The Triple Bunk Bed cont…with plans!

This post has been edited with revised plans reflecting my husband’s growing know-how since he built with corrected measurements from the plans that first inspired the project.

The Triple Bunk Bed is finished!

To see some of the process, click here.

Well, it was finished a while ago but I wanted to be able to share with you the plans my husband put together.

Photo of Triple Bunk Bed

I dress it with Alphabet sheets, from IKEA but discontinued, for the boy, along with an small jungle of stuff animals. We used a standard bed guard you can find at Target or Amazon. The plan includes rails for the upper bunks.

Photo closeup of Triple Bunk Bed

A printed petal duvet from West Elm adorns the girl’s bed.

Photo close up of Triple Bunk Bed

See two happy children:

Photo of kids enjoying Triple Bunk Bed

I tell them to go to sleep.

Photo of children sleeping in Triple Bunk Bed

She is trying so hard?

Photo close up of child sleeping in Triple Bunk Bed

The arrangement leaves space for creative wall art at varying levels.

Photo of Triple Bunk Bed with decor

And if you were wondering from my previous post, our pallet bookshelves are standing up against out eager littlest reader.

Photo of toddler reaching for book through pallet bookshelves

The Plans

You can see the plans for the Triple Bunk Bed in picture form for you to download for free! My husband created these based on the written (none-too-detailed) plans we downloaded.

My man loves IKEA instructions, so he converted not too detailed plans into pictures. Then he added text for additional help. Hope you enjoy!

Text Instructions for Triple Bunk Bed Plans (not yet revised…)

We’ve been so happy with these beds, I’m sure you will too!

Update – 4 years later:

The bed was amazing; we loved it. It was incredibly sturdy and when it seems loose in the first year, we tightened the bolts and never had an issue again. Making the lowest bed on laundry day was a struggle, but relief came as the oldest learned to make her bed and helped me. It was relatively easy to dismantle when we moved. This was the perfect bed for our house and kids.

Upholstered Headboards for the Triple Bunk Bed

Good design is in the details. And I believe good design does not waste. When we moved into this house one year ago I attempted to convert our dining chair habit to benches so the children would take up less space.


Nice idea, but uncomfortable! I think dining benches are usually wider than picnic table benches. The cushions have languished in random spots this past year.

We also had a IKEA Billy Bookcase that was put together one too many times that embarrassingly died of a heart attack our yard sale in April. I decided to use the sides to make upholstered headboards for the kiddos. They had a notch at the bottom to accommodate baseboards (in its life as a bookcase) so my husband cut them down to make them even all the way down. You can use any solid board for this project, wood or mdf. I just chose to use what we have on hand.

After removing the old fabric from the cushsions, I laid the foam on the ground and, using a pencil, traced where it would need to be cut.



IMG_7110Do you have any kitchen tools that only come out at Thanksgiving? I’ve used our electric knife way more frequently for cutting foam than cutting turkey. Regular scissors won’t cut it, you’ll need an electric knife.


IMG_7112I laid the freshly cut foam on the ground and draped the old quilting batting over to trim off the excess.

IMG_7113Ordinarily I’m a sloppy diy’er (my projects just photograph well). Here I decided to take the extra investment time and staple the batting on before the fabric. I did a variation on a hotel corner, tucking in whatever I needed to.

IMG_7114This step was totally worth it. I did not have to worry about each item sliding around as I worked with the fabric.

IMG_7117First I created my daughter’s headboard by laying down the fabric on the ground. At the fabric store I asked the clerk to cut 1/2 yard pieces for me. So I did not need to measure or cut at all for this project.

IMG_7118After my daughter’s I went on to my son’s. His fabric is upholstery fabric and laid very nicely while I tucked and stapled.


IMG_7120Immediately I asked my daughter to test out the finished project.


IMG_7125 IMG_7126My plan is to add an eye hook to the back on each end and loop some cord around the posts of the bed to keep it in place. This will make them easily interchangeable when the kids move up in the world (i.e. my baby starts using the bottom bunk).

IMG_7127Right now the top bunk is a play area.

IMG_7128This project was super easy and took less than an hour to complete two headboards. The only problem is that immediately my son rejected his and pushed it on the ground. It’ll be on the top bunk until I figure that one out. But we must always be flexible when decorating for children!

New projects: Upholstered Headboards

Our IKEA bookcase has seen one too many assembly procedures. At the yard sale, the thing plumb fell over from weakness. I’d decided to make use of the demolished product.

Searching for fabric for my new antique chair, I went first to Home Fabrics and Rugs and felt so very disappointed. The sleepier my son grew as we strolled around, the less hope held out. My preference is a unique blend of traditional with a modern twist and for this Louis XVI chair and our Rococo twist in our master bedroom, I would need something traditional enough for the chair, dramatic enough for our bedroom decor, and modern enough to appeal to my taste.

I returned home to commence an internet search. After naps, I loaded up the children, dropped my son off with grandpa and went to Joann’s with my mom. I found a stunning black fabric for the chair with a small leafy pattern, tone on tone.


IMG_6956It is, of course, much darker than the pastels common to the Louis XVI period decor, but it fits the drama of my Parisian salon. I don’t think the photos do it’s richness justice.

