Twin over Full Bunkbeds for a tiny, low-ceiling room

lynnalexandraJanuary 8, 2012

We're trying to find a relatively unobtrusive bunk bed for a tiny beach condo. The bedroom is 9 by 10 feet - with 7 1/2 foot ceilings.

It being a condo is significant for two reasons. One is that we rent it some of the time - so we want to maximize number of occupants and allow 3 kids to sleep in this room. Then there's a small master bedroom which can sleep two. We had a previous apartment we rented that slept five - so we've got a long list of regular renters that are parties of five.

The other significance of this being a beach condo is that we're not living in it full time. So a little crowded and unspacious is okay since we're not usually there for more than 3-7 days at a time. And my daughter (tall 12 year old) - absolutely adores bunkbeds. Loves the coziness on the bottom and the retreat she can get up on top. She still plays a lot and enjoyed the bunkbed we had in our previous beach apartment.

So not only is the room small - but the ceilings are only 7 1/2 feet tall. In our previous place we rented, we never even thought about height. I assume it was 8 foot ceilings - but there was plenty of room for to sit up in the bottom bed - and sit up on the top.

In my search for fairly unimposing bunkbeds, I discovered this Room and Board Riley Duo bed:

This bed is only 66" high (and that is the top of the rail and frame - the mattress is about 7 inches below that). So on top (with their 6 inch mattress) there is about 31" of clearance (maybe 32). We went to the store and discovered the problem was that my daughter could not sit up straight in the bottom bed without hitting her head on the slats. The clearance was only 28". They had a 10" mattress on the bottom. We could use their 6" mattress - or get a foam mattess ourselves that could be 6-7". And that would probably do it - until she grows. So I'm a little worried about the fit. I can't believe that the extra 6 inches in ceiling height of our former apartment could have made the bottom and top bunk so easy to sit up in that we never actually gave it a thought.

What I love about this bed is how open it is. Relatively speaking, with open ends and the arch, it's much less imposing and heavy than other twin over full bunk beds I've seen. But I'm concerned this is a little tight.

The only way I can see around this is if the lower mattress were lower to the ground - or we could definitely find good, comfortable low profile mattresses.

I'd love any recommendations on particular brands. Or any feedback about whether this twin over full bunkbed is doable. I think that with this bunkbed, we'd have room for a moderate sized tall chest (3-3 1/2 feet wide - up to 4 feet tall - plenty to accomodate a week's worth of clothing for a couple of kids). And then there's still room for a bean bag - and floor space to play on.

One other consideration. The ladder on the Riley bed was very comfortable on the feet (and stury and secure). Some of the other bunkbeds at room and board had ladders which hurt to step on (too narrow a rung).

We are hoping not to have to do a trundle since that would sleep more (good for renters) but provide no fun for my daughter to play in and spend time in.

Here are some other bunkbeds I spotted online - in case anyone has feedback:

I'm trying to pick on where the ladder doesn't go to the floor - because I know my daughter will trip on it endlessly. Anything that protrudes, she bangs into.

Thank you.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Instead of a bunk bed, to give your daughter a place to play plus the option of a bunk, how about a loft bed, with mattress on top and a desk or play space underneath? You could put a small dresser under there, plus a cushy beanbag chair, and use rings or clip hooks or velcro to even put drapes on the bottom to create an enclosed space when desired. Then having the dresser under there should give you room to have another twin (with a trundle, or with storage underneath) in the room.

My younger DS had a bunk over a desk, but that was pretty tall. He loved it, but by the time he was about 10, being a taller guy, climbing up into the bunk was no fun any more, and sitting up in bed wasn't great - and we have 8' ceilings.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 8:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Another option would be a twin daybed with pop-up trundle. I've linked a random example. As your daughter gets older, she might appreciate the sofa-like appearance of a daybed versus a bunk bed. The pop-up trundle would allow you to have the same number of beds as a bunk bed when needed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Daybed

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 8:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would opt for a trundle. My boys have a 10x10 room, and we ended up separating their beds because the room looked bigger with two low beds than one bunkbed. The bed nearly the ceiling made the room looked cramped and even smaller.

