As a family with a young child and a baby living in a two-bedroom flat, we have to make the most of every inch of space. When it was time to move six-month-old Rocco into the same room as his three-year-old brother Tyler, we began looking to other flat-dwelling families for ideas.
The obvious choice was a bunk bed but standard versions didn’t appeal as they weren’t designed for very young children, plus we were keen to maintain the contemporary, minimalist style of our home.
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We were beginning to think we’d have to commission a carpenter to build a bed to our own design when a search on Pinterest led us to a picture of a baby-and-toddler-friendly bunk bed made by British company Kids Funtime Beds.
The small company, founded and run by skilled and experienced carpenter Tony Smith, has been in business since 2013.
I read hundreds of overwhelmingly positive reviews, full of praise not just for the superb quality of the beds but also the fantastic customer service, and was persuaded.
It wasn’t a decision we made lightly as the starting price for a Funtime Bunk Bed is £355 and this doesn’t include any extras such as a mattress, cot-bed front or painting the front of the bed a different colour.
In the end, we decided on the Funtime Pod Bunk (from £485), and were able to customise our bed over several weeks as we hashed out designs and tweaks with Tony and his team on the phone and over email.
You can buy the Pod Bunk from Kids Funtime Beds
Is this a good way to introduce a child to a bed?
Yes. Kids Funtime Beds only make beds for kids so they are experts at making children feel safe and secure but also excited about going to bed. The beds all look amazing (there are cute designs with heart cut-outs, for example) but come with brilliant safety features, such as cot-style fronts that can be attached to bottom bunks, plus mid-sleeper junior beds that have high sides and carpeted stairs leading up to them.
That said, we chose two adult-sized single beds and both our boys love sleeping in them. After co-sleeping and sleeping in a Moses basket, Rocco only slept in a cot for a few weeks – we moved him into his single bed when he was eight months old and he has been very happy in there. However, the company responsibly recommend junior beds for children aged three to six years old and the single beds, especially the top bunk, for children who are at least six years old.
Will it split into two beds as your little ones get older?
No. Once you commit to buying a particular bunk, they can be taken apart to be moved (for example, to a different room or home) but they don’t turn into two beds. This is one of the reasons why we decided to get a bunk bed that would last beyond early childhood and fit and suit them until they are teenagers.
Is the bed fun?
Yes! One of Tyler’s favourite activities is turning the whole bunk into a pirate ship, complete with sails in the form of a blanket draped from the top bed to the edge of the pulled-out trundle bed. Tyler’s friends have really enjoyed playing in the top ‘deck’ and sleeping over in the trundle bed.
Does it save on space?
Yes, massively. Two cots/cot beds took up slightly less floor space but there is no way we could have fitted two single beds and a single occasional-use spare bed in the footprint of this bunk.
Does the bed have side rails/panels, what do you think of them?
Yes, both beds have raised side panels (made from the same white-painted MDF as the rest of the bed) and they feel very secure. I far prefer the look and feel of them to rails and so far, they have kept both boys from rolling or falling over the edge. The only criticism is that for a baby, the sides may be hard as there’s no way to cover them with cot bumpers.
Is it the ideal height for your little ones to get in and out of?
Tyler required minimal practise to climb up and down the ladder and within weeks we noticed that his climbing really improved – a bonus as he loves climbing trees. Rocco is too small to get into his pod but he can climb out by reversing out of the small space between the side of the front panel and the ladder.
Toddler keeps getting out of bed?
Is it strong and sturdy?
Yes, very. The slats under the bed are 20mm thick (many bed companies use 15mm or 17mm slats) to ensure strength and durability. The single beds are designed to hold up to 18 stone so it can easily support a child and an adult, ideal when you want to snuggle together to read a bedtime story.
We sometimes step onto the side of the lower bed and use the raised side panel of the top bed to pull ourselves up so we can kiss Tyler goodnight without climbing up the ladder and the structure can easily withstand our weight. Both boys roll into the sides and heads of their beds at night but aside from the noise (which can be startling) there’s no sign of wear and tear.
Need more reassurance? Each panel is connected with cam and dowel technology, which are far stronger than a screw-bolt fixing. Plus, each slat under the mattress is individually screwed to the bed to make the frame really robust. Since every Kids Funtime bed is held together with 74 fixings and made of super-strong 18mm-thick MDF, it would take a lot to break one.
Will it last the advertised time period?
Yes, I think the beds will last the boys well beyond their childhood and into their teenage years and even adulthood, although I doubt they’d still want to be sleeping in them when they are grown up!
How long do you have to wait for delivery?
Up to ten weeks. You’ll need to be patient but it’s worth the wait for a brilliant bespoke bed. We were given a provisional delivery date eight weeks hence within a few days of paying our 50-per-cent deposit but the advertised waiting time for a Kids Funtime bed is eight to 10 weeks. Two weeks before delivery, our two-hour time slot was confirmed which meant we didn’t have to stay in all day waiting for the beds to arrive and we could make sure the boys were safely out of the way.
How much did delivery cost?
We live in London and paid £79 for delivery but prices vary depending how far you live from the company’s Manchester workshop. The minimum delivery cost is £40 and maximum is £87.
Is it easy to assemble; how long does it take?
We paid to have the installation team assemble our beds as this was the easiest option. But the company state that self-assembly takes an hour using written instructions that they provide. That may be the case for the junior bunks but given it took the friendly and well-trained installation team an hour and a half to put our bed together, I’d suggest allowing at least three hours if you were to do it yourself.
How much does installation cost?
£35 for most beds but installation of the Pod Bunk is £40 and it goes up to £55 for the Funtime Quad Beds.
How long does installation take?
