How to Make a Hanging Bed

You don't need a tropical beach for a hanging bed, just heavy-duty hardware and exposed ceiling joists.
You don't need a tropical beach for a hanging bed, just heavy-duty hardware and exposed ceiling joists. (Image: Vladyslav Siaber/iStock/Getty Images)

You've solved the shared sibling bedroom squabbles by assigning the eldest one a private room in the attic but nixed the request for a hammock bed. Cave a little for the sake of harmony and build a hanging bed -- a twin bed suspended from the open rafters. The attic room will be a hangout, so overbuild the support to handle the weight of a couple of kids. But don't try to replicate a bedroom bed -- a treehouse platform with a mattress is a daybed and a place to sleep for your boho preteen or teen.

Things You'll Need

  • Lumber cut to measure
  • Circular saw (optional)
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer (optional)
  • 3-inch wood screws
  • Ladder
  • 10 eye bolts
  • 10 galvanized steel quick links
  • 50 feet of chain (length varies based on room measurements)
  • Short length of chain (for under the deck)
  • Drill with countersink and varied bits
  • Power sander
  • Wood stain (optional)
  • Paintbrush
  • Polyurethane finish
  • Carpenter's level
  • Twin mattress and bedding
  • Helper (optional but advisable)

Video of the Day

Cut six 42 1/2-inch 2-by-4-inch boards and two 82 3/4-inch 2-by-4-inch boards for the frame sides and crosspieces. Cut twelve 84 3/4-inch 2-by-4-inch boards for the deck that holds the mattress. Have your lumber cut at the lumberyard if you want to save time or save buying or renting a circular saw.

Stand the long boards of the frame lumber on edge and measure 14 3/4-inches from one end, leave a 1 1/2-inch space where the crosspiece will go, and continue to mark off each side of the frame, alternating the long and short measurements. Drill two holes on the frame sides in each 1 1/2-inch gap, using a countersink bit so the screws will be flush with the board once inserted. Line up the crosspieces on end and screw them to the long boards to create a sturdy frame for the mattress deck.

Squeeze wood glue on the edges of the support frame and lay the dozen deck boards flat on it, aligning the ends. The deck boards should rest about 1/2-inch apart and hang over the frame slightly all the way around. Screw each deck board to each of the crosspieces.

Drill a hole into each corner of the deck, through the deck board into the frame lumber it rests on. Screw a heavy-duty eye bolt into each of the holes, being careful to tighten it but not strip the wood.

Sand the entire mattress deck and apply stain or just clear polyurethane to protect the wood. Drill four pilot holes in each of the overhead joists or exposed ceiling rafters to correspond with the placement of the four corner eye bolts on the mattress deck. Screw an eye bolt into each ceiling hole.

Attach a length of chain to each of the ceiling bolts using a galvanized steel quick link to secure the chain to the bolt. Slip quick links into each of the mattress deck eye bolts and adjust the chain so the deck will hang evenly -- with the top of the mattress on it positioned about 18 inches from the floor. Connect the chain to the deck eye bolts.

Screw one more eye bolt into the center crosspiece beneath the deck and a matching eye bolt into the floor directly beneath it. Use two quick links and a short section of chain to connect the two eye bolts so the mattress deck sway is limited and the bed doesn't become a swing.

Place a mattress and pillows on the deck to serve as a lounging platform by day and a bed at night. A fitted mattress cover and bottom sheet keep the bed made neatly, and a duvet makes a convenient quilt and bed cover.

Tips & Warnings

  • To raise the deck when attaching it to the chain, hook up one end of the deck first and then have a friend help raise the remaining end as you hook the chain to the quick link.
  • Heavy rope or steel cables may be used in place of chain to connect the deck to the ceiling bolts.
  • Position the bed slightly away from a wall or furnishings to prevent bumps and damage. The floor cable will keep the bed from swinging, but it will still have a very limited range of movement.
  • Setting the mattress height about 18 inches from the floor positions the seating at average bench height.
  • Check local building codes to ensure your hanging bed doesn't violate any regulations.
  • Always attach a hanging bed to ceiling joists or exposed beams, and check older beams to ensure they are sound enough to handle the weight.


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