Camp Loft Bed with Stair, Junior Height

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 07/16/2019 - 17:45
Difficulty
Beginner
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Build your own loft bed plans with stairs all from 2x4 and 2x6 lumber!  This super sturdy and beautiful design features a platform for easy access, junior height loft bed plans free from Ana-White.com

wood loft bed with stairs

This loft bed has been built and cherished the world over for almost a decade.  Here's why-

  • It's inexpensive to make - about $50-$100 in materials
  • It's super sturdy and strong because of the 2x4 and 2x6 materials - the same materials we build houses out of
  • It's an easy to build design that is fairly quick to tackle
  • The platform with stairs make it very easy to access the loft.  The lower platform is at about the same height as a floor to mattress, so it's a very natural and easy process to go from the bed to the platform
  • This loft bed is a very beautiful piece that can go with just about any decor

I built this loft bed for my then four year old daughter.  At four years old, a loft bed seemed like a bad idea.  But with the stairs, it's really not that different than a regular bed - just the access is at the bottom.

The stairs are so much easier to use than a ladder.  And the platform is just right.  Instead of having to crawl down a ladder, you simply swing your legs off the bed (just like a normal bed) and they rest on the platfrom.  Then you stand up (with good headroom) and walk down the stairs.

The goal was to create a loft bed that mom and dad could easily crawl into and snuggle and read bedtime stories - and easily sneak out when the child drifted off to sleep.

 

 

We designed this bed to fit inside a room just bigger than 8x8.  Yes, 8x8.  It gave the room so much more useable space!

The window was previously the obstacle in the way of building stairs.  But with the lower platform, we were able to not cover the window. Now it's entertainment for the kids as they use it as a stage, and look out the window from it.

Under the loft bed stair platform, no storage is lost.  It's a great spot for a toybox or bin.

 

The best part about this bed is how easy and inexpensive it is to make.  That's all 2x4s and 2x6s (I'll share my finishing technique with you later this week) bringing the total cost of lumber up to about $50!!!  

 

 

Convert to Bunk Bed with Stairs Option

We also love this bed with a second bed under it to create a bunk system.  We have plans for a matching twin bed frame here.

NOTE: You may wish to increase the leg length by about 6" to give more headroom to the lower bunk - depending on how tall you make your lower bed height.

bunk bed with stairs

Photo SUBMITTED BY CAJSAWALLWORK 

 

Loft Bed with Stairs Plans

Dimensions
loft bed with stairs dimensions
Dimensions shown above. Fits twin.

Preparation

Shopping List
  • 15 – 2x4 @ 8 feet long
  • 4 – 2x6 @ 8 feet long
  • 2 – 2x2 @ 8 feet long
  • 1 – 1x2 @ 8 feet long
  • 2 ½” pocket hole screws
Cut List
  • 4 – 2x4 @ 65 ½” - legs
  • 2 – 2x6 @ 37 ½” -bed siderails on ends
  • 5 – 2x4 @ 37 ½” - guardrails on ends
  • 5 – 2x4 @ 75” - guardrails and base support
  • 2 – 2x6 @ 75” - bed siderails
  • 2 – 2x2 @ 75” - cleats
  • 2 – 2x4 @ 30 ½” - platform
  • 2 – 2x4 @ 37 ½” - platform
  • 1 – 2x4 @ 41 ½” - platform
  • 2 – 2x4 @ 20 ½” - platform
  • 12 – 2x4 @ 22” - decking
  • 2 – 2x6 @ 43” (both ends cut 45 degrees off square, ends NOT parallel) – to be trimmed down in later steps
  • 6 – 1x2 @ 7 ¾” (both ends cut at 45 degrees off square)
  • 6 – 2x4 @ 20 ½” - stair treads

This bed requires a slat system (1x3s, 1x4s or 2x4s or similar) or a bunkie board mattress to complete

Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Drill
Circular Saw
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Instructions

Step 1

Build the ladder end as shown in diagram with 1 1/2" PHs and 2 1/2" PH screws. Use glue to fasten - these joints are permanent. If you are building this loft bed without the stair platform, add 2x4s all the way down to make a "ladder" for the kids to climb up.

Step 2

Build front end of loft bed same as ladder end.

Step 3

Now here's where we skip the glue. To make this loft bed easy to disassemble, I did not use glue here. The inside width for the mattress area should be 39", insetting the side rails 1 1/4" from outsides. I did this so your PH screws have lots of board to grab into. This bed has NOT been weight tested or guaranteed. If you feel you need extra support - add metal brackets under the 2x6s. An alternative method is to attach metal bed brackets directly to the ends if you have those. Notice the cleat is added in this step to. I used 2 1/2" screws and glue to attach, screws every 6-8" all the way down. This bed is designed to work with a bunkie board, but we just used 2x6s cut to length as the bed slats.

NOT SHOWN: Add the fifth 2x4 @ 75" at the back base of the bed to support the legs at the bottom.

