Introduction: Loft Bed/Theater Cave AKA "The Beast"

Picture of Loft Bed/Theater Cave AKA "The Beast"

I've browsed this website for a while now, always amazed at the things you guys come up with. Finally, I've been inspired enough to recreate one of these instructable and I thought I should share the process.

I currently rent and I have a fairly small room (10' x 13') with a LOT of crap in it. I have a 48" big screen, queen bed, 3'x5' computer desk and 2 lazyboy style chairs with ottomans. I need more space.

The "pipe loft bed" and "big sturdy loft" instructables have inspired me to build my own 10' x 7' x 4.5' loft. I'm creating this as I build the beast so please excuse the impending past tense/present tense confusion and the rest of the grammatical errors.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Well I used various lengths of 2" x 6 " boards trying to waste the least amount of wood.
-12 x (2x6x7)
-2 x (2x6x10)
-8 x (2x6x5)
-2 x (2x4x10)

-8 x (1/2 x 4") bolts
-8 x (1/2 x 4") nuts
-16 x (1/2 x 4") washer

-1 x (5' x 7')sheet of MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard - cabinet grade stuff that looks a lot better than plywood and doesn't have splinters) to be added later that acts as a flat surface over the part of the beast that doesn't have a mattress on it.

Step 2: Assemble Legs

Picture of Assemble Legs

I considered using 4" x 4" posts for the legs but it would've cost almost twice as much money to do it that way. Instead, I'm opting to use the 5 foot long 6's (I'll say 6's from now on instead of 2" x 6") in an "L" shape. This will be very stable and will give me 2 surfaces to attach bolts to at the same level; I won't have to have the long and short sides at different heights.

The long side will be facing out so I'm making sure the "long side of the 'L' "is facing that way. Once they are screwed together, you'll need to do some measuring on the interior of the "L". I want 4.5 feet of clearance under the structure so subtract the width of the boards (not exactly 6 inches, it's a little less but it differs slightly for each board) and screw a small 2" x 4" square at that line on the interior of the short side of the "L". Later that will be used to prop the rectangular frame so it will be easier to drill the holes for the bolts and when putting the bolts in. Also, It will serve as a failsafe just in case the bolts start to come loose one day. It wouldn't hold the entire weight of the structure but hopefully catch it long enough for you to notice that the bolt is loose. Do this 4 times and the legs are done!

Step 3: Assembling the Frame

Picture of Assembling the Frame

To make the top of the Beast the correct size, you must cut some length off of the frame 6's to allow for board width. A way around this that will also add some strength and rigidity is to notch the corners.
To do this, you must cut the ends of each piece of the frame so that they fit together at the corners (as seen below). I chose to make the "lower notch" on the shorter sides of the Beast's frame so that the "upper notch" (on the long sides) would rest on the lower notch because the long sides bare more weight. This also helps in the reassembly of the Beast in a small room. You can assemble the shorter ends, stand them up and then set the longer sides of the frame fit like a puzzle piece into the notches.

Once you have notched the ends, dry fit the frame. Most likely the boards will be slightly warped somewhere along the way so keep an eye out for that. Screw the frame together at the corners, making sure to keep the top edges level. Also, go ahead and screw down the boards that will go across the top of the frame at each end. This will add rigidity when you later hae to move the unfinished frame around.

From here on out., it's a good idea to number each corner and each piece that touches that corner so you don't get confused when reassembling.

Step 4: Bolt Holes and More Dry Fitting

Picture of Bolt Holes and More Dry Fitting

Now place the frame on the legs (braced by those 2 x 4 squares you added earlier) and put some temporary screws in to hold it all together. Once all four legs are temporarily attached, then you can drill the bolt holes and know that the holes will line up at the end. Make sure the legs are perpendicular to the frame before drilling the holes.Stagger the bolts a bit so they aren't too close to each other or the notches you made.

Dry fit the bolts and the top boards to make sure everything is looking right.

NOTE: I plan on adding bracing at the corners or "X" braces across the legs that face walls. I forgot to buy the wood for that and it'll be next weekend before I go by the hardware store again.

