{Boy/Girl Shared} Built in Bunk Room. DIY.

Once upon a time I had a blog that was dedicated to all my house renovations.  I still have that blog, you can see it HERE.  Seeing as I am completely swamped with kids, teaching ballet, house renovations and photography I decided to marry my two passions (photography + house) and put them all in the same place.  So if you find the menu up top a little confusing, it is set up for my photography business.  I will now post all my house renovations on this blog in the category “My House”.

We bought this home in summer 2014 and it is covered in ugly 90’s oak with yellowed ceilings and band aid colored walls.  I fell in love the moment I walked in the door for two reasons: I saw what it could be after me and my husband are done with it. And it was just what my family needed and prayed for!  Because we bought for location and good schools we couldn’t afford to get a 4 bedroom + a bonus like we had wished (we also couldn’t afford a home that was updated).  This home has 3 bedrooms + a bonus.  I like to use my bonus rooms as a place my kids can let loose and run around like that movie about those Apes that took over the world (cause that’s pretty much what they do in my home).  This meant my twin boys would be sharing a room and my oldest daughter would now be sharing a room, for the first time in her little 8 years of life, with my two year {baby} old boy.  I wanted a space that would allow her to have privacy and also give her a touch of girlie while keeping a neutral feeling that would work for my little monster terrible two year old son.  The first project we tackled in this house had to be the bunks so that my kids could have a place to sleep.  I mean, ya, they could have slept on the mattresses laid out on the floor but it was just a little too ghetto for me.  By us starting the bunk beds it kinda snowballed into doing the entire upstairs right now then making our way downstairs to my much anticipated kitchen gut job (coming Spring 2015).  Does this all make sense? I am sure you don’t care and just want to know how the heck we made these things.

After a long and grueling 2 1/2 months the bunks are done!!  (The room is not done though.  Nothing is done done with me).  Still working on an accent wall, pictures, and staining a vintage {free} desk I found on craigslist to put in the corner as a study area.


This project was 100% DIY for us.  I pretty much went OCD on Pinterest looking at every built in bunk that came up.  I had my eye on one specific bunk that had a rope ladder.  I am sure you have seen it.  I was in love.  But the problem was there was no tutorial on how to do it! We found nothing on the internet about rope ladders on bunks.  So it was all up to us to figure this whole thing out.  And here I am to share it with you!


Attempt these DIY bunk beds at your own risk.  Seriously, they are pretty intense. I had no idea.  It’s kinda like pregnancy and birth, without the crying baby afterwards.  It’s a long road, and totally sucks at times but you can see hints of the end product and how rewarding it will be, so you truck on.  As with all our DIY house projects it takes team work and patience.  Husband builds while mom takes care of the kids.  Mom paints while husband takes the kids out on a bike ride.  Mom and Dad work while kids play 8 hours of Wii and turn into zombies.  But like I said, it’s all worth it!



1. Schoolhouse Light from Etsy
2. DIY Roman Shades made with mini blinds that were  already there.  I followed THIS tutorial, but didn’t use any of the mini blind panels. Instead I purchased roman shade rings from the fabric store, sewed those on the back and threaded the blind cord through.  Looks way better from the back and works better too.
3. Allen+ Roth Sconce from Lowes
4&5. Sewed my own Pillows & Duvet with fabric from Babybedding.com.  I follow this video to sew all my pillows, I love how tight it fits on my pillows and in love with the zipper closure too!  Plus, this lady on the video seems like she should be doing motocross not sewing pillows, makes me smile, watch out she is hard core!  Girl fabric HERE, boy fabric HERE. I ordered 5 yards in each and it was enough to make the twin duvet and 2 pillows.  I used a queen flat sheet for the back of the duvet to save money on fabric.
6. Sherwin Williams Super Paint in Crushed Ice, satin finish.
7. Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Acrylic Semi- gloss in Pure White
8. Hardware for rope ladder
9. White Cotton 1″ Rope.  Full Rope Ladder Tutorial coming soon!

TIP: My husband (and me) rely on Youtube for almost everything.  Search Youtube for what you need and I am sure there is something there that can help you.

Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced Handy men (or woman, I gotcha covered).

While my husband was building the bunks I was on mom duty taming the 4 wild beasts that live here. For this reason, I wasn’t able to document every detailed step in the building process.  I tried my best taking quick snapshots with my iphone while changing a monster diaper on the floor and shoving crackers into someone’s hungry mouth.  I am all about multi tasking.



1. Tear up the carpet to make way for the bunks.
2. Make a frame with 2x4s. We made ours to fit #10 food storage cans to store our food storage (Prepper wannabe here).
3. (2) 2×4 were used for the post from floor to ceiling and to form a corner.  Nail it into the ceiling.
4. Husband cut 4 2x4s to and nailed them across to support the plywood board for the mattress.
5. Put on your sheet of Plywood
6. Have baby test it out
7. Repeat the steps for the top bunk, nailing it in the wall and ceiling.  Admire the ceiling fan for 30 minutes while you take a break.
8. Get a nice smooth finished wood that is paintable, we used Hemlock, to finish out your bunks.  This took my husband about a month to cut this and finish it out.  This will be what you paint on so be precise and clean.  Be patient and work slowly to get it right.  We used L brackets to attach that big front panel in the middle of the bunks and on the bottom bunk.  Wire your lights before cutting your wood panel on the wall.  We covered every surface with wood paneling except the wall, that I just painted.  We put a wood panel on the ceiling too.
9. Add your crown molding, base molding, wainscoting or whatever you like. We did all the bells and whistles.  We added small crown molding inside each bunks.  We also added built in bookshelves.  We nailed these in right where our wainscoting was on the other side so the nail holes were covered.


Our bunks fit any twin mattress.  We have those memory foam mattresses which I love for kids.  As far as specific measurements we would talk about that and what would work best with each stage of the bunks we went through.  Measurements of moldings, crown moldings and base are all personal preference.  Sometimes we would just sit and think about our options and need a moment to think how to do it.  It was a lot of problem solving.  But this is something we love to do together.  We actually have fun with it!

Once you have it all built prepare for a good 25 hours just to caulk, fill holes, sand and prep.  As my husband says, it’s all in the prep work!  In this case, prepping our bunks to be painted was more work than actually building them.  We sanded them down with a palm sander.  Make sure all your joints are smooth and every little hole is filled.  You don’t want to miss a thing or it will look like a hack job in the end.  Don’t DIY unless it’s going to look like a professional did it.  Nothing is worse than a DIY job that LOOKS DIY!

We sprayed our bunks with a sprayer.  We never used a sprayer before so this was a learning curve (as is everything we do!).

2 coats primer. Sand. wipe everything down.  2 coats Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Semi-gloss with a little Floetrol added to make it ultra smooth.  Rip off that paper and gasp because its so beautiful!!!


We have to see a before and after!  You have no idea how ugly it was.  The picture does not do it justice.
Now onto adding the accent wall, hanging pictures and redoing that vintage free desk!  Oh, and pretty much painting every surface in my house.
Master bedroom + Boy twin room up next.  Also, how to replace a bi-fold door with an awesomely beautiful door for $35!  Seriously, stick around, we got some cool stuff comin’



Thanks for stopping by!

– Mikael

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- Mikael Hello! I photograph babies, kids, families, seniors, dancers and artists.
Pull up a chair, take a look around, and stay a while. Hope to see you soon!