wicked expensive and way waaaaaaay too impractical for my artist daughter – she’s always got a marker in her hand and all it would take was one rogue stroke and they’d be ruined.

rh baby upholstered bunks

Restoration Hardware Baby & Child


I love the look of built ins but I’m not ready to commit to something so permanent – maybe someday in that dream vacation home when I’ve got grandkids, ha! 

coastal living bunks

Coastal Living

  white bunks pink accents coastal living

Coastal Living


Having a double bed underneath is an idea – especially since I have a habit of crashing with them after stories. Does that happen to you? I swear I fall asleep twice a week in my kid’s bed.

pink and green bunk beds for girls

House and Home


I’m crushing on the drawers below these bunks – extra storage is a must! 

bunks with drawers housebeautiful

House Beautiful


I love the use of trimmed curtains like the in the old train sleeping cars but again, not willing to commit to built ins.

built in bunks with curtains

Tomaro Design Group


Painting bunks a bold color is so fun -  these customized versions are perfection.

painted bunks with a curtain

via Pinterest


My girl wants to be able to make a tent – how sweet is this idea?

pink bunk beds

Delightful Distractions


The look that appeals to me most is this one – I love the tailored valance and the floor to ceiling panels – perfect for putting on a show or closing off the beds to tell those spooky stories with flashlights under their chins – I’m thinking this canopy is a doable DIY project. canopy bunks


So, parents, tell me your experience with bunk beds – do you love them or hate them?  Is it impossible to make the bed?  Do your kids share a room with bunk beds?  Your thoughts please.  :)




139 Responses to “Bunk Beds for a Girl”

  1. Lisa says:

    Kate – We have 5 kids – 3 boys and 2 girls and have gone a few different routes – DIY bunk beds that were together head to head in an L shape. The top was 5 feet off the ground and fully enclosed (plywood) to use as a fort complete with a window for a puppet theater (they were 5 and 3 when we built those) – the lower bunk had a built in dresser – those were in a large bedroom shared by my younger sons. My older two had the double under a twin for a few years. We have also had two different daybeds with trundles underneath (still have one in a guest room). So my only advice would be to prepare to change in a few years because they get tired of them when they become older teens or at least look at ones that unstack and still look nice and can “age” with them. By the way, all my kids have queen beds now that they are older and much bigger (: Love your site!

  2. Carmel says:

    Can’t wait to see what you do! So funny to – my daughter sleeps in my son’s room almost every night. He has a queen – I think our kids are the same age just my older one is the boy. My hub and I love to overhear their bedtime conversations and giggles. It’s so sweet!

  3. My kids had bunk beds for awhile- they are a pain to make up, but definitely space savers. If daughter would be open to it, I’d probably go for a trundle bed instead- there are some really cute ones that look like a drawer under the bed.

  4. Victoria says:

    I have four kids, two girls and two boys. They each have a set of bunkbeds. We’ve had them for a while and they are great at providing more floor space. We got them when the youngest two were really too young to make their own beds, and what a pain that was for an adult to make a top bunk! But nine is a perfect age as she can make her own bed. I would recommend a duvet over more tailored bedding to aid in ease of making the bed. It will save you some tears and frustration… her’s and yours :).

  5. Stephanie says:

    My older two share a room (6 1/2 g & 3 1/2 b) and bunk beds are a necessity. They free up so much floor space and have been a great addition. The older one is on top and some day she’ll share with her now 18 month old sister. We bought our’s at Dania and have been pretty happy. A removable ladder was a great addition for when the 3 y old was only 2 and now the 18 month old has been climbing it. I highly recommend bunk beds but establish a 3 kid max rule on the top bunk when friends come over!

  6. Meg says:

    We got bunk beds for my then 3 year old. She’s now 5 and her old sister is 8 and they are sharing a room while we renovate our new house. The novelty wore off and they asked to have the beds separated. So now they have two twin beds on the opposite sides of the room.

