Instructables
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...
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Design: loft bed #1

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.
icmevans22 days 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)  icmevans22 days 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)  icmevans22 days 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 month ago

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

1461189_10200982912995103_732706620_n.jpg
makendo (author)  ndnfld1 month ago

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

ibowen3 months ago

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

makendo (author)  ibowen3 months ago

Yes. Add another 2x4 crossmember under the plywood if you're in the least bit concerned. It is massively overengineered compared to most commercial bunk/loftbeds; it's built more like a deck than a bed.

ibowen makendo3 months ago

Thanks for responding so quickly!

ChiDoug7 months ago

First, I'll echo previous opinions that you are a freakin' stud Makendo -- thanks for posting your design. Here is a pic of my rendition of your loft -- I may add bookshelfs later. I used wood salvaged from a demolished mansion in Detroit. The bedroom door forced me to change ladder angle to 10 degrees, and bevel the left leg. My son loves it - thanks again!

before2.JPG
makendo (author)  ChiDoug7 months ago

Great work - it looks really different & I like how you tied it in to the look of the room.

yuravgjoe7 months ago
Finished the bed and my daughter loves it. Thanks for the great plans and fun project. I added a secret compartment at the head of the bed and it is a hit. Added shelves below the bed too. If I can figure out how I will post a pic.
bed.jpg
makendo (author)  yuravgjoe7 months ago
Hey, fantastic! Looks great. Very cool to see it built.
yuravgjoe8 months ago
I'll be making your #2 bed and bookshelf over Christmas break for my 10 year old daughter. Thanks for the plans and the photographs. I downloaded SketchUp and had lots more fun with that than I should have.

The studs in my wall on the short side of the bed are so far apart I will have to extend the 2x4 frame for the head of the bed into the bookcase, which won't be bad, as I will have more anchor for that bookshelf to the wall. The wife says she doesn't want 2x10 shelves, so I may use regular shelves with a 1x2 facing and shelf hardware on all but the top and bottom bookshelf cross pieces and the center shelf which will sit atop the aforementioned 2x4 attached to the wall. I hope this will leave the bookshelf enough support.

Looking forward to the task. Hopefully it will be picture worthy. Thanks again for the instructions!

I had the same question about screwing in the steps on two sides of the middle support, so I'm glad you answered the comment below.
sinnomeiyu9 months ago
Hello again. Thank you for your prompt reply. The metric measurements are very useful for me as I live in Paris where people are not familiar with feet and inches. I've some more questions:

1) Is spruce wood OK (not too soft) for the construction of your loft bed?

