1. Vertical Ladder, Front Entry
A vertical ladder is harder to climb, but it takes less floor space. These ladders do not intrude into the room and form an obstacle. This is important where there is little space or in a kids room where they like to run around.
2. Vertical Ladder, Headboard Entry
You’re still getting a vertical ladder, but now entry to your loft bed is from the headboard. The advantage is that you have a completely open front. If you plan to add another bed frame under your loft, then this is the type of ladder arrangement you should choose. You will need 10 to 15” of space between the loft and your wall to use the ladder.
3. Angled Ladder
Easier to climb, but takes more floor space
Angled ladders are easier to climb, and more importantly, easier to descend (climb down). Some ladders are hooked to mattress rails in which case you can put aside your ladder during the day. There is also a ladder which gives you the option of adding a metal handlebar. This is a great alternative to a staircase with a bannister.
4. Built-in Ladder
A Built-in ladder is another type of vertical ladder, except it is incorporated into loft bed’s headboards. This type of ladder is easier to climb than a normal ladder since you have more space. The drawback is that you have to climb over the headboard. You do need some space between the loft and walls, so in very tight rooms you want to reconsider this option and go with a vertical ladder in front of your loft.
We recommend climbing at 6 years old. You may have one child over 6 who is old enough to sleep on the top loft, but you may also have a 2 year old. Sooner or later they’ll crawl up and find themselves in danger. A staircase is the safest way to climb up to or down from a loft bed. They will take more space and they do add to your cost. But, on the plus side, you could get drawers or shelves built into the staircase which offers a good storage solution. Another advantage of a staircase for your loft bed is added weight. Loft beds by their very nature have a bit of sway. By adding the fairly heavy staircase you anchor the bed and you’ll end up with a rock-solid loft bed.