What is a trundle bed

Last Updated: May, 2024

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Are you staying in a small apartment, and you've been wishing to have an extra bed for your kids or guests? Then a trundle bed is a clever option for you. In this article, we'll explain what this space-saving and versatile piece of furniture is, how it works, and its pros and cons to help you make the right buying decision. 

What Is a Trundle Bed?

A Trundle bed is basically a comwhat-happens-when-you-sleep/pact bed frame with an extra bed that you can roll or pull out when you want to use it and then tuck underneath when not in use. That way, trundles can help you save space and enable you to comfortably accommodate your guests or children. They come in different designs, sizes, and materials, as we'll discuss further below. 

How Does a Trundle Bed Work?

A trundle bed features a two-in-one design that allows it to hold two beds without taking up more space. While the top bed is a standard bed with a standard bed frame, the second one comprises a slim platform. There are generally two main types of trundle beds: a pull-out trundle bed and a pop-up model. Pop-up trundle beds come with rollers and can be raised to the same level as the parent bed and form a larger sleep surface when combined. On the other hand, pull-out trundles are lower than the parent bed and maintain their height when rolled out. 

To operate the pull-out trundle bed, all you need to do is grab the edge of your bed and roll it out. The trundle bed rolling mechanism makes it super easy to slide the bed out from beneath the parent bed. Some trundle beds incorporate a system that keeps them attached to the main bed frame, meaning users can't separate them completely. Others are independent, so you can roll them out entirely and place the two separate beds in separate rooms if you feel like it. 

Unlike pull-out trundle beds, you need to pull pop-up models first before pressing a bar or lever to pop them up. That said, those using a twin XL trundle bed can easily make a split king bed by raising their pop-up trundle beds. That's why these models are often considered the best option for older guests and couples. Pull-out beds, on the other hand, are sturdier, making them perfect picks for kids’ sleepovers.

Types of Trundle Beds

While all trundles are engineered for one purpose - to save space, they are not designed in the same way. For instance, some models arewhat-happens-when-you-sleep/ designed as a full unit and come as a complete set. These types of trundle beds feature a larger frame and a trundle bed frame and mattress constructed to fit below. 

Other trundle beds are sold separately from their parent beds, and the frame may come with or without a mattress. Depending on your unique needs and preferences, you can choose a trundle bed with intricate details or a simple, minimalist style. 

Trundle Bunk Beds

Trundle Bunk Beds

A trundle bunk bed is a trundle bed that is attached to two already bunked mattresses to offer even more bed-to-space efficiency. Bunk beds usually accommodate two people, but with a trundle bunk bed, you've got up to three sleeping spaces for your guests or kids who share a room. The trundle bed is often under the lower bunk or stairs leading to the upper bunk. 

Trundle Drawer

Trundle drawers are trundle beds disguised as storage compartments under the parent bed. These units are usually lower than the primary bed and feature a wooden frame or platform to support the mattress. In addition to offering extra storage space, as some trundle drawers have built-in shelves, drawer trundles help save space in a confined room as sleepers will only need a single bed frame instead of two. 

Trundle Daybed

Trundle Daybed

A trundle daybed is a unique type of trundle bed that combines a daybed with a trundle. Sleepers by night and sofas by day, daybeds are a perfect solution for multi-use spaces. They're usually enclosed on the back and sides and act as a hybrid between a bed and a couch. Add a trundle to that, and you'll have a space-saving sleep space for two.

Depending on the design, you can roll the trundle bed out from the sides or under the daybed. Some trundle daybeds also have shelves, drawers, and other compartments for storage. Overall, if you're living in a studio-bedroom apartment and want to maximize your space, a trundle daybed might be your holy grail. 

Sleeper Sofa Trundle Beds

Like trundle daybeds, sleeper sofa beds combine the valuable functionalities of a bed and a couch with a trundle unit. While they're similar to standard sleeper sofas, you don't need to fold or unfold your mattress anytime you want to use it. 

To convert a sleeper sofa into a bed, you first need to remove the seat cushions before pulling out the hidden mattress from the sofa's frame. You can achieve this manually by either lifting the sofa bed and pulling the mattress out or by using a handle. If your sleeper sofa has a trundle bed, all you need to do to access it is to remove the safety locks or the lower panel and then slide it out from its storage position.

Captain's Bed

Generally, a captain's bed is a platform bed with shelves on the headboard and compartments on either side to help maximize storage space. This space-saving solution offers extra storage for anything you want to keep organized, including blankets, sheets, and clothes. Some captain's beds have trundles to help homeowners save space in small rooms.

Trundle Sleigh Beds

Trundle sleigh beds combine the features of a trundle unit and a sleigh bed to offer more sleep options and comfort without eating up much of your space. They're taller than standard beds and can comfortably accommodate up to three people. Plus, some trundle sleigh beds feature storage compartments below the lower bed, which is helpful in saving space.

