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Picture of Loft beds with bookshelf ladders
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My daughter has always had her own room, but envies her brothers' bunk bed. So I built her a loft bed that look likes a floating cloud, which made her happy and created a little more space in her room. It uses some of the design principles of the one-legged bunk bed I posted previously - namely using the walls as part of the frame. However, this one has a heavy duty combination ladder/bookshelf for support, rather than a single leg. It's built using simple joinery out of construction lumber (2x4 and 2x6) and plywood, it's incredibly solid, and it only cost about $150 to build.

And pretty much as soon as I'd built that one, my eldest son moved into a room of his own... and wanted a loft bed, too. His incorporates a second bookshelf, a desk, and a secret compartment, and is designed for someone with longer legs, more books, and who isn't fussed about sleeping on a cloud...

Note: $250 wooden commercial loft beds can be found, but they look pretty flimsy and won't have any storage. Metal ones are cheaper but also look a bit wobbly. Fancier ones can cost thousands.

Step 1: Design: loft bed #1

Picture of Design: loft bed #1
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One end of the cloud loft bed (from here on in, #1) is a combination ladder/bookshelf. It's angled at a 4:1 ratio, which equals 14º away from vertical. It has six steps and six shelves, and can hold nearly three linear meters (10') of books. The bed is about as high off the ground as it can be and still retain head room above, with 8' ceilings (important so the occupant can sit up in bed).

The side of one of the beds is a stylized cloud. It's pretty cute for an eight-year old, but I have no illusions that a teenager will necessarily think it's just as cool, so I anticipate removing it and replacing it at some stage with some other design. The ladder and bookcase are pretty future-proof, I hope - it's quite comfortable for an adult to climb, and we all need storage for books.

Click on the icon below to download the SketchUp 3D design file for this loft bed, and use it as a starting point to design your own.

 
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nice so cool
JosephT179 days ago

cool! i like it!

sarahlouise10 days ago

Hi there! This looks great. I was looking to make a double loft bed (to fit 140cm wide mattress) do you think this construction would yield enough support? The mattress is quite deep and heavy too.

DebbieR131 month ago

hello, trying to figure out how to attach the steps to the inside vertical board of the ladder, because I can't get the instructions to download. thanks!

makendo (author)  DebbieR1316 days ago

The first loft bed uses a notch, which you can see pretty clearly without the download. For the second one, the one closest to the wall is notched and the 2x4 bedframe directly to the inside of the outside ladder leg. I've attached a picture from the rotated SketchUp file which hopefully makes it clearer.

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Oh my gosh, I have been wanting to buy a loft bed and I have a ton of books. This is the busy idea ever.
LD51 month ago

Thank you so much for sharing this project. I've been looking for a way to utilize the space in my son's room for quite a while now and decided to go with a loft bed. But the pricing and overall layout of the beds just didn't work with what he and I were looking for. Plus, they're super pricey. I've never built anything in my life but your instructions give me hope that I can accomplish this task without fail. I do, however, have a few questions that you may have already answered previously. I just didn't see it. #1: Would you please explain what you mean by "Make cutouts...,55 mm deep at its deepest point,..." and #2: Where did you glue the small wedge? Thank you so much.

AndreasM3 LD51 month ago

The 55 mm cut outs are to actually fix
the bed frame with/into the ladder. Please see images 1 and 2. In the
second image I added the SketchUp dimension which turns out to be 45.7
mm instead of 55 mm. I guess it's up to you how deep you wanne go. Just
make sure your mattress will still fit and not overlap.

The wedges
are glued to the 3 stair posts at the very top. See my third image. You
have to click on "show all 7 images" within Step 5 to see all the
pictures he uploaded. There is the third image I attached which explains
it all. :-)

Btw I just got some new tools to do this bed as my old tools weren't safe anymore. Festool PS 420 and a Metabo KGS 254.

CutOut.PNGCutOut2.PNGCutOut3.jpg
makendo (author)  AndreasM31 month ago

Thanks AndreasM3 - you're quite correct. Apologies to LD5, I've published 3 projects in the last week and this comment must have fallen through the cracks!

Kalambres3 months ago
Hey this is an awesome project. I've been planning this a while. But now I think I don't have the space to do it. I wanna do it with straight steps, and only 1.20m at it's highest point. I'm doing the four legs boring rectangle not your awesome project, but I wonder if it'll work. And I'm not sure how I should joint the legs and the frame...I'm often...you know... sleeping with company... So i don't want any accidents. Could you please advice? P.D. Thanks a los for your project. I had some great ideas
makendo (author)  Kalambres3 months ago

Vertical steps will be harder to climb, but simpler to build (you don't need to worry about cutting angles than aren't 90°). At 1.2 m, you will need less steps (probably 4 instead of 5).

