When we found out I was expecting Joey, we began thinking about how we’d fit five kids into a three-bedroom condo. We played with various ideas, but one option we kept coming back to was a triple bunk bed. A friend of mine who also has five kids has a triple bunkbed for her three daughters. Since beds are the biggest piece of furniture in a bedroom, this seemed like a great way to make the most of the space we had.
Earlier this fall, when Joey outgrew his rocker in the corner of our room, we finally bought our triple bunk bed. It was easier than we thought to take the girls’ existing bunk bed out of their room and install a triple bunk bed in the same space. Nothing else in the room changed, but now our middle three daughters share the room, instead of just Lily and Jade.
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Buying a Triple Bunkbed
We’ve had about a year to plan this furniture change, so we did a lot of shopping around. Kids’ beds can be expensive, and trip bunk beds are no exception. While these bunkbeds aren’t very common, there are several stores that carry them. We compared features, sizing, and shipping at various companies.
Unfortunately for Canadians, triple bunkbeds are harder to find in Canada than in the United States. Both Walmart.com and Amazon.com carry triple bunk beds, but not Walmart.ca or Amazon.ca. Other bunk bed companies also wouldn’t ship to Canada. We ended up buying our bunkbed online and shipping it to a mailbox in the States, and then driving over the border to pick it up.
Our triple bunk bed can come apart into three separate twin beds. We like this feature, as it offers more options for us down the road. We could turn it into a bunkbed and a twin bed or three twin beds, depending on our space in another home.
Assembling a Triple Bunkbed
Over the years, we have assembled (and disassembled) our Ikea furniture quite a bit. For us, putting the bunk bed together wasn’t too hard. It arrived in three big boxes: one for the bed ends, one for the rails, and one for the shorter pieces and hardware. The pieces were labeled, but it was pretty obvious how they fit together. They also came with instructions.
The girls’ bedroom is a small space, so we assembled each bed section in the living room, then carried it to the bedroom. This system didn’t totally work, because we still managed to bump the walls a bit! It was easy to stack the beds, as a solid metal pin in each of the four corners of the beds hold them together. We just had to lift each bed onto the pins and slide it down.
Sleeping in the Triple Bunk Bed
How much space does the triple bunk bed give each of the girls for sleeping? Well, they can each sit up in their beds. Currently, we have Lily (age 8) on the top bunk, Jade (age 5) in the middle bunk, and Pearl (age 2) in the bottom bunk. Let’s start at the bottom:
Pearl’s bunk sits right on the floor. Her mattress is a coilspring mattress that’s about four inches think. (I’d love to replace this with a thinner foam mattress, putting her closer to the floor.) I like knowing that even if she rolls off her bed (as she frequently does), she doesn’t have far to roll to the floor. Even Joey (currently 9 months) likes playing on her bed, because he can crawl on and off by himself.
There is enough space to fit a kids’ bed rail between the two bunk bed ladders. After a few days, Pearl asked me to take it off. It required that she either climb through one of the ladders or over the bed rail. If she does roll off the mattress, I just pick her up and put her back.
Jade’s bunk in the middle probably has the least height. (Again, changing the mattress would give her a couple more inches.) She has two rungs on her ladder to climb into her bunk. We’ve both had to learn not to bump our heads! I can make her bed while standing on the floor, as it’s just above waist level for me (easier than the second bunk of a regular bunkbed!).
Lily, on the top bunk, can easily sit and read a book, with plenty of room above her head. Lily does have an Ikea foam mattress on her bed, as I find it much easier to put sheets on this mattress than the coil spring mattresses. I figured the top bunk would be the hardest to make, so I put the flexible mattress up here. I’ve been on her bunk several times to make her bed. I actually find this bunk bed a lot less wobbly than other bunk beds and loft beds we’ve had for the girls. It’s a solid bed, despite its height!
Choosing Mattresses for Your Triple Bunkbed
The triple bunk bed does fit common mattress dimensions. All three girls have regular twin mattresses on their beds. As I mentioned above, I would recommend choosing thinner mattresses for the triple bunk bed as this maximizes how much heigh the kids have in their bed. I find foam mattresses much easier to make than traditional coil-spring mattresses, as they are more flexible for tucking sheet corners around.
Setting Rules for the Bunkbed
We’ve found (along with friends of ours) that our girls don’t mind sharing a room—most of the time. They enjoy playing with each other. Jade actually doesn’t like going to bed without Lily (on the rare nights when Lily is out or allowed to stay up late). There are times, however, when each of them wants their own space. Our rule is that they have to share a room, but their bed is their own space.
Nobody is allowed on Lily’s bed (the top bunk) except for Lily. If she wants to show a friend her bunkbed, then they can go up by themselves to see the bed and come back down promptly. They are not allowed to play on the beds. Lily may read quietly on her bunk, and Jade may play quietly with her stuffies on hers.
The “warning” labels on the bunk bed actually helped to reinforce this. Lily read her label herself, which recommends that only one child be on each bunk at a time. It also recommends that the child on the bunk bed is older than age six. So it was easy for us to say, “Yes, follow those rules!” The labels remain on her beds, so if we ever have to discuss it, we can just say, “What do those rules say?”
Personalizing the Bunk Beds
Once we got the triple bunk bed assembled, I began looking for kids’ wall lights. I wanted each of them to have a light next to their bed, so they could play or read quietly (either at bedtime, or during the day). We found three matching Ikea pink flower lights and installed one beside each bunk. My husband looped the cord around the bunk rails so that the girls’ switches were easy to reach.
They each love their lights and use them a lot. We’re constantly reminding Pearl to turn off her light when she leaves her bed!
I also used Glow-in-the-Dark Paint to spray paint stars around the top of the girls’ wall. I added one star by each of the lower bunks, but those only glow if their flower lights have been on before bed. The stars look really cool at bedtime when we turn out the lights!
Three Girls in a Bedroom
The girls share a large Ikea dresser for their clothes. Pearl has the bottom drawer, Jade the next drawer from the bottom, and Lily the middle two drawers (which are slightly smaller). Jade has one of the top narrow drawers, as she can reach it from her bunk bed. Lily has the other drawer. And since I used a capsule wardrobe checklist from Efficient Momma to go through their clothes, they’ve had lots of room in their dresser!
They also have a Billy bookshelf and an Ikea nightstand that matches their dresser. We keep their tapes and tape player on the nightstand. Finally, Lily has a keyboard from my Grandma and a piano stool. When we moved the triple bunk bed in, I used the opportunity to declutter a few toys and organize their room. They do have some space to play in their room, if they want to get out their wooden trains or Playmobil.
How do you make the most of bedroom space for your kids?
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