We have been in our current house since Summer 1998, and in that time we have made a number of improvements in the house. Unfortunately, there really wasn't a good solution to the lack of space in the kid's rooms. I had already built a loft bed for my daughter to free up some floor space, and my son finally decided that he wanted a loft bed, too. I had removed the South facing window in his room, and in our bedroom the year before, but hadn't finished the inside wall yet since I wasn't sure what he wanted done with his room. There was also a section of the South wall in his room that had cork board glued to it.
After scraping off the cork board and taping over the seams of the window patch, I was ready to put paneling on. I had decided that I didn't want to go to the work of cleaning up the drywall and painting, and felt that hardwood paneling was more durable against the bed.
The actual construction of the bed is very similar to the one in my daughter's room, but since there is no end wall, I had to use a post on one end. The bed is built out of 2" lumber, with 1" slats for the mattress. First, 2 2X4 cleats were lag screwed into the studs on the back and side wall.
Next, the front and end boards were attached to the side cleats with heavy duty angle brackets. The boards were propped up while I carefully measured and cut a 4X4 post to support the corner. The boards were lagged to each other and into the post, and the post itself is kept in place by a pin made out of a 10d nail with the head cut off. This pin is driven into a pilot hole in the floor, and into a pilot hole in the bottom of the post, minimizing any damage to the floor.
A 2X2 cleat was attached to the back of this board, and the slats were attached to it and to the wall cleat. The ladder is notched to fit snugly under the end board and is angled slightly. There were many careful measurements made before making the numerous cuts necessary, and the fit was perfect on the first try. It is attached to the floor by means of one deck screw at the bottom of each leg, and lagged into the end board at the top from behind. The steps are attached by four 4" screws.
I'm sure the bed is overbuilt, but I wanted it safe and usable for years.
I built the railing in the same way as the first loft bed, using 2X4 vertical posts fit tightly in brackets from the deck hardware section, and 1X4s or the rails. All corners on the bed were rounded and sanded smooth.
As with the first bed, the entire construction was accomplished with a DeWalt 18v cordless saw and drill, and a Craftsman 5" random orbit palm sander! There are parts of the bed that would have been much easier if I had a table saw or a chop saw, but it worked out.
To finish out the bed, I put in a shelf above the end of the bed, and two shelves under the bed - one for his Play Station and TV (you gotta love garage sale finds!), and the other for his numerous Lego and Star Wars pieces.
August 2008 - If you want the loft bed plans, all I ask is for a small donation. You can use this link:
or you can email me to request mailing instructions. I have received hundreds of emails asking for my loft bed plans. I am happy to provide them, but I do want folks to realize that my plans do require drilling holes in the wall. This is unsuitable for dorm rooms or apartments or other situations where you can't make modifications to the actual room. However, there are many plans for free-standing loft beds available. Check with your local hardware store, home improvement center or lumber yard for plans (Menards, Home Depot, Lowes, etc.), or check out the OP Loft Bed Plans online. Most plans can be had for $10-25, and include a materials list.