Instructables

If Carlsberg made Loftbeds!

Frustrated by the lack of floor space in my new flat, I resolved to build the ultimate loft bed! I have tall ceilings at 2.75 metres, so building up seemed like the way forward...

Total material cost for this project, including hardware, bed base sabotaged from an old iron bedstead, and mattress from the same old bed was only about 175 quids, with about 110 quid on the wood itself.

All in all it took 2 days to build. I done the cutting and part assemblys myself on the first day, and on the second I had a friend help with the major assembly.

This bed is sturdy, thats for sure! Being an Engineer/Architect for a living makes you acutely aware of structures and strength, and I was paranoid that my girlfriend and I might plummet to our doom so I over engineered the thing somewhat... it is reasuringly solid though, and it is also wedged and packed off of the walls, thus it dosent move in the slightest, and no creaking either!
 
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Step 1: Design

I enjoy designing stuff. Sometimes I end up spending far too much time designing and not just doing it though, but with this one I wanted to be sure. Concept design was done in Rhino 3D and hand calcs (beam theory) done in Excel. If I was being ultra geeky I may have done some FEA on it, but thats for another day! Suffice to say the hand calcs give me a factor of 3 safety with 2 people on the bed which is good enough for me.

The main load bearing side beams are therefore 200mm x 25mm and span 2.75m, with a 50mm x 50mm rail glued and through bolted along the bottom edge for the bed base to sit on. The main uprights are 100mm x 100mm. I could have got away with 75mm x 75mm here, but opted for the chunkier material instead. Under bed clearance is 1.8m, and me being 1.85m tall I can generally get under it if I slouch a bit! My girlfriend is shorter at 1.65m and has loads of headroom. Clearance above the mattress was 700mm. I deemed this to be the best compromise between useable space beneath the bed and sleeping room above it. I would say 700mm is at the lower end of the comfortable above bed clearance for sleeping.

I wanted the bed to span a whole wall so that the legs would not intrude into the room. This requirement drove up the need for beefier structure as it spans more than a normal bed. It was also necessary for my nice big desk from Ikea to sit under the far end, as this would be the only available space for it - I was still storing it in my bathroom!!! What is also cool about having it next to my little hallway is that I will be able to put a 24" cheapo Ebay CRT telly up at the far end of the bed for bed time viewing.

So, with these requirements, I started drawing in Rhino. As the design evolved the calcs were influenced and I kept to the factor of 3 safety with 2 people rule as closely as possible. the final design looked like this... I'm pleased to say that this is almost exactly what was built.
jimbus_com3 years ago
If you measure a parallelogram diagonally, corner to corner, it is square when the diagonals are equal. Carpenters use this trick all the time when building houses and decks and such,
KahleFamily3 years ago
Did you countersink the holes on the outside (the part you can see)? If you did, I would fill those and simply paint the frame.
From the look of things that is just a piece of threaded rod or bolt and he is using the nuts and washers to press the two pieces of wood apart, clamping it in place. All of the force would be applied through the washer pressed against the wood just twist them apart. Here is a crude drawing explaining what I can see. Heck that might even be the head of a bolt pressed to the left block of wood.
RajMistry3 years ago
Hey could you go into more detail of how you braced it off the wall?
lycoris34 years ago
I noticed that in one of the pics you have there is a lot of foot room there.  For me, right up next to the wall where that space is is where I would put the ladder.  If you were living there perminetly (or for a kid's room) have steps inside the wall that fold out of the wall with a flip of a switch or button.  sort of like this:
hope you like it!

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majsupo4 years ago
Do you have a ladder with this system. Nice job by the way!
mishnish (author)  majsupo4 years ago
I did eventually build one, but it was very simple, consisting of heavy wood slats across the foot frame of the bed.  I didnt want the staircase to intrude on the floorspace in any way, and it turned out to be a good towel rail in the end!
for finishing the pine: i personally like the light colour of the pine... so i'd just varnish it with something clear, maybe slightly brown tint. but in such a small space be wary of using a dark stain or something similar as it would make it more imposing in the room, and make it look smaller. there are some cool techniques around for bringing out the grain of the wood nicely, without darkening it too much too i think. just google "pine grain highlight" or similar and you'll find something i'm sure :)
We recently finished off a pine floor that we installed with flaxseed oil (boiled linseed). You can add a bit of stain to the oil to give it a mottled pumpkin color. The linseed oil is natural and smells okay too.
dianep5 years ago
Nice use of space. You might consider moving the head of the bed to the other end to allow you to utelize the space above the doorway more easily, but then you would have to switch the desk as well. Well done!
I had one my entire "big bed" childhood, came in handy since my room was an after thought of the house. that looks nice too, like ikea furniture, but better lol
kill-a-watt6 years ago
There are no triangles, so a bed like this would be wobbly unless it was fitted in a space like yours where you could brace it firmly against three walls. That might be an important point if anyone were to copy you. The design looks great! It's a little non-intuitive because you don't expect to access the bed from below, and you haven't built the ladder yet.
mishnish (author)  kill-a-watt6 years ago
Yes, the bracing does help it a lot. If this were to be free standing it would require some form of diagonal bracing to keep it from "racking". As for the ladder... I'm scheming! Watch this space...
shooby6 years ago
Nice work, great use of space. As long as the final product is successful, and you haven't become too attached to a design to change it, then there is no such thing as 'over designing'. Any improvements/ changes you would make if you did it again?
mishnish (author)  shooby6 years ago
Anything differently... hmm, I think if I had a router available I may have added a round over to some of the more exposed edges. As it stands I just know to be a little careful with them, also with the router I may have recessed the bolting arrangements a little on the 100mm x 100mm material just for neatness. As for final dimensions and overall concept, it is fulfilling my needs and i havent hit my head off of anything yet, so it seems good!
Mr. Rig It6 years ago
Very nice, it looks really great. I would love to see this in my group if you wouldn't mind posting it there. Here is the link Home Repair, Refurbishment, and Projects

Good job you get a +
Much like what my dad made for my wee bro, worked great, except we used chunkier wood to match the bedroom furnishings he made and the rest of the house, it's a bit sad he was a great carpenter depsite being a tyre fitter, thankfully I saw most of the design ideas and this is a great one, ours was very similar except him and I made a kind of workspace below and added a TV shelf that was bigger than my wee bro's feet were long allowing comfort and storage up there.
WOW! That's one small apartment or is it more of a converterd room in a house? It has a kichenette in it as well? I kinda like it. I am a fan of small, but well utilized spaces (including loft-type beds). My apartment is as cheap as chips, but way too big for my meager needs (I use only half of my bedroom ... the rest is empty space). I wish my bedroom was like yours. I like the loft bed. btw.... how do you climb up into the loft? I also like the unique storage area above the doorway.
mishnish (author)  Cousin eddie6 years ago
As for getting up to the bed, I am currently using a chest of drawers to stand on while I design and build a more permanent set of stairs/ladders!
mishnish (author)  Cousin eddie6 years ago
Lol! Yes its rather small, but property prices are sky high where I live and work as we are right on the coast with lots of nice beaches 2 minutes walk away. Its exactly that - a converted room in a house. Being an engineer/designer myself, like you, I appreciate well utilised space. With good design I feel I have made a small cheap appartment punch well above its weight, and it is now being more than I am actually paying for it!
That's amazing!
Great job, I definitely want to make this now.
The instructions are great, the images are awesome as well, nice job.
+1 rating.
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