What is a Trundle Bed?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A trundle bed is a type of bed that is built on casters so that it can be slid underneath another bed or piece of furniture. Usually, it's sold along with the main bed as part of a set, to ensure that the trundle portion will fit underneath and be properly supported. This setup can be an excellent space saving solution as well as a convenient way to have a guest bed available when needed, but out of the way when it's not.

Most trundle beds are light enough for children to move without the help of an adult.
Most trundle beds are light enough for children to move without the help of an adult.

Often, a trundle bed assembly is used as a day bed. The primary bed resembles a small couch and can be used as a piece of living room or lounging furniture. When the bed function is needed, bedding can be moved around to create a bed, and when an extra place to sleep is necessary, the trundle portion can be pulled out. In some cases, this roll-out part is designed to pop up to the same height as the day bed, creating a double bed for guests. Some assemblies are also designed with drawers to hold bedding and pillows.

Many parents use this type of bed in children's rooms, to provide a bed for a sleepover guest. It can also be useful when multiple children share the same room, allowing them to be active during the day and pull the bed out at night. Most beds are light enough for a child to move without the assistance of an adult, meaning that he or she can make the bed and put it away in the morning.

In most cases, because a trundle bed is designed to fit into a small space, the mattress will be very thin. This can be uncomfortable for older guests or people with back problems, who often require more support while they sleep. If this is expected to be an issue, one with a thicker mattress can be purchased, although it will force the height of the primary bed to be higher.

Trundle beds can be made from a wide variety of materials to complement many interior decorating schemes. Common trundle/daybed assemblies include ones carved from wood, made from cast iron, or upholstered in fabric to resemble traditional couches. The price for a set can vary widely, depending on what type of materials are used and the quality of the mattresses.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@StrawCake- What I love about trundle beds for kids is that you can use the bottom portion for storage when you don’t need the mattress. My daughter has a twin trundle bed but instead of keeping a mattress in it, I just keep her toys in it and it keeps her room so organized.

She says that her dolls are going to sleep when she puts them back in the trundle. The only downside is that trundle beds for kids tend to be on the heavy side and little pricier than a traditional twin bed. I think that the extra cost is worth it because the peace of mind that you will have from an organized room is priceless.


@SZapper - I have vivid memories of a trundle bed frame from when I was growing up too! My grandmother had one and my sister and I used to always fight over who had to sleep on the roll out portion. For whatever reason both of us wanted to sleep on the top portion!

Finally we ended up alternating every other visit until we both got old enough that it wasn't a big deal anymore.


When I was growing up we had a white trundle bed in our guest room. It was awesome for when guests came over because it could be used as one or two beds.

The bottom bed could simply be pulled out from underneath the top and left at the floor level, making two separate beds. The bottom bed also had a stand to bring it to the same level as the top bed so the two could be connected.

That being said, we didn't actually use the trundle bed as a bed all that much. It sort of ended up being an intermediate laundry station where the clothes sat until someone ironed them!


Thank you for the helpful advice

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