2) Would you please give me the ground length of the bed (from the wall to the ladder)? Because I intend to get built this bed for my son along a wall where there is a door. If the ladder depass the door, would you advise us to reduce the degree of the inclination of the ladder and book shelf so that it'll be less long on the ground even though it won't be as practical to climb up and down the ladder.
3) There is another wall in the room of my son where the bookshelf will fall on where the gas heater is. Do you think we can reduce the width of the bookshelf so that we can still screw the bed to the wall, but then one of the end corners won't have ground support.
4) I don't know how I could screw the inner ends of steps and shelves as they share the same vertical lumber and each step and shelf are aligned? Would you kindly explain?
Many thanks.
makendo (author)  sinnomeiyu9 months ago
1. Spruce is fine (that's what the beds shown are made of)
2. The ladder makes the bed about 0.5 m longer. However, I strongly encourage you to download Sketchup and the file posted, and you can take all the dimensions off that plan (and change it according to your needs).
3. I don't quite understand what you mean, but you should check out my one-legged bunk bed, which shows how you only need ground support in one of 4 corners. Your walls are good for the rest.
4. Sure. I drilled holes at a slight angle so that they started just under the bookshelf and emerged into the middle of the step.
sinnomeiyu9 months ago
Hello Makendo. You're a genie. The loft beds look magnificent. They are so different and much better-looking than those we see in the commerce. Just one question: Are the sizes of lumber 2x6, 2x4 all in inch please? Thank you in advance for your answer.
makendo (author)  sinnomeiyu9 months ago
Thanks. Yes, but these are nominal dimensions - the actual measurements are substantially less than 2" and 4". For example, a "2x4" is actually 38 x 88 mm. You can extract the exact values from the Sketchup file.
grendel549 months ago
great design...wish it was not attached to the wall, then i might try it myself. Any thoughts on making it free standing?
makendo (author)  grendel549 months ago
Just add some 2x4 legs at the head end and some 45° braces to stop the wobbling.
Having said that - attaching it to the wall makes it rock solid and only leaves a few 1/4" holes when it's removed.... not much of a down side.
oatnshake11 months ago
About how long does it take too build ?
makendo (author)  oatnshake11 months ago
Both beds were weekend projects. If you have a miter saw, these beds are pretty easy to make.
sfsavage11 months ago
great and practical idea ,,thanks for the scheme!
i don't know whether my son or i love it more
20130828_BUNK.jpg
makendo (author)  sfsavage11 months ago
Nice job, looks great... I guess your son is not prone to rolling out of bed... :)
sfsavage makendo11 months ago
Thanks, he requested the 'bounce up' mounting option over the rail :)
And I modified his old Captains twin bed to queen size and grandma donated her old mattress ..it acts as a safety net
makendo (author)  sfsavage11 months ago
It's a great idea, I like it.
I think I am going to make one for my three year old. He has been asking for a new bed and my wife likes the look of this one. I don't think I'm gonna make it as high maybe 4ft.
And also add an entertainment center instead of a desk.
avillarama1 year ago
When I read that I thought of someone using the secret compartment to hold dead bodies... XD
makendo (author)  avillarama1 year ago
yeah... not the mental image I was trying to conjure up...
uncblueguy1 year ago
Built this loft with some modifications over the summer. Turned out great!!
makendo (author)  uncblueguy1 year ago
good stuff, glad to hear it
dana-dxb1 year ago
wish id seen this just a few days ago we billed a loft bed for my girls and its kinda waid abut 9 feats and length 6 coz its thats how the room is and now im having a hard time balancing it we add 4 legs on 4 corners but !! still ?
makendo (author)  dana-dxb1 year ago
Yeah, that is one gigantic bed you built, for sure. If you screw it to wall studs in a couple of places that ought to make it pretty rock solid, though.
thanx thats a good tip ill do that
swimberly1 year ago
Love it! I am in the planning stages for my daughter's tween room and I have a question...I noticed that you put a 1x6 on bed2 to finish the outer bed rail - How did you add that and still have the ladder rail flush?
Thanks
makendo (author)  swimberly1 year ago
It's actually a 2x6. For bed #2, there is no notch cut in the ladder rail, the 2x4 platform is just screwed to the inside of the rail. That allows the 2x6 horizontal rail to just be screwed to the side of the platform, flush with the ladder 2x6. Good luck with the build!
makendo (author)  makendo1 year ago
http://www.instructables.com/file/F9N3UC8GS3BDGAZ is probably the clearest picture. Notched on the side against the wall, but just screwed into the outer rail. The picture shows the platform just clamped in place.
Kudos on a really elegant design. I would love to add rails and build this as a play loft for my kids (eventually we will use it as a loft bed.) Unfortunately I can't bolt it to the walls. Do you think it would be stable if I replaced the wall bolts with 4 x 4 legs on the side opposite the ladder and braced the legs?
makendo (author)  marinebutterfly1 year ago
Thanks, and sure, though 4x4 is overkill - 4x2 would be fine. There are advantages with using your house as bracing, because without it, you'll probably need to brace in both directions, and you would also want to brace the bookshelf end as well. So it may end up looking a little less elegant...
bvandelune1 year ago
Do you have the loft bed plans in US standard measurements instead of mm?
Thanks
makendo (author)  bvandelune1 year ago
Divide mm by 25.4 to get inches.
HollyMann2 years ago
Wow this looks incredible!!! I Love the design!!! Thank you!
lambsb2 years ago
Very nice. I'm thinking about something like this or your one legged bunk bed for my 7 year old daughters room. BTW, is that Lego's I see on the table? Double points, looks like your raising a future instructables author to me!
makendo (author)  lambsb2 years ago
Thanks. I recommend this one over the 1-legged one - it's probably easier to build (ladders are slightly tricky), adds storage, and is much nicer to climb in bare feet (more like stairs than rungs). That is Lego... and there's an instructable for that, too... http://www.instructables.com/id/Lego-construction-table/
How tall is the bed?
makendo (author)  OverThinkingIt2 years ago
The top of the mattress is about 1.7 m off the ground.
cdheatherly2 years ago
love it...great job...really like the ladder/ bookshelve on the end. I am building my son a loft bed in the dorm in his room. The down fall to his bed is the only way under the bed and for the ladder is at the same end. so Im trying to figure out the best way to make his ladder... thinking about one the slides up into the bed when not in use...again great job
makendo (author)  cdheatherly2 years ago
Thanks. He must have a *really* narrow dorm room...
Alpvax2 years ago
I would love to build this for my tiny room in order to save floorspace. Only problem is I have windows on 2 sides and the door is in the opposite corner :(
ginger200372 years ago
I wish that would work for my waterbed, that'd be awesome!
makendo (author)  ginger200372 years ago
Airbed yes, waterbed no :)
The one time I hate having a waterbed lol
This is AMAZING. Ive been looking for ways to save floorspace in my smaller room. Would my loveseat 36" tall fit comfortably under this? I know it would be a tad tight getting under to the couch but as long as i could sit with some room id be fine.