It took about 90 minutes for the installation team (Kids Funtime Beds staff) to build our bed. Depending on the size and complexity of your custom-built Kids Funtime bed, it can take as little as an hour or up to two hours to put together.
What did you have to do to prepare the room before the bed was built?
Kids Funtime Beds advise you to completely clear the area the bed will be going into, making sure it’s free of furniture and other obstructions. As long as the installation team (or you, if you’re putting it together yourself) have room to manoeuvre, you won’t need to clear the whole room. One thing we didn’t do but really wished we had done is cover the floor.
We have new wooden flooring throughout the flat and unfortunately during the process of building the bed, it sustained a long, deep scratch in the boys’ room, just by the bed. The installation team didn’t suggest covering the floor or have dust sheets with them so I’d definitely advise laying some down if you also have wooden floors.
Is it easy to find mattresses to fit the bed?
Very. All the beds are built in standard British sizes. Junior beds take regular cot mattresses while the single beds (which we have) take standard single mattresses and the trundle bed takes a foam standard size single mattress with a maximum depth of 15cm. The company sells a range of competitively priced mattresses on their website although we decided to buy ours from a local supplier.
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What are your first impressions of the bed?
It’s amazing! Once the installation team had worked their magic and cleared up, we were able to stand back and admire the bunk. Metres of gleaming white painted MDF, cut exactly to fit, sitting snugly in the space between the door and the wardrobe. It looks futuristic, classy and very, very cool. Everyone – kids and adults – who sees it remarks on how fabulous the Pod Bunk looks and how well-made and brilliantly designed it is.
How does it smell?
Strongly of paint, which Tony assures me is completely harmless. The company are at pains to point out that an unpainted bed won’t be safe for your child to sleep in until it is properly sealed – a process which takes some time. You can buy an unpainted bed but it must be painted before your child sleeps in it as the dust from unsealed MDF can causing breathing problems, including triggering asthma.
So the company apply several coats of primer before finishing each bed in a non-toxic lacquer paint to make the bunk durable, which can’t be achieved with a household paint. The Kids Funtime Beds are finished four to five days before they are distributed to ensure curing (setting) is done before the beds arrives. ‘They may still smell mildly of paint’, concedes Tony.
To get rid of the lingering odour, I aired the bed by keeping the windows in the boys’ room wide open for the first three days.
How portable is it? Heavy? Compact? Can you move the bed to another room?
Given the size and weight of the bed, it would be very difficult to move. While disassembling and reassembling the structure wouldn’t be complicated (according to the company), moving the panels would require a lot of strength and at least two people.
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How comfortable is it?
Very, once you’re inside. We invested in good-quality mattresses as we knew that we’d spend a fair amount of time on them so that’s definitely helped. Getting onto and off the top bunk via the ladder isn’t comfortable for adults (kids don’t seem to notice the wood pressing into their feet) but once you’re up there, there is plenty of room to sit up and stretch out. Getting into and out of the bottom bunk requires some contortion and adults can’t sit up but once you’re in and lying down, you have plenty of space to straighten out.
What were the safety features like?
The original design of the Funtime Pod Bunk included a raised front panel along the top bunk. Even with a thick mattress inside the frame, the panel will prevent kids rolling off the bed or falling out. We altered the rest of the bed to include a raised front panel across the bottom bunk, with a gap big enough to allow a child or adult to access the bed. This has made it safe for Rocco to sleep on but there is also an option to install a cot-bed front for an extra £65 or a stair gate for £39 to stop little ones reaching the top bunk.
How does it compare to other beds you have used?
It’s a million times better than any other bunk bed I’ve ever slept in or climbed on! The frame is solid and well-made and the beds are very comfortable unlike rickety, cheap versions I’ve tried. When Tyler rolls or bounces around on the top bed, there’s no movement at all on the lower bed as the frame is so robust. And unlike some beds, there is no squeaking so the boys can go into and out of their beds without disturbing each other.
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What do you think of the design?
It’s superb. The original Pod Bunk illustrated on the company’s website looks good but I think our customised model looks stunning. It’s simple but really effective and manages to make three beds look sleek, contemporary and stylish without appearing overbearing. The high sides of the top bunk make it particularly good at concealing a snoozer. I have been known to sneak off for a lie-down in my son’s bed where no one can find me!
Anything you don’t like?
The white colour of the bed does tend to show up every mark and mucky hand-print, as well as dust and dirt. Although the paint is wipe-clean, some things, such as stray pen, crayon and scuff marks, won’t come off, which makes the bed look mucky. It has also sustained a fair few scratches from jean rivets and zippers as the kids climb up pressing themselves against the frame. Also, because of the solid design, the mattresses sit deep in the pod, making changing the sheets an arduous task that has defeated me on several occasions.
What is the price? Is this good value for money? Do you have to buy a lot of additional extras, which all add up or is everything included?
Including all the extras (a trundle bed, modifications to the basic design and two shelves), the bed came to £610, excluding delivery and installation. Not cheap, certainly, but also not ridiculously expensive when you consider that you could easily spend £500 on a basic ‘off-the-peg’ bunk that isn’t built to your exact specifications and requirements. I think this represents terrific value for money.
You can go mad, building the bed of your child’s – or your – dreams by adding on extensive extras, including name engraving, carpeted stairs and even different shaped cut-outs on the sides of the bed, which would further increase the price.
The Kids Funtime Pod Bunk is a robust and sleek-looking bed which cleverly offers three single beds in the footprint of just one and can comfortably sleep two children, teenagers or adults nightly, with a third person on a pull-out trundle bed for occasional use. If you’re looking for a brilliant customisable sleeping and playing space for your little ones, willing to pay for design and quality and don’t need it in a hurry, this is the bed for your family.
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