Introduction: Loft Beds

Picture of Loft Beds

Well we moved into an apartment and as you know, they aren't known for the amount of space they have. We needed a place to sleep and a place to work. This gave us an idea, sleep above the workspace with loft beds!

You can build one in an afternoon if you stick with it and it can be made for under $100. We didn't stain ours because we like the look of the bare wood (haha) and it wasn't worth the effort.

After we had the idea, we started looking around for plans. None of them really fit our situation exactly, but we used some ideas from each of them. You can manipulate, add or subtract from these plans. They are just what suited us.

There is a Google sketchup file I uploaded that is the project.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

As with all things we need the trusty materials list.


~Drill with various bits
~Saw - capable of cutting at right angles (miter saw)
~Clamps - preferably C clamps.
~Wrench - preferably ratcheting


~ (1) Twin sized mattress
~ (1) sheet of 3/4" plywood (get it cut to 39 inches by 75 inches at the place if possible)
~ (12) 2x6's
~ (6) 2x4's
~ (16) 3/8" carriage bolts
~ (16) 3/8" ID 1" OD Washers
~ (16) 3/8" nuts (locknuts if you wish)
~ (1) pack of 3 1/2" screws

Step 2: Measure Twice, Cut Once.

Picture of Measure Twice, Cut Once.

I suggest cutting all of the wood before you start building, it will make the building more streamlined. Use some logic with the wood, if there is a big crack, cut it off.
A good suggestion is to also cut off a half a centimeter before measuring so you have a nice good end on the finished product.

You will need to cut....

~(2) 39 1/2 inch pieces from one 2x6. front and back support
~(2) 72 1/2 inch pieces from 2 2x6's. side supports
~(1) 78 1/2 inch piece from your prettiest 2x6. shelf
~(4) 81 1/2 inch pieces from your strongest looking 2x6's. back legs
~(4) 71 1/2 inch pieces from your strongest looking 2x6's. front legs
~(1) 39 1/2 inch piece from a 2x4
~(1) 74 inch piece from a 2x4
~(4) 42 1/2 inch from 2 2x4's
~ and cut the sheet of plywood to 39"x72" if you didn't already

Step 3: Build Legs

Picture of Build Legs

Get out your drill and a 1/8" drill bit and a screwdriver bit with two of the same sized legs.

Line them up as shown in the photo making sure to make them as flush with eachother as possible. Drill a pilot hole in the end and drill in the screw. Then move about a quarter of the way up the board and line it up, making adjustments if needed. Drill and screw keeping the board lined up. Do this until the end of the leg and then do the same with the other boards.

Step 4: Set Up Legs

Picture of Set Up Legs

Now move into the room that you want the bed. Set of legs so that it matches the picture. Lean two of them against a wall or other piece of furniture and lay the other two down so you can work with them easier.

Step 5: Install Side Supports

Picture of Install Side Supports

This is where we make the short sides and attach the two legs together. This is where is really counts to make sure all of your cuts are square and that you are patient with it so it comes out good.

Now with your two legs that are layed down, measure up from the bottom of both of them 54 inches. Put a 39 1/2" 2x6 on the inside of the legs lining up the bottom of the 2x6 with the lines. Make sure everything is lined up and squared and then drill the pilot holes and drill in the 2 1/2 inch screws. We put in 2 screws but you can put in however many you feel comfortable with.

Do this with the opposite side in the same way.

Step 6: Attach the Long Sides

Picture of Attach the Long Sides

Do the same thing with the longer sides but with the 72 1/2 inch boards. Since this time we can't lay them on the ground, use the clamps to hold the boards in place. Pilot and then drill the screws.

Make sure the boards are lined up like in the picture. Now we can put in the bolts.

If you want you can test the fit of the plywood in the top by just laying on top of the four supports.

Step 7: Insert the Bolts

Picture of Insert the Bolts

Drill two 3/8 inch holes in each end of each board so it goes through the legs. Hammer in the carriage bolts and then put the washers in and put the nuts in. Tighten them to your satisfaction.

Step 8: Bottom Supports

Picture of Bottom Supports

Now we need to put some supports at the bottom to keep the rocking to a minimum. Measure up from the bottom 17 inches on the inside of the legs on the opposite side of the side you want the ladder. Put another 39 1/2 inch piece lined up with with the 17 inch mark so that it is lined up with the top of the 2x4.

Now measure 17 inches up on the long side with the tall legs and put the 74 inch piece in with a few screws.

Step 9: Ladder

Picture of Ladder

Now its time to install the ladder. Measure up from the bottom in 17 inch intervals. These will line up with the top of the rungs.

Line up the boards and pilot the holes and drill them.

Step 10: Shelf

Picture of Shelf

Now take your 78 1/2 inch 2x6 and drill in onto the top of the long legs.

Step 11: Closing

Picture of Closing

You can mess with these plans however you want. We put the ladder to the side for one of them that we made.