Also, i have a full bed. What exactly would you need to change to accommodate that?

Thanks!
makendo (author)  momentsrewound2 years ago
Thanks. The loveseat would fit, sure, though you'd have to crouch to get in there to sit on it. If you're using a wider mattress, make the 2x4 frame out of 2x6 instead, keep the ladder the same width and just make the bookshelves wider. It's probably easiest to design if you download Sketchup and the .skp file I posted, and just play around with it until you have something you like the look of and that has the right dimensions.
actimm2 years ago
I like it, I wish I'd seen this design a few years ago when I was coming up with ideas for my son's room. I'll probably do it for the redesign we have planned for next year. It occurs to me that with a loft ceilings I have, I could make it taller as the space above the head is higher than in a regular house.
wiccanbear2 years ago
totally faved this. my kids are to old now but when i get gran kids this is so what we are doing. ..... might even make one big enough for the hubby and me lol.
hungyhipo 22 years ago
Sorry but i have to ask another question. What sized bed did you use for #2?
makendo (author)  hungyhipo 22 years ago
They're both singles.
hungyhipo 22 years ago
Approximately how much standing head room is there underneath that bed. I'm 13 and about 5'6. I was planning on making this with my dads approval but I'm not sure if I'll have to modify the frame to accommodate for my height. Thanks.
makendo (author)  hungyhipo 22 years ago
Nowhere near enough to walk under - less than 5'. But the maximum height you can go to depends on the height of the ceiling - we have regular 8', and can't go any higher without risking sitting up in bed and cracking your head. If you have higher ceilings, you can go higher easily - just add another shelf or two.
thanks i might put my computer under there with a desk and just not have to walk under. So i guess i have to modify my dimensions.
arte.sano2 years ago
Great stuff!!
Very nice! Isn't it great having nerd kids with too many books?
hollymaren2 years ago
You should get together with the Tiny House Blog guy. He would love this! http://tinyhouseblog.com/
It sounds as if you could contribute many creative ideas. I have one suggestion and that would be to add a bulletin board for the head board so that area could also be used. Or a panel covered in fabric and padded to change out color on occasion. You could also extend the clothes rod from the back to the ladder/bookshelves to create more room to hang clothes along the wall.
Thanks for sharing this-it is great!
SantaB2 years ago
Hey, I can't open the sketchup file... just downloaded the software, but the file only downloads as a tmp file...
makendo (author)  SantaB2 years ago
This is a bug at the instructables end. Rename the extension skp instead of tmp and you should be good to go.
tim_n2 years ago
Excellent work,

I had a bunk bed as a kid and I remember quite how wobbily it was - the stairs were made of a sort of dowel and it was painful on bare feet. I thought your floating design might be dangerous, didn't realise you'd fixed it into the wall so it must be pretty sturdy!

