What is a Trundle Bed?

A trundle (or truckle) bed consists of two main components: a standard bed frame and a shorter bed attached to caster wheels. The shorter bed can be pulled out when a spare sleep surface is needed; when not in use, the bed slides easily beneath the taller frame. This allows you to accommodate additional overnight guests when needed and conserve floor space the rest of the time.

Does a trundle bed sound right for you? Keep reading to learn how these space-saving sleep surfaces are designed, how much they cost, and qualities to consider when shopping for a new model.

Trundle Bed Styles

By definition, a trundle bed features a smaller bed that fits beneath a larger bed. Today's trundle bed manufacturers offer a few variations on this basic concept:

  • Trundle-only: These models feature a slatted steel frame mounted to casters. They are designed to fit under an existing bed frame. The larger bed is not included with a trundle-only purchase.
  • Basic trundle: This two-piece fixture consists of a wheeled trundle and larger bed, both constructed with steel frames. Think of a basic trundle as a trundle-only with the larger bed also included with the purchase.
  • Daybed and trundle: Some use the terms "trundle bed" and "daybed" interchangeably, but these two products are technically different. A daybed features a steel frame with three sides, one lengthwise and two widthwise, along with a padded surface. During the day, these beds function like a sofa or loveseat, but the cushioning is soft enough to serve as a sleep surface, as well.
  • Trundle drawer: The trundle on these beds is outfitted into a drawer that can be pulled in and out of the larger bed's frame. Trundle drawers come in a few different styles. Sleigh beds, for instance, have curled headboards and footboards to give the frame a toboggan-like appearance. Another example is the captain bed, which – along with the trundle drawer – includes an assortment of smaller compartments for extra storage.
  • Trundle bunk: Bunk beds consist of two to three bed frames stacked on top of each other, as well as ladders to access the top tiers and safety rails to prevent sleepers from falling out. Some bunk bed designs also feature trundle drawers beneath the bottom bunk. A trundle bunk can be a great investment if you want to maximize the room's floor space.

Trundle Bed Sizes

A trundle bed purchase will not include a mattress for either sleep surface, so you'll need to buy these items separately. Some manufacturers offer custom designs for trundle beds, but in most cases, you'll be limited to two mattress sizes for the trundle and larger bed:

  • Twin (38 to 39 inches wide x 75 inches long)
  • Full (53 to 54 inches wide x 75 inches long)

If the trundle has a drawer that is too short for a standard twin or full, you may need a smaller, custom-size mattress for that compartment – which, in turn, will need a custom-size sheet set. Otherwise, a standard twin or full size mattress will suffice. Measure both bed frames before buying the mattresses to ensure the dimensions are correct.

Trundle Bed Materials

Most trundle bed frames sold today are made from wood, metal, or a combination of the two. Wooden frames tend to be more solid and more aesthetically pleasing, but these are usually the more expensive options. Metal frames have a sleek, minimalist look. They tend to be fairly inexpensive, as well.

You may also encounter some low-cost trundles made from plastic. These models offer less stability than wood or metal trundles and are also not as durable.

How Much Does a Trundle Bed Cost?

The cost of a trundle bed depends on the design, materials, and manufacturer. For a rundown of basic trundle types, including expected price ranges, check out the table below.

Trundle Type Design Materials Average Cost
Trundle-only Castered trundle with slats to support a mattress Usually metal Less than $100
Basic Trundle Castered trundle and larger bed with slats to support a mattress Usually metal $100 to $200
Daybed and Trundle Castered trundle with slats to support a mattress

Daybed with three-sided frame and padded surface to function as a sofa or bed

Wood or metal

May be upholstered with fabric

$150 to $250
Trundle drawer Standard bed frame with headboard, footboard, and trundle outfitted into a castered side drawer Usually wood

May be upholstered with fabric

$300 to $500
Trundle bunk 2 or 3 stacked beds attached to the same frame with a castered trundle drawer beneath the lowest bed Wood or metal $350 to $600

Trundle Bed Pros and Cons

Advantages of a trundle bed include:

  • Space-saving: If your guest room has a limited surface area, a trundle bed can free up room that would otherwise be claimed by a second bed. Certain trundle styles, such as captain and sleigh beds, offer additional drawers and compartments for extra storage.
  • Kid-friendly: In addition to guest bedrooms, trundle beds are a good option for kid's rooms, especially during sleepovers and family gatherings.
  • Cost-effective: Price-point varies by model, but in most cases, you'll spend less on a trundle than two separate bed frames.
  • Wide availability: You can choose from a range of trundles in terms of design, price, and aesthetic appeal.

Disadvantages of trundle beds include:

  • No mattresses included: You'll need to buy the mattresses separately, which can be particularly frustrating if a custom-size mattress is needed for the trundle.
  • Disruptive: Some models are sturdier than others, but many trundles produce movement and noise when someone gets onto the top bed. If another person is already sleeping on the trundle, there's a chance they'll wake up – especially if they are a light sleeper.
  • Caster wear and tear: Over time, the wheels on a trundle or trundle drawer will begin to wear out. You may find it difficult to push in and pull out the trundle as a result.

Is a Trundle Bed Right for You?

You're a good candidate for a trundle bed if one or more of the following applies to you:

  • You have a guest room with limited floor space
  • You have two or more children who share a bedroom
  • You frequently host overnight guests
  • You need to buy two bed frames and want to save money
  • You'd like a spare sleep surface that can be stowed away easily

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