How Does A Trundle Bed Work?

A trundle bed is a daybed or bunk bed with an extra lying area underneath for storage. It is as simple as that.

Trundle beds are a great space-saving option for small bedrooms.

In this article, we discuss several topics related to how to properly manage or operate a trundle bed. After reading this article, you will know how does a trundle beds work.


  • How to close and lock a trundle bed?
  • How to pull out the trundle bed and set it up? 
  • How to pop up a trundle bed?
  • How to lower a trundle bed?

What does a trundle bed look like?


A trundle bed is an extra bed that is hidden underneath a standard bed. So think of it as two beds in the space of one. The trundle bed is normally installed in small bedrooms or living rooms, in apartment studios, and in kids’ bedrooms where space and storage are often limited. The fact that it is stored under the main bed saves a lot of floor space and makes a great option for an extra sleeping space when necessary. You may even consider adding a trundle bed to your nursery.

Trundle beds come in various types and materials such as wood, metal frames, or other upholstered fabric, all of which match your style and preferences. Most trundle beds that are being sold nowadays are incorporated in different kinds of beds such as daybeds, sleigh beds and bunk beds. They are smaller than the upper bed, and are moved easily in and out from underneath it via casters or trundles attached, hence the name “trundle bed”. Keep in mind that the mattress of the trundle should be thinner than a normal one to match the space within your under-bed.

Overall, how does a trundle bed work?

Here’s the short answer:

Trundle beds save space and time while providing an additional bed (especially useful for guests). Typically, rollers are attached on the bottom of the trundle to facilitate its movement. So, when a guest arrives in your home, all you need to do is to roll out the trundle bed from the bottom, and add bedding for your guest, instead of moving furniture around and finding a separate mattress.

There are two main types of trundle beds: pullout trundles and pop-up trundles. Popup trundle beds have rollers attached (typically) and they also pop up to the same height as their parent beds. This popup trundle bed has excellent reviews on Amazon. Pull out trundles, on the other hand, remain at a lower height than their parent beds. For adult guests, we recommend that you get a popup trundle bed and offer them the full bed (the parent bed + the popup trundle) so they can sleep in peace. For child-sized guests, a pull out trundle works well. Pull out trundles tend to be more popular than pop up trundle beds because they have fewer moving parts and last longer. Here’s an example of a popular pull out trundle bed. Both varieties of trundle beds are very comfortable.

Note: If you choose not to add a mattress on the platform, the trundle can be used as a drawer, which is ideal to store extra bedding, seasonal clothes, or even children’s toys.

Pop up (above) and Pull out (below) trundle beds allow you to save space by storing the trundle bed underneath a parent bed. Image from

How to close and lock a trundle bed? trundle bed mechanism?

If you want to close the trundle bed and prevent it from moving, you must simply flip the lever on the side of the casters to engage it (see image below). This will lock the wheels into place. In case your trundle bed doesn’t come with locking wheels, it will be best to just buy a set of locking casters.

The rolling mechanism of a trundle makes it very easy to slide in and out from beneath the principal bed. To close the trundle for instance, you can just push the bed in. Then you can engage the latches of the bed to lock the bed and keep it tucked inside. Refer to the next section on how to pull out a trundle bed to see a picture of the locking mechanism on the wheels. 

How to pull out a trundle bed and set it up? 

The trundle bed sits on a collapsed metal frame beneath the main bed. It is easily rolled out since it is built on casters. Follow these simple steps to pull out the trundle bed and to set it up.

Step 1

Ensure that the latch on the wheels is set to the open position. This means that the caster is unlocked. Refer to the picture below to understand how the latch works. When it is pulled up, it unlocks the caster. But when the latch or brake is pushed down, it locks the caster into place.

Step 2

Hold the handle on the center of the bed and pull the bed towards you

Step 3

Once the trundle bed is fully extended from the top bed, engage the brakes by flipping the lever positioned on the caster. Refer to the picture below. 

Finally you can set the sheets, bedding, and pillows if they are not in place already.

Trundle beds are detachable which means that this extra bed is very convenient to be used in the same room, or separately in another room. Keep in mind that a carpet may block the wheels from sliding easily. In that case, just remove the wheels using a screwdriver. Learn more about using trundle beds on carpets.

Pull out Trundle bed’s mechanism. By using levers to lock the casters, you can lock a trundle bed in place. Image from Amazon and Walmart.

How to pop up a trundle bed?

Pullout trundles have fixed frames so they stay at a lower level than the main bed when they are pulled out. However, designs have evolved over the years and newer types of trundles now come spring loaded, which allow them to lift up to the same height as the top bed. The mechanism to lift the trundle is based on a metallic foldable structure or metal legs.

Step 1

Slide the trundle out from under the main bed. Refer to the picture below. So far it looks similar to the pull out trundle bed mentioned above. 

Step 2

Release the bed latches, which are usually on both sides of the bed.

Step 3

Try to access the metal legs attached to the platform. There is either a button or latches for unlocking or locking the legs. The metal legs are shown in the picture below.

Step 4

The legs extend steadily to the maximum extent using springs. 

Step 5

Once the platform is elevated to the proper height, the latches lock to make sure the bed stays elevated when someone lies down. Look at the locking spring/latch displayed in the picture below.

Some beds (like this one) have a mechanism that allows them to rise automatically once pulled out. Gravity locks ensure that the bed stays up securely. This pop-up feature is beneficial especially for elderly people. It makes it possible to treat the trundle as a normal bed or to push it against the main bed to increase the sleeping surface.

Pop-up trundle bed’s mechanism. This locking spring helps lock the bed for storage and releasing it allows you to lift the bed to the height of the parent (sometimes accomplished automatically with the aid of a spring!). Images from

How can you lower a trundle bed?

In order to lower the trundle bed, you need to reverse the process of popping it up. Use the pictures in the section above about ‘how to pop up a trundle bed?’ for guidance. 

Step 1

Unlock the latches on the bed to collapse the frame.

Step 2

The legs will narrow down until the frame is close to the floor. Watch out that nothing will get stuck in the frame while it is being collapsed.

Step 3

Lock the latches on the bed and slide the trundle bed back under the principle bed.

Step 4

Engage the latches that hold the trundle near the floor.

In Summary:

We hope you enjoyed this article and now understand ‘how does a trundle bed work’.


Why is it called a trundle or truckle bed?

Trundle bed, also called truckle bed, a low bed, so called from the trundles, or casters, that were attached to the feet so that it could be pushed under the master bed when it was not in use. The bed was intended for servants, who used to sleep in their employer’s room so as to be near at hand.

How much weight can a pop-up trundle bed hold?

The top bed can handle up to 400 lbs on the twin model and 600 lbs on the full. The trundle bed holds up to 225 lbs on both.


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