Playhouse Loft Bed

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 09/06/2018 - 18:50
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Building a playhouse bed is easier than you think with this straight forward plan. It's a big project, it's going to take patience and persevering, but as so many of our readers have discovered, well worth the hard work! Special thanks to Kimberly for sharing her amazing photos of Princess Katherine's bed.

pink playhouse loft bed
playhouse loft bed dimensions
Dimensions are shown above. This bed does not include the storage stairs (see add on plan)


Shopping List

2 sheets of 3/4″ MDF, particle board or plywood (sanded to reduce splinters)

7 – 1x2s, 8′ long

15 – 1x3s, 8′ long (not including 1x3s for mattress slats)

6 – 1x4s, 8′ long

3 – 2×2, 8′ long

1 1/4″ pocket hole screws

2″ self tapping wood screws 

1 1/4″ brad nails

2″ brad nails

wood glue

wood filler

Finishing Supplies

Common Materials
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

53 – 1×2 @ 11 1/2″ (Rails)

4 – 1×4 @ 80″ (Top and Bottoms of Rails)

4 – 1×3 @ 11 1/2″ (End of Rails – Front and Back rails)

1 – 3/4″ Plywood or MDF @ 48″ x 80″ (Front Plywood)

8 – 1×3 @ 68 1/2″ (Legs)

1 – 1×3 @ 75″ (Top Front Trim)

2 – 1×3 @ 36″ (Door Trim)

1 – 1×3 @ 31″ (Door Trim)

1 – 1×3 @ 38″ (Front Trim)

1 – 1×3 @ 6″ (Front Trim)

6 – 1×3 @ 21″ (Window Trim)

2 – 1×3 @ 26″ (Window Trim)

4 – 1×3 @ 2″ (Top Leg Filler Pieces)

2 – 1×3 @ 45 1/2″ (Back Leg Filler Pieces)

1 – 1×3 @ 80″ (Back Base Trim)

2 – 1×4 @ 37 1/2″ (Top and Bottom of Side Rail)

2 – 3/4″ Plywood @ 48″ x 37 1/2″ (Side Plywood)

4 – 1×3 @ 37 1/2″ (End Trim)

2 – 1×3 @ 25 1/2″ (Window Trim)

2 – 1×4 @ 21 3/4″ (Ladder End Rail Top and Bottom)

1 – 1×2 @ 66 1/2″ (Ladder Inside Support)

2 – 1×2 @ 43″ (Ladder Spacer)

2 – 2×2 @ 48″ (Ladder Sides)

5 – 1×2 @ 15 3/4″ (Ladder Rungs)

2 – 1×3 @ 13 1/2″ (Ladder Side Window Trim)

2 – 2×2 @ 75″ (Cleats for the mattress support frame)

1x3s @ 39″ (Mattress Slats, as recommended by the mattress company)

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


Step 1

Front and Back Railing

Build two of these – one for the front, and one for the back. Simply drill two pocket holes on both ends of all of the rails (blue) and ends (yellow). Mark the top and bottoms (pink) with 3″ spaces, remembering that a 1×3 is actually 2 1/2″ wide and a 1×2 is actually 1 1/4″ wide. Use glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws to attach the rails to the tops and bottoms, as shown above. Set aside.

Step 2

Front Plywood

Mark out your front plywood as shown above. Use a jigsaw to carefully cut out the windows and doors.

Step 3

Front Legs

Use 1 1/4″ screws and glue to attach the plywood and the rails to the legs, as shown in the diagram. Keep bottom and outside edge flush.

Step 4

Top Trim

Attach the 1×3 to the front of the bed. Use 1 1/4″ screws and glue,overlapping the rails by 1″, hiding the joint between the railing and the plywood.

Step 5

Step 6

Front Trim

Add the remaining trim, as shown above. Use 1 1/4″ nails and glue.

Step 7

Window Trim

Add the window trim as shown in the diagram. Use 1 1/4″ finish nails or screws and glue.

Step 8

Window Trim

Trim out the window as shown above. You can alternately build your window frame with a Kreg Jig™, and then attach to the plywood front.

Step 9

Top Fillers

Add the top pieces to the tops of the legs to fill in the gaps. Avoid overnailing and splitting the wood. Use 1 1/4″ nails and glue.

Click on the page links below for the complete instructions on building the back up next.

Step 10

Legs and Railing

Attach two legs to the railing as shown above (on on each side – you should still have four legs left). Use 1 1/4″ screws and glue. Leave 2″ at the top of the legs. Adjust for square.

Step 11

Back Bottom Trim

Attach with 1 1/4″ screws and glue the back bottom piece as shown above.

Step 12

Back Trim

Fill in the exposed gaps with 1×3 trim boards as shown above. Use 1 1/4″ fasteners and glue.

And now we have two of the wall built! Click on the page links below to see how to build the side walls.

