Trundle Beds: Explaining their Purpose and Benefits

wooden trundle bed

Have you ever heard of a trundle bed? These are unique beds that usually come with two mattresses. This helps to save space while also being useful for guests or providing extra sleeping space as needed. There are pros and cons to trundle beds along with many different types to choose from. We’ll cover everything that you need to know to see if these beds are right for you.

Trundle beds save space while being ideal for guests. While they have some disadvantages, such as being thin and low to the ground, they excel at being versatile and always being there when you need them.

What is a Trundle Bed?

bed with storage cabinets

A trundle bed, or often “trundle”, is a platform with wheels that goes under either a standard bed or other piece of furniture (beds are most common, but read on to see other examples).

The word “trundle” is actually an onomatopoeia for the rolling sound a trundle makes as you roll it across the ground. The platform usually matches the size of the bed itself and it will take up all the underbed space.

Modern casters ensure you can roll the bed over carpet, hardwood floors, and other tricky surfaces.

The majority of trundle beds use a twin mattress. Since the trundle itself is under the bed and on the ground, you will obviously be sleeping about an inch or so above the ground. While twin sizes are the most common, there are also full and other larger sizes to pick from.

The mattresses are often on the thinner side to maximize storage. It’s rare to find a trundle mattress thicker than 8 inches. While the mattress is thinner and may not be ideal for everyday sleeping, these beds are more often used for children and guests. However, we will discuss adult trundle beds as well in a later section.

Trundle beds were actually invented during the medieval times. Servants and maids would often sleep in the trundle section so that they could be close by when needed. While the purpose has changed to accommodate guests, the overall design is largely the same.

Purpose of a Trundle Bed

extra bed mattress for guests

The primary purpose of a trundle bed is to save space. There are many beds that achieve this, such as a bunk bed or loft bed, but a trundle bed does this in a way that requires no height clearance or difficult installation.

The trundle section slides right under the standard bed. You can keep it tucked in whenever you don’t need it, or roll it out at night when it’s time to sleep.

This essentially allows you to have an extra bed at the ready whenever you need it.

Is a Trundle Bed a Good Idea?

As we said above, a trundle bed isn’t the only space-saving bed available. So, how do you know if a trundle bed is right for you? Here are the major factors you should consider:

  • Do you often host overnight guests?
  • Do your children have lots of sleepovers?
  • Do you find that you don’t have enough sleeping space for guests?

If you answered yes to any of these, then a trundle might be right for you. While an actual bed might be best if guests are constantly coming over, but a trundle is good as a “just in case” bed. They allow you to have an extra mattress without changing your room or needing extra space.

How Do Trundle Beds Work?

Trundles couldn’t be easier. These beds go right under your standard bed. It’s basically one bed on top of another. The main bed on top is a standard bed with its own frame. The lower bed is on a platform that slides under the main bed.

The platform should lock in place to keep it securely under the bed or in the out position, however you need it. Simply roll it out when you need it and the trundle bed is ready. It couldn’t be easier.

Are Trundle Beds Good for Adults?

trundle bed for adults

We said before that trundle beds use thinner twin mattresses, so are these good for adults? Since they typically fit under a main bed, these are more typically used as overnight beds for one or two nights.

They are also used more often by children. You will frequently find them in guest rooms, studio apartments, and kids’ bedrooms.

Since these beds are lower to the ground, they are often best for children and teens who should have no problem getting out of bed and standing up.

Younger adults should be fine as well. Older adults might have a hard time getting up from the floor, so this may not be good if you have elderly visitors. You also have to consider the mattress thickness.

While an 8-inch mattress is often fine for children, adults might find it too thin to be comfortable. Compare this to the size of your current mattress to see if 8 inches is good enough to sleep on. These are more common for temporary sleeping arrangements, but some adults can use them like regular beds without any problems.

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Different Types of Trundle Beds

trundle bed for parents

So far it might sound like there’s only one type of trundle bed: a twin-sized mattress that slides under a standard bed. Yes, that is the most common type of trundle, but it’s not the only one.

In this section we will discuss the other types of trundles that you can find. For example, just because the trundle is twin doesn’t mean the bed it’s attached to has to be the same size.

There are many queen-over-twin trundles. This might be good for guest rooms where parents sleep in the queen bed while the child sleeps in the trundle.

For those in a studio apartment, storage might be a constant concern. In that case you’ll want to get a captain’s chair trundle bed. These are trundles with shelves and drawers for extra storage. You can place a lot of items here while also sleeping comfortably.

While the trundle bed itself is usually twin, you can find some that are full size or larger. There are also different frames to choose from. Some have wooden platforms while others have metal. You can also choose a bed that already has a trundle, or you can buy a trundle attachment and add it to an existing bed.

Different Trundle Bed Styles

space-saving wood bed

The traditional trundle style is a rolling platform that tucks under a standard bed. While that’s the most common type, there are other trundle styles and options available.

Many people use trundles for storage, especially if you don’t have guests that often. It’s the same as setting up a trundle bed, but you simply remove the mattress from the platform.

Or, if you never want to use it for sleeping, then never buy the mattress in the first place. You can place objects on the trundle platform and maximize your underbed storage.

You can use this for seasonal clothing, toys, or other objects around the room. Some people also use this as low seating. Place a comfortable cushion on there and you have a sitting area that rolls back under the bed when you’re done.

This isn’t as common as the storage alternative, but it shows you how versatile trundle beds can be. No matter what room you place them in, trundles serve many purposes and are there when you need them without taking up space.

Difference Between Trundle Beds and Daybeds

stylish day bed trundles

Trundle beds and daybeds are similar in some ways. Both of them offer a bed in case you need them without taking up extra space. The extra bed is also attached to another piece of furniture.

Both can also be good for guests. That’s where the similarities end with them. A trundle bed is attached under a standard bed and rolls out when you need it.

A daybed is located within a sofa. You simply remove the seat cushions to pull out the daybed. A daybed is sometimes larger, around a queen size give or take, but the mattress tends to be even thinner so that it can fold into the sofa.

Trundle Bed Furnishing Tips

While you could add a trundle to any room or bed and be done with it, here are a few tips to properly furnish a room and make the most of these beds.

  • Guest Rooms: these beds are practically made for guest rooms. If you frequently have guests with children, then consider a queen-over-twin trundle to accommodate the whole family.
  • Home Office: this might be better with daybed-style trundles. The sofa part will be good during the day when you’re working on projects while the bed section will be great at night.
  • Storage and Air Mattress: if guests are rare, then you can use the trundle for storage. When people do come, clear off the platform and add an air mattress.
  • Parents Need Sleep: there are many times when a child needs extra attention. Maybe they’re fussy, sick, or you’re transitioning them from a crib to a big kids bed. Adding a trundle gives the parent a space to sleep without having to leave the room.
  • Sleepovers: these beds are ideal if you have lots of sleepovers. Simply pull out the bed when it’s night and everyone can get a good sleep.


Trundle beds go under your bed, give you extra space to sleep, and they are highly versatile. Adding one to an existing bed is easy, or you can buy one that has a trundle already attached. In either case, this adds an extra space to sleep without using any extra space in your room. It’s ideal for guests, but can be used for everyday sleep as well.

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