I was also struck by a pool colored fabric with a modern shimmery-silver leaf motif directly above that beautiful black chair fabric. I purchased one yard, divided in half to make two low-profile upholstered headboards for the two girls.

IMG_6949Beneath it on display was as a charcoal grey with ribbing and shimmery thread throughout (think dark starry night). I could use this for my son’s headboard. I plan to take the vertical boards of the book case, cover them in either 1/2 inch or 1-inch foam and some batting, then staple the fabric on.


Somehow, we’ll make the boards easily movable, for the growing children whose sleeping arrangements will change with time. I’m thinking about securing a loop of cord on the opposite ends to hook onto the posts of the bed.

IMG_6501The little touches go a long way, especially with beds that are impossible to make.

The Triple Bunk Bed

12/16/15, Monday

While in college I found I love organization and clutter free areas. It calms me down and gives me space to think. For me, the kids room has been a cluttered nightmare as we made do with a double size bed for one and a twin size bed for the other in a 10×12 room. I avoided the room as I avoid our also-cluttered office.

Originally I planned on a bunk bed from Ikea that also comes with a trundle bed. This  would create a sleep space for all three. Then one day I came across these plans for a triple bunk bed. The idea looked so good. After some mulling over we decided to go for it. This weekend my husband has been working hard to put it together while I paint here and there with Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in Paris Grey. This light neutral color, very similar to the walls, will help this massive furniture item not consume what the eye beholds upon entering.

Today was a wonderful day of work. The sun was out. The air was warm. My mother-in-law came to visit and played with the older kids while we worked. Everything went smoothly for my husband as he progressed along the plans, which he had converted from word to pictorial format. I finished the day with painting all the pieces I could.


IMG_6422My daughter pumped the clamp while my husband drilled holes. He’s a master at finding ways for the kids to “help.”

Wednesday, 12/18/15

My husband has been working on the beds by himself. With large families or families with little children, to me it seems like if you have a project and the timing is right, you have to go for it. It isn’t always possible to bring in outside help whose schedules will match with the mystical window that occurs when both spouses are home (if both spouses work, as in our case). We only have one day off in common so President’s Day weekend became the choice opportunity. Unfortunately we all were sick, except my husband. Nevertheless, progress still was made!

Reflections: the chalk paint has been amazing! One coat, that’s all it needed. I purchase the Soft Wax (Clear) by Annie Sloan. It will be first time using that but the paint needs to be sealed. How to take the time to cure it…I don’t know, one step at a time. The paint is a little more blue than the wall color, I’m not sure I like how it works with the teal bedsheets. Again, one step at a time.

Two beds are in place, the second still needs to be bolted. The plans we use have the beds close together, so it’s rather awkward fitting if you are using a regular mattress. It will work for our toddler but we’ll have to re-evaluate and re-work in the future either by taking out the bottom supports (the mattress then being on plywood, on the floor) or raising everything else. My daughter was disappointed to have to sleep on the floor again, but I pushed her bed under the bunk. She was happy to feel she had a hiding spot.


2/19/15, Thursday

Creating good design is intoxicating to me. It might be the fuzziness of my mind with this cold, but I feel awfully excited about what is taking place in the kids’ room, and that is a first. The first two bunks are up with mattresses in place. We pushed the structure as far over as possible but with enough room left so my husband can still bolt in the third bunk. This is the moment when we start to see the finished project in view.

IMG_6445 IMG_6446The teal sheets provide the necessary pop in s space of very soothing color, too soothing, I think, for my personality. The black and white duvet covers keep it calm and in touch with all the gray.

Today, the duvet cover I’ve been hankering after from West Elm is one sale with free shipping so I’m going to make the leap and purchase it. Ultimately my daughter will happier having flowers over having the alphabet on her bedding, although I could go either way.

IMG_644812/20/15, Friday

It’s a small room so it will take some doing to get a decent photo, and until my health returns, I won’t be up for the task.

Updated impressions: We closed the gap from the second level bunk to the wall, so the overlap is much less awkward. I like the heights a lot. It puts both kids easily within reach for comforting (everyone is sick!). Currently my daughter does not use the ladder, which I think is because the wood is so much thicker than her little hands. We might put some handles that she can grip to get up. Currently, she steps on brother’s bed to get to her’s (even during the night!). We’ll see how this changes when the third bunk is installed.

The website refers to this as a weekend project. It very well may be if you don’t have small children or everyone is in good health. Overall, we’re very pleased and excited by this week-long project.

Update on the Chalk Paint: while adjusting the beds, my husband pulled on the second bunk, which scraped hard along the nook/groove in the wood posts (I hope you didn’t come here for technical wood-working terms). The movement did not chip or scratch the paint! To me, requiring only one coat and the -already seen- incredible durability justifies the price. I buy my paint from Vintage Market in Turlock, CA where the ladies are wonderfully helpful and friendly. It’s an amazing store with great prices and awesome diy inspiration.

All that’s needed now is bolting the third bunk, some paint brush-work and waxing. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s time to take rest seriously because this cold has worn out its welcome.