To finish, all you need to do is put the piece of plywood over the supports and then put the mattress in over that.


charks66 (author)2012-05-29

Finished this purple version for our daughter over the holiday weekend. Made it 6" shorter than than the plans here. A few comments/suggestions after building this...

1. It doesn't specify...but you'll need 3 1/2" carriage bolts.

2. If I recall...(12) 8' 2x6's and (3) 8' 2x4's are what you need.

3. I would wait to cut the shelf/ladder/and plywood pieces until after you've assembled the legs and support beams and tightened up all the carriage bolts. I had to trim down the 42 1/2" ladder pieces just a bit. I was also able to have the lumber yard cut the plywood to 39 3/8" x 75 3/8". This made for a tighter fit.

4. I went with a cabinet quality sanded piece of plywood. A bit more expensive...but I liked the finished look. Also screwed the plywood down to the frame.

5. Pre-painted all the pieces before assembly!

Thanks so much for these incredible plans. It was a great project...and this bed is solid as a rock. And most daughter loves it!

PraS5 made it! (author)2017-11-08

I scaled up to Queen size and made it as bunk bed , For additional support I used the cross support to the top layer. I also made the complete bed frame (Glued and Screwed for additional safety) separately and then bolted to the leg supports. I used clamps to hold it in place. The bottom piece is in the ground and act as frame for the lower bed and is also bolted to the leg supports thereby providing additional support as well. I have tall ceiling 114 inches from floor to ground so I installed the top layer at 66" inches providing more head room for the bottom layer. The bed is rock solid and it was able to withstand 2 adults weight weighing close to 350 pounds. I had to get 2 pieces of playwood cut to make it to 80*60 and attach it to the frame. For additional safety I am thinking of attaching the top bed frame to the wall ( I have concrete wall ) , I am also planning to put additional blocks under the top layer. I installed the ladder on the side of the frame (used 2 * 4) and for safety rails ( I used 2 * 3) , both are screwed to the legs. I am not experienced carpenter and occasional woodworker I have basic skills and used handsaw for cross cuts and for plywood i got it cut at Home depot, and the only power tool I have is power drill , cordless driver. I live in a tiny apartment with my wife and 2 kids and I am trying to use every inch of the space in the apartment, certainly the tall ceiling come in handy. One of the greatest thing that impressed me about this plan is the cuts is all straightforward and it doesn't require any fancy tools or complicated cuts.

Any feedback and suggestion to increase the strength of the bed is welcome.

geekwise made it! (author)2017-10-18

Nice work everyone thanks for sharing.

I also managed to build a big loft bed for under £100.

Could have used more expensive material but was on a low budget at that time, but it turned out quite solid. Check out the build video on my youtube channel.

sarahpresby made it! (author)2014-11-28

Took time to sand and paint it black... went together really easy and it's very sturdy! Thinking of adding a ladder to the front as well with rungs that are closer together.

sarahpresby (author)sarahpresby2014-11-29

To improve safety, we added a railing... (grandparents were nervous) it is a 1x3 78.5 inches long

trooperrick (author)sarahpresby2014-12-01

Hey, looks great! It's awesome to come back to something I forgot I even wrote and have it still help people!

Hey i was wondering how much all the materials costs (minus the drill)

ErikW36 made it! (author)2017-03-11

We changed the front legs to 60" and the rear legs to 70", the bed is mounted 40" from the ground to the bottom of the base. We added a saftey rail and an extra step at the foot for climbing. Instead of nuta and bolts we used exterior construction lag screws to assemble. East to follow plans and really happy with thw results. We did a barn wood distressing with paint, stain, elbow grease, sand paper and clear polyurethane to get the finish

CalebK19 (author)2017-01-26

What is the height from the floor to under the bed?

jsaul2 (author)2016-12-09

Great work! Thank you for sharing! A few questions, please -

I'll need more space beneath the loft for a desktop and some cabinets - will I be okay to simply extend the length of the sides to use full 8' boards and an 8' plywood platform?

And I'd like to add a desktop to the short side opposite the ladder. How? Maybe 3/4 A/C plywood cut to 39.5 x 24" for the desktop, but how to anchor it? Can I raise the "bottom supports" from 17" to 30" and anchor to those, or will stability be compromised without "bottom supports" closer to the ground? I'm still not sure how I'll support the third, short side of the desktop either...

Thanks much!

jbulot made it! (author)2016-04-30

Thanks so much! I was looking for inspiration for building my son's loft bed and came across your design. It helped greatly! I made a few modifications, added a head board, desk and lego storage at the botton. Pics below.

AlentoS (author)2016-01-19

I am sure you can still buy handbook with all info you need on woodprix. Just google it.

TroyP7 (author)2016-01-02

Thanks for these plans. Worked great. I added two extra 2 x 4 pieces. One at the back of the bed to keep my daughter's pillow from falling down and one on the outside edge to keep her from rolling out.

JessicaD62 (author)TroyP72016-01-15

What size carriage bolts did you use? We are getting ready to make this bed for my son. Thanks!