Step 5: Paint

Picture of Paint

My pictures didn't turn out, but you need to mark the pieces of wood that show on the side that faces out. Then disassemble the beast and paint those marked pieces. I decided to only paint this face of the Beast because I'm lazy and I didn't want to have to spend more money on paint for pieces that will never be seen. Plus, leaving the under-parts of the Beast the lighter color that wood already is (rather than the flat black that I'm painting the front face) will reflect more light. This thing takes up more than half my room, so I'm guessing that the darkness under there will already be a problem that I'll deal with later.

Step 6: The Beast Is Complete!

Picture of The Beast Is Complete!

Step 1: Move crap out of room.

Step 2: Assemble Beast in room.

Step 3: Move crap back into room; under and on top of the Beast.

Step 4: Enjoy the extra space, theater cave under the Beast and sweet lifted bed that reminds you of a fort you built when you were 12 despite the few hours of work and $125 it cost you.

I'm doing this after I've slept on The Beast for a few weeks so I've since changed some things. It turned out to be extremely sturdy so the only cross-bracing I added was on 2 on the corners which you can see in some of the pictures. I threw together the ladder after deciding on its location and threw some carpet on there. My room is pretty small (hence the need for the Beast) so it was hard to take pictures but I took a lot so I hope that helps. I actually had to steal my roommates light bulbs for a while so the pictures would turn out haha.

Also, I decided to fill the gaps between the 6's on half of the Beast with 2x4s rather than covering that side with plywood. I did this because I thought it would look better, it was cheaper, it lets more light through to the bottom and I know later I can change it up easier. I've also added some other gadgets under/on the Beast such as a light underneath.

I still need to replace my ceiling fan with a less deadly light fixture but Ive been lazy. Overall, I'm extremely happy with the project. It's much easier to keep my room clean with extra space, I love the extra storage and I can finally have people in my room to hang out now that there is room. I ended up with plenty of room on top and underneath. I'm 5'9 and I can sit up on my bed with a little room left between the ceiling and I have almost a foot between my head and the roof of the theater cave.

I think that's all but ask if you have any questions or if you want help designing your own - although I probably explained everything waaay too much anyway.


gitana22 (author)2017-03-26

Awesome. I plan on making this for a twin or double bed with stairs since I will use full wall width. I also have a ceiling fan issue so I will see if I can reolace with smaller fan blades "paddles" . thank you

bcraun (author)2016-12-22

Hi, I just came across this after searching for a loft bed that would accommodate a double-size mattress. This looks like it might work with no changes to the plans. Can the author or anyone who has made it let me know for sure?

TLMATX (author)bcraun2016-12-22


I'm the author and I had a queen mattress on it and it would've fit 2 of them side by side. Queens are 5ft x 6ft 8in, so if yours is smaller than that, it will fit.

mrcaderly (author)2016-02-08

Nice job! Thanks for posting this, my daughter has been bugging for a bunk bed, but I think she'll like this better! The only problem is that my son will want one too! Ha!

joshdaniel82 (author)2015-12-07

It looks like you've had this bed for a while now. Just curious, how has it held up ?

TLMATX (author)joshdaniel822015-12-07

I had it for about a year and a half and it was very sturdy. Probably twice as strong as it needed to be.

beijing2013 (author)2012-08-12

awesome. loving the simplicity of it.
i'm totally going to build a version of this when i move in a couple of months. see, i've got this idea of living in a caravan/trailer when i go to college in 2 years. so i'll be using this to work out the minimum space i need to live on. how much headroom do you have under yours?

ElvenChild (author)2011-04-27

please I am begging you please tell me where I can by rubber duckies that big.

TLMATX (author)ElvenChild2011-04-27

Unfortunately, I have no idea! I got mine from a white elephant gift exchange.