Just my $.02!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 9:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One thing to consider is that some people may not want their kids sharing a bed, or people might be bringing unrelated kids and they might not want to share a bed, so that full-size mattress might only sleep one in some families. Which might limit the number of people willing to rent from you, because you've gone from 1 full or queen bed in the master and three twins, to the full/queen in the master, plus another full in the kids' room, plus the twin upper bunk.

There are a few trundle bunk beds out there, but you'd probably have to search to find a store that carries one in the showroom. And they probably wouldn't work with your low ceilings.

You could consider regular twin bunk beds and a high-quality rollaway bed.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 9:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Maybe overlap the beds to give more sitting up space, and add another twin bed on other side of the room? I like the stripes too, for adding height.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 12:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

These are some great ideas. I appreciate everybody's helpfulness. I'm sorry that so far nobody has said that a twin over full bunkbed would work.

Les - that is one good idea - to put the dresser under the loft - if there's a separate twin. My daughter would still miss having a bed over her - she likes being cocooned in a lower bunk. This way she could do it to play but not for sleeping.

Fun2bhere - those are attractive trundles - which would achieve the extra bedding we're seeking but none of the fun of playing up high - or sleeping/playing in a nook under an upper bunk.

Finz2left - thank you for the feedback. If regular bunkbeds crowd a 10 by 10 room, a twin over full is bound to cram it. The only mitigating factor might be that nobody is there for more than a few days to a week at a time. Our master bedroom is pretty tiny too (10 by 10 - with a nook that's about 5 by 6 - some of which is closet and doorway). I'd feel crowded in it at home - but for the few days at a time we've spent there, it's been fine.

Camlan - you're right that some people wouldn't view a full bed as accomodating two (heck - I know we wouldn't), but I'm not that concerned about losing those few renters. We'd rather not be renting to a family who is also bringing unrelated kids. It's just too small - and we're not really renting to groups. So usually if there are five, it is three kids in one family. (I suppose they could bring an air mattress if they wanted - or we could do that trundle thing - but I think a trundle bunkbed would surely be too tall in that room).

MJLB - that room is awesome. My daughter just peeked over my shoulder and loves it. Of course, we couldn't fit most of that - but we have one 10 foot wall - and could perhaps fit just the overlapping bed portion. Where did you find that? I'd love to consider something like that. The ladder looks a bit uncomfortable and there's no safety rail but it's also lower to the ground. Interesting you mention the striped wall. I hadn't thought about the reason for it, but this room does have vertical stripes (in a pale ocean blue and buttermilk). Two owners ago the owner was an artist -and she did beautiful things with faux painting in the condo (also wonderful fabrics, window treatments and some furnishings that conveyed). We would not have room on the other side for another twin. The only wall that could accomodate this (no closet door or room door in the way) is 10 feet long. The other opposite wall has sliding closet doors and can't have furniture against it.

It's possible that we just can't accomodate bedding for three in there - but I'll keep thinking about it.

If anyone has had a decent experience with a regular twin over twin (or twin over full) bunkbed in such a small room, I'd love to hear it.

Thank you.

If I were to search

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 8:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I do think the bunk over full bed would work as far as space goes, but maybe not from a rental standpoint. As someone pointed out, it isn't very flexible for renters who want to sleep three, but without sharing a bed.

Could you fit the 3rd twin at a 90-degree angle to the overlapping bunk beds? Sort of like this? A little bit penitentiary as drawn, but nicely decorated? No sourcing on the red and white room. Many furniture vendors have low-cost custom furniture made from standard size cubes. A children's furniture store might do the same, or even a closet-outfitter.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 9:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would bet the bottom drawer on the striped room bottom bed is a trundle so it would fit three. Just a thought.

