The range and style of children's beds and bedding is vast - Here's a guide to help you with the basics
Children need different beds and bedroom furniture at different stages in their lives.
From toddlers moving from a cot into their first bed, or teens looking for something fun and functional, we have some tips in this article to help you pick the best bedding and bedroom furniture that will suit your child right now.
Which bed is best for children?
Choosing the right bedding for your child will depend on their age and life-stage.
As well as a standard twin (single), there are beds designed especially for toddlers, as well as bunk beds, trundle beds and loft beds for older children.
Some beds come with built-in storage, and others offer a second hidden mattress which is great for overnight guests.
So let's explore each of these in some more detail.
Toddler beds are a great option for your rapidly-growing child as they outgrow their crib but aren't quite ready for a normal sized bed.
Toddler beds are shorter in length than a standard bed. This makes it feel cozy and safe for your child. These are lower to the ground than a standard bed so it's easy to climb in and out of, taking away the worry of falling.
There's no point buying a bed with that will have you reaching for the foam safety cushions to cover its hard corners. Look for toddler beds with rounded edges for extra safety, and if possible, guard rails come in handy to prevent kids rolling out during the night.
When can children start using a toddler bed?
Children can start transitioning to a toddlers bed anytime after the age of 15 months. Most children will transition by the age of around 2 and a half.
Toddler beds can be used right up to around the age of 5 or 7 years old depending on children's individual sizes. When your child is nearing 50 pounds (or 23 kilos) it's time to start looking at a big-kid bed options.
What is a Toddler Bed?
Things to look for when buying a toddler bed
When buying a new bed for your toddler, make sure it either comes with a mattress included, or you're able to buy the correct size mattress for the bed at the same time.
You need to read the fine print - often the mattress is shown with the bed frame, but these aren't included in the price.
Toddler bed mattresses are smaller than a standard twin or single bed mattress, and larger than a crib mattress.
You may want to skip the Toddler bed option and go straight to a floor bed. These may look and sound basic, but they can easily be dressed up in so many different themes.
If you get a Floor bed with a frame, a curtain thrown across the top and some fairy lights is usually enough to totally enchant your child and will make them feel cozy and safe.
Floor beds completely eliminate the worry of having your child roll out of bed and hurting themselves during the night. Of course, there's still the problem of wandering kids during the night but let's face it, this is going to happen with any option you go with after they leave sleeping in a cot behind.
Trundle & Bunk Beds
Bunk and trundle beds are perfect for sleep-overs. A Trundle bed takes up no more space than a standard twin. Trundle beds have a second mattress (usually on coasters) that pull out from the main bed and slide back under when not in use. The main bed is often higher off the ground than a standard twin to accommodate the lower mattress underneath.
Bunk beds are a practical choice when two children share a room on a more permanent basis. Bunk beds optimize the bedroom space, allowing for more floor area so the room won't feel cramped. These can come as a twin over twin or a twin over a full (double) sized mattress. Some bunk beds include drawers under the bottom bed which is always handy for storing clothes or toys.
Bunk beds come in different heights. Lower height bunks a good for younger children. Many have guard rails for added safety. Some bunk beds can also convert to two stand-alone beds.
Note: If you have ceiling fans, bunk and loft beds may not be the best choice. If you're really keen for high beds, then consider removing the fan blades and installing a couple of wall fans strategically placed to keep the kid's cool during hot nights. A lot of wall fans come with a remote control. This is especially handy for the occupant of the top bunk!
Loft beds are loved by most teenagers because they're fun. These really maximize a bedroom space. The sleeping area of a loft bed is high up and out of the way. This opens up the bedroom's floor space.
The underneath area of a loft bed can be used in a variety of ways. Adding a desk and lamp makes a work-space for homework, or adding rugs, pillows or a beanbag makes it a cozy area for reading or relaxing.
There are Junior Loft Beds available for younger children that are a bit lower to the ground, or more suited to homes with lower ceilings.
What's the difference between a Duvet, Comforter, Coverlet and Quilt?
Duvets give a bedroom a modern look and are great for children's rooms. Duvets go inside a duvet cover and come in different thicknesses for summer and winter. The duvet is usually secured inside its cover with buttons, ties or a zipper to make it easy to remove for washing.
