Do You Need A Special Mattress For A Bunk Bed

Having questions about buying the right mattress for your bunk bed? This article will provide all the answers

Dormitories to office bedrooms or even a house filled with teenagers, wherever there is insufficient space to accommodate multiple beds, bunk beds come to the rescue. 

Contrary to popular belief, bunk beds are not limited to specific sizes. Instead, they are available in almost all sizes. But people struggle to find a suitable mattress for their bunk beds because standard mattresses might not be effective on bunk beds. 

Do You Need A Special Mattress For A Bunk Bed

So do you need a special mattress for a bunk bed? 

I will cover all your questions in this guide, including “what size are bunk bed mattresses?”, “are bunk bed mattresses different from standard mattresses?” and “how thick is a bunk bed mattress?.”

How Big Is A Bunk Bed Mattress

The size and dimensions of the mattress will depend on the size of your bunk bed. The great news is, you can find a bunk bed mattress in pretty much every size. 

The most common sized bunk beds are:

  • Twin or loft bed
  • Twin over twin
  • Twin XL over Twin XL
  • Triple bunk (it’s a three-level version of bunk beds, but it only works if you have enough ceiling space)
  • Twin over futon
  • Twin over full

Along with these popular options, there are other rare bunk bed sizes such as full over full, queen over queen, full over queen, and king over king.

Now you have an idea that bunk bed mattresses are available in all sizes you can think of, including king and queen-sized mattresses as well. The common mattress size for bunk beds is twin XL, usually found in dormitories and often used in homes due to their convenient size.

Do You Need A Special Mattress For A Bunk Bed

In short, how wide is a bunk bed mattress depends upon your bunk bed itself, and as there is a range of options available in the market, you don’t have to worry about the size? 

But now the real question is, what is a bunk bed mattress, and is it different from a standard mattress.

Factors To Consider While Buying A Bunk Bed Mattress

So what exactly is a bunk bed mattress? And is there any difference between regular mattresses and bunk bed mattresses?.

Bunk bed mattresses are not sold separately as a separate category, so you have to choose a mattress suitable for your bunk bed from a broad range of mattresses, which can be a tough task. 

But don’t worry, I have listed the factors essential for you to consider before buying a mattress for a bunk bed.

Choose A Slimmer Mattress

If you ask anyone who owns a bunk bed, they will tell you that it’s a rule of thumb to buy a slimmer mattress. The mattress you buy should not exceed more than five to seven inches in thickness

The primary reason behind buying a slimmer mattress is that usually, bunk beds already have less headspace. So when you put a thick mattress on the bed frame, it may get very high, and you might end up hitting your head on the ceiling every time you get up. The same will happen on the lower bunk as well, with the only difference being your head hitting the base of the top floor. 

Do You Need A Special Mattress For A Bunk Bed

Another issue is that the upper floors of the bunk beds have guard rails that protect you from falling on the ground. When you opt for a mattress that exceeds the height of the guard rails, you expose yourself to the risk of falling down and getting injured. 

If you feel that you won’t be comfortable with a thin mattress, then don’t worry. There’s a massive range of comfortable yet slim mattresses. 

Tip: On a side note, please ditch those box springs as they will increase the height of your mattress even more. Considering the average height of box springs, no matter how slim the mattress, it will exceed the guard rail height. I would recommend you to go for a bunkie board instead to support your mattress as they are slimmer and provide a firm base.

Go For A Lightweight Mattress 

Try to choose a mattress that is under 25 pounds. There are two reasons why:

Firstly, installing a bunk bed mattress on the top bunk requires you to lift the mattress to that height, which would be a lot easier if it was light.

Do You Need A Special Mattress For A Bunk Bed

Secondly, you will do a lot of lifting for bunk bed mattresses, as you will be changing sheets standing on the ladder (which is already a difficult task). A heavier mattress will make things more challenging for you.

