Chelsea Bunk Bed System Desk or Bookshelf Supports

Submitted by Ana White on Fri, 05/06/2011 - 11:19
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Free furniture plans for a desk or bookshelf designed to support a top bunk. This project plan can be used to create twin over twin bunks, set perpendicular. Bookshelf features three shelves, desk features one desk height shelf. The desk is a perfect spot for homework - store bedtime books within reach in the bookshelf.

If I were to build a bunk bed system, this would be the plan that I use! Inspired by Pottery Barn Kid's Catalina Bunk System, I love not just the little extra girly touches, but also the simplicity of this design.

This plan is for the desk or bookshelf - just add more shelves to convert the desk to a bookshelf.  I'd love to see a little CPU cart or such under the desk for additional storage.
Also wanted to show you one quick photo of one of my most favorite pieces in my home - my media center - which is built using a very similar design.  
Dimensions are shown above.


Shopping List

1 - 1x12 @ 12 feet long
4 - 2x2 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
4 - decorative feet, 1 1/2" diameter, 6" tall

In addition, for the bookshelf
1 - 1x12 @ 12 feet long
3 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long

Common Materials
2 1/2 inch screws
1 1/4 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

2 - 1x12 @ 50" (Sides)
4 - 2x2 @ 50" (Legs)
4 - 1x2 @ 11 1/4" (Cut to width of 1x12s)
4 - 2x2 @ 39" (Top/Bottom Trim)
1 - 1x12 @ 39" (Desktop)

For Bookshelf (in addition to the above)
3 - 1x12 @ 39" (Shelves)
6 - 1x2 @ 39" (Shelf Trim)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
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!


Step 1

This diagram shows the difference between the desk and the bookshelf - there really is minimal difference. It's all in shelf placement. Make sure you use 2x2s to trim out your desktop for a stronger desktop.

Step 2

You will need to build two sides per bookshelf/desk. I show this diagram with pocket holes, if you use a Kreg Jig. While you can attach the legs to the side panel with standard screws (you'd want 2 1/2 to 3" long ones), I'd take a second to consider how much you are saving by building for yourself and invest in a Kreg Jig - it'll make your projects faster, easier, stronger.

Step 3

Since 1x12s are notorious for being slightly different widths, take a measurement and cut 1x2 trim pieces to fit. Nail on with 1 1/4" finish nails and glue as shown above.

Step 4

Next join the two sides on the top as shown above. One thing to consider when you use pocket holes is how to place your pocket holes for the strongest joint and to avoid splitting. Because the holes are pointed downward (as opposed to upward) in this instance, it will be much more difficult for you wood to split out on you. Always consider how you can place your screws in such a manner to create the strongest joint - but also in discreet locations.

Step 5

Step 6

For the bookshelf, build shelves, but this time, use 1x2s. If you are planning to place heavy objects on the shelves, use 2x2s instead (just like the bottom shelf). Attach to the sides.

Step 7

In the final step, add your decorative feet. Follow the instructions given by the manufacturer.

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.
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Sat, 05/07/2011 - 08:57

My oldest has been drooling over this girly loft system for so long! She stares at the photo in the pbteen catalog! LOL

Thank you so so so much for drawing up this plan! It's so PRETTY! Is it easy enough to convert this to a full size loft plan by simply making all of the 39" cuts 54" instead? Or are extra supports needed?

Thank you!!!


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 00:25

Where did you find feet for this.. or where could you? I've looked at HD, Lowes, Rockler,, it's very frustrating to try to find some that will work with those dimensions. Thanks for any input you can give me.

Lanie (not verified)

Mon, 06/25/2012 - 10:13

We are making two of these beds at the same time, and now that we have mastered the kreg jig we are booking right along. We did decide to skip the feet and just make the sides 6 inches longer, had I known that before I purchased the wood I would have used 1x12x10s and not in twelve foot lengths, since that gave me some scrap, now, what can I make with those 30 inch scrap pieces? :)

Mindy (not verified)

Wed, 11/14/2012 - 14:53

I am in the process of building this for my daughter as a loft bed. The desk is wobbly without some reinforcement. I added a 1/2 in plywood panel on the back side of the knee hole to make it more stable. I will probably put a sheet of plywood on the back of the bookshelf as well.