The 10 Best Bunk Beds
10. Zinus Dual
9. DPH Sturdy Kids
8. Walker Edison
7. Discovery Mission
6. DHP Twin Over Twin
5. American Furniture Classic
4. Bedz King
3. Coaster Home Furnishings
2. Storkcraft Caribou
1. Max & Lily
Imagine A Bed For More Than Sleeping
I'm going to go ahead and make a statement that, as far as I can tell, is pure conjecture: bunk beds are good for the imagination.
I didn't need a bunk bed growing up. One of the primary reasons that parents invest in bunk beds is that they have more children than they have spare rooms. Since bunk beds utilize the vertical cubic feet of a room to stack sleeping areas on top of one another, they're ideal for anyone trying to fit more humans into a tight space.
The house I grew up in had just enough rooms for my sister and I not to have to bunk together, which would have ended in violence, I'm sure. I did, however, have friends who weren't as fortunate as I was. They had more siblings and less space, but on the other hand, they also had bunk beds, which seemed like the coolest thing in the world to me.
There's also the occasional sleepover to take into account here. Even if you've got a single child, and he or she has a room bigger than yours, there's still a good chance (unless all this apparent wealth and isolation has rendered the child a pariah among his or her would-be friends) that you're going to host some sleepovers. Bunk beds make these affairs a lot easier, as you won't have to worry about blowing up tedious air mattresses or pulling that pesky bed out of the couch.
As for the imagination claim, well, I got my bunk bed around age eight, and it served me as a sleeping space, a space shuttle, an air plane, a sailboat, a submarine, a concert stage, a skyscraper, and a slew of other forms that fed my childish fancy. It was the size of it, the materials out of which it was made, and, most importantly, its climbability. That ladder and all those rungs and boards turned me into a little climbing monkey-person within the first few minutes of ownership.
Battle Of The Bunks
Supposing you have two people intending to share the bunk bed you buy, which is probably the norm, you're all but guaranteed to buck up against an impasse over the top bunk. On a bunk bed, the top bunk is prime real estate, the domain–most often–of the child with superior status. Often, parents will determine the bunk assignments by age, allowing the oldest to choose which bed he or she wants.
You may have a set of twins on your hands, however, and enforcing anything based on that difference of a few minutes between their arrivals is bound to leave psychological scars. When there isn't a clear path to resolution on the bunk levels, create a monthly schedule, where on the first of every month the kids switch.
If there's a big age gap between your kids, I'd take a good long look at either of the bunks on our list that offer a double bed size. One of them is full over full, meaning the beds on the top and the bottom fit full-size mattresses, while the other only has the full on the bottom. In the latter case, the older kid would likely grab the bigger bottom bunk, but if he or she is adamant about having a full bed and a top bunk, the former is your best option.
Among the other sets, your primary concern is liable to be aesthetic. Kids' rooms are usually pretty specifically decorated. I know mine certainly was when I was at that age, and the bright purple bunk bed my sister had in her bright pink room wouldn't quite have fit in with my sky blue fighter pilot scheme. Keep design in mind, and it'll guide you toward a smart choice.
Sometimes the etymology of a word creates two distinct and diverse meanings for it through the years. Cleave is one such word, as it simultaneously means to cling to and to cut into pieces. Bunk has a similar history.
While bunk beds as we know them have a history that's hard to pin down, we know that "to bunk," as in to sleep, was a term in common use since the middle of the 19th century. It was likely a term derived from the establishment of military bunkers.
Of course, methods of tiered sleeping show up in history all the way back to the 1400s, when servants often slept on the floor beneath their masters' beds. While these couldn't technically be considered bunk beds (the servants didn't have any bedding to speak of), it is an early example of the sleeping design.
Bunk's other meaning, which is confounding, especially considering my reverence for the bunk bed, is "nonsense."
The story goes that a North Carolina State Representative by the name of Felix Walker was slated to speak regarding the debates of Missouri's statehood in 1820, and that he intended to droll on at length to make sure some of his speech got into the papers. He wanted the people of his state to see that he wasn't just wasting time in the House, so he said that he wouldn't be speaking to Washington, but to Buncombe, his home county.
Since then, particularly in the American south, bunk, a shorthand for Buncombe, has been associated with nonsense. Hopefully, as history roils forward, this negative designation will fade, and the glory of the bunk bed will remain.