    I would say that making the bed and laundering the sheets was annoying. But, I’m not exactly a homemaker so just having to do laundry in the first place annoys me. Ha, Ha.

    So I guess my only suggestion would be to get some that can be separated or re-purposed for the future.

  7. MARY EGUIA says:

    Love bunk beds.I had them and also for my son’s. Just watch for the ceiling fan if you have one!

  8. Ahnnie says:

    I’m a granny now but vividly remember my bunk bed experience for my son’s room. I designed and had custom built in bunk beds made by a carpenter for my son’s room. I would never do that again though he loved that bed dearly. It had storage underneath, reading lamps, and a built in desk on the end.
    Think twice about a floor to ceiling surrounding curtain. One on top and one on bottom is much more practical so the upper and lower people don’t have to agree on opening and closing. You could still use your valance at the top!
    Now the cons:
    #1– to say it was “difficult to make” the top bunk and even the bottom, would be an understatement and I spent time every day “convincing” him to help.
    #2 — the fact that they were built in negatively impacted my resale value–narrows your list of potential buyers almost like a swimming pool does.
    Today: my daughter bought IKEA bunks for her boys and has reconfigured them in various ways for different eras of their lives.

  9. Diane says:

    My boys (now grown) had This End Up bunkbeds. They are so durable that we have them still. I’m sure there are plenty around for you to find on Craigslist and do something Centsational with. I’m thinking of doing some kind of beachy wash on mine, as we live near the beach and still get plenty of guests!

  10. JohnV says:

    Also take a look at using a Loft Bed. Basically they are bunk beds without the bottom bunk. You can use the underneath for a desk, shelves or a nice reading area. Do a Google search for “Youth Loft Beds” to find a nice variety.

  11. Sheila says:

    My kids never had bunk beds but my nephews and nieces did and yes they are a pain to make. I would consider a trundle bed. You get the added bed space for sleep over guests but it all tucks away all nice and neat. Just a thought

  12. Christine says:

    My daughter has white bunk beds with twin on top and full on the bottom. As difficult as it is to make the beds I do like them because they are practical. You will “doll” them up I’m sure! My son has my oak hand-me-down twin bunk beds and hasn’t complained yet. They are great for when his cousins come to stay for the weekend.

  13. Megan says:

    We have two sets in our house. My son is young and a calm sleeper so his is pretty easy to make daily. The sheet changes are another story. My daughter only has a fitted sheet, and lots of pillows. She has a big fluffy throw that she covers up with. It can be drapped over the end of the bed and look made up. This works out great! Looks good and is easy to make-up. It has a daybed look about it. I also agree that the trundle is great. My daughters has a trundle also so its an extra bed for kid company.

  14. Wendy says:

    My sons (7 & 9) like the IDEA of bunk beds more than having them.
    My youngest is a light sleeper and gave up on sleeping on the top bunk because he often got at night and didn’t like climbing down the ladder. Therefore, he usually ended up in bed with me.
    They are great, however, for sleepovers with friends. Friends LOVE bunk beds.
    If you do go with a set, be sure they are extremely sturdy and do not move AT ALL. Get in yourself and flop around with someone else on the top bunk. My youngest said it was difficult to sleep because his brother moved so much (on the lower) and jiggled the bed.
    Bottom Line: Love the space-saving idea, but the novelty wore off for my kids and no one wanted to sleep on the top bunk regularly.
    Also, everyone is right about making the bed. Very challenging.

