Picture of College Bed Loft (Twin XL)
How to make a loft for a dorm, or any other tight space!
Dimensions given will accommodate an Extra-Long Twin mattress with 1' extra on every side.

We are making these lofts to take to Iowa State while living in a Dorm. We will be able to put a desk or sofa underneath. A loft is a great way to gain floor space; so much more room for activities!

    After a full school year of sleeping on this loft I have made many drastic improvements, mainly that it now accepts the frame provided by the school. This new version can be found here. Thanks all for your support!

Step 1: Materials

My roommate and I built both lofts at once, so keep that in mind in the pictures; also, he weighs in around 250 lbs, so we upgraded the "slats" on his from 2x4's to 2x6's.
These lofts are made entirely of dimensional lumber, bolts, and screws.

Miter Saw (power)
Cordless Drill with Screw bit
Corded Drill (opt.) with 3/8" drill bit

18 3/8" Carriage Bolts
18 3/8" Flat Washers
18 3/8" Lock Washers
18 3/8" Nuts
Small box of 2-1/2" Deck Screws (torx opt.)

8 - 2x4x6'
8 - 2x4x8'
3 - 2x6x8'

1-40 of 46Next »
JenniferW211 month ago
How much did all the supplies cost and how long did it take to build?
jeffrey681 year ago

How long are the carriage bolts? I'm assuming 4 inches but wondering if you went shorter.

jonaha1 year ago

You may want to check out this web site. They can make a loft bed for you @ under $200.00 and you do not need to do anything but wait for UPS to delivery. Please check out this site.


goody175 years ago
perfect... mostly because ill be at isu next semester. thanks!
ajmontag (author)  goody175 years ago
Be sure to check out the final pictures I posted on the loft instructable! http://www.instructables.com/id/College-Dorm-Loft-accepts-Twin-XL-frame/
badheadday6 years ago
Very nice! The one I built for my daughter earlier this year has a 2x4 ladder on each end so that we could rearrange her room easier. We were planning on moving soon and I wasn't quite sure how it would fit in the new place with the windows, doors and closet. I would have freaked if I'd built just one ladder side and it didn't work! Also I don't have the kick board on the front. Now she has a great little reading area with a bean bag, lamp and book shelves under it. I assembled it in 3 large solid pieces (ladder, ladder and mattress support) that bolt together, a support beam for the bottom on the 'wall' side and two for the long sides of the mattress so she doesn't roll out. Again, GREAT JOB!
do you have the plans for that bed you finished? if you do can you send it to john.d.watkins@us.army.mil. thanks
Another multi-functional item perfect for the college room is this Skater sofa bed from Innovation.

Is anyone out there making something like this in the instructable family ?  I'm very frugal and would rather make it than buy it.  I like the storage area on this futon.
jawoo5 years ago
Hey nice going! I go to ISU as well! GO CYCLONES! (Friley I presume?)
ajmontag (author)  jawoo5 years ago
HELSER!! lol
jawoo ajmontag5 years ago
Outch. I'm sorry to hear that!
Zipper9636 years ago
WOW !! Nice Job ! I will give a try !!
I finally did it ! I made some modification as you can see :) Thanks for you're good idea !
LOft Bed 007.jpgLOft Bed 008.jpgLOft Bed 009.jpgLOft Bed 010.jpg
Final Step ! I add a Neon to do my homework !
ajmontag (author)  Zipper9635 years ago
Yes, I also did that. On my roomies loft (the couch is underneath his) we have stapled up white christmas lights; these are functional (for reading) and also make nice accent lighting.
that head board is frickin sweet. my friend puts a plastic tub lid under her mattress so she has a side table.
that is a great idea, i have a bunk as well and need to remember that one
I LUV the head board idea. GENIUS!!!!!
ajmontag (author)  quesoman6 years ago
When sleeping on a loft in college, my sister said she had her pillow fall off every night. i move in in three days, so we'll see how it goes.. i may end up adding on to mine :)
jujibelly5 years ago
How sturdy is it? ie. will I have to make a woman sign a disclaimer before agreeing to participate in "bedtime activities"?
I actually found your instructable after I designed my own ;) I guess great minds think alike because my design was very similar, its good to hear you confirm how sturdy the design is. I still haven't built mine yet but hopefully will get a chance during the xmas holidays.

