Guys, believe it or not, Beau’s suspended DIY loft bed is done!
Okay, don’t believe it. Because actually, we’re still missing the ladder. But I’ll get into that a bit more below.
Before I get into the post, a couple of things:
1- sorry for the picture quality. Beau’s room has great windows, but his room still doesn’t get much light, and a lot of the pics were taken later in the day, so I had to use a flash. Plus, the red walls are really hard to photograph.
2- I really debated about sharing our DIY for this project. A DIY for something like this honestly feels like a lot of potential liability. I have built this bed as solid as a rock, but there is so much potential for something to go wrong and for it to come down and for your child to get injured if you aren’t extremely careful. So let me preface this by saying: I am only sharing what worked for us.
You must insure that you are using studs, good quality materials, and are extremely careful in your build. If you attempt this build, please be careful! I am not responsible for anything that happens as a result of you following the instructions in this DIY. Remember, we aren’t professional carpenters or contractors. Please read my disclosures. For that reason, this isn’t a step-by-step DIY. I am just showing you what worked for us.
Our DIY loft bed supplies
We wanted the loft bed to be suspended and big enough to hold a twin bed, plus have about a foot extra for Beau and his buddies to sit on the side and play video games, have room to sit their drinks or snacks on, etc. So here’s our supply list:
3- 2X6’s (these support the loft bed on the wall and front)
8- 2X4’s (these are the inner support)
5-5 in lag bolts
2- 4.5 inch eye bolts
800 lb rated chain, 7 ft
pipe for railing
1 sheet of plywood
I think we ended up paying about $100 for supplies from Lowes
Getting started with the DIY loft bed
Okay, so I realize I completely did this the wrong way. It would have been a lot easier to build the frame first, and then lift it to the wall and attach it. However, I was doing this project mostly myself (Michael was working all weekend) and I couldn’t figure out how on earth I would have lifted the entire frame and attached it to the wall by myself. So, this is how I did it, with Beau helping me in bits and pieces.
First, I attached the 2X6 to the long wall with 3 lag bolts. I made sure that I was in a stud, and that the board was level! Then, I attached the 2X6 on the perpendicular wall, again checking that the boards were level and making sure to attach into a stud.
Those boards are a lot of what is supporting the loft bed, so if you are attempting this, I can’t overemphasize how important it is to make sure they are secure. Ours aren’t going anywhere.
The next step was tricky for me, and why I say it would be so much easier to build the frame first and then attach.
The eye bolts and chain
So we wanted a suspended loft bed. We didn’t want a post running in the middle of the room. Making that happen was a little bit tricky.
The eye bolts are used to hold the chain, which is the other crucial part of the support of the bed. It’s not just there for looks- it’s function. Actual functional decor. Why you need a chain rated 800 lbs.
Another 2X6 ran in the front of the bed as part of the frame. I cut the 2X6 to size and screwed one of the eye bolts to the end of the 2X6 that wasn’t screwed into the wall. The other eye bolt was screwed into the wall.
How I determined where to put the eye bolt in the wall? I really should have a more technical answer to this, but I just eye balled it. Here is how I did it:
First, I went ahead and screwed the front 2X6 into the wall and also to the 2X6 that was already attached to the wall.
Then, I had Beau hold the 2X6 in place and level (I had a level on top of it to check for level while I worked). I attached the chain to the eye hook (well, we initially used 800 lb rated metal cable but I got nervous and changed to chain later) and I basically moved the chain up on the wall until the 2X6 was level. At that spot, I screwed the eye hook into the wall. It sounds so rudimentary, but it totally worked!
A couple of caveats: Your wall stud and the end of your 2X6 eye hook may not line up. Ours didn’t. I had to move the end of the chain slightly to the left to make sure I was in a stud. That may have been overkill on our part, because the shiplap walls are a beast to screw through on their own, but I was taking no chances (and you shouldn’t either if you try this- it will be crucial to ensure that your wall eye hook is in a stud!) The other caveat- Your chain may feel a tiny bit loose at this step. Don’t worry- when you add the joists in the next step, that will definitely resolve!
The bottom of the suspended DIY loft bed: Adding the joists
Once I got the walls and the chain up, we were gold. The next part goes so quickly!
I just attached the joist hangers to the 2X6’s, and cut and installed the 2X4 joists:
I did a 2X6 on the very end, but the middle joists are all 2X4’s.
Finally, I cut a sheet of plywood to size and screwed it into the joists:
And then sanded it down and painted it blue (Twilight Blue by Valspar, per Beau’s request).
As you can see, we also added a little side rail.
One thing we still need- a ladder! Our original plan, and what Beau really wanted, was a rope ladder. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t want to do anything that would add more weight to the bed. Although it is as solid as a rock, I just don’t want to take any chances, especially with all of his buddies that will be climbing up and down it too.
So, we’re looking for the perfect wooden ladder for the wall space to the left of his bed. Or, we’ll build one. But I keep holding out for a great antique one 🙂
In the meantime, he’s using the same metal one that we use for projects.
We’re not quite done with his room yet. His blinds just came in last night- can’t wait to get them hung! Also, remember our plans to change out his fan to a new light fixture? Well, he gets hot in his loft bed, so we’ve got to keep the fan, but he’s a little too close to it for my comfort now, so we’ve got to raise the fan.
Once those two things are done- his room will be complete!