How to Build a Loft Bed With a Desk Underneath
Tools and Materials:
Air compressor and hoses
Plumb Bob or string line and weight
Eight sheets of 3/4” medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
Three sets of 22” drawer glides
One 1-1/2" stainless steel pipe (normally used for a handrail)
Two 1-1/2" stainless steel pipe flanges
1. Design and layout the bed. Allow enough height for your child to be able to sit up in bed. Our loft bed has a study area underneath. One end of the bed is held up by a desk with hutch, and the other end is held up by two bookshelf towers. Instead of a ladder, we built a staircase with the desk running right into one of the stair treads. As a special request, we also installed a fireman’s pole next to the bed.
2. Make a cut list by sketching out the design and determining how to assemble.
3. Cut all the pieces using the table saw for long rips and the circular or miter saw for crosscuts. Make sure to mark everything to make assembly easier. It’s best to assemble the bed in sections then install them together inside the room.
4. Assemble the desk and stairs. The surface of the desk and the second stair tread is the same piece of wood. Thus, one side of the desk is held up by the lower staircase, and the other side is held up by two support pieces. There is no riser for the lower staircase; the sides will be open to provide storage. Build the bottom step with a riser and tread but leave the tread off the second step (the tread will be the end of the desk). Build the 4th, 5th and 6th steps as one piece, the bottom of which will sit on the desk and the top will meet the base of the bed. If you plan on painting the bed, face nail if you need to, then fill all the holes with wood filler and caulk all the seams.
5. The hutch is two simple bookshelves, so all the pieces will be assembled the same way. Lay out the sides of each unit then mark where you want the shelves to go. Glue and nail the shelves between the uprights. Assemble the MDF pieces using glue and a finish gun.
6. Cut the base of the bed frame about two inches bigger than the mattress – this allows enough extra space to tuck in the sheets. Create at least 6-inch side pieces to go around the base. You do not need a side piece for the backside of the bed. Create an additional safety railing for the front and if desired, the open end of the bed. Assemble using glue and a finish gun.
7. Fill in nail holes and caulk gaps, then prime and paint each piece. It’s best to do this outside – you’ll have less mess to worry about.
8. Install each section of the loft bed, starting with the desk. Attach ledgers to the wall for the desk nailing it into the studs. Make sure the tops of the ledgers are at the same height as the top of the lower staircase piece. Attach the bottom of the staircase to the wall. Lay the surface of the desk on top of the ledgers and bottom steps then attach with wood glue and a nails.
9. Attach a ledger to the wall for the long side of the bed. Attach one of the bookshelf units to the ledger. Make sure they are level. Attach the base to the ledger and the top of the bookshelf. Attach the end piece of the base to the wall.
10. Attach the top part of the staircase nailing it into the desk and bed frame.
11. Slide the second (outer) bookshelf into place and fasten to the bed frame.
12. To install the fireman's pole, locate a ceiling joist. You need to attach the flange to a framing member. Drop a plumb line or weight on a string to find level spot. Mark the floor. Cut the pipe to length and insert it into the flanges and screw down the floor flange.