Storage Stairs for the Playhouse Loft Bed

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 09/08/2010 - 07:11
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Stairs for the playhouse loft bed. Featuring lift top storage, behaving much like a large hidden toybox. Give your child easy safe access to their bed!

Special thanks to Kimberly for sharing her

You have our community project request forum to thank for today's plan.

Because I certainly didn't believe I had the skills to develop a plan like this.  But you believe in me.  So I try, and what do you know?  We got a playhouse loft bed with stairs.

There are unlimited number of ways to approach building stairs with storage.  And I thought of all the options.  And this one seemed to make sense.  Because there is a window on the other side of the bed, this side would most likely be in a corner, removing all access from the stairs side of the bed.  So drawers could be done, but there would be a huge amount of wasted space in the very back.  We'll do a different type of design for stairs on a different bunk bed where we use drawers.

I personally love the idea of lift top stairs because they are inexpensive to do - just three sets of hinges is all you need for hardware - and they take advantage of all the space in the stairs.  You could stash suitcases, costumes, stuffed animals, sleeping bags, extra bedding - what couldn't you stash in those stairs?  And the lower stairs could be a toy box that your child uses regularly.

Dimensions
The stairs are going to add about 2 feet to the overall width of the bed. Same height.

Preparation

Shopping List

In addition to what you purchased for the playhouse loft bed without the stairs, you will need:

Another sheet of 3/4″ MDF or Plywood or Particle Board
4 feet of 1×10 Boards
6 – 1×3 Boards
6 – 1×2 Boards
2 – 1×4 Board, 10 feet long
1 – 1×3 Board, 10 feet long (you can use a 1×4 here if you can’t find a 1×3)
3 – Sets of Hinges

Cut List

Because of the complexity of this plans and since it is a modification of a previous plan, cut list will go with each step.

General Instructions

Well, you already got half the story in yesterday’s post of the Easy Playhouse Loft Bed. Go through and read that post. You will need to build the front and the side wall without the ladder. The cut list will change, as some of those pieces will change for the modifications. So update the cut list - the one shown below is ONLY for the back wall and the stair wall and the stairs.

Instructions

Step 1

The top platform is 18″ (bench height) below the mattress slats, so your little one (and probably you too) will have somewhere to stand and climb on to the mattress from. The stairs are 10″ rises – a full 3″ greater than what they should be for regular stairs, but I did quite a bit of research on these types of bed stairs, and concluded that what you buy is built to these same standards. And a big improvement over a ladder for little ones.

Step 2

Build the Front and Side Wall

Follow the directions in the ladder Playhouse Loft Bed plans to build the front wall and the wall without the ladder. ONLY BUILD ONE FRONT RAILING. Do not cut all the boards shown in the cut list, as the cut list changes with the addition of the ladder.

2 – 1×4 @103 1/2″ (Top and Bottom Trim)
3 – 1×3 @ 11 1/2″ (Rails for Back Legs)
20 – 1×2 @ 11 1/2″ (Rails)

Instead of building two of the front rails, build only one front rail, and the back rail as shown above. The purple boards are 1x3s, blue are 1x4s and white are 1x2s. Leave a 3″ gap between the boards. Mark the joints on the top and bottom trim and drill pocket holes on both ends of all the rails. Attach with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws and glue.

Step 3

3 – 1×3 @ 68 1/2″

Attach the back legs to the railing as shown above. Use 1 1/4″ screws and glue. Adjust for square.

Step 4

1 – 1×3 @ 103 1/2″ (Bottom Support)

If you can’t find a 1×3 103 1/2″ long, go ahead and use a 1×4. Check for square and attach to the bottom of the legs, as shown above. Use 1 1/4″ screws and glue.

Step 5

Step 6

2 – 1×4 @ 37 1/2″
8 – 1×2 @ 11 1/2″

Outside Stair Wall Railing

Build your railing with pocket hole screws as you did all the other railings. Space railing as shown in the diagram directly above.

