Once upon a time, we made a bunk bed

By Rebecca Hermance
Columnist for the Journal

Once upon a time, there was a little girl and an even littler boy who shared a small room. They had a mommy who was full of wild and crazy ideas and a daddy who patiently listened to them. However, daddy also had some wild and crazy ideas of his own. 

One day, the mommy and daddy decided a bunk bed would be the best solution for using space in the kid’s room. They looked at bunk beds in the store but they were all too tall for such little people. Finally, they were wandering through the forest (aka the children’s furniture section at IKEA) and came upon a fort-style bed that was just the right size.

It was almost a Happily Ever After, but the showroom bed was a little wobbly. So the adventurous daddy with ideas of his own, decided to build one out of bricks so it wouldn’t ever fall down.

In a moment of mental clarity, and realizing that we were not one of the fairy tale three pigs, we decided to stick to 2×3 boards instead of bricks. The 2X3 wood material would allow the bed to be sturdy, but not too heavy.

I looked at the IKEA bed online and then sketched out my ideas to make it a bunk bed instead of a fort bed. My husband also did a quick search for plans to build the IKEA KURA bed and found (on his own) one of my favorite sites: ana-white.com. 

Here’s where I’ll share an incredible internet secret. Ana not only has images with dimensions, she has a shopping list, a list of tools needed, and another list to show you the length to cut each piece (http://ana-white.com/2010/05/furniture-plans-fort-bed.html). My husband read all the comments and suggestions and listened to all my comments and suggestions, then made his own modifications. 

After several evenings and a Saturday, a bunk bed was fashioned that was fit for a queen – or at least a prince and a princess. The main frame of the bed was painted a neutral gray that I already had on hand from painting the living room. The panels were painted in a variety of colors chosen by the princess herself. To keep costs down, I bought sample pots of paint from Lowes for the colorful panels.

My favorite thing about this bunk bed is that it is less than 4 feet tall. This means that it isn’t so far to fall if my little girl gets carried away while playing on her bed. We purchased a thin twin mattress from IKEA for the upper bunk, mostly for my peace of mind. We used a regular twin mattress on the floor in the ‘fort’ area, and it is perfect for a little boy who sometimes rolls out of bed. 

We keep the bedding similar to add a little cohesion to the colorful room. They have matching flannel sheets for the winter, but they did choose their own colors for the summer sheets.  Matching duvets help tie everything together and keeps it all to just one load of laundry. 

We have had this setup for 10 months now, and it is working really well. Both kids like having a bit of their own personal space. When they grow out of their shared room, we will likely turn the bunk into a fort bed or use the bottom for sleepover friends. 

With a little research and a lot of my husband’s patience, we were able to make a short bunk bed that was sturdy and fit our needs perfectly. 

And we all lived Happily Ever After.  The End.


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