8 Best Bunk Bed Alternatives (with Photos)

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

Bunk beds are a staple of homes with multiple children and for good reason. You need to maximize the most space possible, and a bunk bed’s vertical design does exactly that. However, they aren’t ideal for everyone, so what are the best bunk bed alternatives?

Loft beds, storage beds, futons, and sofa sleepers are the best alternatives to bunk beds. Built-in bunk beds are also great because they can accommodate many people. Otherwise, playground beds, connected beds, and stairway beds are great alternatives to traditional bunk beds.

Each of these bunk bed alternatives has its share of pros and cons. Follow along as we explore the best bunk bed alternatives, and why you should consider them yourself.

8 Alternatives To Bunk Beds

1. Loft Bed

Choose a loft if you want a bunk bed alternative that looks distinct and adds character to a room. Loft beds are convenient because you can place a bed under the loft, or you can use it for storage. This makes loft beds ideal for homeowners trying to make the most of their space.

Lofts have become increasingly popular because of their unique visual style and functionality. You can utilize the space beneath the loft for whatever you want, and you can even turn it into a workspace. Otherwise, you can place a twin bed, floor pillows, bean bags, or chairs underneath the loft.

The great thing about loft beds is that they vary widely in cost, and they accommodate any budget. There are simply loft beds that cost as little as $170, but some cost as much as $450 and more. Look into loft beds if you want a bunk bed alternative that gives you many options.

  • Maximizes space
  • Looks unique
  • Can work as a bunk bed
  • Affordable
  • Not a lot of variety

2. Platform Bed With Storage

Platform beds are a great bunk bed alternative, especially when they come with built-in storage. The advantage of platform beds is that they feature storage drawers on the sides or front of the bed. This makes them the perfect match for rooms with limited space.

Some platform storage beds don’t feature drawers, but instead, have open spaces underneath them. Either way, storage beds allow you to make the most of the room and they are great dresser alternatives as well. The one downside is that they only accommodate one person, but they’re affordable enough to place two in one room.

You won’t need to worry about drawers that stick out and draw eyes. Platform beds with storage are excellent bunk bed alternatives that allow you to take advantage of your limited space.

  • Convenient storage
  • Variety of options
  • Visually appealing
  • Affordable
  • Can take up a lot of space
  • Only accommodates one person unlike bunk bed

3. Built-In Bunks

This is a pricey alternative but built-in bunk beds are a great substitute for standard bunks. Built-in bunk beds are similar to what you would see on an RV, and they’re convenient. Instead of a movable bunk bed unit, built-in bunks are constructed specifically for your home.

Built-in bunk beds are expensive because construction and customization are involved. You can expect to pay $2,500 or more to construct built-in bunk beds, but many homeowners find it worth it. This is a great option for builder-owners with large families as it accommodates many people.

There is no limit to how many built-in bunk beds you want in a room beside the size of the room itself. The one downside is that they can’t go with you when you move but built-in bunk beds are worth every penny.

  • Accommodates many people
  • Customization
  • Doesn’t take up much space
  • Expensive construction
  • Can’t be moved easily

4. Futon

Futons are widely known for the affordable convenience and comfort that they provide. Because of that, they are popular amongst college students and young homeowners. However, they also serve as one of the best and most practical bunk bed alternatives out there. Futons are great because they are the perfect middle ground between a bed and couch, and they take up little space.

You can easily fit two futons in one bedroom even if you don’t have much room. During the day, you can quickly adjust the futon so that it sits like a couch and is out of your way. It’s easy to lay a futon flat when it’s time to relax or go to bed, and it’s the simplest bunk bed alternative.

Whether you put a futon in a bunk bed or the family room, it’s a comfortable and convenient luxury. Besides that, futons are widely available and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

  • Works as a couch and bed
  • Easy to move
  • Affordable
  • Less comfortable than a bed
  • Only lasts 5-10 years

5. Playground Bed

Playground beds are great because they make going to sleep fun for children. They aren’t ideal for keeping for several years as kids outgrow them, but they are great intermediate beds. Most playground beds are shaped similarly to bunk beds, and that makes them the perfect alternative.