Step 7

2 – 1×3 @ 68 1/2″ (Legs)

Outside Stair Wall Legs

Attach the legs to the sides of the stair wall. At this step, it is very important that you leave 3/4″ on the inside of the leg and 1″ on the outside of the leg as opposed to centering the leg on the plywood and railing.

Step 8

2 – 1×3 @ 37 1/2″ (Trim Boards)

Outside Wall Exterior Trim

On the outside side of the outside wall (the side you left 1″ of space) attach with 1 1/4″ nails or screws the trim pieces as shown above.

Step 9

2 – 1×3 @ 68 1/2″ (Legs)

Front Legs for the Outside Wall

Attach two more legs to the front leg of the outside wall as shown above. Keep all outside edges flush and use 2″ finish nails and glue.

And this finishes the outside wall! Just one more wall and the stairs to go! Click on page 3 below to see the next wall.

Step 10

5 – 1×3 @ 11 1/2″ (Rails)
2 – 1×4 @ 21 3/4″ (Top and Bottom Trim)

Inside Stair Wall Railing

As you have built the other railings, mark out the rail joints on the trim boards. Then drill two pocket holes in both ends of the rails. Attach to the trim boards with 1 1/4″ screws and wood glue.

Step 11

2 – 1×3 @ 68 1/2″ (Legs)
1 – 1×2 @ 66 1/2″ ( Interior Railing Support)

Putting the Interior Wall Together

As you did with the other walls, attach the railing and the plywood panel to the legs with either pocket hole screws from the plywood and railing into the legs or with 2″ screws (predrilled) from the exterior of the legs into the plywood panel. Leave 3/4″ on the legs on the inside (where the stairs go) and 1″ on the playhouse side (shown above. Attach the stair support to the railing with 1 1/4″ screws and glue. Attach to the plywood all the way down.

Step 12

1 – 1×3 @ 15 3/4″

Inside Stair Trim

Attach the inside stair trim to the top edge of the inside of the wall (where the mattress goes) with 1 1/4″ screws or nails and glue.

Step 13

1 – 1×3 @ 37 1/2″ (Trim)

Trim on Stair Side

Flip the wall over and add the final piece of trim, as shown above. Overlap the trim on the railing by 1″ to secure the railing in place. You may wish to add one additional 1×2 to the inside top exposed edge of the plywood (the 1×2 would be 15 3/4″ long). This completes the inside stair wall. See next page for details on assembly and constructing the stairs.

Step 14

Assembly

With the five walls built, assemble the bed by attaching the three short walls to the back wall. Use 2″ screws and glue, screwing together the leg pieces. Then attach the front wall to the side walls. The remaining end wall will feel flimsy at this stage – not to worry, the step will “beef” it up. You can also attach your cleats and slats as directed in the playhouse loft bed plans with ladder.

Step 15

1- 1×3 @ 21″ (Top Stair Trim)

Stair Back Trim

Now we begin to build the stairs. Use glue and 1 1/4″ screws or nails to fasten the back trim piece inside the stairs, with 29″ below the piece. This is just a trim piece.

Step 16

4 – 1×2 @ 14 1/4″ (Top Stair Cleats)

Top Stair Cleats

Now measure up 29″ from the tops and bottoms of the stairs and glue and screw the cleats in place. Use a level to make sure the cleats are level. The top of the cleat sits at 29 1/4″. Do this on both sides. Also add the bottom cleats.

Step 17

3/4″ Plywood, MDF or Particle Board @ 29 1/4″ x 22 1/2″

Top Step Plywood Panel

Slide the plywood in place. Place just two screws near the top of the plywood so that you can easily slide it out when dis assembling the bed. DO NOT USE GLUE.

Step 18

4 – 1×2 @ 10 1/2″ (Middle Stair Cleats)

Middle Stair Cleats

Measure up 19 1/4″ and attach the middle stair cleats. These cleats will hold the top stair plywood in place as well. Use glue and 1 1/4″ screws and glue. By using this method, you can simple pull take out just a few screws and pull the plywood panels out to dis assemble the bed.

