How to Convert a Closet Into Bunk Beds

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For an efficient -- if unusual -- use of storage space, you can convert a standard closet into a pair of bunk beds. This can clear the main room for other uses, or simply provide two additional beds for a bunk-house room. This kind of bunk bed is easier to build than and more stable than a standard bunk bed. Set aside a full day to complete this project. It may take less time, but it's best to ensure you can work without rushing.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 plywood sheets, 3/4 inch thick
  • 6 beams, 2 inches by 4 inches
  • Box of wood screws, 4 inches long
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Stud finder
  • Power drill
  • Screwdriver bits
  • Egg crate foam
  • Heavy duty staple gun
  • Craft knife

Preparatory Steps

  • Measure the depth, width and height of your closet using your tape measure.

  • Cut four beams to match the depth of your closet. Cut two beams to match the width, minus 3 inches. For example, a 70-inch wide, 30-inch deep closet would have four beams cut to 30 inches and two cut to 67 inches.

  • Note heights for the two bunks in your bunk bed, leaving at least 24 inches of head room between. A typical bunk bed often has bunks at 18 inches and 60 inches.

  • Use the level and pencil to mark a level line on all three closet walls at the height of each bunk bed.

  • Mark the position of all studs along all lines using your stud finder and pencil. Standard spacing for wall studs is 16 inches on center.

  • Cut the two plywood sheets to match the width and depth of the closet. For easier handling, you may want to reduce each dimension by 1 inch. For example, you would cut plywood for a 70-by-30 closet to 69-by-29.

Installing Support Rails

  • Lay one short beam along a side wall of the closet, lining it up along the level line you drew. Screw it in place with two wood screws per stud.

  • Repeat step 1 three more times, installing a short beam on each of the three remaining lines on your side wall.

  • Lay one long beam along the back wall of the closet, lined up with the level line along the back and both side rails. Screw it in place with two wood screws per stud.

  • Repeat step 3 to install the final rear rail.

Pad and Install Platforms

  • Cut two pieces of egg crate foam to match the dimensions of your plywood sheets.

  • Lay one piece of egg crate foam on one plywood sheet. Staple it in place using the heavy-duty staple gun.

  • Repeat step 2 to attach the remaining piece of egg crate foam to the remaining plywood sheet.

  • Set one plywood sheet, padded side up, on the support rails for the lower bunk.

  • Set the remaining plywood sheet in place on the support rails for the upper bunk.

Tips & Warnings

  • These instructions are for a standard wall closet, wider than it is deep and too small to accommodate a twin-size mattress. Adjust the lumber dimensions if either of these assumptions is untrue about your closet. If your closet is large enough to accommodate a twin mattress, skip the egg crate instructions and simply lay a mattress on top of the bare plywood.

References

  • "Step by Step Basic Carpentry"; Ben Allen; 1997
  • Mike Byers; General Contractor; Corvallis, OR
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