Ah, your little angel is growing up. In the place of the tiny baby you used to swaddle in their crib is a rambunctious toddler who can easily vault over the side of their cot. It’s time for another milestone - their very first bed.
James Flynn, website merchandiser at Happy Beds has some sound advice: “We always recommend making sure that you have considered the three S's; suitability, style and most importantly, safety. When thinking of suitability, we would advise you to think about the age of your child, and what they use their bedroom for. Do they need larger floor spaces to play? Do they need a pull out desk for homework or craftwork? Think about whether it’ll still be both big enough and suitable in two – three years’ time.
"Make sure that if you are buying a high sleeper or a bunk bed that your child is above the recommended age of six. Also make sure that climbing and swinging are prohibited by positioning the bed away from lights, doors and windows.
"Lastly, always remember that periodic tightening of screws and bolts is necessary to keep the frame secure.”
Of all the things that go bump in the night, your toddler shouldn’t be one of them, so if your child is used to sleeping in a secure cot, we recommend starting out with bed guards, or a bed which has them built in.
We tested beds on age-appropriate little testers for the beds’ height and safety guidelines. We looked out for the 3 S’s and also added two more – the size of our little testers’ smiles – and the sound of their snores.
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Happy Beds mento white wooden treehouse
This is a fun and safe first bed. The safety rails will keep little ones in bed all night and the design will make every bedtime an adventure (instead of a horror story). It fits a standard single mattress, so there is room for a parent to squeeze in for storytime. It is made from solid pine which is painted white which means it will suit any room and can be decorated to suit all kiddies. Our little testers loved peeping out of the windows and the height off of the floor makes it “treehousy” enough to make believe but easy for little legs to access. Just looking at the instructions made us feel dizzy, so we hired someone from the Task Rabbit app, who assembled it in two hours. Once it was up our little testers became obsessed with peeking out of the windows. They loved playing in it as much as sleeping. We love that it is such great quality and is an adult sized single bed, so it only needs to be replaced when the not-so-little one grows out of the design, not the bed.
Buy now £399.99, Happy Beds
Mamas & Papas Franklin cotbed - white wash
This toddler cot bed starts life with your baby as a cot, then the mattress can be lowered, then the side taken off and then eventually all the sides can be removed and you have a cute little starter bed. It should last for a good four years. Once assembled, it certainly feels sturdy enough to last for four years and beyond, it’s a heavy piece of furniture and feels strong. We love the bold design and whitewash finish – it will look great in any bedroom. The way that it gradually changes makes the transition to big bed smooth for little sleepers and gets them ready to go into a big bed is thoughtful and clever. If needed, you can restart the process from cot gain. It needs a cot bed sized mattress, purchased separately. It took us about two hours to assemble, as amateurs. A professional from Task Rabbit would do it in an hour. It takes no time at all to convert it from a cot to a toddler bead – we found it easy. It’s great value because you get three items in one.
Buy now £449.00, Mamas & Papas
The Children’s Furniture Co Holly four poster bed
This bed is fit for a princess – peas not included. The four poster element is fairy-tale-like, but the design remains contemporary. It is made from sturdy rubberwood, and the three coats of paint mean that it is scuff and sticky-finger proof. Matching items are available to kit out a whole room, and trundle beds or under bed drawers can be added as needed. You will also need to buy a UK standard mattress (1900mm x 900mm). We needed two people to assemble this bed, but TCFC offer assistance if needed. Our little testers loved adding bunting to the posts – and both sexes happily went to bed (although the girls did whoop the loudest). There are no side guards, so this is a bed for bigger princesses who won’t fall out. We love the way it transforms a bedroom into a castle, and the price is great for such a quality item.
Buy now £379.00, The Children’s Furniture Co
Happy Beds London red bus wooden bunk bed
Not only is this bed it great value for a top quality bunk bed – it is also a big, beautiful bus! What could be better? It arrives flat packed but is simple enough to set up if you have the help of a couple of very handy people. The paintwork is immaculate and we adore the little details such as the steering wheel and Bond Street destination. The ladder is solid metal and we trust it to do its job. The sides of the bus act as in-built safety rails, but we would want to save this bed until we were confident our little ones could use the ladder safely. It was lucky that there was a soft mattress nearby because our little testers nearly swooned with excitement at this bed. They adored “driving” it and their cuddly toys were patient passengers. Getting them into bed is no problem anymore. Getting them out of it, on the other hand, has become tricky… It requires two full sized single mattresses to complete and is made of solid wood, with slats. The best bit is we can charge our little ones a fare every time they get in, so it is slowly paying for itself!