Step 19

1 – 3/4″ Plywood @ 22 1/2″ x 19 1/4″

Middle Stair Plywood

As you did the top stair, place the middle stair plywood flush with the cleats and screw to the cleats with just two screws. Image is shown a

Step 20

4 – 1×2 @ 10 1/2″ (Bottom Stair Cleats)

Bottom Stair Cleats

Measure up 9 1/4″ from the bottom. This is the top of your bottom stair cleats. Attach the cleats with glue and 1 1/4″ screws to the plywood. Use a level to ensure that the cleats are level. Make sure there is a 3/4″ gap between the cleats and the front legs. You may need to adjust the length of your cleats accordingly.

Step 21

1 – 3/4″ Plywood or MDF @ 22 1/2″ x 9 1/4″

Bottom Stair Plywood

Slide the bottom stair plywood in place. It should fit snugly. You can screw from the inside of the plywood into the wall legs if necessary.

Step 22

3 – 1×2 @ 22 1/2″ (Stair Hinge Supports)
Step 22: Stair Hinge Supports

Attach the stair hinge supports with 2″ screws and NO GLUE. You want these to be easily removeable. Keep edges flush with the plywood panels on the stairs behind the supports.

Step 23

2 – 1×10 @ 22 1/2″
1 – 3/4″ Plywood, MDF or particle board @ 13 1/4″ x 22 1/2″
Step 22: Stair Treads

Use the hinges to attach the stair treads to the supports from step 21. Remember, the real support comes from the cleats, not the 1×2 hinge support.

This completes the easy part. Finishing is going to be quite the project! I highly recommend painting the entire bed white, and then cutting in the color afterward on the panels. A sprayer would be a luxury too!

Comments

Viola (not verified)

Wed, 09/08/2010 - 07:55

Ana this is such a great child/parent friendly plan. Love the bed, play area, storage, and of course the safer stairs with built in storage. I have never liked ladders for small children. I am sharing this with my daughters.

Roxy (not verified)

Wed, 09/08/2010 - 10:00

This is great. Good job Anna! The only thing I think I am going to change is instead of putting in the top storage stair, make it a regular but put in a small closet in the playhouse...or keep it a storage drawer and put in a secret passage! Not sure yet, but I love this. Thank you.

LindsayAnneLopez (not verified)

Wed, 09/08/2010 - 14:04

LOVE this plan!!! Am wondering what other parents think about what age is appropriate for this though? I have a (almost) 5yr old and a 2.5yr old. Obviously too early for my 2.5yr old but what about older kids? Thoughts from other parents?

Maria (not verified)

Wed, 09/08/2010 - 15:46

I LOVE this so much! Wonderful Job! Ana, you never cease to amaze me! Thank you!
Roxy, I love your ideas of the closet or secret passage too!

K (not verified)

Wed, 09/08/2010 - 20:28

Great job Ana! I LOVE this playhouse loft bed w stairs!!!
A few questions: 1) what size mattress would be used?
2) what is the estimated cost for this project?
3) what age of children would this be appropriate for?
Thanks so much! Love your work!

Ana White (not verified)

Wed, 09/08/2010 - 21:14

Hi K, thank you! This bed is designed for a twin sized mattress. I'm going to give an out there ballpark guess of $200 for this bed, using the most inexpensive options - but prices vary greatly by location, so please check your local hardware store before making actual purchases. As a mother of a little girl, three is perfect, but I am going to guess, a preteen is going to want something more grown up. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

K (not verified)

Sat, 09/11/2010 - 10:14

Thanks Ana! I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I can't wait to make this for my daughter. I think I will love it more than her, until she gets a lil older. She is only turning one,but, I figure she can play in the playhouse once she starts walking until she is ready to sleep in the loft bed. Or atleast Mommy can play in it!!! ha! Ha! Thanks so much for all your wonderful plans and ideas. You are a genius, and so inspiring!

Sherri @ Luv a… (not verified)

Sun, 09/12/2010 - 15:00

I am SO excited to find your site today!! We decided very quickly that we just HAD to make this! So we have already made our trip to Home Depot and I have already cut out the front! Yay!

Thanks so much for sharing!! I will be sure to post pictures of our finished project.