  15. Marion says:

    The biggest drawback to the bunk beds is snuggling with the kids in the top bunk. While the kids love the beds, this miss snuggling in their own beds. As for the tricky bedding, it helps to think of it not in the tradional terms. I have a blanket cut to size of the area of the matress so that there are no fitted corners. There is a fitted corner matress protector underneath that gets changed every two months. on top we use the kids collection of blankets. it is easier for them to fold. We also store our quilts/blankets hanging over the railing of the beds. We went with bunkbeds becase we neded the space, so I had to make sure living with the idea is doable. We have four kids and it has worked out. :)

  16. I have bunk beds for my boys. I love the extra floor space that they provide and, when we move, the sleep over space that it will give my oldest. The top bunk bed-making is always an issue. The easiest solution, that I have found, is to adjust the bedding. Make the upper bunk have a blanket/quilt/comforter that is the width of the mattress, and that is all. It is easier for the kids to make their own beds and always looks clean and tidy.
    Can’t wait to see what you come up with. I love you ideas! Best of luck!

  17. Cathy says:

    Looks like you’ve received some excellent comments, Kate. I would add a couple of thoughts.
    1. If you do go with bunk beds, make sure you plan for a good light by the bed to read by. My parents would always let me stay up later if I was reading, so I “tricked” them into letting me stay up by doing a little reading. As you can imagine, it nurtured my love of reading and reading in bed is one of my very favorite things!

  18. Jackie B says:

    In this past year, I got rid of fairly new beautifully whitewashed bunk beds from Ethan Allen. We had a twin over a full. Don’t forget to use bunkie boards. Do not just put a mattress over the slats; that makes for very uncomfortable sleeping and hurt backs. I Hated making them. My daughters could not do it. They begged for them and I caved even though I knew better. We moved one daughter out of the room and then the other begged for a regular bed. We did have the beds separated for quite awhile into two twin beds. Years ago, I had different bunks for my boys. They didn’t much care, but for both the boys and the girls, at age ten, eleven at most, they no longer wanted bunk beds. Mine told me that they are baby-ish once you hit fifth grade.

  19. Barb~ says:

    Hi Kate!

    So interesting that you’re looking at bunk beds! I have been surfing myself, and found the same beautiful examples you did.
    I have been thinking about building in 2 sets for guests, with trundles under the lower bunk. That would sleep six! I tend to have quite a bit of company-with kids of all ages, and they bring the adults in their lives with them:) I’ve realized over time that many people don’t want to sleep with someone else in the same bed-even if it’s a queen or king. Husbands and wives are fine, but after that it can get a little awkward. I have two other guest rooms, one with a queen bed, the other with a king. I put those with the greatest seniority, typically my parents in the large beds. Otherwise, I think most guests are happy sleeping resort style as depicted in the Costal Living pics. I think the built-in bunks are gorgeous! We’ve come a LONG way in bunk beds, don’t you think? :)

    Good luck!


  20. Donna says:

    I have 5 grandchildren visit in the summer and share one room. They really wanted bunkbeds so we got 2 sets from IKEA and one trundle. They are white metal and remind me of a prison. The kids don’t like them at all, especially the 9 year old girl. The others, all younger, don’t mind as much. She really just wants her own room. I sewed 5 long narrow duvet covers that stay tucked under the bottom of the mattress and that they can just pull up over the bottom sheet-no top sheet. I cut down inexpensive IKEA duvets to fit. When we change sheets, my d-i-l and I have to pull the beds away from the walls and it takes 2 of us to make up the beds.
    Go with a trundle instead.

  21. debtgirl says:

    I hope some of the comments let you know how much some kids think they want them and then do not. I just sold one, I posted it on my blog a few weeks ago, Called Wheelin & Dealin.

    Those are not easy to put up and take down. You cannot move your room around AND they don’t sell fast.

    My kid hated getting up there and then I hated it because I couldn’t lay with her for a while, I felt isolated from her!

  22. Sara says:

    We did the bunkbed route when my son was much younger. By the time he was 10 1/2, he hated them because he kept hitting his head. Granted he is tall for his age. He is now 12 and has a queen bed. My daughter had a daybed with a trundle for a while and that was great for sleepovers. Our youngest now has the daybed and we are in the process of getting our 10 year old a bigger bed. I would consider getting her a double or queen before I did a bunked. Plus then you only have to buy one set of bedding instead of two.

