Classic Bunk Beds

Submitted by Ana White on Fri, 09/03/2010 - 08:37
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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.


Guest (not verified)

Wed, 03/21/2012 - 07:03

Super annoyed. After I told a friend I'd help her build these, and gave her a price based on the shopping list and she saved up the money to do it, I went and bought lumber and it's not even close to enough. You say to buy 7 1x4s and the cut list requires 10 just for the long cuts, not even counting the side bars. And not listing the 1x3 slats is annoying too Now I have to break it to my friend that she needs another $30 or so. The first complaints about it being wrong were two years ago! Why was it never fixed? I e run into this on many of your plans and honestly? I think you do it on purpose so you can say " make this for under $100!" or whatever price but really your shopping list may be under $100 but your shopping list omits major components.
--A former fan


Wed, 03/21/2012 - 08:13

If you are not able to appreciate the FREE plans Ana posts out of the goodness of her heart and take into account that despite being wonderful and awesome, she is not perfect and may make the occasional mistake, you are not worthy of calling yourself a fan anyway!

Wantingtobuild… (not verified)

Wed, 06/13/2012 - 15:12

So I have been shopping around for a bunk bed and I found your site. I am very impressed and very excited to build for my first time. I want to build this for my boys. So I have many questions 1) Is the list above corrected based on some of the errors read through out the log? 2) If I want to make the bottom a queen what measurements would I increase?

Hopefully someone can answer my questions. I am very eager to start and take the shopping list to my local home depot to price the entire project out! Thanks!! :)

J (not verified)

Sun, 07/29/2012 - 13:11

HI, I've been following you and am amazed everytime you come up with some amazing idea. I've been thinking about bunkbed for my 2 boys and this just gave me the courage to make my own. Although I had a few questions and wanted to modify this piece a bit. Do you think you'd be able to help me out. I'm looking to get the exact look of the Industrial Loft Twin bunk bed from Restoration Hardware Baby and Child. I know that one is done in metal but I figured I could paint the wood that color to get that 'metal' look. Thanks.

Jaclyn (not verified)

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 15:05

I couldn't find a workable triple bunk bed for my low ceiling house, so I took these plans and modified them. I'm sharing the link to my 3D sketch up model, but please be aware:
1) I didn't know sketch up until I made this model. I'm sure there are mistakes.
2) Not everything in this model will complete the bed. We are using Ikea beds parts for the slats and side rails to hold the mattress on top 2 beds. Nothing on the bottom.
3) Details on Ikea parts are: Qty 4 of Part number 117228. Qty 2 SULTAN LADE and Qty 3 SULTAN FLORVÅG
4) I used this mattress to maximum headroom. There is 30" for each bed space. 4" for the this mattress. Adjust as you need.

Link to the model:…

Jaclyn (not verified)

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 18:52

I turned this into a triple bunk using some key Ikea parts to support the mattress. Painting the pieces now.
Here's my SketchUp model:…

Please note, I didn't know SketchUp before I tried this so there *has* to be mistakes. Sorry.

Ikea parts used:
Qty 2 117228
Qty 5 117327
Qty 4 102267, 105163
**Also need bed rails as used in Malm Bed (…)

Bottom mattress sits on the floor. Final length 82.5" height is 74.5". Each bed has 30" space inclusive of the mattress you use, so that's why we choose this Ikea model lass than 4" tall.


Mon, 03/18/2013 - 13:46


I LOVE this site, the plans, the new book! I have quite a list of projects in queue!

I built the bunk bed in the book over the weekend... and ran into a problem when it came time for the cleats. After looking at these plans here, I think the same issue would arise... but I don't see any other comments noting this... so perhaps I'm the one missing something.

If you attach the side rails with 2 pocket hole joints per side on each side rail (attaching to the end rail), when you go to add cleats, the cleat would cover the bottom pocket hole on the front rail and the bottom side rail (in the back). If you did this, the bed would no longer disassemble.

Potential solutions include:
1) Not putting a screw in the bottom pocket hole but attaching the cleat as called for with glue and screws (and weakening the bottom - bad idea since the bunky board and weight of the bed's owner will be on this joint every night)

2) Only screwing the cleat and not gluing it to the side rail (weakening the joint and causing a very time consuming assembly of the bed since every screw will need to be removed from the cleat every time the side rails need to come off.

3) Shortening the cleat so it doesn't run the length of the bed but is long enough to allow the drill to get in and out from the pocket holes to remove the sideboard whenever the bed has to be removed (bad idea again for weakening the bottom supports)

So - 3 bad solutions. What am I missing?

My thought at this point is to replace the rails with new boards and drill 2 pocket holes very close together near the top of the board so the cleat can be glued and screwed as called for without interfering with the pocket holes. ?

Thanks for any ideas!

Lady Goats

Mon, 03/18/2013 - 15:21

Hi Lindsay! I'm sorry, I didn't read through the whole comment (I swear I have ADD) so I don't know if this was listed as an option, but, why don't you put the pocket holes above where the cleats would go?

I built the Lydia bed for the big kid and created the slat system totally separately (the slats are glued/nailed to the cleats, and the cleats are screwed into the bed), so to take the bed apart I unscrew the cleats, then un screw the pocket holes through the siderails into the head/foot boards.

Hope this helps!