Built-in, freestanding or stylish enough for the grown-ups… which of these two-level sleep spaces would work for you?
Houzz UK editorial staff. I’m an interiors journalist and editor, previously for… More
Whether your priority is maximising space, blending bunks into your décor scheme or making them fun, the perfect bunk bed for your home exists. Not convinced of the vast variety of styles out there? Hold your horses and read on!
How to sleep four little people comfortably into one room? This is how. The design of these corner bunks is not only clever in its space-maxing abilities, but also in its simple and tasteful looks (courtesy of a classy neutral paint colour and unfussy joinery).
While this might all be a little too sophisticated for a day-to-day child’s room (unless you have a pint-sized minimalist in the making living with you), it’s a perfect spare bedroom for sleepovers with little friends or cousins.
A final note on the lighting: also very clever, it’s suitably slimline for its compact context, has been tucked away in a corner that wouldn’t be used to rest a head against, and the bendy nature of the design makes it handily flexible.
…or stretch out
If you have the wall space, this is another way to make your bunks into a space for four. Take a look at the décor detail in this room, too – it’s most definitely a friendly space for the kids, but it’s also beautifully stylish: the red-patterned wallpaper on the side walls (but not the back one) increases the sense of height in the room, while the boats on the duvet covers tie into the design with understated panache.
The rules of summer: Children’s edition
Style them like any other space in your home
This shades-of-blue nook is not only incredibly chic, but also makes for a very enticing den-like space for younger and older children alike. The large floor cushions on top of mattresses is a smart idea as these can be left in place to add a sofa-y feel most of the time, then removed when the bunks are needed as beds. Choosing a sophisticated palette and layering it intensely like this packs a style punch, and picking cushions without kiddie themes makes the nook inviting for all ages.
Shop for children’s bedding on Houzz
Add a proper staircase
A ladder is the traditional way to scamper up to the top bunk, but if you have the space a more substantial staircase could be a good idea.
These aren’t conventional bunks, but the end result is the same (two beds, one on top of the other) so they are worth including as they might just be the thing that works in your space.
The benefit here is that the lower bed has a roomy enough nook to tuck in a bedside table – not a luxury that always works with regular built-in bunk beds, where it would likely get in the way.
Storage here is pretty impressive, too – there are niches on both levels, a built-in desk, closed cupboards and open shelves. These would be a real boon in a small room with lots of clutter to stash. All in all, it’s a serious piece of bespoke joinery, but just as built-in wardrobes may be the key to making a bedroom work so can bespoke bunk beds.
Enhance your loft
If you’re converting a loft space and had written off the idea of making good use of sloping eaves for anything other than, potentially, storage, perhaps this idea will spark your imagination.
While the low headspace might not make this design suitable for either full-time sleeping or for full-size people (at least up top), it’s a smart way to squeeze in an extra bed for a child or a guest bed without losing floor space. Rather than spoiling the architectural lines of the internal roof, as you might imagine this kind of construction would, the bunks in fact highlight them, turning the view into a focal point. And it looks like it would be a pretty cosy place to sleep.
Building a little way out from the end of the alcove, as seen here, allows both beds to be a little roomier. Keeping the colour of the bunks the same as the wall colour – and making all of it pale – also magnifies this effect visually.
The examples so far have been about built-in, space-specific designs – but that doesn’t mean that freestanding bunk beds can’t be just as good-looking.
Shop-bought bunks often come in bare wood, which can look brilliant, but if that isn’t the finish to co-ordinate with the room in question, consider a paint job. Here, it’s a simple white, which stands out crisply against the turquoise wallpaper. A heritage neutral from a posh paint company will also ramp up the style credentials of the beds.
Make them for sitting and sleeping
This is a smart idea for a bedroom that only needs occasional space for one more littl’un. Technically, this is what’s often called a loft bed rather than bunks as there’s just one (official) bed. However, those big chunky cushions beneath the top level are solid enough to do double duty. These make for a squidgy sofa, perfect for bedtime stories, but will also work as a part-time bed.
A curtain made from a complementary fabric and suspended with a simple telescopic pole so that it covers the front of the lower level could make for a fun den-like experience for smaller children.
Have more fun
With freestanding bunks there’s also lots of scope to go for a theme – here there’s a bit of a treehouse thing going on, which also makes a proper den of the top bunk (there may be fights at bedtime over who gets to sleep in this one, so consider your tactics in advance!).
There are all sorts of sweet designs out there, from boats to London buses…
…or even a tiny flower shop!
Tuck behind sliding doors
When an extra bedroom for guests isn’t a luxury you have at home, how about this for a smart way to host them in your living room?
The siding doors can be shut when the beds don’t need to be accessed; cast-iron door slider sets like these are typically custom-made and can be pricey. They may be a worthwhile investment if this is the perfect style for your room (and they look lovely with this wood panelling), but if you’re on a budget look online for some of the clever DIY hacks out there or see what affordable solutions your local hardware superstore may have to offer.
What’s your best tip for bunk beds? Share it in the Comments section.