You have no shortage of themes, styles, and color schemes to work with when it comes to playground beds. Playground beds are optimal for homeowners that have young children, but that can be limiting. They are great bunk bed alternatives, but most kids outgrow them in 2-5 years.

Unlike traditional bunk beds, playground beds utilize fun implements like ladders and bars that kids can play on. Of course, this does mean that your kids will have to be extra safe, and you may need to keep an eye on them. Playground beds are ideal bunk bed alternatives for builder-owners looking to help their kids have fun.

  • Fun for kids
  • Many options
  • Affordable
  • Kids outgrow them quickly
  • Less practical than standard bunk beds

6. Connected Beds

Connected beds are great bunk bed alternatives, but they allow for less privacy. Generally, connected beds are placed in the corner with a corner headboard and two bed frames sticking out diagonally. This allows plenty of space between the two beds, but there is less privacy than vertical bunks.

Luckily, there is enough space that you can place a room divider between the two beds to allow more privacy. Connected bed frames and corner headboards generally only work with single and twin beds. Because of that, connected beds are primarily ideal for small children and won’t last you for many years.

Many connected beds also come with storage drawers underneath them, but that drives the price up. A corner headboard-connected bed with storage can cost upwards of $900. Only choose connected beds if you have small children and want to avoid vertical bunk beds.

  • Sometimes comes with a storage
  • Good use of space
  • Visually appealing
  • Less privacy than bunk beds
  • Expensive

7. Stairway Bed

If you’ve been on the hunt for bunk beds before, chances are that you know what a stairway bed is. Stairway beds are similar to traditional bunkbeds, but they feature small staircases that lead to the top bunk. The staircase adds a nice touch to the classic bunk bed and completely changes the aesthetic it brings to a room.

Not all parents and homeowners are comfortable with their kids using a ladder to reach the top bunk. Luckily, stairway beds are much easier to travel up and down, and they are safer than ladders. This gives the parents peace of mind and lets the kids have a fun sleeping situation.

This all comes at a price, of course, and stairway beds are generally quite expensive. You can expect to spend at least $1,000 on the low end for a nice stairway bunk bed. However, it is worth it for homeowners concerned about their kids safely getting up and down from the top bunk.

  • Safe
  • Visually appealing
  • Fun for kids
  • Expensive
  • Takes up a lot of space

8. Sofa Bed Sleeper

Similar to futons, sofa bed sleepers are convertible beds that function just as well as a sofa. Sofa bed sleepers feature pull-out beds that can easily be unfolded when it’s time to sleep. These are great because you can fit a sofa bed sleeper and a regular bed in the same room easily.

The one downside is that it may be difficult for children to pull the bed out of the sofa bed sleeper. You can place them in bedrooms, living rooms, and family rooms, and they are convenient wherever they are. Sofa bed sleepers are ideal for the same reasons as futons, and that mostly comes down to saving space.

They are great to keep around for when guests come over even when your kids have outgrown them. Get a sofa bed sleeper if you want something more comfortable than a futon or bunk bed without taking up space.

  • Comfortable
  • Saves space
  • Works as bed and sofa
  • Difficult for children to pull the bed out
  • Expensive

What Did We Learn?

The best alternative to bunk beds is a loft bed because of the storage potential, and you can fit a bed under it. Otherwise, built-in bunks are great if you have a large family with many children. Sofa bed sleepers and futons are the best choices because you can still use them once your kids outgrow them.

Connected beds with corner headboards are excellent if you want to utilize space and place it in the corner. Stairway beds are the safest alternative to traditional bunk beds because there is no ladder that your child could slip on. Each of these alternatives is worth considering if you don’t want to purchase bunk beds for your home.

Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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