Step 4

Now we'll start building the stair platform for the loft bed with stairs.

Step 5

Attach stair framing to the loft bed legs.

Step 6

And then the decking is placed on top of the stair platform.

Step 7

The stairs are easy to build - just 45 degree angles! We went ahead and drilled 1 1/2" PHs along top edge of the stairs to connect the stairs to the bed later on.

Step 8

Then we added the stair treads. We also drilled 1 1/2" PHs along ends of the stair treads and attached with 2 1/2" PH screws just for extra strength. Everything gets glued.

Step 9

The bed was finished outside and then assembled in the room. TIP: We haven't found our bed needs it, but for extra support, you could add another 2x4 @ 75" (at $2 a 2x4, cheap insurance) to the base of the bed to further support the bottoms.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Help Improve This Plan

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Comments

Pammylaine

Fri, 08/17/2012 - 10:43

The bed is really sturdy for us...my 4 year old plays pretty hard on it. We used an addition 2X6 to brace the back wall between the legs just to add a little more strength to the frame. And we made sure the side was up against the wall....The side with the stairs. That meant we had to switch them around. However, it gave me a little bit more confidence that he wasn't just going to fall off the stair platform.

Just me (not verified)

Sun, 08/19/2012 - 22:47

I just saw your list for making the full size. do you feel you have enough center support under the matress? I am planning on putting a center support, even with the cleats, to support the center more instead of just relying on the slats.

Pammylaine

Mon, 08/20/2012 - 13:54

I honestly think that there is plenty of support there. We made sure we secured the cleats VERY good so that they won't come loose. Using the 2X4's to support the weight of the mattress seems really sufficient to me. The bed that we took down and replaced used 1X4's and we never had an issue with it. We cut the 2X4's used to brace the mattress to 56 inches long and it literally goes from one side board to the other so there is no worry about it slipping off if he or anyone else is bouncing around up there.

James (not verified)

Mon, 08/27/2012 - 11:41

4x4s are kinda over kill for 150lbs of kids, now throw in a large dad and 2x4s look alittle scarry. Build the bed as advertised. If it's wobbly, sister(glue and screw another board to) the legs and bracing. I recomend lots of testing berfore finishing.

Just me (not verified)

Sun, 08/19/2012 - 22:35

site looks great, I really enjoy all the details on the pictures. THANK YOU!! I was about to start from scratch tomorrow and your design helps me out alot. I still have to do some refiguring with heighth and width (full size).
... One thing maybe I didn't see but the lumber should always be UNTREATED if you are using it in the house. I saw one person mention about the cost of lumber. I hope they didn't buy treated.

***Treated lumber is designed for outdoor use only and can create a serious health hazard in an enclosed environment.***

I am in Texas and price that you gave is about right for me too.
Thanks for sharing.

emmalee (not verified)

Mon, 08/20/2012 - 16:55

What kind of boards did you use to make the bed? Obviously I could go crazy expensive with cherry or walnut but Id like to try to keep it around the $50. This is going to be my first project so I just need clarification on that. Thank you!

Pammylaine

Thu, 08/23/2012 - 13:22

Err.....I believe we used pine. Make sure you call around for lumber prices...Lowe's and other big stores can be fairly expensive on their lumber. If you have a small lumber yard in your area, go in and get a quote on what you need. If they'll let you pick your own pieces out, get it there. Otherwise, take your quote to Lowe's. The one here matched the price for me and gave me an additional 10% off. That put my lumber at about $57.00. I would have preferred to use the lumber yard in town but, since I wasn't able to pick out the pieces I wasn't for sure going to get straight pieces without lots of knots. At Lowe's I was able to get the pieces I wanted. This was my first build as well :)

Little Frankie (not verified)

Tue, 08/21/2012 - 20:04

I'm interested in the finishing technique you used but can't find the post you refer to searching the site. Could you please link it here for me? Thanks in advance!

renaep (not verified)

Wed, 08/22/2012 - 18:59

So, I'm in the middle of building this bed, I just need to finish the decking and stairs. First of all, I also invested much more than the $50 or so. Just the cost of lumber was over $100 in NC. 2x4's were almost $4 a piece and 2x6's were over $5! Crazy! However, I also bought a few extra 2x4's and a 1x12. I built a book shelf under the platform and I'm adding a brace down the middle under the mattress because I am using 1 in MDF that I had from another bed and a board across the back side on the bottom. I also added braces to the 2x6's. This bed is bomb proof. I haven't climbed up there yet, but there is no wobble when I shake it or when my daughter is up there, I just want it to last until college lol, so I went to extremes.

Building is a breeze! That part flew by, but oh my, painting it is taking forever! 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint= forever. I will be sure to post to the brag pages when I finish. One word of caution, maybe someone has a solution for this?! Do not strip a screw in a pocket hole! How do you fix that? Fortunately I got it in there all the way, but there's no taking that back out. Overall though, I'm very excited about the end results.