How to build a loft bed or hanging bunk bed with this easy to follow DIY loft bed tutorial. It’s made from basic lumber and attaches to the wall and suspends from the ceiling or wall.
This post was originally published in November, 2016 and has been updated January, 2021 with more detailed build diagrams, updated photographs, and specific product links.
This loft bed is easy to build and a great way to give extra floor space to small bedrooms. When my two oldest daughters shared this room, it was the only way we could fit two beds in the room. (After converting our attic to a bedroom, we were able to give my oldest the room to herself, and I gave it a budget-friendly update with a ton of DIY projects. You can see the full modern girl’s bedroom makeover here.)
When I built this bed about five years ago, it was one of the first build projects that I had completed. Considering this, I’d say this is definitely a simple build and requires minimal tools, which makes it a great DIY project. Because it’s a simple build, it should only take a few hours to build and hang.
Materials Needed to Build a Loft Bed
- (5) 8 foot long 2×4 boards
- (8) 8 foot long 1×6 boards
- Kreg Jig (optional, but highly recommended!)
- Wood glue
- Wood screws
- Airline cable wire
This post was sponsored by Kreg Tools. Please understand that all descriptions and opinions are 100% my very own. I only write posts about products I love and personally use.
- (2) – 81.5″ long 2x4s
- (6) – 42.5″ long 2x4s
- (8) – 83″ long 1x6s
How to Build the Bed Frame Base
To build the bed, I first made the frame using the 2″ x 4″ boards. You could choose to attach the 2x4s together by drilling into the long 2×4 to secure the smaller cross boards to it. I personally don’t love all the steps needed to countersink, fill, and sand all those screw holes, so I chose to use my Kreg Jig to create these joints instead.
This little tool allows you to pre-drill holes, at the perfect angle, to join boards together. You can use it to make 90 degree joints, or if you want to join boards of wood laying flat (to make a sign or something), it can be used for that as well. I’ve also used it to make furniture and cabinet doors. It really is a magical little tool and one I recommend to any DIYer!
I set up my Kreg Jig drill bit so it was the correct length for my 2×4. These boards are really only 1.5″ wide, so I set the large part of the bit at that mark.
I drilled two holes into each board, and then used Kreg self drilling 2.5″ screws to attach the inside boards to the long board. Of course, it’s important to use wood glue at each joint.
How to Attach the Frame to the Wall
After the base was built, we decided to hang the bed in the room. I called in my dad to help me with this part. I had an idea of how I should hang it, but I didn’t completely trust myself (at the time – I’ve learned a lot since then!) to hang a heavy bed in a room where my little girl would be sleeping underneath it every night. I did, however, complete trust my dad’s skills to do so!
First, we found the studs using a stud finder, and then testing each spot with a nail to ensure there was a stud in that spot. After deciding how high to hang the bed, we used a level to mark a level line on each of the walls it would attach to.
I measured the distance between each of the stud marks, and then drilled pilot holes in the frame of the bed (2 holes for each stud). Drilling pilot holes ensures that the wood will not split when screwing into it to attach it to the wall.
I took one side and my dad took the other, and we held the bed up while he used 3″ wood screws to screw into our pilot holes and attach the bed to the studs. It is screwed into the studs on both the left and back side of the frame.
I attached a temporary 2×4″ to the front corner so it was supported as I attached the top boards to the bed.
Attaching the Top Boards
For the top, I just screwed the top 1×6″ boards from the top, and into the frame of the bed. I figured that a mattress would be covering most of these holes, and I didn’t mind seeing the holes on the top. I measured the distance between the boards and pre-drilled the pilot holes in each of the 1×6″ boards using a countersink drill bit.
Then, I just climbed on a ladder and screwed the first couple of boards onto the top of the frame. Once there was enough room, I sat on the installed boards to install the rest.
Attach to the Ceiling
For the final step, we needed to support the front corner of the bed. We wanted to hang it from the ceiling, but you could easily also support it with a 2×4 (similar to the temporary “leg” we used in the photo above, but it would obviously need to be cut down.)
To hang the bed from the ceiling, we used eye bolts screwed into a joist in the ceiling and also in the top of the bed (through the 1×6 and into the 2×4 in the corner).
If you don’t have a ceiling joist above the place you need it, you could also attach the eye bolt to a stud in the wall, and have your rope angled from the top of the wall to the corner of the bed.)
*I’ve received a lot of questions about the exact measurements of our loft bed from floor to ceiling.
For strength, we used airline cable between the two eye bolts to ensure it was strong enough to hold the weight of kids (and adults, too). We used 3/16″ airline cable similar to the product listed below.
I know the weight rating on this product is 180 pounds, but because the frame is drilled into multiple studs on both sides of the bed, the whole structure is able to hold much more weight than 180 pounds. We’ve used this bed for 5 years with combined weights of 300-400 pounds on the bed at a time and have no problems whatsoever.
I used a 3 ply large jute rope from Home Depot (you can cut the exact size you need) and unwound the bottom of the rope slightly. Then, I placed the airline cable in between the strands of the rope and it wrapped up nicely right around the wire. For the bottom, I tied the three strands into a knot to cover the wire clasp.
I stained the bed using Minwax Stain in Driftwood and used Kreg wood plugs to fill in the pocket holes underneath the bed.
Attach Railings and Ladder
After the platform was attached the wall, I built railings and a ladder. The end railing braces are made from short pieces of 2x4s screwed onto the bed from underneath and the inside braces are pieces of 2×2 lumber attached in the same way. Then, I used a nail gun to attach wood molding pieces to each brace across the span of the side railing and end railing.
I don’t have a tutorial for how to build the ladder, but I would recommend this You Tube video, as the process is very similar to the one we used to build ours. We used 2x4s for the rails and 1×6 boards for the steps.
Check out the other DIY projects in this room:
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