However, they also come with drawbacks you may want to be aware of before investing in them. For instance, they're bulky, heavy, and quite expensive compared to other types of trundles. What's more, they need special mattresses that can perfectly fit on the trundle bed platform and the sleigh bed frame. 

What Size is a Trundle Bed?

The length and width of a trundle bed are normally smaller than the primary bed. Most trundle beds come in twin-size models, meaning the trundle unit can hold a twin-size mattress, which is 38 inches wide and 75 inches long. Some trundle beds can comfortably accommodate full-size mattresses, measuring 54 inches wide by 75 inches long.

Keep in mind that trundle beds usually have limitations when it comes to dimensions and thickness, as there's only space for the mattress underneath the parent bed and the trundle bed. That's why queen, king, and twin XL trundle beds are quite hard to find, as your mattress needs to be thinner and smaller than normal to conform to the size of your trundle.  

Do You Really Need a Trundle Bed?

While a twin trundle bed isn't a must-have, there are numerous situations where it comes in handy. One of the main benefits of having a trundle bed is that you can use its rolling storage in various ways. Trundle beds usually hold mattresses to offer extra sleeping space that you can tuck back underneath the parent bed during the day to maximize the small space in your room. This enables you to double your sleep space while maintaining a small footprint with your furniture. Since it perfectly fits under the main bed, the only thing it will displace in your bedroom is space for under-bed storage.

You can also use trundles for storage. If you decide not to add another mattress under your bed, the platform can be used like a drawer to hold extra bedding or seasonal clothing. Some trundle beds even feature built-in shelves and compartments to maximize storage space further. Aside from being space-efficient, most trundles boast mattresses that provide an upgrade in comfort and support compared to other temporary alternatives like air mattresses. 

Other benefits of using a trundle include:

Versatile

Another appealing trait of trundles is their multipurpose feature. Depending on the style and design of your trundle bed, you can use it as a comfy mattress at night and a daybed or a sofa during the day. Some trundles can be combined to create a larger sleep surface, such as a king-size bed. When not used as a bed, this unit can function as a storage box for bed sheets, clothes, and even kids’ toys.

Cost-Effective

Trundle beds are also a perfect match for those who want to save money. While their upfront cost is higher than standard single beds, you get two sleep surfaces for the price of one, making it a more economical alternative. With trundle beds, you won't have to decorate an entire guest room, which also saves you money.

Safer than a Bunk Bed

Generally, bunk beds are more exciting for children, as they provide a sense of adventure. However, they can also be unsafe, especially for the upper bunks. Your little one can easily roll over during the night and fall. There's also a high risk of hitting the ceiling or getting trapped between the wall and the bed.

A trundle bed, on the other hand, is a safer alternative for kids and sleepers with limited mobility, as it is much closer to the ground and doesn't need climbing a ladder. This means you can have up to three beds without worrying about your little ones falling out of the upper bed. 

Are There Any Drawbacks of Getting a Trundle Bed?

While trundle beds are perfect alternatives for those who want additional sleeping space for their children or guests, they aren't without limitations. For starters, trundles can be quite challenging to assemble compared to regular mattresses, and they may need a special size for the lower bed. Plus, trundle beds can damage your floor and carpet as the wheels on the lower bed can leave marks on the surface when moving your bed in and out. And since they're closer to the surface, you may have difficulty getting in and out of the mattress.

Other disadvantages you may want to consider before investing in a trundle include:

A Thinner Mattress May Be Uncomfortable

Since a trundle mattress is very thin, it may offer less comfort and body support compared to a standard mattress. Plus, the lower bed is near the ground, and the parent bed is higher than normal, which can make it quite challenging for the elderly and sleepers with back problems to get in and out of their mattresses.

Inconvenient for Daily Use

While trundle beds are a great option for guest rooms and small spaces, they're considered inconvenient for daily use due to various reasons. For starters, they're quite hard to move and assemble, as they're heavy and bulky. This can be inconvenient for individuals with low mobility or joint pain. The elderly may also have a hard time squatting down or getting up every morning.

Bed Underneath Requires a Special Size

If you want to invest in a trundle bed, you need to keep in mind that the lower bed needs a special-size mattress as it should be slightly smaller than the parent bed. You might have a hard time looking for a mattress that will fit your trundle bed.

Less Supportive Frame

While trundles can be a great choice for saving space and accommodating visitors, they may not provide the same level of body support and comfort as standard beds. Just like the mattress, trundle bed frames needs to be thin and less sturdy to perfectly fit under the parent bed. This can be problematic for heavyweight sleepers as they risk breaking the bed frame when they sleep on it. Plus, they won't receive the support they need for spinal alignment and pressure relief. However, you can use a mattress topper to make your trundle beds comfortable.