Purocuyu (author)TLMATX2012-03-31

I bought some stuff a while back from this place:
They have big rubber ducks.

ildegiron (author)2011-12-11

Simply the best instructions I've read to date:
Step 1: Move crap out of room.
Step 3: Move crap back into room; under and on top of the Beast.

best regards

ggregorio (author)2011-08-27

Really Nice great Instructions! Getting the measures to build mine! Thanks!

bexabarr (author)2010-09-27

I built this loft, granted that I live in an old shotgun house with 11 foot ceilings. The clearance is 6'3". Since this picture I've also put my 24" monitor up there and use as a TV screen. The bed is also a queen size bed, so it's a pretty big structure. I have very little building experience, but managed to build this under 100 bucks. And while it doesn't look like it, it is pretty sturdy too. I went to Lowes with a note pad, and in 15 minutes I drew a sketch. I then got the longest pieces of wood available (cheaper in the grander scheme of things) and had them cut it to the dimensions that I wanted. I bought some wood screws (used a ton of these) and borrowed a drill. I also used an old piece of plywood to hold the box together so I didn't need to use that many cross bars. And YES! I have "tested it out," for those of you that that catch my drift. For said means, I found it to be relatively steady... but of course this is all within context. In the future I plan to install cross wires on the lateral far end to increase its stability, but honestly being supported by the two walls, it barely move at all (again for generalized purposes). I also put rubber door stops on the sides and corners so it wouldn't damage my walls. The "night stand" is from an old table that I took apart. Hope you found this interesting! Take care!

mwolfe4 (author)bexabarr2011-08-17

this is great!! do you have a copy of your plans? I am looking to make a queen bed loft for a studio apartment with high ceilings as well....
thanks so much

triumphman (author)2011-06-18

Built one of these in the 70's in Burlington, Vermont, apartment. I can't recall if I used 6x6 or 8x8 's. I remember they were big! Very sturdy under a two up situation, if you get my drift!. Only thing I did was used 2x10's to form a box for my mattress around the inside of the posts. The apartment had a big bay window area, with very high ceilings. No bedroom, so I saved space and built the loft bed! And gained living space under it. I could walk under it (6' clearance! It was fun. Nice job mate!

TigerMoon (author)2010-09-05

I love to see ideas for living in small spaces! If I ever move to someplace that has higher ceilings I'll consider using your 'ibble. The theater cave looks cozy and yeh, reminds me of being a kid. I assembled a somewhat loft bed using two folding banquet tables from Staples and placing the wooden bed frame on them. There's not enough space under to be used for living space but it does provide a lot of storage.

ElvenChild (author)2010-09-02

(jaw drop) where on earth do you get rubber duckies that big or did you buy them from marvin the martian

kuec0040 (author)2010-05-23

 the two supports on the bottom running parallel with the bed... are those 2x4's?
also how did you decide how much support was needed?

TLMATX (author)kuec00402010-05-23

Yup 2x4s. I used those there to gain a couple more inches of headroom.

Honestly I had no idea how much support was needed. I based the design on what wood was on sale and the spacing that worked for me. In the end, it was waaay overbuilt but since I used it to sleep on (with a queen bed) AND for quite a lot of storage AND because I didn't want any type of support beam in the middle, I'd  rather be safe than sorry!

Let me know if you have any more questions!

kuec0040 (author)2010-05-23

 never mind! just saw your post below saying it was all 2x4's 

caseythr (author)2009-09-30

You built a small free-standing indoor deck...awesome! I'm trying to do something similar for my dorm, but just a platform next to my bed instead of holding my bed.

dchall8 (author)2008-02-14

For those who can't see the dark pictures, blow them up with the i button.

blueblur (author)dchall82008-06-04

For those who don't like the world, blow it up with the self-destruct button.

jmacfarlane823 (author)blueblur2009-08-09


footballhead667 (author)2009-08-06

my roommate and i are building this tomorrow. if we remember to post photos, i'll put 'em up! thanks!!

cuteaznprincesss (author)2008-07-11

i slept in a lofted bed (ikea.. i know. shameful ) for the past 5 years until i bequeathed it to my brother for his new college apartment. had i seen this earlier i definitely would have recommended he build his own. this is awesome.

