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4 Ways to Make the Most of the Top Bunk in a College Dorm-- Plus: How to Make Your Bed on the Top Bunk

Updated on January 17, 2018

There are plenty of advantages to sleeping on the top bunk. Unless you're rooming with Vikings, it's high enough to allow you a little privacy. Since you'll be on top, no one will keep you up all night tossing and turning above your bed. And, if you don't want your roommate's friends sitting on your bed whenever they visit, it will be up and well out of the way. However, sleeping on the top bunk can also produce its fair share of inconveniences. Here are a few tips for avoiding them.

1) Lighting

Sleeping on the top bunk, you won't want to hop out of bed every time you want to turn the lights on or off. Reading in bed, getting up for a drink of water, and all kinds of little things will be much less hassle if you get a light that can clip onto or wrap around the frame of your bed.

2) Bedside Storage

Sitting down to study on the top bunk can turn into a complicated ordeal involving either an elaborate checklist before the climb into bed-- "Do I have all my books? Paper? Pens? Highlighters? Water bottle? A snack?"-- or a lot of jumping down and climbing back up to get forgotten things. It's much easier to have a place to keep things while you're up there. Studying, watching movies, and more will be much easier if you have a place to put your things, so you can keep study essentials and everyday necessities organized and accessible at all times. Stores like Bed, Bath, and Beyond carry caddies like the one pictured here that can be held in place by your mattress or clipped onto the bed frame. You could even try attaching a shelf to the wall with small nails or screws if your dorm will allow it.

A cute example of a top bunk tray
A cute example of a top bunk tray | Source

3) A Bedside Tray

For the same reason that bedside storage is helpful, a flat surface by the side of the bed can be useful for storing a water bottle, notepad and pen, or your cellphone. Having your phone close at hand will be especially useful if you're used to hitting the snooze button several times in the morning. Just set your phone alarm, and you'll have the quick and easy access to the snooze button necessary to keeping your roommate happy-- and you from climbing in and out of bed all morning. Alternatively, if you can't find a clip on tray, but you do have some tall shelves in your room, just position them near head of your bed and use them to store things you might need while you're in bed.

4) A Clip-On Fan

It may seem like overkill, but if you live in a non-air conditioned dorm, even the small difference in altitude from bottom bunk to top can make things seem a whole lot warmer. So, instead of spending long, sleepless nights tossing your covers onto the floor, think about getting a small clip on fan to attach to the headboard. In fact, even on the bottom bunk, your own personal current of cool air can be a relief during the hotter months at the beginning and end of the school year.

Bonus: How to Make the Bed

Finally, there is the perennial problem of all top bunk dwellers: the hassle of making your bed when it's located five feet up in the air. For many, including myself, this problem is easily solved by usually leaving the bed unmade. Some find it sloppy, but it's definitely the norm in college, and it has actually been shown to make your bed an unhospitable environment for dust mites and other microscopic creepy crawlies who actually prefer a darker dwelling place under tucked-in sheets.

However, if you're an incurable neat freak, expecting visitors, or just re-dressing your bed with clean sheets fresh from the laundry, a step stool is a great investment for reaching the far side of the bed and arranging pillows and blankets with ease. Here's a brief demonstration from YouTube's JillianKate14:


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    • jacqui2011 profile image


      8 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Made me laugh as my older daughter starts college in September and if she ends up being a top bunker, then I think the tray would be perfect for her. Voted up and interesting. Many thanks for sharing.

    • Miss Mellie profile image

      M.S. Ross 

      8 years ago

      These are great tips, and not solely relegated to college dorm rooms. My kids use bunk beds and take turns using the bottom bunk so they can each have a turn with easy accessibility to the bedside table. You've just helped solve a problem in my household--thanks!! Thanks also for the follow. Welcome to HubPages!

    • pbsandwichofdoom profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn Lamoreux 

      8 years ago

      Thanks! It's probably a little neurotic to require a little tray up there and to need to have everything perfectly in order before each study session, but I hated always having to jump up and down all the time when I had the top bunk.

    • nikki_m profile image


      8 years ago from Kansas City, Missouri

      Cute! I was never the top-bunker so I never thought about all the hassles involved! Luckily, my roommates were awesome, so I didn't mind throwing the occasional granola bar or pen up to them in a crisis! Good article, I laughed out loud about the viking roommate.


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