As I already mentioned about choosing a slimmer mattress, chances are you won’t have much problem finding a lightweight mattress as slimmer mattresses will be on the lighter side. 

Memory Foam Mattresses Are The Best 

I highly recommend you buy a memory foam mattress for your bunk beds. I will get to why memory foam mattresses are the best, but first, let me explain why traditional ones like innerspring mattresses won’t work. 

Innerspring or latex mattresses are usually great for any standard bed because they are pretty bouncy, and kids love them, but their specialty becomes a problem when put on bunk beds because bouncing on bunk beds is not as safe.

Do You Need A Special Mattress For A Bunk Bed

Here enters memory foam that provides a solution to this problem as it retains the original shape and dimension of the mattress even if the kids jump around on it (it’s not as bouncy, though).

In short, the memory foam offers you way more durability than any other mattress, especially when used mostly by kids.

Bonus Tip

Now that we know about all the essential factors required to buy a bunk bed mattress, I thought I should give some bonus tips to you as well. 

The main tip I will give to you is to buy a waterproof protector for your mattress. To be honest, there’s no way your mattress won’t get any liquid as juice or tea spilled all over it (and if you have younger kids in your home, then bed-wetting is also a possibility).

It’s extremely difficult to get even the slightest moisture out of the mattress, let alone drying the whole thing. You will find it way easier to wash the protector than washing the whole mattress.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do bunk beds use regular mattresses?

There is no specific category as bunk bed mattresses in almost any marketplace. So basically, yes, bunk beds use regular mattresses but not any random mattress. As I explained, some of the basic things necessary for a mattress to qualify as a “bunk bed mattress” are mentioned below.

Do You Need A Special Mattress For A Bunk Bed
  • The mattress should not be thicker than five to seven inches.
  • The mattress should be as lightweight as possible.
  • Memory foam mattresses are always the best option for bunk beds.

What is the difference between a bunk bed mattress and a regular mattress?

It will be very difficult for you to find a mattress under any category called bunk bed mattresses. Still, certain characteristics make a standard mattress a bunk bed mattress. Some of the primary differentiators are:

  • Thickness: Regular mattresses tend to be thicker as there is no barrier for the thickness of the mattresses but for bunk beds, the mattresses can not be too thick as you will hit your head on the ceiling if the mattress is too thick. Any mattresses for bunk beds should not have a thickness of fewer than seven inches.
  • Size: The sizes of both regular mattresses and bunk bed mattresses are the same. For example, if a twin XL mattress fits a standard twin XL bed frame, it will also fit a bunk bed twin XL bed frame.

Do You Need A Special Mattress For A Bunk Bed
  • Weight: Just like the thickness of the mattress, the weight for a bunk bed mattress should also be low. Even though personally I would suggest you buy lighter mattresses for standard bed frames too (they are just more convenient) but it’s not a necessity. As there’s a lot of carrying around with bunk bed mattresses, a lightweight mattress will make your job easier.
  • Type Of Mattress: Memory foam mattresses are the best in the market right now, but there’s plenty of other options too for standard bed frames like an innerspring mattress or hybrid mattress, but for bunk beds, memory foam mattresses are way ahead of other mattresses. Simply because of the fact they hold their shape and size for more extended periods.

Is there special bedding for bunk beds?

You can use any regular bedding on bunk beds as it doesn’t make a huge difference. Still, if you want to do some separate shopping, buying some elastic comforters or sheets would be good.


So to conclude, do you need a special mattress for a bunk bed? The answer is yes; you can’t use thick mattresses for your bunk bed. I jotted down all the essential factors in this article to help you buy a perfect mattress for your bunk bed. 

Do You Need A Special Mattress For A Bunk Bed

For a quick recap, the things I covered in this article are: “what are the dimensions of a bunk bed mattress?,” and “what factors need to be considered before buying one?” 

I hope you found this article helpful, and if you did, share it with anyone looking to buy a mattress for their bunk beds.