DIY How to Build a Loft Bed for a Teenager

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Loft beds are a quick way to increase the space in any bedroom. Small rooms -- like dorm rooms -- can especially benefit because there's an area for a desk under the bed. Loft-style beds are better for teenagers because the risk of falling out of bed is significantly lower than with younger children. Building a loft bed is surprisingly easy and can be completed in a few hours. You need to have a basic knowledge of tools, know how to read a tape measure, and know how to use and have access to a vehicle large enough to carry lumber.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • 5 2-by-6 boards 8 feet long
  • Circular saw
  • Wood screws, 2 1/2 inches long
  • Drill with bits
  • 1 4-by-8 sheet of 3/4-inch plywood
  • 4 4-by-4 pine posts 6 feet long
  • Straightedge
  • 16 lag bolts, 6 inches long
  • 1 2-by-4 board 8 feet long
  • Socket or adjustable wrench
  • Measure and cut three 2-by-6 boards to 78 inches. Measure and cut the last two 2-by-6s into four boards of 37 inches. Create the frame of the bed by placing two of the longer boards parallel to each other with two of the shorter boards sandwiched between them at the top and bottom. Drill through the outside of the longer boards into the ends of the shorter boards with three to four screws at each corner.

  • Measure and cut the plywood to the dimensions of the frame just built (40 by 78 inches). Attach the plywood to the underside of the frame with screws spaced every 12 to 18 inches. This creates a box for the mattress to sit in with a 1-inch space around the mattress for bedding.

  • Place the last 78-inch board on its side and place the remaining two 37-inch boards at each end. Line the boards the same way as when building the frame and use drywall screws to secure at each corner. This is the support frame.

  • Drill into the end boards of the frame and support frame to make pilot holes for the lag bolts. Drill two holes 2 inches apart and 2 inches from each corner. On the 4-by-4 posts, measure 2 feet up from the bottom, drill one hole 2 inches from the edge, then measure up 2 more inches to drill the other hole.

  • Line up the holes in the support frame with those in the posts and insert lag bolts through the frame and into the posts; the frame will be on the inside of the posts. Get someone to hold the frame up, or prop it up on bricks to hold it at the required level until the bolts are inserted. Finger-tighten the bolts.

  • Measure up 54 inches from the bottom of the 4-by-4 posts and make a line on each 4-by-4; it will be on the inside of the posts above the support frame. Measure up 2 inches and make a dot 2 inches from the edge; measure up 2 more inches and make a dot. Drill each 4-by-4 post at these dots.

  • Position the bed frame between the posts and raise it until the holes in the frame line up with those in the posts. Insert lag bolts into the holes and finger-tighten the bolts. The bottom of the frame should be roughly level with the 54-inch line on the 4-by-4 posts.

  • Use the socket or wrench to tighten all 16 lag bolts.

  • Cut the 2-by-4 to get two 40-inch lengths. At one end of the bed, measure and mark the outside of the posts at the 18- and 36-inch points. Attach the 2-by-4s with two evenly spaced screws at each end to serve as a ladder.

Tips & Warnings

  • You will have about 2 feet of post above each corner of the bed. You can leave them, or cut them lower to suit your taste.
  • Lag bolts are 6 inches long; these bolts have a head on them that will prevent them from going all the way through the 4-by-4 posts.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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