Archie Finally got his Bunk Beds

A year and a half ago we pulled up to #samuelfamilyfixer for the very first time (having bought it sight unseen, it was already ours) and pop pop was there to greet us and record our first tour of the house. I shared it in my IG stories and it still is live in the highlights under  the first “SAMUEL FIXER” if you haven’t seen it yet. Archie, who was 3 at the time, was thrilled that the house was “already builded!” but when it came to checking out the bedrooms he was VERY distraught over the fact that there were no bunk beds (he also didn’t even have a bedroom at the time which I guess didn’t phase him as much). We had told him in LA that maybe in the new house we will build him some bunk beds and that boy does not forget A thing.  Well it took us a few months but we did build him a bedroom and we kept our promise on the bunk beds.

I’ll share more of his bedroom soon but for now here is how we made the bunks. I should preface this by saying we made this up as we went along so I wouldn’t swear by my instructions. Please use them as inspiration and check with a contractor if you are not a well versed DIY-er.


  • 14-by-8-feet 2×4 planks
  • 3-by-8-feet 1×12 planks
  • 3 sheets of 3/4-inch MDF
  • 2 sheets of 1/4-inch plywood
  • 3.5-inch construction screws
  • 1-inch steel pipe (or a curtain rod would work fine too)
  • Jigsaw
  • Table Saw
  • Chop Saw
  • Nail gun
  • Drill
  • Paint

Step 1: Create the curved arch
Lay down the two sheets of 3/4″ MDF and insert a nail at the center point from side to side and down from the top where you want the curve of the arch to stop. Measure a piece of string to be half the distance of the width of the arched opening. Tie a pencil to one end of the string, then tie the other end to the nail to create a compass. Pull the string tight as you draw a half-circle.

Step 2: cut out the shape.
Using a jigsaw, follow the pencil line to cut out the arch. Sand down any rough edges (bonus points if you have someone to hold a leaf blower to blow out the sawdust as you cut so you can keep clear sight of the line).

Step 3: build the base
Create a rectangular base for the bed using 2x4s; it should be only slightly larger than your mattress size. Attach the boards with 3.5-inch construction screws. Cut additional 2x4s to fit inside the box, laying one every 12 inches or so and securing them to the frame with screws to make a platform for the mattress. Top this with 1/4 inch of plywood for extra mattress support.

Step 4: frame the bed
Using more 2x4s, vertically this time, frame out the parameter of the bunks, securing everything to the wall studs and each other with 3.5″ construction screws.

Step 5:  Build a duplicate mattress base on the top level with 2x4s and secure to the wall and the 2×4 vertical posts with 3.5-inch construction screws. “Wrap” the 1x12s around the 2×4 bases (securing with screws) to create a box that the mattress will sit into.

Step 6:
Attach the arches to the front of the frame with the nail gun. Prime and paint the structure in your chosen hue.

We added the velvet curtains I found on Amazon and painted it the same color as the walls. “oakmoss” by Sherwin Williams.

Curtains // Rug by Justina Blakeney for Loloi // Bedding from H&M // Cloud Pillows by Oeuf // Shearling Chair from Lulu  & Georgia // Ceiling Light Fixture by Cedar & Moss // Giraffe from The Counting House // Posh Velvet Roman Blinds by The Shade Store  // Mattresses from Saatva  // Paint color is Oakmoss by Sherwin Williams 

UPDATE: I have had a lot of questions about the ladder and a guardrail. I will share more photos when I shoot the whole room but the ladder and the space to get up is on the short side of the bunk bed. We have a removable ladder right now as our fearless 2 year old would definitely be up there all the time. We don’t put it there unless we are in there using it. Archie does not sleep in the top bunk yet. We do story time on the top bunk every night but then he sleeps on the bottom. When he does want to sleep up there we will be putting up a guardrail but we and he thinks he is too young to sleep up there right now so this is what works for us!

  • I LOVE this. Can you send a picture of what you did on the end of the beds?

    • yes! i didn’t realize it was cropped out but will post more with the full tour. x

  • Where are the stairs?!

  • This is so amazing! Just curious, will you add a ladder when he gets older? What’s the plan for when he’s old enough to go to the top?!!!

  • It’s so good! The stripes on the ceiling are amazing, I am also obsessed with that rug!

  • What do you use in kids space for book and toy storage – room looks so tidy!

  • This room is amazing! Can you tell me what the room is carpeted in under the tiger rug?

    • Would also love to know what kind of carpet you have done in this room. Same as
      Downstairs living ?

  • Beautiful! Do you mind sharing the paint color?

  • I too am obsessed with the rug.Will you please share where you found it? Thank you.Beautiful, creative project. Kudos.

  • Love this! Where is the wallpaper on the ceiling from?

  • Love this! Where is the wallpaper from?

  • Safety first. Please tell me you were wearing safety glasses when you were cutting wood. And a tighter shirt and had your hair tied back. I assume the image above was just a photo shoot with no actual cutting.

    You are so talented! Love that you made this yourself.

  • Kelly Mchenry

    Love this bunk bed and would love to recreate for my daughters. Please could you post a picture of the ladder end so I can get an idea of how you have created it please ?

  • I love this! I did want to say that mdf has formaldehyde in it and could be harmful if you’re cutting without a respirator on. You’re style is amazing though!

  • What a gorgeous original bunk bed and room design. I love as well the choice of colours – pretty unusual for a kids` bedroom. Well done. I do sell bunk and loft bed on my store but it`s always nice to see a custom-made one. Very inspiring

  • Maxine: wow… how annoying and intrusive of you lol! She’s an adult, I’m pretty sure she can decide how she wants to dress during a project *eye roll*

    This was a beautiful project by the way! LOVE it. It inspired me to paint my newly built bunk beds the same color. Thanks for sharing.

  • Morgan McDonough

    Looks beautiful and fun! What color is the door and door frame from the inside of the room? Is it also the oak moss or is it a different color? Thanks!

  • […] Image Credit: Sarah Sherman Samuel […]

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