Udon (author)cuteaznprincesss2009-05-21

In my room/bunker, I sleep on two pieces of rusty scaffolding with a big plywood board. It actually works very well. The original idea was to be lazy and just use scaffolding, but getting the stuff in was more of an operation - almost got a hernia. Probably would have been easier to built one of these. Good 'stuctable. I very like.

OMG you're hot

JamesW (author)2008-09-17

Ya'll know, I did a similar thing to my closet. I made a 'hovering' metal piping frame, and slapped a mattress on it. This instructable was indeed my inspiration...I just made mine from piping and some Gorilla Glue. xD

bomberman3 (author)2008-07-23

I notice you have the same boom box that my local community college used when we were rehearsing "Cinderella".

JanxAngel (author)2008-05-31

Maybe instead of just a platform bed I'll make a loft bed and stick my sewing desk under it... I also have a ceiling fan though, and plenty of closet space so maybe when I move again.

asianpuff16 (author)2008-04-05

i love itt!! you said your bed is huge? how big is it? full size? also how tall is it?

TLMATX (author)asianpuff162008-04-06

Well I have a queen size bed (which are approx. 5x7) and it's 4.5ft tall.

Mr. Rig It (author)2008-04-05

Cool idea!

plzspoilme25 (author)2008-02-24

love it, can u come build mine for me????

TLMATX (author)plzspoilme25 2008-02-25

Where do you live and how much are you paying me? haha

plzspoilme25 (author)TLMATX2008-02-26


iTHROWDOWN (author)2008-02-15

im making one as soon as i get the wood how much did it cost you?

TLMATX (author)iTHROWDOWN2008-02-15

It cost me about $130 total and mine is HUGE so yours might cost less. That's cheap compared to what it could be if you aren't careful. I used like 144 feet of 2x6's and 70 feet of 2x4's It's pretty important to be picky when selecting the wood. Spend some time at the store inspecting the board before you buy them. Keep and eye out for the smoothest ones with the least knots and always set them on the floor of the hardware store to make sure they aren't warped. Another tip when buying is to make a list of what lengths you need and make sure those numbers fit into the board lengths. For example, I needed a lot of seven foot 2x6's so I bought 14 foot 2x6's because I could cut them in half and have no waste. Plus it's usually cheaper overall if you buy longer boards.

sysadmn (author)2008-02-15

Nice Job! Looks like that thing could survive an earthquake. PS - cable ties :-)

John Smith (author)2008-02-14

Purty cool. I'd be terrified of that fan, though...

TLMATX (author)John Smith2008-02-14

Well, it's pretty scary but it'll have to do until I put my window AC unit in. I stuck my foot in it the other night and it did NOT feel good haha

falcotheimpaler (author)2008-02-14

i thought this was just a bed frame (because it is, in proportion it seems) until i saw the last step. i am definitely making this for my studio (ugh) apartment.

LT_WANG (author)2008-02-14

Nice, I'll have to put up some pics of mine (made in NOV-DEC 06). I don't think mine is that big but it works. I'll take some pics and upload in a few minutes.

LT_WANG (author)LT_WANG2008-02-14

BTW if your curious, its all 2"x4" beams except for one plywood board(dimensions are 7'X4'). I have a work light for working on computers, speakers rigged for my monitor that my Xbox 360 is on(full 1080 on sony triniton CRT)....and I don't use the TV

Brennn10 (author)2008-02-14

Great instructions, and great design! Nice work!

GorillazMiko (author)2008-02-14

YAY! Finally, an AWESOME Instructable about how to make a loft bed. I've been wanting one for quite a while now, and my parents said to find what pieces of wood to buy and everything, and this came up. Thanks SO much for posting. +1 rating. (added to favorites)

Lftndbt (author)2008-02-14

Nice workmanship!!
Should last you many years...

Feel free to post your bed in my group "Completables"

About This Instructable




More by TLMATX:Becoming Ron Burgundy (Anchorman) w/Covert Microphone FlaskLoft Bed/Theater Cave AKA "The Beast"
Add instructable to: