Build a College Loft Bed with
a desk and more...
Way More Than A Bed On Stilts
is written for the person or family who is living in a crowded living
space. It shows them more options to cope with their pressing needs,
through creative and practical furnishings. If a strategy of life
improvement includes basic needs, plus education, organization and
discipline, we must accommodate those continually. Of course we need a
bed, but we also need to store our clothes in a ready to wear
condition. Yes, we need education, but we also need a place to study
and an organized way to store and access our study materials.
If we lack a clothes closet, or bureau, or
a desk, organized storage, or the space for it, we handicap ourselves!
Way More Than A Bed On Stilts can help people overcome
these types of limitations.
This book contains a 21st century loft bed
design. When built and used as designed, it is safe; it exceeds all
applicable safety standards. Please read those standards and evaluate
for yourself. This loft bed design is very durable. It won’t become
shaky in a year or two. The frame should serve for many years. It can
be disassembled and reassembled repeatedly to accommodate moving.
This loft bed system is incredibly useful:
it features multiple options for built in desks, shelving, drawers and
containers. It accommodates clothes storage, books, files, supplies,
games and lighting. The design is modular; the accessory options fit
together in several combinations. On top of all this, more than one
may fit in a room! This system is designed for most of the electronic
accoutrements of modern life. This is the 21st century.
Way More Than A Bed On Stilts
is a do-it-yourself project. If you are at all handy, you can build
this, while saving money. The sample configuration loft bed with a
desk, bureau, and closet rod cost about the same as a comparable size
bureau alone (excluding the mattress of course). This is do-able for
many people. Just follow the instructions and choose wisely. You can
Table of Contents
Introduction and front matter
Building the basic bed frame
Let’s cut some wood!
Bed side table accessory
The executive desk option
The transverse desk
Shelf storage system
Drawers and more
Clothes hanging I, II, and III
Build it as a bunk bed
The “way more” concept is essentially
getting more for your money and efforts. In its highest form, it goes
well beyond bargain hunting and prioritization. It requires thinking
things through and evaluating the contribution of every aspect toward
larger goals. Frugality is recognized as a virtue. Doing it your self
is a time honored tactic. I assert that a better result can often be
achieved while consuming fewer resources. I know this is a radical
departure from mainstream consumerism and advertising today, (think
shiny, brittle plastic)! Some have called this “poor man’s wisdom”. I
call it timely.
So, what is a loft bed, and who would want
one? A loft bed is a specialized form of bed, which has an elevated
sleeping platform. This makes room for another function beneath it. A
loft bed effectively increases the available space. Young adults and
college students have historically used these the most. The concept is
also adaptive to families with teen-agers, and economically challenged
households. A well built loft bed system will serve more people in
smaller rooms and buildings, for increased utility. That means getting
more for your housing dollar.
The history of loft beds, in dormitories,
goes back several decades. Traditionally, dorm rooms were small,
shared, and had very little storage. (Many rented houses and
apartments share this problem). Most of the earliest loft beds were
student built and of an experimental nature. Casual research
illustrates the development and refinement of the concept from crude,
partial, and inadequate, to some minimum standards of structure and
The Consumer Products Safety Commission,
and the American Society of Testing and Materials, have developed some
manufacturer’s standards, which apply to loft beds. These regulate the
form and spacing of railings, posts, ladders, etc., to ensure safety,
by avoiding the worst falling, entrapment and choking hazards. I
believe this loft bed design meets or exceeds all those requirements.
The CPSC and ASTM web-sites and references are included in the rear
appendix. Please do yourself a favor, and read those standards for
yourself. In addition; many colleges have developed their own
standards for loft beds used within their property. This design should
meet or exceed those as well. Other countries may have developed their
own standards. If by some chance this is a stricter safety standard; I
definitely recommend you revise to the stricter standard.
