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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 11: 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.

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33 Discussions


7 years ago on Introduction

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!


Question 11 months ago on Step 2

Shouldn't the plywood be 75" long as you said at the beginning? The side rails are 72-1/2 and sit inside the short rails which are 1-1/2 thick each for a total of 75-1/2. Cut the plywood to 72 and it has no end support!


2 years ago

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


2 years ago

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!


3 years ago

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


3 years ago

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.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

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

Luis MiguelD

4 years ago on Introduction

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)


4 years ago

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


5 years ago on Introduction

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.

1 reply

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

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!


6 years ago

Approximately how much would this cost?

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

3 replies

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.


8 years ago on Introduction

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!


1 reply

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.