Putting the fun into functional, a bunk bed is a great addition to a kid’s room, whether it’s used for siblings that share or the occasional sleepover.
Of course, there’s always a hierarchy, which is why some of the best contemporary pieces pre-empt the fight to the top with nifty design features such as extra shelving, or even desk space in the bottom section.
As much as kids love a bunk bed, parents will also appreciate its space-saving qualities: this might be a lofty furniture piece but it offers a relatively compact footprint. If you’re really tight on space, look for designs with an integrated ladder – one that doesn’t jut out. Think about where you want to position the ladder, too. We’re often given the choice of left or right configurations.
Most modern bunk beds are crafted from solid wood, making them reliably sturdy. Beware the metal kind: we found some of the cheaper metal products do start to creak over time. Arriving flat-packed, you can expect a fair bit of self-assembly with this hefty product – particularly those that go big on storage, so be prepared to roll your sleeves up.
And of course, safety is paramount when it comes to bunk beds, so look for those that have been tested to the British Standard for children’s furniture. Manufacturers will also advise on age restrictions and, importantly, mattress depth for the top bunk. Be sure to follow the guidelines here.
We tested a range of contemporary bunk beds, looking for the best creative designs as well as functionality, durability, and affordability.
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Happy Beds domino oak wooden and metal kids storage bunk bed, 3ft single
What we loved most about our Happy Beds bunk was its thoughtful design: where so many storage beds can be bulky, cumbersome pieces, this one stays nice and open at the front. Even the top bunk feels light and airy, thanks to its inconspicuous white metal safety rail: great if kids don’t like the feeling of being penned in.
The domino boasts generous and even storage with both top and bottom sleeping spaces given the same three compartments to fill up with books, toys and reading lamps. In an arresting oak finish, and with clean-lined but wide integrated steps, this one’s warm and homely, contemporary in style, and a bundle of fun. The glow-in-the-dark stair strips are an inspired design feature.
Noa & Nani una bunk bed contemporary in classic white and pine
Noa & Nani’s offering is characteristically Scandi chic with its contrast in bright white paint and pale pine. We loved the way the natural wood accents stand out from the rest of the frame, awarding this one an element of cool, which older kids will love.
Crafted from solid pine, the una bed frame boasts a slimline and economic design – the integrated steps start from the lower bunk, not the ground, which is a small detail but one that gives the illusion of extra floor space. In fact, this one’s a great buy if you’re looking for a modern bunk bed that doesn’t overwhelm a smaller space.
Room to Grow bloc L-shaped bunk bed
If you have the room, you might want to consider an L-shaped bunk bed, which awards the lower bed a feeling of open space – and, of course, gives a claustrophobic child the option of sleeping with their head at the foot, or open end. Cleverly designed, this MDF-made, modular piece can be split into two single beds with ease, while the middle section offers nifty shelf storage that’s ideal for nighttime reads.
Clean and contemporary, we loved the way the frame looks like it’s been crafted from stacked building blocks – a subtle detail but one that little engineers in the making will appreciate.
Little Folks Furniture classic beech bunk bed with storage and trundle
With its additional pull-out trundle bed, this three-in-one furniture piece is positively made for sleepovers. Available in pure white or dove grey, the bunk bed is crafted from a very solid beech wood, making it reliably sturdy without any wobbles. This is another versatile bunk bed that can be split easily into two full-size singles.
The trundle can be used for handy under-bed storage or with a sleepover-ready mattress in permanent use. This one offers a timeless look with its tall, slatted headboards and footrests. A top-quality classic.
Julian Bowen camper van bunk bed
Novelty bunk beds are never not popular but, coming in all shapes and sizes, they can overwhelm a smaller space. Thankfully, Julian Bowen’s London bus bed doesn’t stray too far from the standard bunk bed silhouette. The camper van design is cool, bright and breezy – and perfect for vehicle-obsessed little ones. Made from a lacquered MDF, it feels reliably sturdy, too. We loved the playful attention to detail: the moveable steering wheels and the surf board ladder. Surf’s up!
Furniture 123 coco house bunk bed in white
Proving that less is often more, this simple modern house bed is one that will please design lovers young and old. Crafted from a combination of pine and MDF, and finished in bright white, this double sleeper offers a dreamy airiness. Its pared-back frame, which includes slim, integrated steps, is minimal yet offers big impact. This one is all about the structure – and while there’s no shelving space for a bedside lamp, the sloping roof is positively made to hang fairy lights.
Just Kids bunk bed
The first thing that strikes you about this wooden bunk bed is its height – but more importantly, the space between the lower and upper bunk. Designs of this ilk are great for growing kids, while mums and dads love them for sitting up comfortably at story time, without suffering a crick in the neck.
This one’s made from a solid Scandinavian pine and offers warmth and homeliness with its natural wood grain on show, knots and all. Fuss-free and timeless in design, the bunk bed is available in four sizes, from small single up to double. Sharing teens will love to spread out in style.
Great Little Trading Co Paddington bunk bed, single, white
Smart, clean and contemporary, this is one solid and sturdy-looking bunk bed. Made from a high-quality MDF, it’s suitably solid and sturdy in feel, too. Unusually, the steps are placed in the centre of the frame, which allows for extra security (and a feeling of snugness) at the head and the foot of the top bunk.
While it’s chunky in design, we loved its subtle curves and the way the ladder is a cohesive part of the design. The central steps also prove a handy feature if you have a little one that’s prone to rolling out of bed.
The verdict: Bunk beds
We loved Happy Beds’ domino bunk bed for multiple reasons: its stylish contemporary design, its generous storage compartments, and its relative affordability. It’s bulky, yes, but with clever design it manages to stay airy and open at the front. It got our top marks for safety, too, with its metal handles and glow in the dark stair strips, which guide little ones safely back to bed in the dark.
Tuck them into their new bunk bed’s with these bedding sets which will make bedtimes a lot more fun
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