Scottreeser made it! (author)2015-07-14

this was easy even added my own personal touch my son loves it now all the other kids want one too

Luis MiguelD (author)2015-06-24

Thanks for the project. It was very well directed, step by step. However, I did not need (6) 2x4s, but (3) of them. I used two of those to make some support below the plywood under the mattress, and I was left with one extra. I'll find some use to it, but it was not necessary to buy 6.
Thank you again.
~lm (in Queretaro, Mexico)

docfleisch (author)2015-03-10

How tall ( or thick )is your mattress when you built this?

murphybedhq (author)2013-11-06

VERY nice, love the build-in ladder. Great bed project :)

innrgeek (author)2013-09-03

GREAT Instructable! I just built two of them for my boys over the 3 day weekend. I also agree with everything that "charks66" says below and would follow his recommendations as well. I'l post the pics in a bit. I also added a railing since both boys didn't want to fall out of bed at night. ;-) Let me know if you want the dimensions after I post the pics.

lbstinger (author)innrgeek2013-09-09

innrgeek: Will you be posting the pictures of the loft beds you built over the 3 day weekend? Thinking for a while of building 2 for my daughters but was wondering how it looked with railing. How much was the cost of materials(approx.)? Thanks a bunch!

icampa (author)2013-05-29

Approximately how much would this cost?

The Expert Noob (author)2011-07-26

Here Is what I came up with for a Full size bed. It will be all bolt together except for the shelf and the mattress cross supports. Made up of all 2x6 as well. (its cheaper at the local lumber yard for some reason

How about a queen size? Just scale it up?

queen sized is getting a bit large. If I were to do it, I would just scale length and width, not height. As well as add more support underneath. I had built my above design when I was living in the dorms about a year ago. when I moved out, I sold it to my roommate at the time. If your gana go queen size id look into heftier leg support with maybe some cross sectional pieces with parts that will be up against the wall. I can design something but it may be a while as I work full time.

I also thought about adding supports half way up for monitor mounting and well extra support.

Hazzard2theworld911 (author)2011-06-11

the kind that uses proper spelling ;P

CFE (author)2011-01-19

Great loft! Going to attempt to build it this weekend. I have two questions though:

1. What length bolts & screws should I get? You mention the diameter but not the length.

2. I'm aware I can modify the hights/lengths to make this for a double bed (what I'll be doing) but do you (or anyone else) know if these plans offer enough support for two people? I share my double bed with my partner and just want to make sure it'll be ok!


Hazzard2theworld911 (author)CFE2011-06-11

I am not sure about sturdiness, but you can ALWAYS "double up" the thickness of the supports, add extra supports, and trim the bottoms of the legs to compensate.
also, don't hesitate to ask someone who works at a local lumberyard for what type of wood they would recommend.


AP Digital light (author)2010-11-14

Thanks for the great tips and inspiration;-)
That's my version of bed combined with workbench that's I've built for my lab.

J_A_C_K (author)2010-10-16

Hi! Look at my hand-made bed in my room.
I hadn't place for my bycicle, therefore I made such convenient bed.

dorotheabrown37 (author)2010-09-06

I love this one with a few modifacation like making a kind size bed under neath may be just so i can put my kid on top

thanatosys (author)2009-12-29

 Hey I made a few modifications to your design.
1. Upgraded to twinXL
2. Added a desk / workbench under the bed
3. Added shelving underneath
4. Moved latter to other side to fit the room layout better.

Your instructions were great and my dad and I who are not carpenters by any means were able to put this all together in under a day. Thanks for the detailed plans and instructions.

Finished product here:

 *ogle* That is one sweeet,sweeeeet loft-desk combo.

ttgivencej (author)2009-03-26

Take a look at, they have loft bed kits for larger sizes also. JV

jimmyslick (author)2009-01-30

The dimensions seem too short. Aren't most twin mattresses 39x75"?

trooperrick (author)jimmyslick2009-02-01

Yes I made a mistake. It is supposed to be 75" I will make the changes later, I am a bit busy right now.

trooperrick (author)jimmyslick2009-01-30

Yes, I believe they are, when I get a chance I will doublecheck our dimensions and correct it. Thanks for catching it!

jimmyslick (author)2009-01-31

Nice instructions and I plan on using them. However, i have a question about the dimensions. you mention 39x72 for the plywood, but in checking twin matrtress sizes, they appear to all be 39x75. If so, this would not seem to work. Di you use a standard twin mattress or dies this require a special size? thanks.

trooperrick (author)jimmyslick2009-02-01

Read my reply to the other comment. I made a typo and it is supposed to be 75".

eash (author)2009-01-09

Very nice instructable! I've been wanting a loft bed for ages, but I don't want to spend a small fortune on one. Maybe I'll try this when I get a chance. Also, could this be adjusted to fit a larger bed or do you think it would be too top heavy?

trooperrick (author)eash2009-01-09

Yea, I think it will be fine for a larger bed. You may have to make more supports and maybe a some underneath the plywood to stop it from bending in.

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