Essential Low Loft Bed

bed with totes underneath
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Build your own low loft bed with free plans from  This is a very simple build, no pocket holes required!  The bed is sturdy and solid, and you can add storage underneath.  We love it with totes for inexpensive, easy storage! Cost about $50 in lumber.  Plan includes step by step diagrams, build video, cut lists and shopping lists.

Related: Low Bunk Bed Plans


This is the best bed for a small kids space! All the fun of a bunk, with storage options underneath!

bed with storage underneath

This plan gives two options - 32" legs or 45" legs.

  • The 32" Legs are perfect for storing totes underneath.  I fit 6 totes underneath the bed, the back totes are sealed with out of size/season/etc things, the front two totes have no lids and are being used as toyboxes.
  • The 45" Legs are perfect for adding custom storage solutions underneath.  A perfect fit bookshelf, a dresser, or a pullout desk would be awesome options!


Why a Low Loft Bed?

Low loft beds are gaining in popularity because they create more floor space for storage underneath, but are still easy to get in and out of an change sheets and make the bed. 

I also love the low loft bed for toddlers, since the enclosed mattress has a crib-like feel, keeps pillows and blankets on the bed, and is the perfect height for tucking in littles. 

This is truly a toddler to teen bed.  I have kiddos from 3 to 17 wanting this bed!

Why Build a Low Loft Bed?

You can save money.  There are many options for buying a low loft bed, but by building your own you can save hundreds (even thousands!) of dollars.  This low loft bed cost about $50 in lumber to make.

You'll get a more durable end product. Our homebuilt option is VERY sturdy, suitable for even young adults. 

You get to customize it. We love that by building it yourself you get to choose your finish and can easily customize the storage options underneath.

And it's pretty easy to build.  Most store bought options you'd have to assemble anyway.  In this well thought out and tested plan, we make it as easy as possible to build your own low loft bed.

Build Video for Low Loft Bed

Don't just take my word for it - watch me build this low loft bed!  It took me about two hours to cut and build this bed.  Painting is definitely the hardest part, but if you prefinish your boards, you'll save a ton of time.  This video is for the taller (45") version, but it follows the same steps as the 32" version.

Add on Plans and Customizations

The big benefit of a low loft bed is the added storage space underneath.  We will be adding plans for storage underneath, as well as a bunk bed option.

You can make this bed into a regular height loft bed, but the bottom of the legs will need some supports at the bottom of the legs.

UPDATE: Low Bunk Bed Plans Here

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Essential Low Loft Bed

low loft bed plans
Can be built in different heights, shown in diagrams at 45" height (for a desk or bookshelf underneath). Shown in photographs with 32" height for totes underneath.


Shopping List
  • 4 - 2x4 @ 8 feet long for 45" tall bed OR 3 - 2x4 @ 8 feet long for 32" tall bed
  • 4 - 2x6 @ 10 feet long
  • 2 - 2x2 @ 8 feet long
  • 5 - 1x4 @ 8 feet long (for bed slats)
  • About 70 - 2-1/2" long self tapping wood screws (star bit #8 recommended) - for main construction, can be as long as 3"
  • 40 - 1-5/8" long self tapping wood screws (star bit #7 or #8 recommended) - for screwing slats down only
Cut List

TIP: Prefinish all 2x4 and 2x6 boards before cutting. 

  • 3 - 2x6 @ 75" - cut first 
  • 4 - 2x6 @ 41" - cut from leftovers after cutting the 75" pieces
  • 1 - 2x6 @ about 55" measure and cut to fit - cut from leftovers after cutting the 75" pieces
  • 7 - 2x4 @ 45" - legs / ladder sides OR 31-3/4" for shorter loft bed*
  • 2 - 2x4 @ 18" - ladder rungs
  • 2 - 2x2 @ 75" - cleats for slat system
  • 10 - 1x4 @ 38" - slats

*32" legs are cut at 31-3/4" to fit three cuts on one 8 foot long 2x4 board

Cutting Instructions

Cut boards according to cut list using a chop saw or miter saw. 

A circular saw can be used instead, but straight cuts are very important to the overall success of this project, and it is hard to get straight cuts with a circular saw.  If you have to use a circular saw, a square cutting guide is highly recommended.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Miter Saw
General Instructions

Once this bed is finished it will be too large to fit through standard doorways.  You can either assemble in the room and paint in the room, or assemble in a workshop/outdoors and paint, and then partially disassemble to bring into the room.

Another option is to prefinish all the 2x4s and 2x6s before cutting, and then cut and bring the pieces into the room and build in the room.  A final touch up coat of paint will be needed, but it will be minimal.


Step 1

Build two of the ends by attach the legs (either the 45" long legs or the 32" long legs) to the 41" 2x6 boards.  Leave a 4" space between the two horizontal slats.

These screws will be removed if dismantling later on.

Step 2

Attach the longer 2x6s to the two leg sets, with screws on the inside at a slight angle into the back side of the leg.  I recommend three screws for the lower boards that will support the mattress.  Only two are needed for the upper 2x6 as it does not support the mattress.

Additional screws from outside are recommended, but can be added on final assembly.

Step 3

Build the ladder as shown with the longer screws.

Step 4

Determine what side the ladder should be placed on the bed.

Attach the remaining 2x4 leg to the back of the ladder on the side that will not be attached to a bed leg.

Step 5

Attach the ladder to the bed with screws from the back side.

The double legs on the ladder are designed to increase strength and durability of the ladder and bed.

Step 6

Attach the remaining 2x6 at the top from the inside.

Step 7

Attach 2x2 cleats to the inside of the bed, flush to the bottom of the bottom 2x6s.

Step 8

The shorter legged bed may be able to be moved into a room without disassembly.  The taller bed will most likely need to be disassembled and reassembled.

To disassemble, remove only the end 2x6 boards.  This will break the bed down into two main flat panels, and four end pieces.

Step 9

On final assembly add the cleats to the insides of the bed.  Screw down with the shorter screws, two screws per end.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
I recommend sanding all the boards before assembly with 120 grit sandpaper. Follow up with 150 grit sandpaper. A good sanding will make a huge difference in the finished product.

You can also pre-paint or stain.



Mon, 09/20/2021 - 12:02

nice project, would like to see plans for a higher loft twin bed. thanks