Is this possible to construct with just hand tools and a power drill? Thanks!

makendo (author)  leahericachung5 months ago

Sure; it will be harder to get perfect joints but structurally it will be just fine.

How difficult would this be to disassemble if I needed to move it?

makendo (author)  coral.goodrich5 months ago

It's easy enough to break down into two large pieces: the bed base and the ladder. That just requires unscrewing the 4 lag screws into the wall plus the screws connecting the two parts. They're heavy and bulky but not difficult for 2 people to move. Not really designed for regular moving though - I'd go for something more lightweight.

mitch.duke made it!5 months ago

Great instruction! I used your design (with a few tweaks) last year when I built my son's bed. He loves his "big boy bed"!

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makendo (author)  mitch.duke5 months ago

Great stuff! thanks for posting the photo.

Can I have a queen mattress on?
makendo (author)  yolanda.torres.79236 months ago

Sure, see step 4, and read the comments section - other people have done exactly that.

benjamin.burton.9887 made it!6 months ago

I made it! This is modified to fit a full size bed with a rail, headboard, desk, and bookcase. The headboard has a shelf that lifts up with a storage compartment underneath, and the light is just a strip light with a switch. The desk and bookshelves under the bead are not actually attached by they are a VERY tight fit. It was an awesome project for my daughter's birthday, and she loved it. We sent her to her grandparents for the weekend and did this along with repainting her room and some decorations. It was a hit!

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makendo (author)  benjamin.burton.98876 months ago

Good stuff. I like the illuminated headboard & many other tweaks you made. Thanks for posting!

instructablesdstark made it!6 months ago

Ended up making it the same way as the original. My ceilings are a bit lower so adjusted for that. Also, used this as an excuse to get a pocket hole jig which came in handy on the rail. Nice and sturdy, daughter loves it.

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makendo (author)  instructablesdstark6 months ago

Looks great! Thanks for posting the picture.

Unrulyjulie17 months ago

Is there a lot involved to make this into a full size bed loft?

I made it into a full sized bed, and used 2x6s on the sides, more so that they would extend up and hold the matress in rather than because it needed it. The support under the bed is still 2x4 but I added an additional support so there are supports at the foot, head, and 2 in the middle. And yes, the Bookcase is much nicer! I'll add pictures also.

makendo (author)  Unrulyjulie17 months ago

The design could accommodate a bigger mattress (double, queen, king) no problem, but you might like to use 2x6s in place of the 2x4s in the frame. Bonus: you'd get a much wider bookcase!

Looks great, do you think it would work to mount straight legs on the head end to make the bed free standing. I'm thinking a 2*6 mounted flush under the bed frame or flush on one side and outside on the other.

I did exactly that. I used 2x8 and extended them above the bed to create a headboard shelf area. The bed was pretty sturdy without mounting it to the wall, but did have some movement in it, so I ended up mounting it to the wall, though I probably didn't need to mount it as well. I will add a few images also.

makendo (author)  instructablesdstark9 months ago

Sure, but without bracing it will wobble... so you will probably end up screwing it to the wall anyway.

burgzt made it!11 months ago

We did it! My son and I spent couple days on that fun project! One day was spent on building and other on assembling. Now the paint job awaits. Meantime we're looking for best color palette and looking forward to loft bed adjustments: rope ladders, swing, etc..

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makendo (author)  burgzt11 months ago

Looks great! Thanks for posting the pictures.

moelhole11 months ago

Did you use any verticals behind the cloud for extra support, or were they unnecessary? Thank you for the information and great design.

makendo (author)  moelhole11 months ago

No, not necessary, though do note the single vertical at the foot of the bed extending up from the leg of the bed.

icmevans1 year ago

Im considering making this for my new apartment room. Im a college student. However the floor is all wood, what would you recommend for the bottoms?

makendo (author)  icmevans1 year ago

I'd just use some rubber from an old bike tire under each leg to protect the floor and prevent the leg from slipping.

Apperciate the fast response! Any suggestions on incorperating a dresser?

makendo (author)  icmevans1 year ago

Buy one and shove it under there? You could customize the shelves to instead be a set of drawers with increasing depth as you went down, but that would be a lot of work.

ndnfld made it!1 year ago

great instruction. I used the idea but changed it.
My son really loves it and he is very proud of it.

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makendo (author)  ndnfld1 year ago

Nice, thanks for posting the picture. I'm enjoying how everyone is building these slightly differently!

ibowen1 year ago

Would this be as sturdy if it was for a full bed? What is the weight capacity?

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