There’s room for a little fantasy when it comes to choosing a bed for kids. Race cars, tipi tents and romantic princess-style beds are all popular, but it pays to think about practicality too. In small spaces, elevated beds are a trusted way to keep things tidy and functional. Those that have a trundle bed stowed away can prove a lifesaver when it comes to sleepovers. Extending beds are fairly new, and can be valuable to have as your child transitions from toddler to single bed.

If you are thinking of buying a standard single bed, make sure the finishes are non-toxic and suitable for children. Solid wood is better than MDF or particle board, and water-based paints are healthy too. Usually mattresses aren’t included so you’ll have to factor that cost in, as well as choosing the right size. Most on this list are sized for a UK single mattress (90 x 190cm) or Euro single (90 x 200cm), but this may vary for different manufacturers.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent. Ava single bed: From £354,

This tasteful upholstered bed is like a scaled-down version of a grown-up’s. There are 15 fabrics to choose from, including nine bright colours in a cotton and linen mix, and six jazzy patterns. The buttoned back is well padded with foam, and the rounded beech legs are low, making this bed easy to climb in and out of. It comes with the handmade quality of the whole range, and the choice of buying it with four different mattress types.

Buy now

Noa & Nani Dorchester single bed: £159, Noa & Nani

This single bed is smart, low-priced, and would suit older kids and teens. It’s made in solid pine and has traditional style, with a high panelled headboard. The cool grey finish (it’s also available in white) is subtle, and has the ability to last well even as tastes change. The frame comes with wooden slats, and is designed to suit a standard single mattress. Noa & Nani suggests three types of hypoallergenic mattress to buy with the frame, from £129-159.

Buy now

Neptune Chichester single bed with solid headboard: From £785, Neptune

If nothing but the best will do for your little one, Neptune has a charming bed that is exceptionally well-made and finished. The Chichester bed comes with a choice of headboard (either solid or upholstered), is made in tulipwood, and has sprung slats in beech for extra comfort. Little traditional details like ball finials on the four bedposts give this bed a fairy-tale feel. It’s comparatively expensive for a single bed, but made to last.

Buy now

La Redoute Siffroy Tipi children’s bed frame: £389, La Redoute

It’s easy to see the fun that can be had with a tipi or tent bed. There are many versions, but this one offers good value for something easily grown out of. The MDF frame is finished with a kid-friendly water-based paint in blue and white. The polyester canopy gives a sense of enclosure and makes a great screen for playing with shadows. It takes a single standard-sized mattress, and requires self-assembly. The bed is low – great for kids but not so much for adults when it comes to story time.

Buy now

Flexa Play Popsicle mid-height bed with ladder: £756, Smallable

Mid-sleepers make good sense in rooms where space is tight. They free up floor space for play or storage, and the ladder makes an exciting feature to climb every night. The Popsicle bed is made in oak and birch, and comes in blue, green or pink. Lots of care has been taken over safety, with non-toxic finishes, anti-slip steps, curved edges, and high protective sides. It has a five year guarantee, and suits kids 18 months and up. It takes a thin single mattress (22cm thick) designed for bunk beds.

Buy now

Julian Bowen Jessica day bed with trundle: £289, Cuckooland

This space-saving daybed conceals a pull-out trundle bed within it that’s perfect for sleepovers. The main bed takes a standard single mattress and has edges on three sides like a daybed that are made of wood panels painted off-white. The trundle bed can take a mattress up to 16cm in depth, which is still comfy for occasional use. This bed is a good buy for smaller budgets, but lacks the quality of finish on more expensive wooden beds.

Buy now

IKEA SUNDVIK extendable bed: £145, IKEA

This budget bed extends from 137 to 207cm in length, making itself useful for longer as your child grows. You’ll need a three-part mattress set made for extending beds: these include an 80x130cm mattress, and then two 80x35cm mattress blocks that can be used to extend the length in two stages. IKEA has a range of five types that cost from £35-140. It has a pine and fibreboard frame with a fixed slatted base. It’s as solid as you build it though; naturally this bed involves self-assembly.

Buy now

Maisons du Monde Circuit bed: £312.50, Maisons du Monde

For little racers, the Circuit is a vintage twist on the covetable car bed. In either calm grey or classic red, it’s made of plywood and MDF with a painted, varnished finish. At the ends there are small ledges that can act as a seat or place for books and toys. It’s sized for a standard single mattress, but the curved side pieces do make this bed a little impractical. It takes up more space than a regular bed, and there’s nothing to stop pillows falling off the end. It is a lot more fun though.

Buy now

Pottery Barn Kids Juliette single bed: £599, Pottery Barn Kids

Pottery Barn is the popular home store that Americans have made a go-to for craft and quality. Since last autumn we’ve been able to shop the kids’ collection in the UK, including this romantic French-style Juliette bed. It feels robust, with a solid wood frame, slatted base, and extra-high scrolling headboard for that princess feel. Generous proportions, and a white neutral finish make room for personalising this bed with piles of pillows and linen.

Buy now

The White Company Stamford single bed: £295, The White Company

Metal beds have a timeless style, but are also more affordable than wooden ones. The Stamford bed has the kind of nostalgic details that wouldn’t be out of place in Mary Poppins: a tall curving frame, decorative mouldings and lots of space underneath for storage (or hiding). This one has a high level of quality (manufacture as well as finish), and is suitable for four years and up. It requires self-assembly.

Buy now

The verdict: Kids' beds

The Ava bed is as well made as an adult bed, but with considerate little touches that make it just right for children. Where most kids' beds are white, grey, blue or pink, there’s plenty of choice as to how you want it to look. The quality is excellent too.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

Black Friday 2019 is nearly here. Find out how to get the best deals here