Think building a bunk bed is too hard? Check out these 17 easy steps to build a DIY twin and queen bunk bed.
Little buddy wanted a new bed since the day we moved in. I can't really blame him, after all everyone else got a new bed. But I promised him it would be worth the wait. I created this DIY twin and queen bunkbed for kids and teens in 17 easy steps.
Little Buddies Bedroom Before
I am so excited to finally be tackling this room. Are you ready to see to what I came up with?
Step 1 - Pick a Design
There are so many different built-in bunks out there. I wanted a twin bed and a queen bed.
We do not have a guest room. Little buddy has his own bathroom so if we add extra sleeping space. His room becomes the best solution for a guest bedroom.
I also wanted this bed to be able to grow with little buddy. I made the opening a little higher so it doesn't feel too closed in.
Step 2 - Measure Your Space and Design DIY bunk beds
For the top bunk, instead of putting mattress up there, I am making it a loft for my son. This will give him some extra space in his room.
I will still be making the top loft big enough for a twin mattress. When measuring for this I wanted to make sure I had plenty of room between the ceiling and top bunk.
Our ceiling height is 9'. I figured if I made the bed 59" tall it would give him plenty of room to play up there.
He does have a lot of floor space. Turning the bottom bed out into the room will make it feel less like a bunk bed. Hopefully we will get years of use out of it!
Step 3 - Gather Supplies
- 8" MDF shiplap
- finish molding
- 3" x 10' pine
- ¼" MDF
- pine corner molding
- peel and stick vinyl flooring
- wood filler - Home Depot
- wood glue
- brad nails
- stud finder
- Pocket hole jig
- pocket hole screws
- blue tape
- wood fill
- painters paper
- paint sprayer
- Paint- Peppercorn by Sherwin Williams
- framing nailer - if you don't have a framing nailer, a drill and screws will work
- circular saw
- LVT flooring
- exacto knife
- speed square
View my tool affiliate links here
Step 4 - Build the Walls for the DIY Bunk Bed
I started in the corner and built 2 walls. The front wall is 30" wide x 53 ½" tall and the side wall is 41" wide x 53 ½" tall. This will be the area where the ladder goes as well as the built in shelves.
When building space your 2x4's a maximum of 15" apart. Or 16" on center as framers say.
The next step is to build the wall on the other side. This wall will be a single wall of 2x4s that measure 41" wide x 53 ½" tall.
These walls will be the base of the bunk bed and hold weight. Pull out your stud finder and make sure they are secured to the studs in the wall. You can always adjust dimensions slightly to make sure you can attach your 2x4's to studs in the wall.
I wanted to give little buddy some extra storage space. Between the 2x4's I blocked out an area for built-in shelves.
Stay tuned for a fun little change of plans to come
Step 5 - Build the Top Floor
First I started by adding a 2x6 along the back wall. This 2x6 rests on the 2x4 walls and is then screwed into the studs on the back wall.
Continue running 2x6's all the way around the bed frame attaching them together with screws or a framing nailer.
Next step is to add the floor joists. We spaced these 16 inches apart and ran them across the entire floor. To attach them we used glue and nailed in from the front and toe nailed the back boards.
Step 6 - Add Flooring to the Top Bunk
After the joists were installed I added OSB plywood to the top. I also figured out where I wanted my railing to go and put down the 3" pine shoe. This will be what the railing will sit on. Having my railing sitting on top of and attaching to wood will make it much stronger.
Now I can add my LVT flooring. This is a floating floor so I am butting it up to the wall and the railing shoe for a nice clean finish.
Step 7 - Build the Bottom Bunk
Now that the structure is built and secured to the wall it is time to make the bottom bed. The measurements are be for a queen bed.
Cut 2 2x6's down to 81" long. This will be the side rails for the bed. This DIY bunk bed is coming together nicely.
Cut 5 2x6's down to 61" long. These will be the bed slats. I then screwed the slats down. I didn't want removable bed slats as it takes away from the strength.
After I had the slats attached to the side rails I wrapped the bed frame with ¾" thick MDF.
This bed frame is movable, which will help with placement and cleaning down the road.
Step 8 - Adding Electrical to the DIY Bunk Bed
I hired my neighbor to come add some sconces on each side of the bed. They have their own light switch on the side of the bed. I also put an outlet in the built-in shelves. This way little buddy can charge his phone at night.
Step 9 - Add Railing Posts
The railing posts are what I will drill my railing into. They need to be good and strong. I glued 2 2x4's together and then screwed them together for added strength.
I used my kreg jig to create 6 pocket holes on the outside of the 2x4's. Next, I added glue to the bottom and screwed 2" pocket screws down into the pine shoe.
To make it pretty I wrapped the 2x4's with ¼" MDF and used my brad nailer to attach it.
Step 10 - Molding and Vertical Shiplap
Now it is time for my favorite part of the DIY bunk bed. Adding moldings and shiplap.
Tip: Before adding your moldings think about how everything will come together. For example. I am putting shiplap on the ceiling. I want to make sure the trim piece I am putting on the front hangs down far enough to cover the shiplap.
