The difference between a loft bed and a bunk bed is that a loft bed is a built in, buttressed by one or more walls, which can or cannot have another bed beneath it, while a bunk bed is a stand-alone piece with one bed stacked on top of another.
Apart from being fanciful and cosy, loft beds are really functional, great for small spaces and pretty simple and cost efficient to build yourself at home. So here at homify we have put together a basic guide for how to DIY build your very own loft bed. Let's get started!
First things first—get your materials. You can of course choose to make your bed out of metal, but we recommend wood, both because it is cheaper and easier to construct, but also because it is more versatile—you can paint or polish it—and really on trend at the moment.
You can get wood from several sources: your local home store, online retailers or, to really save some cash, you could dismantle your old wooden yard fence to use, if you have one. You should have thick, square-shaped wood beams to build your base, while the loft bed ladder and protective walls can stand a bit of creativity in the design of wood you choose. Other materials you will need are a hammer, screwdriver (preferably electric), wood screws and pocket hole screws.
The preparation of your wood is key, as it determines the basic aesthetic element of your loft bed and also determines how easy a time you will have actually building it.
First, measure out your base wood to fit the space you want the bed. Place the thickest base beams against the wall, marking out where on the beams and walls you will drill. Generally speaking, the spacing between the beams screwed to the wall should be done according to the dimensions of your mattress, adding several centimetres depending on how much extra space you want for installing little shelves next to your mattress. Also, it is good if the wall frame of the bed is a little longer than the frame jutting into the room; so, the wall frame beams should be taller, acting as a kind of side-headboard for the loft bed. Use a length-wise beam to place on top of the two longer ones for a complete look.
After you have chosen the thick, square pieces of wood, measured them out to fit the space where you want the loft bed, then you are ready to begin building your bed’s base—the wall frame. This is the most important bit of building your loft bed, because doing it right means you’ll have a solid bed structure that will not wiggle. So be sure to screw the beams that are to go against the wall to each other first, then raise them up and screw them into the wall securely.
Next, screw the support beams that jut into the room to the wall beams, so that the whole base is taut and sturdy. You are then ready to pop in your flat mattress bed slats, which should slide in if you have prepared the pieces well. Extras for the bed, like protective walls, ladder or stairs, is the next step.
Decide which kinds of protective walls you want around your loft bed's mattress. Solid or the classic striped walls with spaces between the wood? Whatever you decide, remember to leave space for entrance—i.e., the ladder or staircase—and preconstruct them before installing them to the sides of your base.
Lastly, we recommend making sure your mattress fits in the base before installing walls; that way, if you need to make any changes to the base, you can do so without having to dismantle the walls.
The last point is that, for some of us, it may be a matter of carving out a space for a loft bed, rather than building one up. In this case, you are in luck because it is a bit easier: just choose a solid wood to line the inner space and cradle the mattress, keep it wooden or cover the walls in your favourite wallpaper, install your ladder somewhere and voila -you have your very own cave loft!
We hope this guide helps you get started on your loft bed project. For more inspiration, check out these home mezzanines!