  23. Melissa says:

    We “had” bunk beds. They are impossible to make! I bumped my head 1too many times and that was it!!! I was done, we sold them! They are a pain in the rear and its hard to it up in them! I would make a pros and con list! A trundle might be better! Just say’n!

  24. Mandy says:

    I recently got my daughter white bunk beds from Lea (the Hannah model). It’s the one with the full on the bottom (since I figured she’d tire of the top bunk after a while and we could still use the bottom one without it. It was hard to find a design that had the full on the bottom and not the goofy attachment piece that converted it from a twin to a full, so I was happy with this one. And the price wasn’t bad. Her old twin metal frame was Lea, and I like the brand a lot.

  25. As a kid I had bunk beds with my younger sister and it was always so much fun; they also helped to keep us apart when we weren’t getting along so well ;). When we grew out of the idea, the bunks were taken apart and made into two twin beds – which is really practical and offers a more long-term solution.

  26. We’ve done bunk beds before. With 6 kids in 1800 square feet, we once had 4 boys in one room and 2 girls in the other. I’ll admit I hate bunk beds and got rid of them as soon as I could work out something else. The beds were very hard to make, the only way they look awesome is if the covers are completely tucked in all the way around. This is nearly impossible for kids to accomplish especially on the top bunk and then makes it hard to get in bed at night.

    The worse part about bunk beds is it makes the room feel closed in. It’s a large item at face height and really reduces the size of the room. Also we had tons of injuries from kids bumping heads (even more of a possibility with a twin over full–what we had, because you think you are “safe” far enough out from under the twin, but aren’t.) One son is permanently scarred on his face from a bunk bed accident.

    I would do bunks again in a room with at least 10 foot ceilings and plenty of square feet–but then I wouldn’t need to, so probably not.

    My new solution is a cute trundle bed. Easy to pull out for guests, but under and out of the way the rest of the time. And keeps the room feeling open and airy.

  27. nancy says:

    Wow, I almost forgot about having bunk beds. My sister and I had them and I was on the bottom. I LOVED tucking sheets all around and imagining I was in an Oriental Express sleeping berth, me and my little dog, a flashlight, a Little House on the Prairie or Jane Austen or something good to read. My little sister thought the ladder was the coolest thing ever. Some cousins had built ins, I was SO envious. Ours were the type that came apart for twin beds, useful for a nice guest room after us kids all moved away.

  28. Robyn says:

    I HATE our bunk beds because making them is A NIGHTMARE. It’s INSANELY difficult to change the sheets on the top – not to mention actually making the bed daily – the sheets are hard to pull up/tuck. Quilt, comforter, or blanket – they are all too big and don’t hang nicely or tuck well. The top bunk is ALWAYS sloppy.

    That said, it does solve our space problem :)

  29. Elise says:

    We just finished our bunkbed search. I wrote a post about the hunt: http://bobbleheadbaby.com/?p=2716

    I think you’d like this one that we considered: http://thebeanbagstore.com/bhmarcella.htm

  30. CentsationalGirl says:

    Thanks for the link Elise, those bunks are fab!

  31. Emma says:

    As teenagers, my best friend and I both had trundle beds under our beds so we could stay over at each others house whenever we wanted. They were brilliant for impromptu sleepovers, and kept out of the way when we didn’t need them.

    That said, I was glad to read all the comments above as we are expecting our third child and looking to get bunk beds for my older two girls when the younger of them gives her cot to new baby.

    We already have one single bed so I’ve been thinking about somehow making a bunk that can go over top of it at a perpendicular angle. That way I can stand on the bottom bed to make the top one, and possible fit a chest of drawers next to the bottom bed and underneath the top bunk for extra space saving. We have high stud ceilings so I want the top bunk to be pretty high so we don’t bump heads on it from down below.

    I’m thinking I might have to get something custom built.