That's a great picture Mjlb. Thanks. I'll be saving that for when my little guy is older.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 10:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have awesome built-in triple bunks in our three girls' room. Their ceiling is 7 feet 9 inches and it works out great. I can comfortable sleep in any of them. If you don't want to build on in, I would do regular double bunks, twin over twin, with a trundle.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 9:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This may sound silly, but you could find a bunk bed your daughter likes and shorten the legs underneath the bottom bed so it's lower to the ground and gives the upper bunk more headroom.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 9:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here are a variety of bunk and loft bed solutions, including the overlapping bunk.

I don't have any experience with the brand, but they look nice. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Matrix Kids

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 9:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is another picture of overlapping loft beds. Maybe purchase the daybed/trundle and look into having a carpenter build something around it. You could have a lot of fun with this!

Here is a link that might be useful: Overlap loft bed

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 9:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We purchased a bunk bed from When speaking to them they suggested a minimum of 30-36" of clearance from the top of the mattress to the ceiling. A lot of the beds legs raise the bed probably a foot off the floor. One option would be to purchase a wood bed and trim the legs down but I'm sure this would void the warranty. Just an idea.

Here is a link that might be useful: bunk beds for sale

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 9:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Daybed are hard to make and bedding for them is limited.

I'd look at the regular twin beds with trundle underneath. Wesley Allen has some very nice ones. I think WA might also have a couple of full or queen bed with room for a trundle underneath.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 11:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had the Riley bed in my son's room before we redid it. Our ceilings are 8ft 1 or 3", I can never remember. And it was very tight to sit up in that bed, even for an older child. He stopped sleeping on top at the age of 7. So I really don't think this is an ideal solution for you with even lower ceilings.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 4:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would not do bunks with low ceilings, but my college dorm had bunks we could configure into a taller and lower bed and most of us used the taller with the lower one tucked under one corner like 2/3 of what mjlb posted. I was going to suggest something like that, even with a full or queen on the bottom because you only need clearance for foot and leg space -- not head clearance.

My grandmother's guest room at one point had what were then called Hollywood studio or daybeds -- two twins tucked into a corner, often with a large square table in the corner that one of the beds slid under or both beds could just push up to it. I saw some with elevated shelves in the back or other clever details (update the idea with a docking or charging station, etc.). Either of these options could also have a trundle underneath too -- if you have room to pull it out.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 12:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We put a twin over full bunkbed in a weekend-use condo bedroom. My kids hated it. It was imposing and it felt like it took up the whole room. Nobody wanted to sleep so close to the ceiling. The sheets were difficult to change.

W did like having the full option because sometimes grandma came with us and she was fine sleeping with one of my kids. You could never do that with a twin sized bed.

We now have the mattresses on the floor, having sold the bunked on craigslist. Ours also had a twin pullout trundle under the full, and that was used more than the top bunk.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 1:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My kids shared a small bedroom with a low ceiling at our former home. We handled the bunkbed situation by getting a bed that was supposed to go over a chest of drawers (Captain's bed? ) and a trundle frame with a mattress on top of it... so we go the effect of a full height bunkbed, but closer to the ground. (The boys were 6 and three when we went to this set-up.)

My sons slept in those beds until my older one started HS-- even after we moved to this house and they could have had their own rooms. Elder Son (who was taller) always slept on top, The Boy always slept on the bottom. He liked his cozy little cave. Still won't get you sleeping for three, but it WILL give you more floor space for other stuff...

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 2:58PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
who has grey kitchen cabinets?
would appreciate info from people who have grey cabinets...
Photoshop Help with my exterior remodel!
Help! I want to remodel the exterior of my house. I...
Do you like decor on the coffee table?
This relates back to our 'magazine house' discussion....
Area Rugs - Will Viscose rug last?
Hi, I am in the midst of redecorating my LR & DR....
Ikea mattresses
We need to get a new twin mattress for my DS (9). ...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™