It is an understatement to say that bunk beds have a lot riding on them. They can be adjusted to fit growing children and still remain part of the bedroom for when they are no longer needed. They are also a fun DIY project.
This guide will show you how to plan and build a wooden bunk bed that your teenager can use.
DIY Bunk Bed Planning
In a way, bunk bed design is similar to pergola design: There are no rules. Like pergolas, bunk beds can be made in a variety of ways and every person knows one when they see one. We also know when bunk beds look right and when they are wrong.
There are two major forks to follow when you plan your bunk bed.
- Ceiling height
- Next, decide whether your bunk bed should be freestanding or attached to a wall.
This article will focus on a simple, built-in design that includes a desk under the bed platform for teenagers. However, most bunk beds have the same five components:
- Ledger board
- Box for mattress
- Platform for mattress
How to Design Your Bunk Bed
Bunk beds, regardless of what design you choose, are easy to set up and can be used as a placemat rather than using paper. Before you cut a single piece of cardboard or blue tape, make sure to have some cardboard and cardboard handy. Because bunks can affect things such as travel lanes, door swings, furniture placement, lighting, and even electric, it is crucial to do this.
Another concern, and perhaps the most important, is how much space you intend to leave between the ceiling and the top of your mattress. Your child should be able sit up and move around, while being able and able to easily mount and remove the ladder. This bed is best suited for those with a 9-foot ceiling.
- You can choose the design that you like, as this will determine the material selection. You can make bunk beds from either premium furniture-grade plywood, rustic, organic-looking 5-/4 pine, or 2-by framing. They will still look great. This article will focus on commodity lumber.
- Place a piece blue painter’s adhesive vertically on the wall where you want to place the bed. Measure from the ceiling to the location of the mattress’s top and mark it on the tape.
- Next, mark the thickness of the mattress on the tape. Mattresses come with a variety of thicknesses so this will be a challenge. A bunk bed typically doesn’t come with a box spring so you only need to include the mattress in your layout.
- This will take you to the topmost mattress platform, which I usually build from 3/4″ plywood. This is the thickness of the blue tape.
- The mattress platform is supported by a 2×2 bolt that is attached inside the box. Make sure to account for the entire thickness of your mattress box. It is common to use 2×6 or 2×8. You can now see how everything looks in real-time. Tommy might call it “a story pole”.
- Consider that your child will need a place to store their drink, electronics, or books. For making the bed, you will need to leave enough space around the mattress. Plan a “halo”, a space between the mattress and the wall of at least 2 sides.
- Next, trace the box for the mattress on the floor using either blue tape or cardboard. This will show you how the bed affects the passageway in the room, which can be difficult to draw on paper.
- After you have established the height and position, it is time to begin cutting the boards.
Build Your DIY Bunk bed
This type of bunk bed is a furniture piece. It has many similarities with deck framing. Start by creating a ledger board. You will need to cut the ledger to a certain length.
Pro2Pro Tip – Use blue tape to protect your level from scratching the wall.
How to build a bunk bed
- If your bed measures 8 feet long, and you are building the frame using 2-by (1 1/2-inch thick) lumber for the legs, trim three inches from the ledger. You can attach the mattress box on the right and left sides to the ledger later. The whole thing will measure 8 feet.
- Find the studs, and attach your ledger with two deck screws of 3 inches per stud. It should be level.
- Install the front, left and right sides of the box frame. Temporary posts can be used to level the left and right pieces while you attach the permanent posts. Posts can be made from 2x6s that are fastened at right angles to one another, creating an “L” shape. When carpet is present, compress it to ensure that the box frame is level after the weight has been applied.
- Take diagonal measurements of your bed frame to square up the box. Then, jimmy the frames’ outer corners until you have equal measurements. Place the 2×2 cleat in the mattress box.
- Next, you will need to install the mattress platform and the bed rail. This is an important safety feature. To make the bed accessible, you will need a sturdy ladder. You could make this ladder from oak or clear 3/4″-thick pine. The ladder’s top should be secured to the bed frame for safety.
- After you are done with the bed, you have the option to build or install a desk under it. It’s a good place for you to start.
- Next, set aside a few days to apply the finish. You can also use semi-gloss or boiled linseed oils to finish the job.
- Finally, because everything is assembled, it is no longer a bunk bed world. Everything can be taken apart easily, and wall repairs are minimal.