How to Separate Bunk Beds – And Why You May Want To
Bunk beds are defined as two beds stacked on top of one another to create more floor space and openness in any room. They are made from wood, metal, or a combination of both and are supported by four bedposts. They feature a ladder or stairs to safely reach the top bunk and include a safety rail on the edge of the top bunk to prevent the sleeper from falling out. Additionally, there are a lot of different ways to make bunk beds look cute too. Sometimes, however, you may want to separate your bunk beds. And luckily, turning them into two individual beds is quite simple to do.
To separate the bunks, first, remove the mattress and detach the ladder and the safety rail. Lift the top bunk off of the bottom bed, remove the pins, and replace the mattress.
Although bunk beds seem fun and safe, some parents prefer to split the top and bottom bunks into two separate beds instead. Luckily, this can be easily accomplished with just a few simple steps and basic tools. Depending on the age, height, and motor skills of your child, this article will help you decide whether separating your bunk beds is the right decision for your home too.
How to Separate Bunk Beds
Separating your bunk beds will be done at the bedposts where the legs of the top bunk may be connected to the legs of the bottom bunk with bunking pins. Your instructions may vary depending on the bunk bed model you choose. Take a look at these example instructions from Dorel Juvenile to see these steps in more detail. Here is an example of a highly rated bunk bed that can be separated.
To separate bunk beds, follow these simple steps: remove the mattress, detach the ladder and the safety rail, lift off the top bunk, remove the pins from the bedposts, and replace the mattress.
Step 1. Remove the Mattress
Take the mattress from the top bunk and lift it over the edge of the safety rail, remove it from the frame, and place it aside.
Step 2. Detach the Ladder
The ladder is either angled and leaned against the edge of the top bunk or built-in as a joint between the two bunks. Either way, unscrew the bolts that connect the ladder to the bed frame, remove the ladder, and set it aside.
Step 3. Detach the Safety Rail
The safety rail will be hooked to the edge of the top bunk. Unscrew any bolts holding it in place. You may need a hammer to remove the rail completely since most rails are extremely secure.
Step 4. Lift the Top Bunk Off of the Bottom Bunk
Have someone help you with this step. Stand on opposite sides of the bed and firmly grasp the headboard and footboard. Lift both sides of the be in an upward motion, simultaneously until the top bunk separates from the bottom bunk. Then carefully place the bed down on the floor.
Step 5. Remove the Pins from the Bedposts
Remove the bunking pins from the holes inside the top of the legs of the bottom bunk and keep them in a safe place in case you decide to bunk the beds again in the future.
Step 6. Replace the Mattress
Reposition the mattress on top of the bed. You now have two separate beds.
Why Should You Separate Bunk Beds?
Bunk beds undergo rigorous inspection checks to ensure they meet all federal safety standards. This helps minimize the risk of accidents associated with using bunk beds. However, bunk beds should only be used by certain sleepers. Separating bunk beds will, therefore, offer better options without having to pay extra money down the line.
You may decide to separate your bunk beds for a few different reasons: if you have children under six years old, if the person sleeping on the bunk bed is too tall, too old, or if they have a mental or physical disability.
1. Children under the age of six should not be allowed to use the top bunk.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommend that no child under six years old should use a bunk bed. Young children should sleep in beds low to the ground so they can climb in and out of the bed without injury.
You can find additional information regarding fall injury risk in this study from the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (M Belechri, E Petridou, D Trichopoulos, 2002). Additionally, the AAP also released safety tips that parents can use when deciding to purchase bunk beds (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012).
2. If the sleeper is too tall to sit up in the top bunk
If the sleeper is too tall, they may hit their head on the ceiling if they sit up on the top bunk. The minimum space between the sleeper on the top bed and the ceiling should be at least 40 inches.
3. Older people have trouble climbing into the top bunk
Older people, just like young children, lack the agility to climb up or down a ladder or stairs safely and prevent themselves from falling. The likelihood of injuries in older people is higher when compared to young adults.
4. People with mobility disabilities cannot use the top bunk
A bunk bed is obviously a poor choice for mentally or physically handicapped individuals. People with movement disabilities cannot access the top bunk without assistance or need to be carried by a caregiver. Close observation is required and this is quite difficult to achieve when they are sleeping on a high-level bed.
When Should You Separate Bunk Beds?
A lot of parents may have second thoughts after purchasing a bunk bed for their children. Changing the bed setup is not a bad idea in specific circumstances.