Buy now £474.99, Happy Beds
Little Folks Furniture classic beech bed with storage + sleepover trundle
This classy, simple bed is made from painted solid beech hardwood which won’t discolour over time. The pull out trundle can give extra storage or fit a mattress for sleepovers. It comes in white or grey and will suit any bedroom. It’s suitable for little ones aged three and upwards because there are no side guards. It takes a standard single mattress so will last a long time. We found it super easy to assemble and once it was finished it looked and felt very sturdy and great quality. Our little testers were excited that they could host sleepovers. We loved the design and price tag and want to buy the matching drawers next!
Buy now £345.00, Little Folks Furniture
SnuzKot skandi cot bed
Is it a cot? Is it a bed? Yes. The Snuzkot is definitely a cot and definitely a bed, depending on how you configure it. The sides come off as your baby turns into a toddler and then the base lengthens as they grow, up to they are 10 years old. This is an investment piece which will last a decade and by looking at the sturdiness of the design we are confident it will last well. We love that the bed changes gradually, making the transition to a big bed smooth and stress free (hopefully). The natural wood, range of colours and sleek design will look great in any bedroom. We love that there is no MDF or veneer involved. This is a bed that will please the grownups. It took a lot of strength and brainpower to build, but was much easier to convert into a bed from a cot once built.
Buy now £349.00, Snuz
Lifetime Kids junior bed
This bed oozes minimalist quality. Handcrafted in Denmark from sustainable birch wood, it is robust and durable but also feels lightweight. We love that the bed guard is safe but subtle, giving the best of safety and style. It takes a cot bed mattress, so it a cosy size – great for a first bed and ideal for smaller bedrooms. The stylish design will suit any décor. Our little testers loved that it was high enough that their trainset could fit underneath and we loved that it is low enough to keep them safe getting in and out.
Buy now £275.00, Lifetime Kids
Stompa CK starter bed with extending mattress
This little bed is so cute and nifty. It starts off small with all-round sides to get your little one used to a bed. As they grow, it can be extended twice, with extra chunks of mattress added in each time until it is “big bed” sized. It is great value for a bed that will last and it comes with an extendable foam mattress included. The warm white colour is versatile and the design will suit most rooms. It is lighter than some of the beds we tested, which is ideal for rearranging the furniture, and it still feels extremely sturdy. It was a little tricky to assemble but we managed it eventually all by ourselves. We love the drawer underneath for storing teddies, and the size which is perfect for smaller rooms.
Buy now £299.00, Room to Grow
Great Little Trading Co Paddington mid sleeper, navy stardust curtains
This bed has a lot of kiddie cool points – it is raised, has a ladder and a build in den. It ticks a lot of boxes for parents too – it is super sturdy and safe and has storage space underneath to quickly sweep untidy toys. It is suited to children aged six and upwards who have got the hang of sleeping in a big bed and are ready for a new adventure. This bed requires a standard UK single mattress with a shallower depth of 15cm or less. The 100 per cent cotton curtains remove easily and are machine washable and super cute. Our little testers spent hours going up and down and making dens. We love the fun factor and that you can buy a matching desk and bookcase for their studies. It’s a great price, too.
Buy now £381.65, Great Little Trading Co
Annika european single house bed
This is the perfect bed for a child with a great imagination. With just a few blankets or a string of fairy lights, it can be transformed into a house, castle or magical grotto. We think this is ideal for bedrooms that don’t have a lot of floor space to play. Because it is near the ground it doesn’t need rails for safety. We love that it can be dressed to suit any room and child. It is very kid-sized, parents need to mind their heads if going in for story time. It is excellent quality for a pleasing price.
Buy now £152.99, Wayfair
The verdict: Kids beds
We were looking for safety, fun and style and the Happy Bed mento white wooden treehouse ticked all of these boxes. It provides hours of fun and fascination for the little ones but still looks pleasingly stylish for parents who want an element of control over their children’s rooms’ style factor. The Holly four poster bed from The Children's Furniture Co also ticked these boxes for slightly older children, and the Mama’s and Papas Franklin bed is ideal for a three in one, long-lasting solution.