Once the ceiling shiplap was on I added the shiplap to the walls and ran them from floor to ceiling. To get nice clean lines, I will add base molding around the bottom and a small quarter round piece on the top.
For the outside corners I will use a wood corner mold. This will hold up the best and give me a nice finish.
Step 11 - Add a Secret Door to the DIY Bunk Bed
Little buddy kept telling me over and over that I couldn't cover up his hiding spot. I started thinking about ways I could allow him access to the space.
The perfect solution came to me just in time. I built him some built-in shelves out of 2x6's. I put door hinges on the back of the shelf to create a secret door. This door will swing in, so once closed no one will know it is there.
Step 12 - Prep for Paint
Once everything was all closed in I prepped it for paint. I used Crawford's spackle and a putty knife to fill the nail holes. Once it is dry I will sand all of the extra spackle off.
While the wood fill dries I caulk the seams. Do do this run a small bead of caulk along the crack. Use your finger and a damp cloth to smooth the caulk out and remove an extra caulk.
To prep for paint the first thing I do is vacuum the floors and moldings to remove the dust. I then ran tape all along the floor.
Next, I roll my paper for the floor out and tape it to the tape I already applied. I know this sounds like overkill. But when you are spraying the air can lift the paper up. I have found it to be a good idea to stick tape to tape.
I added plastic all the way to the ceiling. Anything that is not covered will have paint on it. So make sure everything is covered.
Step 13 - Painting the DIY Bunk Bed
To paint I am using my Graco paint sprayer. This paint sprayer is my favorite.
It puts out enough paint to get a good smooth finish. Keep in mind it does put out a lot of paint, so move quickly and evenly.
His bed is painted with Peppercorn in satin by Sherwin Williams to match his ceiling. You can view the ceiling tutorial here
Step 14 - Build Guard Rail
To build the guard rail I am using 2x4's. A railing can been a fun design element. I have been loving the look of X's in railing. Let's give it a try.
First I built the outer frame.
Next I added the dividers. To figure out where to put the dividers I measured my opening and divided it by 3 in the front and 2 for the side. If your X's on the front and side are a little different in size that's okay.
I then added my first x piece. To find the angle needed I held the 2x4 up where it needed to be placed inside the frame. I then used a pencil to marked the 2x4.
For the second part of the X I did the same thing. Make sure you mark the same center on each X. Otherwise the center of the X's will not be line. After the railing was installed I stained it with Providential by Minwax.
Step 15 - Build Ladder
- Ladder sides are 77" long
- Top angle is 60 degrees
- bottom angle is 30 degrees
- ladder rungs are 16" wide
- rungs are spaced 8 ⅛" apart
Once everything was cut down. The next step is to add 2 pocket holes to each end of the rungs.
I then measured 8 ⅛" up from each side of the 30 degree angle. Draw a line to connect both measurements. This is where the rung will be placed. The rungs will be at a 30 degree angle. Once the ladder is install the rungs will sit flat.
To attach my rungs I used glue and 2 2" pocket screws on each side.
After everything was all put together I stained the ladder with providential stain as well. To attach the ladder I first pre drilled holes so my wood didn't split. Then I used long bolts to attach it to the bed.
Step 16 - Add Peel and Stick Vinyl
I wanted to do something really fun to finish off this bunk bed. I found this fun peel and stick vinyl from DuraDecor. It comes in lots of different finishes and it even has a texture. Not to mention it is super easy to install, just peel and stick.
For this project we went with the Harvest Distressed Wood I love all the fun colors this one has in it and the grey's matched his bed perfectly.
To cut peel and stick vinyl all you need is an exact knife and a speed square. Measure how long you want the piece. Using a speed square score it with your blade. This will give you a straight cut. Then simply snap your piece, peel off the backing and stick it up.
I think it is safe to say this is one of my favorite projects to date. DuraDecor was the perfect design element to pull the whole space together. I decided to wrap his DIY bunk bed in the peel and stick vinyl to bring the wood tones out into the room!
Step 17- Add Bedding and Decor
Now that it is all done keeping keeping decor to a minimum is a great option. In my kids room I find too much decor turns into messy clutter. Bedding can add a lot to a space. As well as large art pieces like the map.
Bedding for the DIY Bunk Bed
Decor for Little Buddy
- Large map
- Books from a thrift store
- small vases
- Puppy dog - can you find our pup in the pictures
This desk used to be my husbands when he was a kid. I refinished it to match little buddies room. To do this I bleached the top (tutorial here) and painted the bottom to match his bed.
Top it off with a lamp, chalkboard and pictures to blend the spaces together.
I am so happy with the finished product. Creating this DIY bunk bed was a great way to save a lot of money. Plus, I do enjoy learning how to build new things. I hope these step-by-step plans help you build the perfect DIY bunk bed.
Looking for some more bedroom inspiration?
How about a little boho twist.
Or even add some wallpaper
Make sure to check out all the details on our home build here.
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Love this design! Do you have a photo with the mattress on top?
Such an awesome idea! I would love to recreate it in our boys room!
Nathanael Soto says
It is beautiful. But Instead of having a light switch, if is going to used for a kid. Install a remote control lamp or a fan. Or a walking sensor for the kids night light.