  32. AlyB says:

    Hi Kate, my three kids (7, 5, and 3) share one small attic room. The older ones share the ikea kuna bed in “bunk bed mode”. It is great because it can work as a bunk bed or be flipped over for a one-person canopy bed. The kids love it, it is low enough that nobody will get hurt if they fall, it is convertible if they someday grow tired of it, and it has a lot of make-over potential. (Including the possibility of adding a trundle bed box or under bed pull out storage. The bottom mattress would simply lay on top of the box. Check Ana white’s website for trundle bed plans.)

  33. Kathleen says:

    Bunk Beds were sort of a necessity because of space at the new house, but the kids love them. One word of caution, many of the examples you used in the post (gorgeous post, though!!) the thickness of the mattress went above the rail. True bunk bed mattresses are thinner (and a little less comfy, but doable.) It is darn near IMPOSSIBLE to make the top bunk, not only because you are hanging off the side of the ladder to try and make the other side, but also because the sheets don’t tuck in easily because of the fact that the mattress drops down into the frame, and then there is the rail to deal with….. The beds never ever ever look as beautiful as the pottery barn beds in your first photo! I finally bought the girls lightweight white matching comforters from IKEA and I basically just throw those over the sheets (which stay tucked in so they don’t get all messy.) Good luck. But yes, they love making tents out of it and so forth….

  34. Meagan says:

    How about doing a trundle bed instead? Same benefits and much more safe :)

  35. TracieMcOB says:

    As long as my boys shared a room, they had bunkbeds. I made making the bed easy from the standpoint that I adopted a european idea – just have a fitted bottom sheet and a duvet with a cover for easy washing. It worked well for both the boys. From seeing your style aesthetic since I have been reading your blog, I am not surprised that the last is your choice ;) beautiful

  36. Robin says:

    If you get bunkbeds, you may want to purchase bedding made specifically for bunk beds so that they are easier to make. This Ends Up used to make fitted quilts for bunk beds. A quick search turned up the site bunkbedsbunker.com and their version of a fitted quilt called a bunkbed hugger. They also carrier sheets where the top and bottom sheet are connected on two sides. I would probably go with a trundle bed or, if you have enought space, two twin beds with a corner table. That arrangement could even be two twin trundles allowing for 3 kids to sleep over.

  37. Stephany says:

    Hi Kate! I am a busy Mom of 3 boys and we have a set of bunk beds for my 9 year old and 5 year old. As many people have said, it is such a pain to take bed linens off and put them back on, and I’m really, really bad about making the beds every morning. Sooooo, I came up with a trick for the bunk beds that makes my life a little bit easier. We have our fitted and flat sheets on their beds, then instead of a traditional comforter or duvet on top, I bought two blankets/wall tapestries from Urban Outfitters (around $39 each, http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=24471682&parentid=SEARCH+RESULTS) that have a simple, large world map print on them. One for each bed. They are made to use on a bed or on the wall. They are too big for the twin bunk beds but you could just cut/hem the excess fabric or do what I do and tuck all the excess under the mattresses and you never see it.
    My secret is, my boys actually sleep on top of these blankets with the bed made up, and they use their favorite throw/blanket to cover them, that can easily be folded at the bottom of the bed in the morning. The blankets/tapestries are thin, so it feels like they’re sleeping on a sheet. When they get up out of bed in the morning…voila! Beds are always made! If I’m having a busy week and don’t have time to wash their sheets or don’t feel like fighting with the bunk beds again, I just fold down the top map blanket and they sleep on the sheets. Gives me a little extra time to actually get them in the washing machine. It works great for me! Hope that helps!

  38. Tracey says:

    I agree with those that suggested a trundle bed. Sleeping on the top bunk gets old….no one wants to sleep on the top. We have bunk beds, but they only stayed “bunked” for a short time and then we separated them into twin beds, which defeated the purpose of more floor space! Go with a trundle bed! Good luck! I love your blog. It’s the only one I read regularly.

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