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mattress guides

Can You Put A Regular Mattress On A Bunk Bed?

bunk bed

If you have already found your ideal bunk bed, you must be looking for an ideal bunk bed mattress. The good news is that a lot of mattress manufacturers offer safe and high-quality bunk mattresses, and some of them even sell bunk bed and mattress sets. Still, many consumers prefer to buy regular mattresses for plenty of reasons, in particular, because they need a specific softer, firmer, cheaper, organic, or cooling bed. 

bunk bed with mattress

In fact, there is nothing bad about buying a regular mattress for your bunk bed, but it must meet some important criteria that we’ll list and describe in this guide. You’ll also find bunk bed mattress dimensions and more tips on how to choose an ideal, perfectly safe mattress here, so if that’s what you need, just keep reading!

What to consider when choosing a mattress for a bunk bed?

It would be wrong to say that any mattress would be a perfect option for a bunk bed. In fact, you still need to consider a few most important aspects not to go wrong and waste your money on something that doesn’t really work. We explain them all below.

1. Choose the right mattress type

First, we don’t recommend latex, hybrid or innerspring mattresses. Don’t get us wrong - there are tons of great mattresses on the market, but all these types are usually bouncy. Kids, of course, will love this, but you don’t want them jumping on their beds all the time - it is not the safest thing to do. Moreover, such mattresses are usually heavy - hybrids and innerspring beds usually have many layers and lots of metal coils.

memory foam mattress for bunk bed

That is why a memory foam mattress might be a perfect option for a bunk bed. Note that not all such mattresses are extra soft - there are thousands of options to choose from, and if you want to find a medium-firm or a firm mattress, you will do it easily.

Reasons to buy a memory foam mattress for a bunk (or another) bed: 

  • They are the best in pressure-relieving, which is very important for side sleepers who want to get rid of the pressure in hip and shoulder areas
  • They isolated motion very well. 
  • They usually are less expensive than latex and hybrid mattresses. 
  • They are not as bouncy as latex and hybrid mattresses.
  • They weigh less than most other beds. 
  • Most foam mattresses on the market are beds-in-a-box that can be delivered and set up easily. 
  • They can also come in different firmness levels - back and stomach sleepers who need some extra support can find a suitable option, too. 

So, do bunk beds need special mattresses and can you choose a regular memory foam mattress instead of a special one? Yes, there are hundreds of great all-foam mattress models in the market, and all sleepers can choose the option that would be ideal for them. 

However, despite that, foam mattresses are not perfect, and you should consider their disadvantages, too. In particular, they are usually not as durable as latex mattresses (last up to 7-10 years), may be sagging over time, trap more heat than other types of mattresses (there are models with gel-infused cooling layers, and though it helps, some hot sleepers still note that they overheat at night). We recommend focusing on criteria that are essential for you (firmness, motion isolation, temperature control, etc.) to find the mattress that will work the best for you personally.

2. A bunk bed mattress should not be too high

A high, thick mattress may be great for adults looking for extra layers and extra comfort, but it doesn’t work when it comes to bunk beds. If you take a look at the most popular mattress models, for example, Saatva innerspring mattress or mattresses by Nectar, Awara, Helix, DreamCloud, etc., you’ll see that all these manufacturers offer 11”-14” mattresses. They have extra layers with cooling effects, softer plush layers, pocketed coils, etc. Still, you shouldn’t buy such a tall mattress for your bunk bed - it’s just not safe.

mattress height for bunk bed

Consider buying a 5”-7.5” mattress - it will be much safer and lighter. Guardrail height matters a lot, and sleeping on a taller mattress on a bunk bed often means rolling out of it from time to time. With a too thick mattress, you’ll have much less headroom, it’ll be very hard to change your bedding and move your mattress. 

Again, we should emphasize that a thin mattress is not necessarily an uncomfortable mattress. There are a lot of great models in the market that offer nearly the same level of comfort as taller mattresses. Just choose the right type and the right size of a bunk bed mattress, consider your sleeping position and preferable comfort features like motion isolation, temperature control, edge support, and you won’t go wrong. 

3. Don’t choose a too heavy mattress

Parents will change the sheets, and they need to do it while staying on the ladder. Of course, that is not the easiest task to do. That is why we recommend lighter mattresses (and again, that can be a memory foam mattress) because it is just too hard to manage a heavy one.

heavy mattress for bunk bed

On top of that, if you like it when your room or your kid’s room is perfectly clean, you’ll need to vacuum your mattress from time to time, and in this case, its thinness will be a nice bonus, too.

4. Bonus tip - buy a waterproof protector

Let us be honest - there is no chance that liquid will not be spilled on your mattress. Urine, juice, tea, whatever - you will need to deal with it one day. There is only one thing that is tougher than getting rid of moisture in a mattress, and it is drying the bunk bed mattress. It is much easier to wash the protector than to clean the mattress, not to mention getting mold out of it.

5. Other criteria to consider

Though we’ve described a few essential criteria above, there are a few more important things to take into account when choosing a mattress for a bunk bed. 

criteria for best mattress for bunk bed
  • Safety should be your top priority. A safe bunk mattress is not just a thin and lightweight mattress. We also recommend taking a close look at the materials. They all must be certified - that will prove that only non-toxic materials are used. By the way, safe beds don’t have that super-strong chemical odor, which is a good bonus for sensitive sleepers. 
  • The reputation of the brand and customers’ feedback. You’ll hardly become the first buyer of a mattress - someone did it earlier, and there is a good chance that they wrote a detailed review. Don’t ignore other customers’ experiences - use it to learn everything about the bed’s pros and cons. 
  • Price. There are tons of different mattresses on the market. Some of them are extra cheap (you can even buy a bed for less than $200), some are mid-range, and some are fairly expensive. The most important thing to remember is that you can find a good mattress in any of these categories. 
  • Federal standards. Of course, this industry is also regulated by the authorities. Make sure that the mattress meets all the standards - feel free to contact support to ask questions if necessary. 

Safety and comfort should be your top priorities. Yes, research will take some time, but it’s always worth it. 

So, can I put a regular mattress on a bunk bed?

Generally speaking, yes, you can. However, you should consider many important aspects.

  • What size is a bunk bed mattress? The standard mattress is 75” x 39”(width), and in most cases, twin mattresses are perfect for bunk beds. If you are not sure that you have a standard bed, measure its length and width, and then make a choice.
  • Choose the right material. We recommend memory foam mattresses - they are lighter, easier to set up and move around. 
  • Then choose the right thickness.
  • Make sure that the bed is not too heavy.
  • Check the warranty and make sure that a manufacturer proves that it can last for a really long time.
  • Take a close look at the materials, make sure the manufacturer has all the certifications. 
  • Make sure that the product meets federal standards. 
  • Don’t buy a much cheaper mattress or a much more expensive bed than you expected to buy - there are great options at any price category. 
  • Buy a mattress and a waterproof protector (optional, but highly recommended.)

Can you buy a bunk bed, mattresses included? Yes, it’s an easier solution. However, if you want to get that ideal mattress, you can choose the one that will meet all your requirements and preferences. Generally speaking, if we imagine a perfect mattress for a bunk bed, it will be a twin-size 6” memory foam mattress. Maybe, some other option would be better for you, but don’t forget to use the tips above, and you will not go wrong with your regular mattress for a bunk bed.