How to Build a Corner Loft Bed
A corner loft bed is an ideal way to fit a bed space, work space and space for stuff in just a few square feet. Corner loft beds are popular for children, college students and studio apartment dwellers. You don't need to spend a lot of money to get a corner loft bed. With a few supplies and a little knowhow, you can build one yourself in just a few hours.
Choosing a Corner Loft Bed
Most corner loft beds are made for twin mattresses, but they can also be made for full size beds as well. They are rarely made for queen and king sizes because of the added weight they bring. If you choose to make a corner loft bed for a queen or king mattress, you will need to add additional support slats and reinforced posts. Your corner loft bed will take up slightly more room than your bed does now. This is because of the legs and ladder or staircase. Take a look at your current bed and imagine what you would do with that space if your bed was floating in the air. This is the potential of the corner loft bed. You can put anything you want in that space. Most people move desks, shelves and dresser drawers under the bed. Appliances, televisions and couches are also creative options.
Putting Together a Corner Loft Bed
Most corner loft beds are made out of pine. It is a sturdy yet relatively lightweight wood. It is also easy to find and relatively inexpensive. Corner loft beds can be made of more expensive woods like maple, oak, walnut, birch and cherry. They may add cost and weight to your corner loft bed. Some are made out of metal rods or PVC pipe. It is not advisable to build a corner loft bed yourself out of these materials unless you are experienced working with them. They can be unstable and difficult to fasten together.
- 4 finished (4 inch by 4 inch) lumber posts
- slab of 3/4 inch plywood measuring 4 feet by 7 feet
- twin mattress measuring 39 inches by 75 inches.
- finished 2 by 4 plywood for ladder, staircase and railings
- wood glue, nails, screws and bolts (5 inches long)
The Corner Loft Bed Posts
The length of the bed posts for the corner loft bed depend on the height of the ceiling in the room. The posts should not be so high that you cannot sit up in bed. A corner loft bed should have 8 foot posts in a room with 10 foot ceilings. This allows for the posts to extend 2 feet beyond the bottom of the mattress and provides about 3 feet of space between the top of the mattress and the ceiling. You can also extend corner loft bed posts all the way to the ceiling while the bed rests part way up. This way the posts can hold a curtain rod for privacy while in bed. Most lumber yards will cut whatever length you require if you ask. Also have them sand down the edges they cut.
The Loft Bed Platform
Build a platform frame around the piece of plywood your mattress will lie on. Use 2 by 4 plywood for the frame and support slats. Cut seven 4 foot long boards and two 7 foot 4 inch long boards. Lay the 7 foot 4 inch long boards parallel on their 2 inch sides. Lay two 4 foot boards between the 7 foot 4 inch lengths on their 2 inch sides to make a rectangle. Bolt them together. Use the five remaining 4 foot long boards as support slats. Evenly space them inside the rectangle laying them on their 4 inch sides. Bolt them to the frame. Lay the 3/4 inch plywood slab on top of the frame and nail it to the support slats.
Attaching the Platform to the Bed Posts
Lay two bed posts on the ground parallel to each other. Position the loft bed platform on its long side, on top of and perpendicular to the bed posts. Leave 2 feet of bed post above the bottom of the bed platform unless you plan to make curtains. In that case, leave 4 feet of bed post above the bottom of the bed platform. Bolt the posts to the platform at the corners. Use two bolts through each post that are at least 5 inches long. Shorter bolts will not go through the 4 inch posts. Drill them one above the other. Turn the frame over and attach the other two posts on the other long side at the corners in the same way. You can now stand your corner loft bed up.
Loft Bed Supports
The higher the corner loft bed is built, the more unstable it is. Compensate for this by adding supports. Cut four 4 feet long boards and two 6 feet 8 inch long boards out of 2 by 4. Bolt two 4 feet long supports between the bed posts on each of short sides. One should run along the floor. The other about one third to one half of the way between the floor and the mattress. This middle support can later be used to attach a desk top, so adjust the height to your convenience. Attach the long side supports between the two bed posts next to the wall at the same height as the supports on the sides.
Loft Bed Railings
Use the bed posts projecting above the bed platform to hold the loft bed railings. Cut four 4 feet long boards and two 6 feet 8 inch long boards out of 2 by 4. Bolt two 4 feet long railings between the bed posts on each of short sides. One should go at the top of the bed posts. The other halfway between the top and the bed platform. Do the same thing on the long side next to the wall. Create a shorter railing on the side where you enter and exit the bed. Cut two railings about 5 feet long and a vertical support 2 feet long. Leave a 2 foot long space for the ladder or staircase.
Loft Bed Ladder
To make a ladder, allow 1 foot of horizontal space for every 2 feet of vertical height. The ladder length is the hypotenuse of the triangle. A bed platform 6 feet off the ground will have a ladder sticking out 3 feet. The ladder length will be 6.7 feet. Cut two sides to the ladder at that length out of 2 by 4. Also cut 5 steps measuring 20 inches long each. Next, cut the ends of the ladder sides at 60 degree angles so that they rest evenly on the ground and against the corner loft bed. Bolt the steps to the sides at 1 foot intervals. Attach it to the bed at the open space in the railing.
Loft Bed Staircase
Staircases are easier for children to climb. They are similar to ladders but cut at a gentler angle. Allow for 1 foot of horizontal space for every 1 foot of vertical height. A bed platform 6 feet off the ground will have a staircase sticking out 6 feet. The staircase length will be 8.5 feet. Cut two sides to the staircase at that length out of 2 by 4. Also cut 6 steps measuring 20 inches long each. Next, cut the ends of the staircase sides at 45 degree angles so that they rest evenly on the ground and against the corner loft bed. Bolt the steps to the sides at 1 foot intervals. Attach it to the bed at the open space in the railing.
Under the Loft Bed
Wood left over after making your corner loft bed can be used to make all sorts of accessories. These can be attached to the frame for added stability. It is also attractive since the wood matches the frame. Bookshelves, toy boxes, cabinets and drawers are simple and functional. Build them into the corners of the frame to provide support and use less wood. A desk top can be bolted to the bed posts and support beams then supported by simple legs at the corners. The options are up to you.
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