I shall book mark this for the future... :)
makendo (author)  tim_n2 years ago
thanks. Yes, I've made one with rungs, these shelves are much easier on the feet. Lag screwing it to the wall gives it zero wobble.
duggerpato2 years ago
You flippin' stud! Nice work and greatly written instructable, man!
knordin20002 years ago
Great Design. My son is interested. The Sketch-Up file for the second bed seems to actually be the first bed. Id rather not reinvent the wheel, if you could post a copy of that or tell me how I might can get one Id really appreciate it. Thanks for the design idea though!
makendo (author)  knordin20002 years ago
@#$%^! I've uploaded it again. Let me know if it works for you, & good luck with the build.
aaron810062 years ago
I was already digging your bed until I saw that you covered up an unused fireplace. Brilliant! Most people would never think to cover it like that. It's cool how you made it hide the fireplace but still easy enough to remove later. Great job!
makendo (author)  aaron810062 years ago
Many thanks Aaron - yes, we didn't want to damage the fireplace, well spotted. The right hand bookshelf is attached through the top into the joist above, and there is some beading that pins the plywood headboard against the stone. I didn't go into any detail since I figured the chances of someone needing a loft bed AND needing to cover a fireplace were pretty much nil.
kyle.marsh2 years ago
Beautiful work. When I was about 5 years old my dad made a similar loft bed for me. His was a "no leg" design because it was able to span the entire length of the room and used the walls on three sides for support. It had room for my mattress, a small bookshelf as a headboard, and a bit of room by the foot where the ladder came up the side.

I remember that bed incredibly fondly...it was the coolest of the many cool things our dad built for us and I'm glad to see other people doing similar things.
makendo (author)  kyle.marsh2 years ago
Thanks Kyle, sounds like a neat space - and yr story illustrates why it's so rewarding to make stuff for our kids.
2tnt2 years ago
Congatulation, it very nice
I thing easy to made, so i will do it.
Thanks for share
bfk2 years ago
This is beautifully designed. I don't see any reason to alter it except to make it fit unique area requirements. It totally keeps the floor accessible and usable. The bookshelf is the perfect use for the awkward area beside the ladder. Excellent, excellent work. Enter this in a contest.
makendo (author)  bfk2 years ago
Thanks! I entered it in the ShopBot contest when I published it on Thursday, but it hasn't made it through moderation (yet?).
rderose12 years ago
Any idea how to calculate the weight limit of something like this. Would this work for an adult? I mean I know it would, but the weight issue is the concern.
makendo (author)  rderose12 years ago
It is *really* strong, and for a single bed, I figure it would take just about anyone able to climb the steps. If I was making a double or bigger, I'd replace the 2x4s in the frame with 2x6s, and use 2 lag screws into the wall at the head end. It would only cost a few extra $.
If you look at most commercial loft beds, they're pretty lightweight. I regard this one as massively overengineered!
aardvark2 years ago
Is the desk/shelf unit "ible" available somewhere? Homeschoolers will be big fans of these plans! Thanks for sharing.
makendo (author)  aardvark2 years ago
The desk/shelves are built using the same sort of construction methods, i.e. butt-joints, deck screws. If you want more detail on how I built that bit, you can take all the dimensions off the Sketchup plans. I didn't include the dimensions explicitly simply because everyone will have different spaces available - I doubt many other people will be building this in front of a fireplace, for example! I picked the dimensions to fit the space and the leftover materials I had lying around.
surfdude2 years ago
Excellent job, very clear instructions and nice quality beds for your kids.
surferdude......

Never mind kids I'm 52 Yrs old and I'm really thinking of a bed design like this in my next apartment I'm moving to soon for great use of sm all room space for myself soon. makendo nice job of the designs you've designed & built.
jimofoz2 years ago
Very nice work. Loft bed can be great for older folks in dorms as well.

