What Is A Trundle Bed And Should You Get One?


What Is a Trundle Bed? Chances are you've seen one but never knew its correct name…

Trundle beds are incredibly useful, especially for parents, so long as you understand what they are and how they work. We’re going to talk you through some common types of trundle beds and their benefits to help you make the right choice when bed shopping.

Trundle Bed: What It Is

A trundle bed is typically a single or double bed with space underneath for a second pull-out sleeping area. These beds make great guest beds, and the trundle area can also be used for storage.

Trundle Bed vs. Day Bed

People often get trundle beds and day beds confused, but they’re not the same thing. A day bed is not a type of trundle bed by default and is its own sofa-bed hybrid entity.

Day beds look like sofas. They have backs and arms, albeit both are low, and come in a variety of styles. Thanks to their short backs they look best against the wall.

They’re made to function as sofas most of the time but are great if you have guests or if you have kids who want to nap downstairs or in your office in the day time. The sitting surface is soft enough to function as a mattress, and the day bed overall is deep and long enough to suffice as a bed.

Sometimes you’ll find day beds with compartments underneath that resemble the pull-out area of trundle beds. Most of the time this is just a storage area where you can keep bedding, to save you running to the closet when someone needs to sleep on the day bed.

Occasionally you’ll find this pull-out is a second sleeping area, making it a trundle and day bed combination. Now, let’s look into some other common types of trundle bed you may encounter that don’t also function as sofas.

Types of Trundle Bed

While all bed types have the ability to be trundle beds, many beds are quite low to the ground. There’s not much room to store a full second sleeping space.

Here are a few bed types you’ll commonly see made into trundle beds. They’re all high off the ground and about maximizing your space and storage capabilities.

Sleigh Beds

Sleigh bends tend to be high off the ground, with mattresses sitting on top of a thin base. They get their name from the curl decor on the head and footboards.

While not all sleigh beds are trundle beds, most of them are easy to convert into trundles. Get a large drawer, place a mattress inside and keep bedding nearby, ensure the mattress-drawer setup fits under the bed and there you are.

However, sleigh beds can also come equipped with trundle beds underneath them already.

Captain Beds

Trundle beds are already all about keeping space to a maximum, but captain beds take it to the next level. There are usually shelves in the headboard for storing items you’d usually see on a bedside table. This makes it easy to slide out the trundle from beneath the high bed frame.

These bed frames are so high that there are often drawers above the trundle—inaccessible when it’s pulled out, but great the rest of the time.

Bunk Beds

Bunk beds already maximize space by having two beds in the space of one. Why not add a third? The ceiling may not be high enough to add another on top, but a trundle bed often fits neatly underneath.

Trundle Bed: Who It’s For

Trundle beds are fit for anyone. They’re fantastic for a range of scenarios and incredible to put in a spare room or an office space.

Let’s examine a few scenarios where a trundle bed is optimal:

  • Sleepovers: If your kids have lots of sleepovers, trundles make great spaces for their guests. If the guest brings a sleeping bag you don’t even need to supply much bedding.
  • First Real Bed: Toddlers may fear sleeping in a real bed for the first time. A trundle bed lets you sleep alongside them to ensure they feel comfortable and confident in their big kid bed.
  • Sick or disabled children: Like the scenario above, trundle beds are great for you to stay close to a frequently ill or a disabled child who needs supervision at night.
  • Storage and sleep: Do you rarely have guests but have tons of stuff you have no place for? Use the trundle bed as storage, without a mattress. When guests arrive, whip out an air mattress for it, rehome the stored items for the night, and have the best of both worlds.
  • Daybed style: While daybeds are their own thing, some come with trundle beds underneath. If you need a sofa in your office then a daybed would be fantastic, and when guests come over you have two beds in your day bed/trundle combo.

Can Adults Sleep On Trundle Beds?

Though most of the scenarios above are for kids, adults can sleep on trundle beds. They’re about the size of a single bed, or at least a small single, and they’re usually full-length.

Their mattresses are thinner, so they’re not the most supportive. You may not want to sleep on a trundle bed if you have back issues, as many experts around the web agree that firm beds are best for bad backs. A thin mattress just won’t be firm enough.

Elderly adults should also avoid trundle beds as they’re not supportive enough for more fragile bones.

Lastly, heavier adults should avoid these beds due to support issues, and in some cases size issues.

Trundle Bed: Mattress Setup

You may have seen that you can use a trundle bed as storage, or use an air mattress with it instead. Does this mean they don’t come with a mattress and bedding?

Sometimes they don’t, and you’re left shopping for a trundle bed mattress yourself.

The normal bed can be set up as normal, but underneath you need to get creative.

Most trundle beds don’t have enough room beneath them to use a full-size mattress on the trundle bed. Instead, you want something no more than 10 inches thick, about eight if you’re being careful.

The mattress can be made of any material, but most people recommend some kind of foam as springs can be uncomfortable on such a thin mattress.

Once you have the mattress there’s not much work to do to get the bed set up. Get it in place and ensure it moves in and out smoothly. However, the most you’ll be able to keep on the bed at all times is a sheet, so keep some bedding close by if you have a trundle bed.

Final Thoughts

A trundle bed is a fantastic asset to have, no matter what type you get. When working with a trundle bed, ensure:

  • The mattress is less than 10 inches thick.
  • You have bedding nearby.
  • Elderly, overweight and pain-prone guests sleep elsewhere.

Besides that last point you should have no issues with a trundle bed—but leave any questions or comments below if you wish.

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