Bunk Beds May Seem Like A Great Idea, But In Reality, They're Hell

by Annie Reneau
Originally Published: 
Kids playing on a bunk bed
Getty / Image Source

Bunk beds are a necessary evil in our house. We have one too few bedrooms (or one too many kids, if we want to get all cynical), so two of our children have to share a room.

RELATED: 18 Best Loft Beds To Maximize Space And Make Bedtime — Dare We Say? — More Fun

In our current house, the bedrooms are too small to fit two beds, so my husband built a beautiful set of solid wood bunk beds for our younger two when we moved in. It was seemingly the perfect solution, and the kids were over the moon about their new sleeping spaces.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and I’d give my left pinkie finger to not have to deal with the hell of kids sharing a bunk bed.

First of all, bunk beds are either stupidly expensive or built so cheaply that you don’t feel safe putting your child to sleep in them. Who trusts a shaky, rickety bed six feet above the ground, which hovers over another bed where one of your precious babies could be crushed to death? This is why we built our own (which would also seem like a risky option if my hubs weren’t legitimately handy).

Then there’s the whole “who sleeps where” question. In an ideal world, one kid would want the top bunk and the other would want the bottom bunk, and we could all skip off into the sunset holding hands. But of course, that’s never the case. My kids have gone twelve rounds over who gets the top bunk and for how long. They’ve negotiated and bribed and bartered and flat out fought over it more times than I can count. I generally have had them work it out themselves (build those negotiation skills, kids!), but I’ve also had to listen to them bicker and complain about it.

Third—and the most importantly point, really—have you ever tried to change the sheets on a top bunk? Hell. Absolute hell. It’s basically on the same frustration level as trying to fold a fitted sheet, only with a shaky fear of heights and some bloody knuckles thrown in for fun. Is it possible to change a top bunk sheet without losing some skin? How about sweating—is it possible to do without sweating? Every time I successfully get the sheets changed, I look around expecting someone to hand me a trophy. I earned some kind of prize for that effort, damn it.

Also, if the bunk bed is up against the wall, which it probably is (since why else would you subject yourself to the pain of bunk beds except to maximize space), your kid’s crap falls down the side of it all the time—stuffed animals, books, papers, etc. So then you have to try to move the frickin’ thing out from the wall to retrieve said crap—a feat that requires herculean strength if the bed is well made, or one that makes you again question the safety of your children if it’s not.

Finally, the height of a bunk bed greatly limits where you can place it in a room. I’m a person who enjoys rearranging furniture every once in a while to freshen things up, and in my kids’ room, there is only one place that the bunk bed can go without blocking a window. Rain on my redecorating parade.

Actually, one more thing—is it bunk bed or bunk beds? No one seems to be able to agree on this, so not only do we have conflict over who gets the top bunk, we also have an unsolvable grammatical issue on our hands. Like we need more uncertainty in our lives.

Oh, did I mention my older brother sprained his ankle jumping off the top bunk of our bunk bed (bunk beds?) when we were little? I might be a little traumatized.

Bunk beds may seem like a brilliant idea, and in theory, they’re a great solution to the problem of housing multiple children in one room. But the reality of bunk beds is that they suck in almost every way.

At this point, I wish that we’d gone with a trundle bed. If you don’t absolutely need them, say no to the bunks. Trust me, your knuckles and your sanity will thank you.

This article was originally published on