Step 13

Build the Side Railing

For the side without the ladder, build the railing as shown above with a Kreg Jig™. Drill two holes in each of the rails ends, and use 1 1/4″ pocket holes and glue to attach the rails to the tops and bottoms of the rails

Step 14


Attach the legs to the sides of the plywood and the railing. Your best bet is to use pocket holes, drilled from the plywood, screwing into the legs (same with the railing). Use 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws and glue. Center the plywood and the railing on the legs.

Step 15


Attach the trim to both the legs and the plywood,overlapping and attaching to the railing also (as you did the front,overlapping 1″). Use 1 1/4″ screws and glue, 1 1/4″ pocket holes and glue to attach to the legs.

Step 16

Window Trim

The best way to go on window frames is to build them separately with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws, and then tap on with finish nails and glue. You can alternately attach with 1 1/4″ finish nails and glue.

This completes the end wall without the ladder. Click on NEXT PAGE below to see how to build the ladder end.

Step 17

Ladder End Rail

As you built the other rails, build the ladder end rails as shown above.

Step 18

Ladder End Plywood

Cut your ladder end plywood as shown above, carefully cutting out the window.

Step 19


As you did with the other sides, add the legs to the plywood and railing. Best option is pocket hole screws (1 1/4″ pocket hole screws) or 2″ screws and glue from the outside.

Step 20

Ladder Railing Support

So I tossed and turned on this one, knowing that little hands are going to be pulling on the top of this railing and knowing it needed to be sturdy. The best bet was to run a support down the entire length of the inside. Use 1 1/4″ screws and glue to attach the 1×2 to the inside as shown above. Notice how it’s flush with the end of the railing?

Step 21

Ladder End Trim

Just like you did the other end, add the trim boards. Use glue and 1 1/4″ screws or nails. Overlap the railing by 1″ to keep the railing in place.

Step 22

Ladder Spacer

You’ll need this as a spot to secure your ladder too. Use 1 1/4″ screws and glue.

Step 23

Window Trim

Best bet? Build the window frame separately with a Kreg Jig, and attach the window to the plywood with finish nails and glue. You can also attach each piece separately.

Step 24


Build the ladder with the 2x2s and 1x2s, using 2″ screws and glue. Space the rungs 7″ apart, leaving less room at the top. Screw to the end with 2″ screws and glue.

You have built all four walls! Click on the page links below to see how to assemble the four walls and add the mattress slat

Step 25

This bed is built in such a manner that you can attach the four walls easily, creating a leg that looks like a solid post. Use 2″ screws from the inside and leave off the glue for easy dis assembly. Adjust the entire playhouse for square.

Step 26

To allow your mattress to “breath” slats are the best way to go. You can purchase metal brackets, or use a 2×2, glued and screwed to the insides of the rails, as shown here.

Step 27

Install slats by laying on the cleat and screwing down. Leave the glue off so you can remove the slats. Place the slats according to your mattress recommendations.


kellyvarner (not verified)

Mon, 09/06/2010 - 19:19

So cute! Love it! I'm in the middle of the playhouse outside though... hmm does my daughter need two playhouses? Maybe... :) Do you think putting another mattress underneath would work? (practically we need bunk beds but this is too adorable!)

dsouth20 (not verified)

Tue, 09/07/2010 - 03:31

I've seen one in a store similar to this one but with drawers where the windows are. The playhouse can then double as a playhouse and clothing or toy storage...

chrisandpatience (not verified)

Tue, 09/07/2010 - 07:08

I wouldn't say that she needs the bed but oh my what kid wouldnt want that for a bed. Our 3 year old is currently sleeping in the top of a bunk bed that was removed from its bottom bunk. The bed is from pottery barn and we purchased it about 5 years ago. Once she hets a little older i am going to retro fit it to fit on top of your design. you are the best.
Thanks Ana for all your inspiration

Jennifer Doherty (not verified)

Tue, 09/07/2010 - 15:27

That is so cute! Boy, I really wish I'd found your website EIGHT years ago! LOL My little ones are getting too big for some of this stuff. But I love seeing your plans for it all! Soooo adorable!

..................hmmm... I do have a 9MO nephew though............................ ;)

Maureen (not verified)

Mon, 09/13/2010 - 15:49

I showed this to my husband and how we could easily make a few simple decoration additions so it would be a firetruck! We need more tools before we can tackle anything like this though!

Alyssa (not verified)

Sun, 10/17/2010 - 11:34

I would love to see this plan with out the play house, although my son may like it, not really sure yet. But you are awesome because we needed this just in time for his birthdya in January :D

Shan (not verified)

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 07:13

Has anyone made this bed or had a "questimate" of how much it would cost??? I am so glad my sister showed me this site!! I AM SO EXCITED TO BUILD THIS BED... Well my Bf will build i will paint :P

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