I've attached a few renders of the design I made (done with sketchup then rendered in kerkythea, both are free)

Render 2 crop.jpgRender 3.jpg
AZsid jujibelly5 years ago
Well, I made one a few years ago (still in use) kind of like this. The differences are I used 4X4 for the posts, I used 2X6 for the bottom braces, the bottom braces are flush with the floor, I used two more posts, the slats are on edge, and I boxed in a waterbed mattress.

Yes, you read that right. I lofted a waterbed (1 ton with my body weight) with the basic design in this instructable. I have since added DVD shelves and a ladder that look like they add to the structural integrity but they really don't.

I'd have to say as long as you beef up the wood, add more brackets, and the woman doesn't weigh over 2000lb a waiver won't be needed.

majsupo6 years ago
Great update and great ideas. I was researching the sizes for twin mattresses and they are 39 x 75 inches. With that said, i'm planning on modifying your dimensions to 81 for the main horizontal support and back bottom braces and 42 for the slats and ladder. Should i add additional slats if i go with the 2 x 4 from 6 to 8 or stick with 6? what was the size of the guard rail, is that a 2 x4 or 1x 4 rail? looks great overall.
ajmontag (author)  majsupo6 years ago
im sleeping on 6 2x4 slats, and its great. the 1x4 is just the distance from end to end of the corner peices
What is the spacing between the screws that join the uprights? Seems roughly a foot space between them.
ajmontag (author)  withmyown2hands6 years ago
Yeah, its about a foot, but i would actually go closer than that; try every 6" - 9"
bowser826 years ago
Nice build! But better cure any wobbles and squeeks, if you want to be able to get any action going on... ;-) Oh no, wait, your soul purpose in college is to study. No extracurrricular activities! heheh
majsupo6 years ago
how stable is this. do you need to do a cross beam like in the OP loft bed, or is the bottom and side brace sufficient enough. Great looking work by the way.
ajmontag (author)  majsupo6 years ago
We may end up adding small pieces at a 45 deg. angle in the front when we move in. The two screws that i will also add on the side with one bolt will also be essential. to answer your question, it is structurally sound; just a bit wobbly, but can be easily fixed.
One thing that will make it less wobbly is to screw a piece of cheap OSB on the back. This will make it much more rigid, and will give you a place to post things in your under-bunk study area. I'd suggest putting the same thing on one of the ends, too, but put that on the side that will be towards the wall as well, so that you don't block the view of the rest of the room.
eblisster6 years ago
No finished photo with paint, mattress, etc?
ajmontag (author)  eblisster6 years ago
i'm not going to paint it, just sand it smooth, and that is to come after i move to college ;)
3frog6 years ago
How long are your 3/8" bolts?
ajmontag (author)  3frog6 years ago
3 1/2"
patron_zero6 years ago
That's a nice design, I built a lot of loft-bunk beds back in my university days so if I may pass one suggestion along to be considered. I had made use of carriage bolts and wide (Fender style) washers rather than wood-deck screws for joining the sections, this made assembly-disassembly go much faster and allowed the 'novice' dorm dweller a simpler task concerning such actions. Mind use some care selecting bolt length and thickness, as well as placing washers anywhere the head of a carriage bolt or a hex nut makes contact with the wooden frame.
sapien-red6 years ago
would you please post a DXF file , it looks great.
shahean20106 years ago
very good job thanks
manifold6 years ago
go hawks. lol
fillheart6 years ago
Nice job...keeping lofts simple and safe is key. Most loft builders over design or under design. Check out gridbeam as a design idea. it makes parts interchangeable and easily dismantled
1-40 of 46Next »