I observed many loft beds over the years
and concluded that most were wobbly beds on stilts. As a builder, I
knew the requirements to prevent a structure from becoming wobbly and
unsafe. My biggest bone to pick with most on-line plans is also true
of most manufactured loft beds. Their structure is minimal, and they
become shaky and unsafe with-in a year or so. There is no sway bracing
to be found. They are planned to ship in small packages but not to be
sturdy. This is unacceptable! Basic geometry points out why this
happens. The intertwined concepts of the lever and the triangular
brace are sufficient to explain this. The vertical and horizontal
structural elements require the diagonal brace to maintain their form
and rigidity over time and repeated stressing. Without the brace,
leverage works the joint loose. It only gets worse, and more shaky,
with more time. (Just think of all those leaning barns and garages you
have seen with inadequate bracing).
This loft bed design does have sufficient
bracing to maintain its form. This design has more in common with an
open front cabinet than it does with those platforms on stilts. Each
of the sides is braced to ensure stability. Like a cabinet, the sides
need not be massively heavy. The inherent bracing prevents deflection.
Although the loft bed can be assembled and disassembled repeatedly, it
becomes sturdy with all of its braces and fasteners secured.
The basic loft bed structure, (chapters 1-5), consists of two end
frame sub-assemblies, two mattress rail sub-assemblies, and a spreader
rail with diagonal braces. A headboard and safety rails complete the
package. These sub-assemblies are very strong! The two end frames are
permanently assembled, in such a way, that they will remain square for
a lifetime. When the loft bed is assembled on-site, the entire back,
and half of the front, are solidly braced, plumb, and square. The
braces are large enough, and the glue surface area is large enough, to
ensure durable stability. The form follows the function!
My safety rails are not cobbled on after
the fact either; they are incorporated from the beginning. They exceed
the safety standards. They are strong! They are taller than the
minimum requirement, and they protect the user on all four sides. No
one should fall from normal use!
The lumber of choice is construction grade soft woods, like spruce,
pine, and fir. These must be selected for the best appearance,
naturally. Since these lumber species and grades are ok for building
houses, barns, and stores, they are also strong enough for a small
structure like this loft bed! Valuable hardwoods are not used in this
design. Should the builder cut a board too short, or otherwise spoil
it, so that it is completely unusable; they are only out $5 - $10, for
their mistake, not $75. - $100!
The accessories that work with the loft
bed are another aspect to consider. As you study the field of
competing loft bed designs, you can conclude what the usual features
and accessories are. It might have a small desk, with a small book
shelf, for an option, or an open space for your futon or beanbag. I
think my design goes a lot farther. It is actually a loft bed system,
with many accessory options. This do-it-your-self book has multiple
desk, shelf, and storage options for clothes, books, files, CDs, etc.
For many people the storage accessories alone will justify purchasing
this book. Where else do you find all this information, (and
incorporated design), in one place? The bed side table option is way
cool and useful. I haven’t seen that anywhere else.
What I offer here is not just more and better though, I explain how to
build it! The details are simplified, and the process is broken down
for the handy person and beginning woodworker. Most people of average
aptitude and coordination can build my loft bed system. The detailed
explanations with drawings and photographs walk you through all phases
of construction. You don’t have to settle for a lesser bed, that
doesn’t expand your space very much, and is unsafe to boot! I think
this is the best.
This loft bed is designed with young
adults in mind: their size and their needs. This is not planned for
small children. I do not recommend loft beds for small children. In
fact, the government regulations clearly state that no child under age
six should be allowed on an upper bunk of any kind! They define an
upper bunk as thirty inches or more above the floor. Although one of
the chapter options is making bunk beds, they are two distinctly
different designs, of different proportions. There is a child size,
and an adult size. Please read, understand, and use good judgment.
The builder and the user must assume all
risks associated with all phases of the construction and use of this
do-it-yourself loft bed. Although the author has endeavored to write
thorough and safe instructions, the author cannot supervise on-site.
Furthermore, as the instructions progress beyond the basic structure,
less is said about safety, in general. It is still important! I only
assume that you have read it many times to get that far. I hope that
you establish safe work habits from the beginning and maintain them.
Now you are beginning what may be your
first DIY project, or at least the biggest to date. Good luck to you!
The results are worth the effort. I think you have chosen the best
because of the safety, durability, and way-cool accessories!
Buy the book or
watch our cool video that
shows you just how easy it