Classic Bunk Beds

Submitted by Ana White on Fri, 09/03/2010 - 08:37
| Print this plan

These bunk beds are unique because they are easy to build and can be assembled and disassembled easily. Ladder is integrated into the design.

Dimensions are shown above. Fits standard 39″ x 75″ twin mattress, shown with 6″ mattresses.


Shopping List

7 – 10′ 1×4 Boards
4 – 8′ 2×2 Boards
9 – 8′ 1×3 Boards (not including wood slats)
2″ Wood Screws
1 1/4″ Wood Screws
1 1/4″ Finish Nails
Wood Glue
Wood Filler
Finishing Supplies
16 – 3″ Bolts with washers and nuts

Cut List

12 – 1×4 @ 37 1/2″ (End Rails)
8 – 1×3 @ 63″ (Solid Leg Pieces)
8 – 1×4 @ 80 1/2″ (Back and Front Rails)
12 – 1×3 @ 3″ (Trim Pieces between Rails)
2 – 1×3 @ 22″ (Trim Pieces between Rails)
4 – 1×3 @ 8″ (Bottom Trim Pieces)
4 – 2×2 @ 75″ (Use Metal braces for a stronger bed)
1 – 1×3 @ 55″ (Ladder Side)
2 – 1×3 @ 19″ (Ladder Rungs)
1 – 1×3 @ 13″ (Ladder Front Trim Piece)
6 – 1×3 @ 10″ (Ladder Trim)
1 – 1×3 @ 35″ (Front Leg Trim Piece)
1x3s @ 39″ (Bed Slats, as shown with 34 total slats)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander


Step 1

Build the Ends Build two of the ends as shown above. Best joining method is to use pocket hole screws from the insides of the rails into the legs. Other option is to use 2″ screws from the outside of the legs, with a countersink bit. Screws are recommended, because bunk bed are going to take lots of movement, and nails joints will eventually separate out.

Step 2

Build the Back Simply take two of the 1×3 legs @ 63″, and mark as shown in the diagram above. Glue and screw with 1 1/4″ screws the side rails to the legs. On this step it is very VERY important that you check and adjust for square. If the diagonals do not match up, push the outside corners of the longer diagonals together.

Step 3

Trim the Back After you have built the back, cut 1×3 pieces to fit the legs between the slats. You can nail these pieces on with a finish nailer and glue, using 1 1/4″ nails. TIP: Don’t cut these pieces prior to building – measure and cut to the opening, to get the exact fit.

Step 4

Bed Slat Supports If your child is heavy or you expect the bed to take a large amout of abuse, I recommend purchasing metal braces, and screwing to the inside of the bed. Otherwise, use 2x2s, 2″ screws and WOOD GLUE to attach the bed slat supports to the back slats, keeping bottom edges flush.

Step 5

Step 6

Rails and Ladder Rungs Mark the sides and the ladder piece as shown above. Glue and screw with 1 1/4″ the top bunk rails and the ladder rungs to the legs and the ladder side.

Step 7

Trim the Front As you did the back, trim the front, filling in all the spaces with 1×3 boards. Use 1 1/4″ nails or optionally screws and glue.

Step 8

Assembly Assemble the bed by bolting the four pieces together, using 3″ bolts and washer and nuts, four bolts per leg. If you plan on seldom assembly/disassembly of the bed, you could also use 2″ wood screws from the inside of the end legs into the back/front legs.

Step 9

Mattress Slats Your mattress should have recommendations for bed slats. Use 1x3s, cut at 39″, layed on top of the wood slat supports, according to the recommendations of the mattress. Screw down with 1 1/4″ screws.


Crystal B (not verified)

Thu, 02/23/2012 - 12:19

You do need a tad more lumber. The cut list does not include the front top side rails, next to the ladder opening. You need two 1" X 3" X 64" boards to finish the front section. And of course, the lumber for the slats is not included in the shopping list because you are supposed to figure that out based on your mattress manufacturer instructions.

The only problem I've encountered thus far as I'm building it is after I checked and rechecked, I still missed the top two rails that weren't listed. This is my first build, so I'll forgive myself for having to go back to the lumberyard for a second trip this time. ;o) (I'm a perfectionist! Haha.)

MeganF (not verified)

Sun, 09/12/2010 - 09:47

thanks Ana. Ill let you know- and will post pictures when they get done. the man is working lots of OT in the next month, so I dont know how soon it will be. And speaking of the man- in all his awesomeness, he is even routing out the part on the ends where the cross boards meet the legs so they will fit together!

clarson27 (not verified)

Sat, 09/18/2010 - 09:33

One definitely needs significantly more wood than is listed in the shopping list. Just an FYI.

ShellyinWI (not verified)

Mon, 09/27/2010 - 10:20

"Make sure you cut the longest boards first to use up all of your lumber." Guess we should have read the comments a little more carefully! :)

We built these bunk beds this weekend! Our first project. We learned a lot (above plus... square IS important!) and they turned out great! Two of our boys (we have five) slept in them for the first time last night. I need to stain/paint them and then I'll send in a picture!!

Thanks Ana for such an awesome site!!

Halogen Moon (not verified)

Tue, 09/28/2010 - 15:38

Oh, I thought i'd also let everyone know that this project costs just at $100 including screws, nails, glue, and lumber. Spring for a kreg jig jr to make it even easier, it's only about $40. I used left over paint so that's not figured in to the above costs.