College Bed Loft (Twin XL)




How to make a loft for a dorm, or any other tight space!
Dimensions given will accommodate an Extra-Long Twin mattress with 1' extra on every side.

We are making these lofts to take to Iowa State while living in a Dorm. We will be able to put a desk or sofa underneath. A loft is a great way to gain floor space; so much more room for activities!

    After a full school year of sleeping on this loft I have made many drastic improvements, mainly that it now accepts the frame provided by the school. This new version can be found here. Thanks all for your support!

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Step 1: Materials

My roommate and I built both lofts at once, so keep that in mind in the pictures; also, he weighs in around 250 lbs, so we upgraded the "slats" on his from 2x4's to 2x6's.
These lofts are made entirely of dimensional lumber, bolts, and screws.

Miter Saw (power)
Cordless Drill with Screw bit
Corded Drill (opt.) with 3/8" drill bit

18 3/8" Carriage Bolts
18 3/8" Flat Washers
18 3/8" Lock Washers
18 3/8" Nuts
Small box of 2-1/2" Deck Screws (torx opt.)

8 - 2x4x6'
8 - 2x4x8'
3 - 2x6x8'

Step 2: Cut Your Wood!

8 @ 72" uprights (6')
1 @ 88" back bottom brace
2 @ 78" inside slat rest
4 @ 44" ladder/ side brace
6 @ 44" Slats (can replace with 2x6)

2 @ 88" main horizontal support
2 @ 44" top end braces

**** edit****
these dimensions are about 8 inches too long and 4 inches too wide
I would also recommend like a flat piece of plywood in the corners to stabilize

Step 3: Assemble Uprights

Fasten two 2x4's at a right angle with deck screws.

Step 4: Assemble Main Beams

Fasten the slat rest to the "main horizontal support" using three bolts. Feel free to pin these two boards together with screws while drilling.

Step 5: Uprights + Main Horozantal Support

Fasten the main horozantal support to the uprights (legs) using two bolts.

Step 6: Front + Back

join the front and the back using one bolt on the 2x6

Step 7: Add Bottom Bracing

Move the legs to reach the boards, this will square up the legs.
Fasten with screws.

Step 8: Paint It?

Paint it IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY colors! Go Clones!

Step 9: After Thoughts

We're all moved in but ran into some snags along the way; the main one being that the matteresses are much smaller than expected. For the dorm mattress i was provided, the loft is 8 inches too long and about 6 inches too wide. Luckily, we brought a hand saw because we had to cut 8" off to fit one on the wall with the door.

These lofts were very stable on their own, but we brought these braces anyway, so i put them to use

Another thing we did is get automotive cup holders from walmort, and they fit perfect; great for holding beverage, or put an empty cup in it and hold your cell phone, ipod, or keys.

1 Person Made This Project!


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46 Discussions


4 years ago

How much did all the supplies cost and how long did it take to build?


5 years ago on Introduction

How long are the carriage bolts? I'm assuming 4 inches but wondering if you went shorter.


5 years ago on Introduction

You may want to check out this web site. They can make a loft bed for you @ under $200.00 and you do not need to do anything but wait for UPS to delivery. Please check out this site.


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

Be sure to check out the final pictures I posted on the loft instructable!


10 years ago on Step 8

Very nice! The one I built for my daughter earlier this year has a 2x4 ladder on each end so that we could rearrange her room easier. We were planning on moving soon and I wasn't quite sure how it would fit in the new place with the windows, doors and closet. I would have freaked if I'd built just one ladder side and it didn't work! Also I don't have the kick board on the front. Now she has a great little reading area with a bean bag, lamp and book shelves under it. I assembled it in 3 large solid pieces (ladder, ladder and mattress support) that bolt together, a support beam for the bottom on the 'wall' side and two for the long sides of the mattress so she doesn't roll out. Again, GREAT JOB!

1 reply

Reply 9 years ago on Step 8

do you have the plans for that bed you finished? if you do can you send it to thanks

Is anyone out there making something like this in the instructable family ?  I'm very frugal and would rather make it than buy it.  I like the storage area on this futon.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

I finally did it ! I made some modification as you can see :) Thanks for you're good idea !

LOft Bed 007.jpgLOft Bed 008.jpgLOft Bed 009.jpgLOft Bed 010.jpg

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

Yes, I also did that. On my roomies loft (the couch is underneath his) we have stapled up white christmas lights; these are functional (for reading) and also make nice accent lighting.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

When sleeping on a loft in college, my sister said she had her pillow fall off every night. i move in in three days, so we'll see how it goes.. i may end up adding on to mine :)