You should separate bunk beds when you notice that your child is not responsible enough to sleep on the top bunk, when your child outgrows sharing a room, or when you decide to change the layout of the room.
1. If your Children are not Responsible Enough to Use the Top Bunk...
Studies show that children develop cognitive abilities between the age of 5 and 12 years of age. It is during that stage that they assimilate instructions. Children need to be educated on the right way to use ladders and to avoid dangerous behaviors such as jumping off of the top bunk. If your child is not responsible enough to climb up and down the ladder, or to sleep and play on an elevated bed, then you should detach the top bunk and place it safely on the floor.
2. If One of Your Children becomes a Teenager Or Grows too Old for the Bunk
Many teenagers are keener on having a single bed rather than a bunk bed. They may see the bunk bed as childish and may outgrow sharing the room with their siblings. You can remove the top bunk and give them one of the beds to give them the setup they want.
3. You are Changing Room Decor
If you or your children are bored of using a bunk bed, separating the beds allows for some change. This works well if you are looking to set the two bunks side-by-side in a big room or when children split up into different rooms.
4. You are Having an Adult Couple Sleep over
If you are inviting a couple to sleepover at your place, then it may be a good idea to separate the bunk bed in your guest room. You can even join both beds side-by-side to form one big bed. Two full-sized beds will make a king-sized bed for instance.
How to Turn a Bunk Bed into a Loft Bed
A loft bed is very similar to a bunk bed design but instead of a bottom bunk, there is an open space. A desk, a couch, a chest with drawers, or a workstation can occupy the open space below the lofted bed. In most bunk bed designs, the bottom bunk is what makes the unit steady. So by removing it, you are destabilizing the loft bed and are making it unsafe. You can fix this issue by reinforcing the structure.
To turn a bunk bed into a loft bed, you will need to remove the mattress and the ladder, remove the bunking pins and bolts, add a diagonal brace, and replace the mattress on the top bunk.
1. Remove the Ladder and the Mattresses
Unscrew the bolts that connect the ladder to the bed frame, remove the ladder, and set it aside. Remove the mattresses from both the top and bottom bunks.
2. Locate the Bolts that Hold the Support Panel (bunkie board or slats) to the Bed Frame.
Remove the bolts that connect the bunkie board or the slats to the bed frame belonging to the bottom bed. Then remove the support panel and the front horizontal support rail from the lower bunk. You will end up with a loft frame.
3. Add a Diagonal Brace at the Back of the Bed for Stability
Measure the diagonal distance from the bottom end of one side of the frame to the top of the alternate side. Cut a wooden board to the same length to serve as the support rail (brace). Then attach the board diagonally into the bed frame of the loft with screws.
4. Replace the Mattress on Top of the Remaining Bunk
Replace the mattress on the upper bunk. Reattach the ladder against the loft.
Examples of Highly Rated Detachable Bunk Beds
There are many bunk bed options on the market. You should opt for a style that will best suit your sleepers, room size, and living arrangements. Ever wonder if you need to use a box spring with your bunk bed? Take a look at our article to find out our thoughts.
Below are 3 examples of detachable bunk beds:
|Product Name and Link||Why is this a good detachable bunk bed||Price|
|Alek Shop Solid Wood Bunk Bed||This bunk bed is stable, durable, and made from high-quality wood. The whole unit saves floor space when the beds are stacked on top of one another, but can easily convert into two separate beds. It features a ladder and guardrails to ensure safety.||~$440|
|Baysitone Detachable Bunk||This bunk bed is very stylish and easy to assemble. You can position the bottom bed either vertically or horizontally under the upper bunk. This bunk bed can also be separated into two beds and moved into separate rooms.||~$350|
|Dorel Living Bunk Bed Frame||This bunk bed is made of two twin frames connected with a metal ladder. You can attach the ladder on either side of the bed. The bunk bed can also be separated into two independent beds. (unrated on Amazon)||~$300|
Before setting your sights on a bunk bed, and in light of the accidents associated with the use of bunk beds, there are a lot of factors you should consider. These factors include your sleeper’s age, height, and cognitive and physical abilities and will help you decide whether or not to detach your bunk beds. Make sure to also take a look at our guide to bunk bed sizes for more detailed information.
We hope that you find some useful information in this article that will help you make an informed decision on how and when to detach your bunk beds.