There was never a doubt who would take which bunk when we made the switch to bunk beds for the girls. I knew without a doubt that even though Lydia is younger (and thus, the traditional bottom-bunker), she needed the top. I wasn't surprised that the minute I brought up the "who will sleep where" question both girls instantaneously agreed - Lydia on top, Julianna on bottom.
Lydia really needs space to herself. At six years old she still needs help to realize that sometimes the best thing for her to do is get away from the crowd. She's got an extrovert for an older sister and is one of five children born within six years. If you need a playmate, one is always available :) Hey, even if you don't need a playmate, one is available :)
In our house it takes initiative to leave the crowds behind. When she's struggling with sibling relationships I often say "Lydia, you need peace in your own heart to be a peacemaker. How and where are you going to find some peace?"
[We put a lot of emphasis on peace making around here.]
Often the answer is that Lydia needs a top bunk :) She is happy as a lark squirreled away up above the crowd.
Just as much as Lydia loves (and needs) the top, Julianna loves bottom. No risk that she'll miss any of the action, on the contrary, she can instigate action, right from the comfort of her very own bed.
She's not noisy or boisterous or the center of a crowd. But she wants to be with people, all the time. All. The. Time. I see God's hand in her personality, her gifts, placing her at the top of this little child-train.
Matt built our bunks in a "L" shape, so that while Julianna is under she is not closed in .... the foot end of her bed is tucked under Lydia's, from her pillow she looks straight up at the ceiling. The ladder to Lydia's bed creates a little open space (about a meter square) beside Julianna's bed ... if you hang enough blankets and towels from the top bunk it becomes a perfect little house!
We hung a hammock under the top bunk, it crosses Julianna's bed. Life has never been so good for my oldest :) Her view from the hammock is straight down the hallway into the main living area. She can watch all the comings and goings and be right in the thick of the action, all from her cozy spot :)