Kids love a cool bed.  Somewhere to not only sleep, but to also play.  A lot of the "cool" beds on the market are either basic beds with Cartoon Characters on the sides, or enclosed forts which are difficult for big people (i.e., the parents) to get into.  There are some really neat custom beds out there, but they go far beyond a weekend project and require serious skill and money.  The tree house bed was designed to be friendly to both the kids and their parents. Kids love tree houses, sleeping outside, and climbing.  This bed channels that.  It's also open, so parents can look in, and crawl in without too much trouble.  Due to the materials it's made from, its pretty budget friendly as custom furniture goes.  The bed was designed to look more like a tree house more than a piece of furniture.  To accomplish that, it's built it with materials and techniques that are used to build decks and real tree houses.  Since you will be looking at it up close, a few liberties were taken to give it a bit more polish.  It helps to have a few less common tools, (e.g., router, pocket hole jig) but It can be built with the basic tools any good DIYer should have in his or her arsenal.

2 x 4
2 x 6
2 x 8
2 x 10
4 x 4
Deck Screws
Pocket Hole Screws
Polyurethane or Polyacrylic to finish

*Do not use pressure treated lumber or cedar. 

Recommended Tools:

Circular Saw
Table Saw
Jig Saw
Pocket Hole Jig
Power Sander

Useful Tools:

Radial Arm or Compound Saw
Dado Blade
Impact Wrench / Driver
Counter-sink Bits

I didn't provide a the number of boards that you'll need, since not all boards are the same.  A 8'  2x4 will give you two 3' boards, where you might squeeze four out of a 12 footer.  However, when you get to the lumber yard, you might find the 8' boards are in much nicer shape than the 12' ones.  It might also be cheaper to buy two 8' boards than a single 16', so I'll leave this to you to decide what to buy based on quality and price available.  What type of wood you buy is largely a matter of personal taste.  However, I will say do not use pressure treated wood, even if you have a bunch laying around.  Most of you know this, but pressure treated wood is pretty toxic.  It's toxic to the touch and off gasses into the air.  I wouldn't rely on a finish to make it safe either.  Just don't use it for this project.    

The list of tools is also just just a suggestion, there's many ways to accomplish the same thing.  I personally used all the tools I listed. You could probably get away with just circular saw and drill, but I wouldn't recommend it.   

Step 1: Get Your Lumber, Finalize Your Plan

Our bed was designed to have small deck around a twin mattress.  If you want a different sized mattress, or more / less deck space, the plans are pretty easy to modify.  You'll also need to make adjustments for your boards' true width.  Not all 2x boards are the same.  Wood from one lumber yard might be a 1/16th of an inch wider than wood from another.  If you were building a house, this would get covered with drywall and no one would notice, but with this bed, it would end up looking sloppy.  I've attached my SktechUp file which you can modify and get your new dimensions and help with your planning.  I found a few mistakes in my original file.  I tried to fix them all, but I can't promise I did, so be smart and double check the measurements before you start cutting (measure twice, cut once!). 

The boards sizes were chosen for aesthetic purposes, not for structural reasons.  As designed, it's built like a tank.  If you want to go smaller, I don't know what the minimum board size you need is.  I suggest looking up deck codes if you want to know this.

Here are the basic steps to start: 

1) Decided on the basic dimensions you want for your bed.  This one is 86" x 56" x 51 high" Take things like ceiling fans into consideration as you go up.

2) Decide what boards you need to buy.  Basic materials used in the plan:
- Posts 4x4s
- Top Rail 2 x 6s
- Balusters, 2x4s
- Decking 2 x 10s
- Fascia / Joist 2 x 8s
- Ladder, 2x4s

3) Buy your lumber.  

4) Measure the lumber width and thickness. 

5) Modify your plans as needed to account for the lumber's true width.  For example, if you expected your 4x4s to be 3 9/16 x 3 9/16, but found out instead they were 3 7/16 by 3 7/16, you'll have to increase the lengths of your joist or decrease the length of the top rails and balusters to accommodate this.

6) Produce your cut list, a list of all the boards, their quantity and dimensions.
Awesome bed design!! Wow!
About how much does this cost to make?
I don't remember. I want to say it was in the low $100s range. Assuming you have all the tools you need, there are three big line items. 1) Wood, 2) polyacrylic, 3) Screws. Wood is the major item, and it will vary some what place to place. If you can figure out how much you need of each board, and then see what your local lumber yard sells it for. If your going for the lowest price, compare the cost of 8', 12', and 16' boards. Sometimes, two 8' boards are a better deal than a 12', and sometimes not.
"Kids love a cool bed"? What about adults?? I think it's brilliant and I'm planning on making this out of pallet wood for myself. Just planning the planing/sanding method as bit more required than usual!
We absolutely want to do this, but we have a bit of a puzzle. Our son will outgrow his current bed within 5 months, but we won't have enough money saved to rip out all of our carpeting for about 2 years. <br> <br>So after we build it, we'll need to take it down and put it back up after the engineered hardwood goes in. <br> <br>Would that change the plan? The hardware? We plan to use whatever we can afford in the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord of hardwoods.
used google sketch-up ?
Yes, I did. I use Sketch-up for almost all of my furniture to try to get the dimensions and perspective down.
picture a pink and purple castle drawn on the wall and the bed also. Could be for a princess or a prince depending on colors. Mossy Oak Camo for the boys. <br>Great idea and a cool hiding place underneath. <br>
Excellent instructable, the illustrations are a great touch! Wish I had a kid to make it for!
My son would be very glad if you'd make this for him! :)
Nice!! this design makes it easy to raise it up so the space underneath could be a usable area as well (maybe integrate a desk into the 4x4s). Great instructable, I'm liking your method of building the railing.. very solid.
I love it! But I do have a slightly unrelated question. Did you also make the dresser?
I assembled it, but that's all I can claim. It came from Ikea. It's part of their STUVA system which is pretty neat. They sell different size boxes and then you can fill them in with what you want. I could have done all big drawers, two big and four small drawers, or taken drawers out and replaced them with shelves. The boxes are all white, but the drawer / door fronts come in green, blue, and pink in addition to the natural.
Great plan! I've got something similar in mind for my son's room.
A sweet bed!
That's awesome! Love that it looks just like a deck. :D

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