Too many people don't realize how nice "construction" grade lumber can be for furniture. I've built numerous tables, benches and bookshelves using this stuff.

Use some care when picking through the piles of lumber. Look out for boards that drip pine sap, there's not much you can do to seal that up. Personally, I don't mind knots too much. If they are loose or have holes in them, use some epoxy to fill them in a stablize the loose material. Sometimes I'll mix some sawdust in with the epoxy, mostly I just use the epoxy plain. After putting on a finish, it's barely noticeable.
makendo (author)  jimofoz2 years ago
Good advice. I generally just cut out loose knots, but the epoxy sounds like a good solution. I'm also pretty picky in the initial selection, rejecting all the bowed, twisted, scraped, stained, sappy, knotty or unattractively grained boards - for every one I take, I probably reject 6-10.
billbillt2 years ago
Wongerful project! I could not get the *.skp SketchUp files to work..They are named *.tmp and nothing opens them..
makendo (author)  billbillt2 years ago
Thanks for the heads-up; I get the same result, even after uploading it again. I think this must be a bug in the publishing process. Try renaming the .tmp file with the .skp extension, that worked for me, bizarrely enough.
Ghild.Zero2 years ago
Nice !!!
I need this to my small bedroom ^_^
TashaDax2 years ago
This is a thing of beauty! I've always wanted to build one, but this makes me think I could even manage it. Thank you! :)
makendo (author)  TashaDax2 years ago
I'm sure you could - it's easy to make, and if you make a mistake, just unscrew it and try again (the beauty of constructing something with screws rather than nails). And if you mis-cut something - well, 2x6s and 2x4s are really cheap. Good luck!
"NO ONE is too old or too cool for a secret compartment, unless they're dead inside." So true :-)

sbiickert2 years ago
This is an excellent design. I built my daughter a loft bed this year and I had considered your one-leg bunk bed as an option. I ended up going with a design out of Sunset Books' "Children's Furniture" instead, but if I had seen this, I think I would have gone with this design instead. The design I used was construction lumber and yes, it's HEAVY. It isn't attached to the wall, but is so massive that it's never moving and might as well be bolted.

Using the under space for storage or a wardrobe is a good idea, but it's also a good space for a desk. When my son gets to that age where he's bugging me for a loft bed, I'll reference this.
makendo (author)  sbiickert2 years ago
Thanks. Yes, the one-legged bunk bed is not well suited for a loft because it needs the lower bed for bracing. This one works well though, hence the two beds of very similar design - we were happy enough with the first one that it only took some minor tweaking for the second. I thought about putting a desk underneath, but most of the examples of this I've seen that I liked were in rooms with high ceilings, so the loft bed could be a fair bit higher.
That is amazing! I love the secret compartment and both beds are a great use of smaller spaces! I love being able to maximise what space you have. Bravo :)
makendo (author)  Penolopy Bulnick2 years ago
Thanks!
megnwayn2 years ago
Another great instructible. Makendo sets the standard for the quality of "ibles".
paganwonder2 years ago
Dorm Loft! A little planning and it's modular so Dad (me!) can have it assembled by the time #1 son meets his floor mates. Thanks for a great 'ible!
makendo (author)  paganwonder2 years ago
Thanks. Yes, it's modular, but it's also *really* heavy (construction lumber is cheap, but not light). Worth bearing in mind if you're going to be moving it around!
seamster2 years ago
Awesome!

I was planning to build something just like this for my oldest kid for Christmas this year! It's kind of funny because I was working on incorporating all the same ideas, and my starting point was your one-legged bunk bed. Too funny.

It looks great, and I especially like the clothing rail underneath. That's not something I had thought of. Thanks for all the ideas, and plans!
makendo (author)  seamster2 years ago
Ha! Great minds at work, clearly... :)
Thanks. The lack of headroom makes the extra floor area of reduced value, so we were pretty happy to exploit it for clothes (which also help disguise the secret compartment). Good luck with the build - it's quick and the cheap materials make it pretty low stress. Most of the work was in the sanding/filling/finishing.