What Kind of Mattresses Can You Use them On?

There are many different mattress types that can work well with a trundle bed, depending on your body weight, personal preference, sleep position, and budget. Some of the mattresses that can work well with trundle beds include:

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses are made entirely of layers that conform closely to the body and offer above-average pressure relief. They're also good at preventing motion transfer, making them ideal for couples. However, most memory foam mattresses tend to trap excess body heat and have a strong off-gassing smell when new.

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses have coil-based support systems to offer support and bounce. They're also more breathable than foam mattresses and have a lower price tag, making them a popular choice among budget shoppers. However, they can be noisy, sag more easily, and transfer motion across the surface.

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses have two central elements: a foam comfort system and an innerspring support core. These mattresses offer a perfect blend of body contouring and bounce without retaining heat and can be an excellent pick for sleepers in any position. They're also more durable than memory foam models. However, they have a higher price tag and can be harder to move compared to other mattress types.

How to Select the Perfect Trundle Mattress

Buying a trundle mattress isn't that different from buying a standard model. The only challenge lies in finding the perfect size for your trundle bed.

Take Measurements

First things first, you want to measure the height of your top bed. The mattress you choose should fit between the trundle bed and the main bed. If your mattress is too tall, you'll have a hard time sliding the trundle in and out. As a rule of thumb, a mattress for trundle beds shouldn't be more than 8 inches thick. You also need to measure the trundle bed frame.

Select a Mattress that Meets Your Needs

Next, you want to look for a mattress that offers excellent pressure relief and support within the thickness constraints. Innerspring and memory foam mattresses are popular picks for their perfect balance of comfort, support, and slim profile. If you're a hot sleeper, you need to opt for a model that has cooling properties to help you sleep comfortably. Those with allergies may want to go for organic or hypoallergenic mattresses to keep allergic reactions at bay. Other factors to consider include pressure relief, edge support, responsiveness, and the quality of the materials used for construction.

Our Top 3 Trundle Bed Mattresses

Here are our top three trundle bed mattresses. Included in this list are two kids’ mattresses and a standard model that offers an excellent combination of comfort, support, and trundle-friendly dimensions. 

PlushBeds Hybrid Kids Mattress

PlushBeds Hybrid Kids Mattress

PlushBeds is running a flash sale on their award winning mattress, active May 23, 2024!

This latex hybrid mattress features organic and natural materials, including organic latex, wool, and cotton, to deliver a healthy sleep surface for your kids. It also comes with individually wrapped coils for overall body support and durability. 

What We Like

  • Enhanced edge support thanks to individually wrapped coils
  • Exceptional value for premium materials
  • Excellent pressure relief to ensure your kids sleep soundly

What We Don't Like

  • It might be too firm for some kids, especially those who prefer a softer feel

Overall Thoughts

Among the best mattresses in the industry, there aren't too many models specially designed for trundle beds. The PlushBeds Hybrid Kids Mattress is an exception. At just 7.5 inches thick and available in three mattress sizes, this kids’ mattress is engineered to fit where other mattresses can't.

It features a GOTS-certified organic cotton cover to offer the softest and most welcoming sleeping surface for your kids. Next is a GOTS-certified organic British wool layer that acts as a fire barrier and contours to the unique shape of the body. This layer also has cooling properties that help keep your kids temperature-regulated as they sleep. The support system uses 6 inches of individually wrapped coils to offer the perfect amount of body support and stabilize the rest of the bed. 

A lifetime warranty and a 100-night sleep trial period are included with each purchase. This gives families enough time to try the mattress and return it if it's not a perfect fit for their kids. 

Molssecule Core Mattre

Molssecule Core Mattre

Designed with recovery in mind, this all-foam mattress is a great choice for active sleepers. It features a cool-to-the-touch cover and a 3-zone technology for improved breathability and optimal body support. 

What We Like

  • Offers zoned lumbar support
  • Delivers excellent pressure relief and body contouring
  • Microclimate-regulating cover material prevents heat buildup

What We Don't Like

  • Heavyweight back sleepers may need more body support to maintain good posture 

Overall Thoughts

For an affordable all-foam trundle mattress, we suggest the Molecule Core Mattress. This mattress features durable, top-quality materials and comes at a pocket-friendly price. You can buy the twin-size model for less than $800. Plus, each mattress comes with two free pillows.

The advanced cool cover of the Molecule Core Mattress features a special combination of body heat and moisture-wicking technologies to prevent heat-trapping. MOLECULEshield treatment helps prevent the spread of odor and stain-causing bacteria. Beneath this cover lies a Restoreflo layer with excellent pressure relief and responsive comfort. This layer also boasts a breathable, open-cell design for cooling comfort. Below that is a precision-contoured 3D geometric surface zoned to offer hyper-targeted, self-adjusting support for different body parts. The foundation of the Molecule Mattress is made of a firm base layer that fosters healthy spinal alignment. 

