Children need different beds and bedroom furniture at different stages in their lives. From toddlers moving into their first bed, or teens looking for something fun and functional, we have some tips for picking the best bedding and bedroom furniture.
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.
Toddler beds are a great option for your 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 making 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. Look for toddler beds with rounded edges for extra safety, and guard rails to prevent falling out during the night.
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.
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. Children can happily use a Toddler bed up to around the age of 5 or 7 years old depending on their individual size. When your child is nearing 50 pounds (23 kilos) it's time to start looking at a big-kid bed options.
Trundle & Bunk Beds
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 on coasters that pull out from the main bed, and slide back under when not in use. These are often higher off the ground than a standard twin to accommodate the lower mattress underneath (and sometimes additional built in drawers).
Bunk beds are a practical choice when two children share a room on a more permanent basis. Bunk beds optimise 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 handy for storing clothes or toys.
Bunk beds come in different heights, so consider lower bunks for younger children that include guard rails and stairs for added safety. Many bunk beds convert to two stand-alone beds.
Note: If you have ceiling fans, bunk beds may not be the best choice. If you're really keen for bunk beds, then consider removing the fan blades, and having a couple of wall fans strategically placed to keep the kid's cool during hot nights. Many wall fans come with remote controls which is especially handy for the occupant of the top bunk. This also applies to Loft Beds.
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 which really opens up the bedroom floor space.
The underneath area of a loft bed can be used in a variety of ways. Adding a desk and lamp makes a workspace 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.
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 duvet's, 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 pillow cases and pillow shams.
Coverlet's are thiner 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 the sheet is made from 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 light weight 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, making 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. Bamboo sheets 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 a 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 a 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. Jersey 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 onwards.
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. Most young children will push pillows out from under their head during a sleep, and will happily sleep just on the mattress.
Junior Pillow Sizes
Toddlers pillows are smaller than children's pillows and can 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