DIY loft-style beds for our boys

Plenty of play room now!

Plenty of play room now!

The bedroom that our twin boys share is a reasonable size for an single child with a single bed, a single dresser, and a single set of toys.  When you double the amount of furniture and toys there is very little space left for playing.  And twin boys like to play!  When we first moved into our house we took the opportunity to upgrade the boys’ beds and purchased for them what are known as captain’s beds (twin-size, with a bookcase headboard and drawers underneath for clothing)  We thought ourselves pretty smart when we saw the beds on sale, thinking that we would be saving so much space by moving their clothing to the drawers in each bed.  We purchased quickly.  We purchased without measuring.  We purchased poorly.

The youngsters in their new hideout!

The youngsters in their new hideout!

It rapidly became apparent that the captain’s beds just took up too much room.  They barely had room to walk around the sides of their beds and only a small space was left between.  After staring at the problem off and on for some months it occurred to me that a loft-bed would be a great solution!  Getting the beds up off of the floor would open the entire room up for play area, the room beneath the beds would provide a private sanctuary for each boy, and best of all I’d seen plans on the internet of adventurous dad’s that had built the loft-beds by hand!

The original sketch of the loft bed design

The original sketch of the loft bed design

Armed with my trusty notebook, a pencil and a ruler I set out to sketch the plans of what would eventually become the twins new loft bed.   After working through several designs, I finally settled on one that would place the beds along a single wall, the ends of the beds butting up against each other and a ladder in the middle for access.

It took two weekends and several trips to the hardware store to assemble all the bits and pieces, and I ended up making several design alterations during construction.   The end result is two twin beds that are comprised of three main pieces each.  There is the main platform which was assembled using two 2×4’s as the long sides of the platform and 9 1×4 slats to provide solid mattress support.  Each end of the bed was made from two 1×6’s with two 2×4’s providing lateral support.   By removing eight lag bolts, the entire bed can be taken apart into the three pieces for easy storage and transport (I have this strange notion that the boys are actually going to want to take these with them when the go off to college in a decade and a half!  I know, I’ m a bit delusional!)

Showing the slats under the bed

Showing the slats under the bed

By placing the beds end to end along one wall, I was able to create a central pillar for a ladder which is secured to both beds with two short lengths of 2×4 which twist into place.   The last pieces to go on were the removable side rails.  These needed to be long enough to cover 3/4ths the length of each bed, sturdy enough to prevent either boy from falling out of the bed and easy enough to remove when tending to a sick child or changing the linens.

The twins have been using (and sometimes abusing) the loft-beds for nearly eight months.  They are holding up very well and are still very sturdy.  Mom added curtains to the underside of each bed shortly after the pictures were taken, creating the sanctuary space that each boy needed when living in a shared room.

With the safety rail in place

With the safety rail in place

The railings are almost never removed, but it’s nice to know that they can be if the need ever arose.  The response from the twins has been fantastic, the kids in the neighborhood think that the boys have the coolest beds, and all it cost dear old Dad was a couple of weekends and less than $150.00!

Now that I’m finished with these space-saving loft-style beds for the twins, my next project will be a similar style bed for their sister, but that won’t be until next summer and will most likely involve princesses and somehow I have to figure out how to make it look like a castle!  But that’s still a few months away.

  7 comments for “DIY loft-style beds for our boys

  1. January 15, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Sir, you are an inspiration to us all.

    (Don’t let Kim see this…)

  2. January 15, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    You did all that by yourself? And for less then $150.00!? I am amazed!

  3. January 15, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    It probably could have been done for less, but I might have made one or two mistakes and needed to go buy replacement lumber! (but only once or twice!) :)

  4. January 17, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Wow! Nicely done! And how much fun with those kids have with a built-in “fort”. I can see pirate raids, campouts, and knights in shining armour battling the invaders in their future.

    Good job, Dad!

  5. Kingz
    December 9, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Great job, I to am starting a design for a 3 way, since I have a 7,8,& 9 year old boys in one room, I was planing loft beds, found out that you can get military grade 30X74 4″ mattress.

    Since my boys are really rouph and have broken down a nice set of bunk beds to a pile of fire wood. im using 4×4 or 4×6 as the corner post.

    now that my teen Daughter and Son have seen this, they both want loft water beds in each of their rooms. now that will be a problem.. lol

    now just got to find what to do with my two baby girls. lol need more house.

    how have they held up over the year

  6. December 11, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Thanks for the kind words! I am quite happy to report that nearly a year later the beds are not only still standing but just as sturdy as the day they were built! The area under the beds are occupied by various bins filled with their toys and such, and the overall effect has allowed the twins to spread out their lego creations from wall to wall! The beds have been a great success and I’m looking forward to building a canopied/curtained version for my daughter in a year or two.

    I’d love to see your designs and completed beds; I think you have some interesting options for a three way and I’m interested to see which way you go with it! Good luck! (I can’t even begin to imagine trying to get a waterbed mattress up there!)

  7. Misty
    September 22, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Good dad alert!

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