Build or Buy: Bunk Beds. Anyone have plans they recommend?

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Forum topic by edapp posted 07-29-2019 01:56 PM 604 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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347 posts in 2485 days

07-29-2019 01:56 PM

Alright lumberjocks, this is a project I have been putting off for too long now. When I was growing up my parents bought a set of twin bunk beds that were convertible and could be side by side, or bunk, or loft style. Dresser and shelves fit in any number of arrangements.

I would like to recreate this for my kids, but am intimidated about building something like this without plans. The hardware, mattress sizes, and compatibility/modularity of what I would like to have in the end product are intimidating.

I need some bunk beds for my kids room and I am torn on whether or not to build or buy. a pro’s and con’s list to follow.

Build Pro’s:
Save $$

Build con’s:
Likely to be a simpler design, without incorporating dressers or the like.
Backlog of projects that are a little more of my interest.

Buy Pro’s:
Some neat designs that incorporate dressers, drawers, desks and other built ins.
Easy, quick, could have them now.
No fussing with mattress sizes, knock down hardware etc.

Buy Con’s:
$$, unknown quality.

Has anyone made a convertible/modular loft/bunk bed? I know I could throw together a simple bunk bed over a weekend, but the modular aspect would be really great as the kids grow and change. Tips? Resources? Just buy the dang thing? Let me know your thoughts please!


11 replies so far

View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 4798 days

#1 posted 07-29-2019 02:13 PM

Build if there is something special you want…
Hard to beat the cost of commercial stuff.
Timing… buy and be done.

We bought bunk beds 15 years ago, at Sams Club. it was 199 for solid oak. Couldn’t buy just materials for that cost. But prices change so YMMV

My advice would be if you want a basic stack design… just buy it.

They will only want bunks for a few years….

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Steve's profile


2481 posts in 1638 days

#2 posted 07-29-2019 02:18 PM

Do a search on here for bunk beds and you can decide whether you want to tackle it or not.

Here’s a nice project that was done recently

View edapp's profile


347 posts in 2485 days

#3 posted 07-29-2019 02:19 PM

My advice would be if you want a basic stack design… just buy it.

They will only want bunks for a few years….

- DrDirt

that is a great point. No matter which route I take, they will be convertible to individual beds for sure.

View Ocelot's profile


2975 posts in 3694 days

#4 posted 07-29-2019 08:55 PM

Look at Mathias Wandell's site for his bunks.

Note that current safety recommendations call for rails on both sides, to prevent a child from being hung if (s)he falls off on the wall side.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View SMP's profile


3813 posts in 961 days

#5 posted 07-30-2019 12:45 AM

Personally I don’t like spending my time making temporary furniture. Bunk beds can be found inexpensively on Craigslist, offerup, etc as kids outgrow them. I got a good deal on one before and sold it for what I paid a few years later. But replaced it with an Ikea ome because my wife wanted a white steel tube model for design purposes.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

4015 posts in 3307 days

#6 posted 07-30-2019 12:59 AM

I built a set of bunk beds several years ago from Ana White’s plans. They were all-in-one but could be modified to make them stackable pretty easily. This link to bunk bed plans on her site ( might be right for you, or they might trigger additional ideas.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View therealSteveN's profile


7495 posts in 1630 days

#7 posted 07-30-2019 12:21 PM

I think many have changed bunk beds to the much safer form with stairs instead of a ladder. Also as stated rails to prevent fall off. Possibly the most dangerous of all furniture types in their old style.

I can’t tell you how many split lips, chins, and bruised bottoms we had to check in the ER based on falls off the “ladder” Sometimes they weren’t just minor, quite a few broken arms, legs, and in one case a fractured pelvis.

I don’t think of bunk beds as plans material. You measure the space you have, and just do it.

-- Think safe, be safe

View edapp's profile


347 posts in 2485 days

#8 posted 07-30-2019 12:55 PM

Thanks for all the input guys. Mathias’ website is extremely helpful.

I actually found the furniture that I grew up with here:

They have a solid end with ladder, or ladder end style. also loft or traditional bunk bed. and a lot of furniture that fits under the loft nicely. I think having these pictures as a reference and their overall dimensions will be plenty for me to recreate, and this style of furniture looks particularly easy to build so that pretty much made my decision for me.

I don’t really love building stuff this size in my small shop, but the ability to glue and screw some 1x SYP together and save ~1-3K depending on how much I make…. well that makes it an easier decision. And since it is all modular I could build one piece at a time and install it in the room. Make a twin bed, set it up. Make the loft “legs”, move them to the room. Make another twin… etc.

I figure if I could handle a king bed in my shop this ought to be a piece of cake!

View Redoak49's profile


5185 posts in 3044 days

#9 posted 07-30-2019 01:23 PM

I built loft beds for my daughter and used knock down fasteners. I built a pair of them and they can be converted the a regular height beds or bunk beds. As lift beds they make a great play area underneath.

You can see them in my project post.

View SSotolongo's profile


72 posts in 752 days

#10 posted 07-31-2019 01:44 AM

Depends on your kids too. My parents raised two boys and my friends used to come over quite a bit. We broke two beds when we were kids. My father was tired of spending money on beds and built one. Survived the rest of our childhood and he gave it away to a cousin that immigrated here when we were too old for it. It was still as solid as the day he built it.

View johnstoneb's profile


3167 posts in 3228 days

#11 posted 07-31-2019 01:49 AM

Buy the mattresses first and make beds to fit mattresses. Advertised sizes and actual matress sizes are often very different.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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