We made some beds. Again.

I’m pretty sure my eleven-year old has had as many beds in his lifetime as I have in mine. It’s not because he is an entitled brat who demands new sleeping chambers every year. It’s more because his father and I make beds for a hobby. Just kidding. Or not.

A couple of years ago when the three-year old was big enough for a big-boy bed, we built this tri-bed that functioned like trundles. (I think it was number six for my oldest son. Not even lying. I know. We’re weirdos. They all had really good reasons. Promise!) I loved it! My husband hated it! A bunch. It was quite heavy for the kids to pull in and out on their own on the carpet (I think if we had hardwoods there, it would have lasted longer.) So, it pretty much stayed pulled out all of the time, which took up pretty much every inch of their tiny 9×9 room. Not to mention the stepping-over-your-younger-brother-on-your-way-to-the-bathroom thing.


So, while I loved the look of them, I was not the least bit upset when the hubs declared that we had to find another bed option. Again. I knew it was nothing against my fabulous design.

So we made a different type of tri-bed. A triple bunk. We built it just two months before we moved here. It may hold a record for the shortest use. We all liked it, but our ceilings at the last house were ten feet high, and these are a petite 7.5. Had I known we would be buying a thirty-year old, two-story (not usually our style), we would have dealt with the tri-bed for a bit longer. Heck, it may have worked great on these wood floors. Oh well.

lowe's lumber

Just wanted to include this before shot because those boys are so stinking cute!

triple bunk

If our mattresses were standard four inch bunk mattresses, we may have been able to make it work, but it would have been tight. But, two of our mattresses are 12 inch pillow tops. No, I didn’t buy luxury mattresses for my children. Those two were second hand from close friends (it’s normal to be a bit cautious about used mattresses, right?) years ago. The third is four inches, but even still, that’s nearly two and a half feet of just mattress. That left five feet of room to fit three children. I think that is illegal. If not, it should be. I’m hyperventilating just thinking about it.

But we had just spent money on all the lumber for those new beds. Not to mention the boys were over the moon about the color they picked. I told them they could choose any color as long as it also came in a spray paint (you never know when you might need to spray paint an accessory to match your bed), they all agreed immediately on Tropical Foliage (seen here.)

tropical foliage

I love a new DIY project more than the next girl, but I hate wasting time and money. And contrary to what it seems, painting is not my favorite activity. So, we needed to figure out a way to reuse all this green wood and make three new beds.

The good thing is, this room is quite a bit larger. It’s the first time we ever could have even considered three beds in one room without some sort of stacking. Older homes have their pros, that’s for sure. Hooray for larger kid rooms!

The bed boxes could be reused just as they were, but we needed to reconfigure things for the legs and we wanted to add headboards. (You saw that they were using just the boxes on the floor here.)

boy beds before

The legs on the triple bunk were made from 2x8s, while the boxes and guard rails were made from 1x6s. We had four 2x8s that were 8 feet tall from the previous configuration, so we cut those down to make two short legs at the foot end of each of the three bed boxes, and then we used the remaining pieces of 2×8 to make the supports for the new headboards, which are really just long legs at the head end of the bed box. (I don’t know if that made any sense. I should have taken better pictures. Still learning to document things for the blog, guys. Half the time we just get in the zone and totally forget. Sorry.)

stack of 1x6

Those are the stacks of 1x6s we had left over since we didn’t need guard rails. I used those to make the headboards.

You can see in the image below that we used short pieces of 2×8 for the legs at the foot end (up in the air), and we used long pieces of 2×8 for the headboard supports (on the floor). Is that making sense now?


By the way, that gray rug is two of these taped together. Nothing fancy, but just a warm place for my boys’ feet to land when they get out of bed.

I should mention somewhere in here that we made adjustments to my youngest son’s bed since his mattress is less than half as thick as the other two. My OCD is way too strong to allow three matching beds to not all sit at the same height.

The first two beds have slats that are attached deep down into the bed box, while the third one’s slats are nearly flush with the top of the bed box. (We just left enough room for a piece of hardboard, which formed a platform-like bed.) Many of you might read that and go on your merry way. If you’re anything like me, you’re all, “Wait just a minute. She said the one is four inches and the other two are 12 inches. She also said the bed boxes are made from 1x6s. So what about the other two inches?” No one thought that? Really? No one? Beuller?

The third mattress is the extendable one from IKEA. It comes in three pieces, the first being crib length (but wider) and then you can add the second, and eventually the third to make it the size of a standard twin mattress. It is pretty much not very usable outside of IKEA’s adjustable bed, unless you build your own. I say all that to make sense of why I started this post with a bed we made two years ago. We needed a new mattress when we moved the three-year old to a big-boy bed and we wanted it to fit under the tri-bed, which is why we bought this three part mattress.

Anyway, he is now using all three parts (not because he is too long for two parts, even though he turns four next week *sniff, sniff*) since he has a standard twin bed. But, to make up those two inches, and also just to make it a bit comfier since it has cracks in it, I put a twin mattress pad and a comforter underneath his sheet. He sleeps better, and his bed is ~ the same height as the other two.

I feel like I needed to say all that for you to really understand how obsessive I am. Glad to have that off my chest.

We cut our 1x6s to length and just screwed them to the 2x8s to make a slatted headboard.

I grabbed my latex version of Tropical Foliage and touched up all the places that had been cut.

latex tropical foliage

paint needed needs paint

If you look closely at the bed on the right, you can see the platform mattress support, and you can tell that the one on the left is set down into the box.


We used the numbers from the tri-bed just to add a bit of whimsy to the head boards.

number three

Another tight shot so as to not spoil the surprise of the rest of the room. I know, I know…you’re dying…but you’ll have to wait til next week. Have a great weekend!

Pssst…my hubs made an icon for the blog. I don’t really understand it any better than I understand how electricity gets from lightning into my outlet shelf, but anyway…I’m totally legit now. You can put my little tape measure right next to your Facebook icon on the home screen of your phone or tablet. I know you’re thrilled! You’re welcome.

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