As a single or couple, choosing a bed is fairly easy: pick out a comfy mattress with a bit of wriggle room to it, and a nice base to suit your bedroom. Then kids come and suddenly things aren’t so simple.
The cot is sorted, but what about afterwards? Does your child need a toddler bed, or can you skip to a big bed? How big does it need to be? Storage, trundles, bunk beds – options are doubling over themselves and working out which is best seems impossible!
Take a deep breath, grab a pen and paper, and let’s go through some questions that will help you narrow your focus and find the perfect beds for the whole family.
Toddler beds: necessary or not?
Toddler beds are essentially a mini version of a single. They’re lower to the ground and usually come with a small built-in rail.
They’re designed to be a comforting transition between the cosy confines of the cot to the wide expanse of a big kid bed, and are especially useful for toddlers who move on from the cot before they can easily climb up onto a regular-sized bed. They’re often the same size as a cot (without the bars), so can accommodate a cot mattress – a handy way to get the most life out of your little one’s mattress.
However, they are totally not essential, and many parents will opt to simply skip this middle step. If you are the kind of parent who likes to cuddle up to read with your child in bed, a toddler bed won’t be your best choice. They’re also a fairly short-term option, and you may prefer to choose something bigger that will grow with your child.
The great space debate
Before we get into mattresses, let’s talk about bed frames. Bunk beds are a smart option for siblings sharing a room where space is on a premium, or to keep a spare bed for your kiddo’s friends to sleep over.
Snug rooms can benefit from beds with built-in storage, such as underbed drawers, or cabin lofts with shelves, drawers and even desks tucked away underneath. Not keen on boxing in the space with bunks, but still want an extra bed? Trundles can be pulled out from under a bed, then pushed back out of sight when not in use.
If floorspace isn’t an issue and you want a bedroom that will continue to suit your child as they grow, a double or even queen-sized bed is a budget win, as you won’t have to continually upgrade the frame, mattress and bedding as your child outgrows each size.
Move house a lot? Keep it simple
If you see a bit of moving around in your future, then you might also want to consider how easy it will be to dismantle and rebuild the bed. Simple designs that are quick to knock together can save a lot of frustration over a bed with all the bells and whistles and a hundred screws in five different sizes.
How does it look?
Once you’ve sorted out how big your bed needs to be and what kind of features you’re going for, it’s time to bust out your Pinterest boards and start flipping through style options. Go for something that will tie in with the rest of the room.
Got a lot of blond wood decor? A raw timber frame could be the perfect complement to a Scandi or boho bedroom. Beautiful cottage-style girl’s bedroom? Wrought iron painted in white can blend seamlessly with a delicate theme fit for your little princess, right through to a more sophisticated, contemporary look when your girl hits her tween and teen years.
Fabric-covered frames in deep blue, grey or olive could make an eye-catching addition to a boy’s bedroom, pairing with a range of decor options as his interests change and develop.
Comfort is key
Getting kids into bed can be a real challenge. Keeping them there can be helped along by making sure their sleep space is comfortable, offering the right mix of support and softness. Cheap mattresses will save you initially, but tend to wear out quicker and need replacing sooner than a higher quality mattress made from durable materials.
Ever take your kids to a mattress showroom? It’s a great idea for a couple of reasons: first, it is hugely entertaining for kids, and second, you can chat to the sales staff about the different brands and mattress types on offer while the children test them out.
Sleep style plays a big determining factor – tummy sleepers tend to do well with a medium-firm mattress, back sleepers typically enjoy the support of a middle ground option, while side sleepers are often comfortable on a softer bed. Of course, it all comes down to individual preference, so aim to try out a range of different types.
Remember to keep in mind that the right bedding will differ from family to family. Choose what’s right for you and your family’s needs! With that in mind, you can’t ever go wrong.