Comforters are stitched closed on all sides and unlike a duvet, they don't come apart. When a Comforter needs washing, you can put the entire thing in the washing machine, or send it to the Dry Cleaners. Comforters are regularly sold as part of a set with matching pillowcases and pillow shams.
Coverlets are thinner than a Comforter and are quite decorative. They can be quilted or textured. These aren't as warm as duvets or Comforters. Coverlets are often used as a decorative accent piece and combined with either a Comforter or Duvet which is folded on the end of the bed.
Quilts are a lightweight cotton making these perfect for summer months or warmer climates. Quilts have visible stitching all over their top. Their complex patterns can be visually rich giving these a lovely home-made feel.
Which bed sheets are soft and best for children?
When choosing bed sheets, you need to consider thread count, softness and warmth. Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch. Generally speaking, the higher the thread count, the softer the sheet. 400 thread count is a good number to aim for.
There's more to soft sheets than just the thread count. The material of the sheet impacts on the sheet's softness. Soft materials include Cotton, Bamboo, Flannel and Jersey.
Both the thread count and the choice of material play a big part in how comfortable and soft a sheet feels.
Cotton & Egyptian Cotton Sheets
Cotton is the most popular material used to make sheets. This is because it's both durable and breathable. Cotton sheets are cool and lightweight making them good all year round, but especially in the warmer months. The most popular cotton is 100% Egyptian Cotton. Egyptian cotton has finer threads meaning more threads can be woven into a square inch in comparison to regular cotton. This makes for a softer sheet.
Bamboo is one of nature’s most versatile, sustainable, and renewable materials. Growing bamboo takes very little water and doesn't need the pesticides or fertilizers that cotton requires. Sheets made of bamboo are naturally breathable and are dust mite, mold, and bacteria resistant. This makes these an option for children with allergies, asthma or breathing difficulties. Bamboo also absorbs sweat and is naturally temperature controlled.
Quality bamboo sheets are more expensive than bamboo blends, but will also retain their quality and last a very long time. Similar to Egyptian Cotton, bamboo has very fine fibers and threads making for very soft sheets, naturally. Quality bamboo sheets with a 230-thread count surpass the softness and durability of 1,000 thread count Egyptian cotton.
Check when buying Bamboo sheets that they are not a mixed blend. Cheaper bamboo sheet sets are a mix of bamboo and a non-natural product such as microfiber which can pill and is flammable. The process to manufacture microfiber is not an environmentally friendly one, and it's not a biodegradable product.
Flannel sheets are a popular choice of bed sheet for young children's beds, and for cooler months. They have a warm, fuzzy quality making children feel cozy and safe. Flannel is cotton that has been combed to fluff up the fibers, giving these a fluffy feel. The fluffiness traps body heat keeping you warm through the night. As long as your child doesn't sleep hot, or you live in a very warm climate. Flannel sheets are great as they are natural fiber.
Jersey sheets are becoming more popular. Jersey is a cool, breathable material that's extremely soft. Jersey is a knit fabric, instead of woven like cotton making it a very affordable choice. These sheets can be a combination of materials. Some Jersey's are mixed with polyester for added warmth, while others are a combination of combed cotton and Jersey. Jersey knit fabric is warm, flexible, stretchy, and very insulating. Sliding into Jersey sheets can feel a bit like sliding into your favorite tee-shirt.
When's a good age to start children with bed pillows?
Babies and toddlers don't need pillows at all. You can start introducing a pillow to your toddler once they move out of the crib, but it's still not essential. Pillows at this stage are mostly to make a bed look complete. Most pillow manufacturers recommend using their children's pillows from the age of 24 months onward.
Pillows for children should not be big and fluffy. Flatter pillows are the most comfortable for young children. Thin pillows are safer and help in keeping a healthy posture. Young children tend to push pillows out from under their head while sleeping. Many will happily sleep just on the mattress.
Junior Pillow Sizes
Toddlers pillows are smaller than children's pillows and seem tiny at first. Toddlers pillows measure 13 inches x 18 inches. The pillow filling is soft and designed to easily compress to give a comfy sleep regardless of whether your child is a tummy, back or side sleeper.
Children's pillows are 18 x 24 inches.