How to Choose a Bunk Bed Mattress

Bunk beds.
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Bunk beds are fantastic for sleeping two kids in one bedroom and making the most of a house that’s too small for the family, but the top bunk needs a relatively thin mattress to ensure the guard rail can do its job.

Bunk bed mattress depth

You want a mattress that’s 18cm thick because the guard rail on most bunk beds is only around 36cm tall, and you need 16cm of safety clearance.

The bottom bunk also needs a thin(ish) mattress to maximise the bottom bunk’s head clearance —essential for the older, taller sibling at the bottom.

Bunk bed mattress technologies

Pure foam mattresses are usually the thinnest, like the Giltedge Flex 150, which is only 15cm thick. The downside of foam mattresses is that they are less durable than spring types and lack bounce, which reduces mobility in bed.

An open coil or pocket spring mattress is a better option, with pocket springs like the Giltedge Buckingham offering the best overall sleep experience.

Giltedge 1x 3FT Single + 1x 4FT 6 Double Buckingham Slimline Mattress
Pictured: Giltedge 1x 3FT Single + 1x 4FT 6 Double Buckingham Slimline Mattress. Priced £535.20 (Save £133.80 on RRP)

Some mattresses also have cooling technologies, making sleeping more comfortable in hot weather. For example, Giltedge Solo has a cooling outer cover.

Memory foam is a fantastic material for a squashy feel, while reflex foam is firmer, offering a more stable platform at the expense of cushioning.  

You can also get children’s mattresses like the JayBe Foam Free Sprung (which contains zero chemicals) and the Silentnight Eco Memory Bunk Mattress, which has a breathable top comfort layer and chemical-free materials.

JayBe Foam Free Sprung 3FT Single Mattress
Pictured: JayBe Foam Free Sprung 3FT Single Mattress. Priced £161

Bunk bed mattress firmness

A medium firm mattress like the Dormeo Octosmart Premium Classic or a medium one like the Dormeo Octosmart Premium Plus will do you fine.

Some children might find a medium-firm mattress too hard, and that’s where a medium mattress comes in. However, you can also get medium-soft mattresses like the Dormeo Octosmart Premium Deluxe—ideal for children under 10.

Dormeo Octasmart Premium Deluxe 3FT Single Mattress.
Pictured: Dormeo Octasmart Premium Deluxe Mattress

Bunk bed mattress money-saving tips

Buying a twin mattress set can save money on bunk bed mattresses. This also provides a consistent sleep experience, so transitioning to the bottom bunk is easy for the younger sibling.

Here are some options:

If you have a triple sleeper bunk bed – one with a small double bottom bunk and a single top bunk – you can also get a mattress set to save money, like the Giltedge Beds 1x 3FT Single + 1x 4FT 6 Double Sussex Slimline mattress.

The cheapest mattresses you can buy separately are open coil and pure foam ones – expect to pay between £90 and £120 for a single.

Flair Flick Triple Sleeper Bunk Bed - Oak.
Pictured: Flair Flick Triple Sleeper Bunk Bed – Oak. Priced £671.40 (Save £47 on RRP)

Have you not bought a bunk bed yet?

Bunk beds save space by stacking two beds vertically—one on top and one below. The mattress is usually the same size on both levels, but sometimes, you’ll see a single on top of a small double or double on the bottom.

The Mya has solid pinewood construction, slatted ends, and a rounded ladder, or you can go for something white like the Julian Bowen Domino (also available in anthracite).

Metal and wooden bunk beds offer the same functionality, although wooden ones can have built-in shelves and drawers, like on the Flair Flick.

Bedmr Mya bunk Bed - Pine.
Pictured: Bedmr Mya bunk Bed – Pine. Priced £357.92 (Save £90 on RRP)

Summing up

Bunk beds need thinner mattresses than standard beds—look for ones between 15cm and 18cm thick for safety on the top bunk.

Most bunk bed mattresses cost less than £150 per mattress, but some hybrid ones from Dormeo and other premium brands can cost a little more. You will get a more durable mattress to support your kid’s growth.  

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