What is a Trundle Bed?

By Stacy Liman
Last Updated On September 22nd, 2020

Trundle beds are mattresses on a rolling platform made to tuck under a standard bed frame. During the day, you can keep the second mattress stored and then pull it…

What is a Trundle Bed?

Trundle beds are mattresses on a rolling platform made to tuck under a standard bed frame. During the day, you can keep the second mattress stored and then pull it out as necessary in the evenings. The bed is designed to save space; it sleeps two people while only using the space for one. Some trundle beds even have shelves and drawers built in for extra storage.

Trundle beds are available in twin or full size bed frames to save space; they’re perfect for children sharing a room or having sleepovers. Although the beds usually sit low to the ground, they’re also available in a pop-up design to transform a twin size bed into a split king.

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If you have a smaller bedroom or home, yet need to sleep multiple people, trundle beds are functional options.

Benefits Of A Trundle Bed

Trundle beds are a great piece of furniture in any home since they have various uses, from being a storage unit to comfortably sleeping guests who are visiting.

Great For Hosting Guests

When compared to other beds for guests, like futons or air mattresses, trundle beds are convenient, comfortable, and easy to use—especially if your children have sleepovers.

Maximizes Small Spaces

Trundle beds are a smart piece of furniture to have when you live in a small space, such as an apartment or studio. A trundle bed sleeps two people. You store one bed beneath the other, so you don’t need to worry about having an extra room for friends or family.

Also, if you have children who share a small bedroom, a trundle may be a safer option than a bunk bed. All you need to do is roll the trundle out from under your bed when it’s needed and there’s no need to worry about your child falling.

Trundle beds work for storage in a small home, as well. They sometimes come with drawers or shelves built in to store items if you have no extra room in your home. If you don’t need the extra sleeping space, you can store even more belongings where another mattress would normally go.

Multipurpose

What is a Trundle Bed?

One of the appealing traits of trundle beds is their versatility. Depending on the style of the trundle bed you purchase, they can be used as a daybed or chaise lounge during the day and sleeping space at night. In addition, the trundle can be used as a storage space for items such as toys, blankets, or clothes if it’s not being used as a second bed.

Cost-Effective

A trundle bed is cheaper than two separate beds. While the upfront cost is higher than a standard single bed, it’s a more economical option as it sleeps two people. With a trundle bed, you won’t need an entire guest room to decorate or furnish, saving you money as well.

Trundle beds are pricier than an air mattress or futon, but they are more durable and comfortable.

Drawbacks Of A Trundle Bed

Although trundle beds are great in certain situations, they are not without limitations. Trundle beds have a low weight capacity; most can only support roughly 250 pounds. Thus, larger adults can’t use trundle beds without the risk of them breaking.

In addition, trundle beds require a thin type of mattress which may not provide enough spinal support or cushioning for adults with back pain. Children, however,  are light enough to enjoy sleeping on a thin mattress.

Since most trundle beds are low to the ground, it may be difficult for users with low mobility or chronic pain to squat down or get up. The elderly, in particular, may be unable to use a trundle bed for this reason.

For the sleeper on the primary bed, it can be awkward to get in and out of bed with the trundle sleeper at their feet. If the bed is pressed against the wall, trying to get out of bed in the middle of the night is difficult without disturbing the other person.

Another annoying issue is if the wheels on the trundle do not lock, the bed may not stay in place.

Types of Trundle Beds

Trundle beds are available in different styles to suit your individual needs, whether you are looking for additional storage or a couch-bed duo.

Bunk Bed

Typically, bunk beds only accommodate two people. However, a bunk bed with a trundle can sleep three people. Bunk beds are especially great for children who share a room.

Daybed

The average daybed only sleeps one person comfortably. However, a daybed with a trundle can sleep two! A daybed with a trundle is useful if you need a sleep and lounge space as it doubles as a sofa. If you have a studio apartment and want to maximize your living space, a daybed with a trundle may appeal to you.

Captain’s Bed

A captain’s bed is a frame with drawers on either side and shelves on the headboard to maximize storage space. While not all captain’s beds include trundles, some do. The mattress is likely lifted high off the ground to accommodate the added storage and trundle. Captain’s bed frames are incredibly space-efficient and useful if you need extra storage.

Trundle Frames

Trundle frames come in two variations, a pop-up and drawer frame. While both styles use wheels and are stored beneath the bed, the pop-up frame has an adjustable height while the drawer frame remains near the ground.

  • Pop-up Frame: When a pop-up frame comes out from under the bed, it can be lifted to the same height as the primary bed. If you have a twin primary bed and a twin trundle bed, together they can equal a king size bed. This is useful for couples who want to sleep together, but need extra space during the day. However, it can be difficult to align the two mattresses. To counteract this, try using a bridge pad and get wheel locks for the trundle.
  • Drawer Frame: Drawer frames are the most popular frame style for trundle beds. In addition to the large drawer for storing the mattress, this frame includes extra drawers for other items.

FAQs

Are trundle beds comfortable?

The comfort and support of your trundle bed varies based on the mattress. Typically, trundle beds have a thin mattress, about 8 to 10 inches thick and are best suited for back and stomach sleepers, children, and individuals without back pain.

Can you add a trundle to any bed?

Yes, trundles and bed frames can be purchased separately. However, your bed frame must have enough clearance between it and the floor to fit the trundle beneath it.

Trundle frames can be as low as 6 inches, but take into consideration the height of the mattress as well, as some trundles are more than 10 inches thick. So, the clearance between your bed frame and the floor should be roughly 16 inches.

Do trundle beds work on carpet?

Yes, you can use a trundle bed on the carpet. Using a trundle bed on the carpet can actually keep the bed in place, especially if your trundle wheels don’t lock. It may be a bit more difficult to pull the trundle out on the carpet compared to on wood or tile, though some trundle beds have handles to make moving them easier.

Can you sleep on a trundle bed all the time?

Yes! In fact, many children who share bedrooms with their siblings often sleep solely on trundle beds. Be sure to use a high-quality mattress and pillow to ensure you’re comfortable and well supported. Although mattresses on trundle beds must be thin, they can still be supportive and foster good sleep.

What other beds are suited for small spaces?

Beyond a trundle bed, other sleeping options for small spaces include:

  • Murphy bed: Also known as a wall bed, this bed frame is stored vertically against the wall and pulled down when you go to sleep.
  • Loft bed: This style is similar to a bunk bed; however, loft beds only have a top bunk. Instead of a lower bunk, people put a couch or desk underneath in the space.
  • Futon: Futons are a couch-bed duo. During the day, the frame is folded into a couch, though at night, you can flatten it and use it as a bed.
  • Sofa bed: Contrary to a futon, a sofa bed is a couch with a mattress tucked into the frame. Sofa beds have seat cushions separate from the mattress to be used during the day and in the evening, you remove them and pull out the mattress.
  • Rollaway bed: Commonly used in hotels, rollaway beds are beds meant to be transported and stored easily. The metal frames of rollaway beds have wheels and can be folded up when not in use.
  • Air mattress: Air mattresses are inflatable beds best used on camping trips or when hosting guests.

Conclusion

Trundle beds are convenient for guests or children. Plus, instead of furnishing an entire guest bedroom, you can just use a trundle bed. Some trundle beds even double as sofas or sitting areas, and most come with plenty of storage. Overall, they’re an economical, space-saving option.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.


About the author

Stacy Liman is a journalism graduate student and a freelance writer with a focus on mindfulness and content marketing. Stacy enjoys discovering new mattresses and connecting people with their perfect bed, but she more so enjoys understanding and writing about the science of sleep to help people get deeper, healthier rest.

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