The Molecule Core Mattress comes with a lifetime warranty and a 100-night sleep trial period. 

Nolah Nurture Kids Mattress

Nolah Nurture Kids Mattress

The Nolah Nurture Kids Mattress boasts a dual construction and two firmness levels that ensure your children have a comfortable, spine-aligning mattress at every stage of their growth. 

What We Like

  • Features a soft cover made from organic cotton
  • Flippable design supports children's evolving sleep needs 
  • Hybrid design offers strong support and responsive pressure relief 

What We Don't Like

  • Above-average price point for a kid's mattress 

Overall Thoughts

Made specially for trundle beds, the Nolah Nurture Kids Mattress features the same quality and durable materials as their regular mattresses. This flippable mattress has two sleeping surfaces with distinct levels of support. Your kids have the option of choosing between the firm or medium soft side, each of which has pressure-relieving foam comfort layers.

The Nolah Nurture Kids Mattress is encased in a soft organic cotton mattress cover that's temperature-regulating for a cool night's sleep. Each side features a GOTS-certified moisture-wicking wool layer. Convenient labels on the cover make it easy to see which mattress side is up. The comfort layer on the firm side is made of a dense polyfoam layer that results in more body support and less of a “mattress hug” feel. The memory foam layer on the plush side creates a soft sleeping surface with gentle body contouring and cushioning. Both sides share a pocketed coil support core with a zoned system that offers three distinct support levels. This section is designed to provide strong lumbar support, helping keep your kid's spine evenly aligned as they sleep. 

A 120-night sleep trial covers the Nolah Nurture Kids Mattress. Nolah also backs this mattress with a limited lifetime warranty. 

Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Trundle Bed

There are a few vital factors to consider when shopping for a trundle bed.

Size

Trundle beds are popular furnishing options for individuals with small floor space. Consequently, a twin-size trundle that needs two twin or twin XL beds is the most common model. If you intend to use the trundle for adult guests, you can also find full-size and larger sizes. Be sure to measure your room space before you order any trundle to ensure you get a fitting frame for the space.

Mattress Compatibility

Generally, trundles need thinner mattresses that can fit perfectly under the parent bed frame. If your bed frame doesn't come with its thin mattress, make sure you check the height requirements before investing in one. That said, hybrid mattresses aren't ideal for trundle beds. Their coil systems often make them exceed the height requirements for trundle mattresses. Your best bet here is to opt for an all-foam mattress, which boasts a thinner profile and offers a perfect balance of comfort and size.

Quality Materials

With trundles, you should consider all the frequent movements and sliding when you convert your frame to its full form. How often you use your trundle bed will determine how you'll weigh the durability of the materials. For instance, a trundle bed that doubles as a daybed will be used more frequently and hence may need a more durable material, such as a metal frame.

Price

The cost of trundle bed frames majorly depends on their style and the quality of their materials. Wooden trundles, for instance, are often the most expensive models, but they boast a sturdy design and a stylish aesthetic. Metal trundles, on the other hand, cost less and are easier to move but may be prone to noise. Lastly, particle board, synthetic, and plastic trundles are the most affordable trundle beds but are less durable. That said, always consider your personal preference and what you'll be sacrificing when you opt for a specific model.

What Are the Alternatives to a Trundle Bed?

Not sure whether a trundle bed suits your needs but still looking for something that can help you save floor space while offering your guests a comfortable place to sleep? Here are three alternatives to trundle beds that will not only get the job done but also provide the most for your money.

Futon

If you're searching for a space-saving sleep surface that doubles as a couch during the day, a futon is your best bet. Like a sofa bed, a futon can be used as a bed or a couch. The only difference is that the same mattress is used in both configurations. All you need to do to turn your futon into a comfy sleeping surface is to collapse it down. You can set the frame completely flat or at an angle. Another big bonus of purchasing this convenient piece of furniture is that it's incredibly cost-effective, allowing you to save space in your room without breaking the bank.

Murphy Bed

Also known as a wall bed, a Murphy bed tucks a bed frame and a mattress vertically into a cabinet. While they have the same comfort level as a trundle, they deliver a different aesthetic look that should fit many home spaces. However, you need to keep in mind that they're noticeably much pricier compared to trundle beds.

Panel Bed

A panel bed is a great sleepover solution for kids. It comes in twin and full mattress sizes and has drawers, giving your kids space for their toys and books.

Closing Thoughts

Trundle beds are comfortable and convenient furniture for studio apartments, kid's rooms, guest rooms, and tiny homes. They provide two beds for the price tag of one while still allowing you to maximize your space. Of course, they fall short when it comes to comfort, support, and convenience. However, they can be the best solution to a confined space.  

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