What Is a Trundle Bed?

Angled view of a trundle bed with a pull out drawer

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A trundle bed is a wheeled mattress and platform that rolls under a standard bed or daybed. The word "trundle" originated in the 16th century and was defined as small wheels that carried a heavy weight. The term trundle bed depicts a low bed that rests on small wheels. 

Trundle bed platforms are generally matched to larger beds so that the trundle can roll under the taller bed with ease. Most trundles are either twin or full-sized and sit as low to the ground as possible. Mattresses are between 6 to 8 inches thick to maximize under-bed space. In some cases, a mattress can be as thin as 4 inches. 

Trundle Bed vs. Daybed

A trundle bed refers to the lower section of the bed, but usually, these beds are built in a two-for-one system that includes a trundle and a regular bed. On the other hand, a daybed is a bed with a frame similar to a sofa. Daybeds are usually a twin or full size and sit right up against the wall, so they take up less space. A daybed can sometimes include a trundle bed underneath it, but not always. 

Can Any Bed Have a Trundle?

Trundle beds come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Trundle beds are made in most styles, but it might be difficult to add a trundle to an existing bed. Usually a trundle bed is sold with the bed it will tuck underneath. You can find trundle beds attached to queen-sized beds, bunk beds, and daybeds. Also, you are able to purchase trundles separately, but you want to make sure your current bed frame has enough clearance to accommodate the trundle's platform and mattress. 

Are They Comfortable?

Trundles are most comfortable for kids and teens. An adult might be able to tolerate a trundle for a night or two. On the other hand, if you plan to have adult guests stay for a week or more, you might want to invest in a smaller daybed in your office or guest room. 

Since trundle beds are lower to the ground, adults might have difficulty getting up and down. Also, the thinner mattress is not ideal for bad backs. However, this option might still be more comfortable than a couch or air mattress. A lot of this comfort depends on the adult's comfort level and physical fitness.

Some people swear by trundle beds whereas others will have a hard time sleeping on them. For practicality purposes, trundle beds are a lot less cumbersome than a sleeper sofa. It takes way less time and energy to set up a trundle bed since all you have to do is roll it out from under the bed. 

If you want to save space and sleep more adult guests, consider a pop-up trundle bed. A pop-up trundle is similar to a trundle bed except that it’s able to rise to the height of the main bed and be locked into place. 

Trundle Bed Tips

A trundle bed is ideal if you plan to have guests but don’t have enough regular-sized beds to accommodate everyone. They also are ideal for sleepovers in your kid's room. Consider that trundles are safer than bunk beds for smaller children.

All you need to accommodate a trundle is a tall enough bed and enough floor space in the room so that the bed can roll out when needed for sleeping. Here are some additional tips and ideas that will help you incorporate a trundle into your home. 

  • Extra storage space. When the trundle is not in use, you can use the trundle as a large under-the-bed drawer. Store offseason clothing, extra linens, and other bedroom essentials in shallow totes and place these on top of the mattress. 
  • The transition from the crib. Trundle beds are an ideal transition step for a toddler just coming out of a crib, especially if you have more than one child and are limited on space. The older child can watch over the toddler on the trundle. 
  • Make the trundle comfortable. If you plan to have adults use the bed or have a child use the bed regularly, consider upgrading the mattress to the most premium mattress in that thickness. 
  • Prevent nightly moving. Make sure you invest in a trundle that has locking casters. Some cheaper trundles will move around, especially if the person is an active sleeper. 
  • Create a dual-purpose office. If you want to turn an office into a functional guest room, consider adding in a daybed trundle. A twin-sized day bed trundle can easily sleep two people while also function as a couch on days when the room is just an office.