A bunk bed is a type of bed in which one bed frame is stacked on top of another. No box spring is required as the mattress lies on a flat surface, the bunkie (or bunky) board, and may be surrounded by rails. The nature of bunk beds allows two or more people to sleep in the same room while maximizing available floor space for activities. This leads to them being used in places with limited floor space, such as on ships and in army garrisons or in places where floorspace needs to be maximized, such as dormitories, summer camp cabins, hostels, children's rooms, prison cells, or university residence halls.
Bunk beds are normally supported by four poles or pillars, one at each corner of the bed. A ladder is used to get to the upper bed, which is normally surrounded by a railing to prevent the sleeper from falling out. Some models also have a privacy curtain for the lower bunk. Because of the need for a ladder and the height of the bed, the top bunk of a bunk bed is not recommended for children under six years of age.
A loft bed is an elevated bed similar to a bunk bed, but without the lower beds - freeing floor space for other furniture (such as a desk) which might be built into the loft bed.
The most common type is the standard bunk bed which has two same size mattresses stacked one directly over the other. A twin over full bunk bed is arranged as a standard except that the bottom mattress is a full size and the upper is a twin size. A futon bunk is also arranged like a standard bunk except the lower bunk is a Western-style futon couch which converts into a bed rather than a standard mattress. Futon bunks can be used to save space in small apartments or rooms, because the lower bed converts to a couch for use during the daytime. In an L-shape bunk the bottom bed is oriented at a right angle to the top bed such that when viewed from above the beds form an L. This also creates a small alcove where a desk or bookshelf can be placed.
A loft bed denotes a bunk bed that has only the top bunk, creating an open space underneath that can be occupied by a chest, drawers, or even a work area. This makes loft beds an efficient use of small spaces by utilizing the entire vertical area that would otherwise be left unused. Some loft beds even have stowable/trundle beds while retaining the capability to contain workstations and drawers. Some loft beds are more expensive than bunk beds due to built-in storage capacity and other features.
A triple loft bed is an arrangement involving a total of three bunks. These bunks are a combination of bed types, where a loft bed is perpendicularly attached to a bunk bed to form an L-shape.
Bunk beds range in price from economy models made with metal, solid plastic or softwood frames in which the mattresses are supported by metal wire and spring suspension to expensive models made from hardwood which are outfitted with drawers, shelves, and other accessories. Some people make DIY bunk beds from wooden planks and fasteners, either from scratch or using plans or designs that they have acquired.
The top bunk of a bunk bed may be lined with safety rails to keep the user from rolling out and falling to the floor while sleeping. Beds that do not include rails may be retrofitted to include them.
Safety and other standards for bunk beds are specified by: the European Committee for Standardization standard BS EN 747-1:2007; ASTM International standard ASTM F1427-07; Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand standard AS/NZS 4220:2003; International Organization for Standardization standard ISO 9098-1:1994. There are related testing standards.
- "US Consumer Product Safety Commission: CPSC Document #5007". Cpsc.gov. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- "How To Build A Dorm Loft", Elephant Staircase
- Tim Carter, "Building a Loft Bed" and "Build a Loft Bed", Ask The Builder
- Jan 17, 2002. WIRED. "Sleeping 101".
- Woods, Vanessa. Dec 14, 2001. "Housing reviews bunk bed policy." The Daily Princetonian "Housing reviews bunk bed policy"
- "TOYS AND CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS SAFETY ORDINANCE". http://www.legislation.gov.hk. 01/12/2010. Retrieved February 10, 2012. Check date values in:
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- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warning for bunk beds
- ASTM Safety Standards for bunk beds
- UK - The Bunk Beds (Entrapment Hazards) (Safety) Regulations 1987