There are so many options available when looking at beds and furniture for children's rooms. The emergence of the internet has had a massive effect on the choices available to us as consumers, but with so much choice how do we chose which furniture is right for our children?
The answer to this question is obviously different for every parent although there are some basic questions that you can ask yourself before you start looking which should ultimately help you make the right decision.
What Style of Bed?
The first question is what type of bed should I be looking for? This may sound like an odd starting point but even the most basic of search on the net will reveal that there is a massive choice of makes and styles of children's beds on the market. They basically break down as follows:
Traditional style single beds and captains beds are suitable for children of almost any age where as cabin beds suit children from 4 years and bunks and highsleepers are not recommended for children under 6 years of age. Obviously every child is different and you as a parent will know if you feel comfortable letting your child sleeping on the particular bed you chose.
The more traditional single bed with matching furniture will work in bigger rooms as will a captains bed, however if your space is small and you want to optimize the room you have then a cabin bed, highsleeper of bunks may be the way to go.
What Do You Want the Bed / Furniture to Do?
This sounds like an odd question but there are a number of bed building systems on the market which provide a flexible option for you kids. If you simply want a bed that will last your kids 4 or 5 years then there are many cheap beds on the market that will do this job well. Although it is a cliché it is also true to say that you get what you pay for. If your goal is a more long term solution then a building system may be the way to go.
So What is a Building System?
Put simply this is a modular system that allows you change your child's bed as they get older. They will start as a single bed, add an extension kit and they can be changed into bunks, a midsleeper or a highsleeper. This is an excellent options if you have a number of children and you think their needs might change as they get older.
Obviously this is the most important issue when you are looking at anything for your children. Many cheaper bunks, highsleepers and midsleepers do not weigh enough to avoid "tipping", you should always ask whether these sorts of beds should be fixed to the wall to avoid this issue. The more expensive brands generally do not suffer with this issue. You should also look carefully at the safety bars on the bed to ensure that they are sturdy enough to protect your child from falling and that they are deep enough to ensure they cannot roll out of a higher bed. Another issue with higher beds is the mattress depth. Traditionally mattresses are made to a depth of between 18 and 25cm. Most higher beds on the market would become dangerous with a mattress towards the upper end of this scale, ask your retailer what the recommended mattress depth is on the bed before you buy a mattress.
Try the Bed Out First!
Although it is easy to order online nowadays you can not beat seeing your kids trying out the beds before you buy. Unfortunately there are not many places where you can see a full range of children's beds on display but I would always recommend that you take time to find somewhere to see the bed you are considering before you buy it. This way you can assess whether you are happy that your children will be comfortable using ladders or getting in and out of the bed.
Will I be Able to Add to Items in the Future?
The children's bed / bedroom furniture market is ever changing and there is no guarantee that what you see today is going to be available tomorrow. Ask questions regarding the supplier, where is it manufactured? How long have they been making it? When did they last change the range? Does the manufacturer offer a supply guarantee?
If you ask these sorts of questions you should be able to satisfy yourself that you may or may not be able to add to your furniture in the future.
How Does the Furniture Arrive?
Much of the children's beds and bedroom furniture on the market is delivered flat-packed. As how easy it is to assemble and whether your retailer has made the beds themselves. Try to find out whether if you get stuck whilst you build your bed your retailer will be able to offer any useful advice.
Some retailers offer an assembly service, ask who it is that builds the beds when they are delivered. Some sites claim that the manufacturer will come and build the bed, this is very rarely the case. Often it is simply a courier company with a build service attached. Make sure you know what you are getting before you purchase an assembly service.
If the furniture is going to arrive fully assembled, make sure you have measured to ensure it will fit, not only in the room but also up the stairs! Your retailer should be able to advise you on this aspect of your purchase.
What Happens if my Furniture Arrives Damaged?
The fact is that sometimes furniture gets damaged in transit. If this happens you want to know for sure that you will receive either a replacement or assistance without delay. Ask your retailer questions about what happens in these circumstances. How does the supplier deal with damages? How quickly would they expect damages to be replaced?
So there are many different options when it comes to children's beds and bedroom furniture. The key is to see what you are considering and to ask lots of questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the person you are buying from. For cheaper purchases the internet is a great tool, however when it comes to getting furniture that will last a childhood I would recommend that you speak to an expert and ensure that you have the answers to all the questions above before you buy.
Lee Gurd is the owner of Rainbow Wood South, one of the UK's leading supplier of children's beds and bedroom furniture.
Rainbow Wood have an extensive range of children's beds on display at their Farnham (Surrey) Showroom or your can visit our website at: