Loft Bed with Built In Bookcase & Desk

Hey All,

Kids grow up way too fast for my liking. One second my daughter is all about the big comfy bed shed has and the next second, she is asking for a loft bed with a desk where she can do her school and art stuff. It all came about one lovely trip to Ikea that we recently did. We were doing the regular walk through and then my daughter spots this Metal basic frame loft bed that has a desk attachment to it. She thought it was the greatest thing ever. Keep in mind, she has a small room, a double bed pressed against a wall and her dresser only fit in it, so there is no surprise she wanted something a little more fun. When I looked at the price, I knew right away that I could build something even better for less. So, planning underway.

I found a great set of plans on Ana White that had a built-in bookcase on the one end that acts as a stronger support. However, the only thing that I did not like was the desk portion that they had. The rest I thought was great. Using these plans, I started planning what I would then do for a desk. I decided upon using these old Qube shelf units that I was going to through away as the legs for the desk and just a slab hardboard top. Using this for the top allowed me to make it more curved like the one from Ikea allowing for max amount of desk space and keeping it comfortable.

Now keep in mind that this is a big unit overall and therefore, more than likely having to be built in the room itself. However, it can be disassembled down the line if you are going to be moving at all. 


For those in Canada - Please use the Plan drawings for measurements on cuts as Canadian Lumber measurements are slightly different by Aprox 1/4" in some places

For those in the U.S - You can use the measurements in the Cut List. 


Make sure you read through the instructions and look over the plans fully before you start your project. Check out the “Before You Start” page for more on tool information, tips & tricks. Always stay safe and wear all safety protection. It is always best to make your cuts as you go and as they say, measure twice and cut once.

If you have any questions just ask away!


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 If you like the desk from the original plans from Ana White, you can find it here, if not, see the plans for the desk I built here.


Shopping List

Total Materials for Bed/Desk/Bookshelf

16 - 1" x 3" x 8'

3 - 1" x 8" x 10'

1 - 1" x 8" x 4'

3 - 1" x 4" x 8'

1 - 2" x 2" x 8'

13 - 1" x 2" x 8'

4 - 1" x 12" x 8'




1 - 4' x 8' piece of hardboard

1 - 5/8" x 49" x 97" MDF - (If Doing the same desk as I)

1 1/4" Screws

2" Screws

Wood Filler


Cut List

Cut List for Loft Bed
8 – 1×3 @ 71″ ( Legs)
4 – 1×8 @ 37 1/2″ (Large Planks, Ends)
2 – 1×4 @ 37 1/2″ (Top Planks)
3 – 1×8 @ 80″ (Front and Back Rails)
1 – 1×4 @ 80″ (Top Back Rail)
2 – 1×3 @ 46 1/2″ (Back Filler Piece,)
6 – 1×3 @ 2″ (Back Filler Piece )
2 – 1×3 @ 56″ (Front Filler Pieces)
2 – 1×3 @ 7 1/2″ (Front Filler Pieces)
1 – 1×2 @ 80″ (Back, Top Piece)
2 – 1×3 @ 40 1/2″ (End, Top Pieces)
2 – 1×2 @ 75″ (Cleats)
1 – 2×2 @ 76 3/4″ (Center Support)
14 – 1×2 @ 39″ (Slats)

Cut List for Guard Rail
1 – 1×4 @ 61” (Rail)
1 – 1×2 @ 61” (Top)
3 – 1×4 @ 15” (Uprights)
6 – 1×4 @ 2” (Filler Pieces)



Ladder Cut List
2 – 1×3 @ 65 3/4″ Overall (Bottom end cut at 15 degrees off square, top at 75 degrees off square)
10 – 1×3 @ 10 3/8″ (Spacers, ends cut parallel at 15 degrees off square)
5 – 1×3 @ 12 1/2″ (Treads)
2 – 1×3 @ 10″ 

Cut List for Bookcase

2 – 1×12 @ 56″ (Sides)
5 – 1×12 @ 36″ (Shelves)
1 – 1×3 @ 36″(Footer)
4 – 1×2 @ 36″ (Shelf Trim)
4 – 1×2 @ 9″ (Optional Shelf Supports)

Cut List for Desk

Please see the plans though the link to Ana White's site for the use of her desk plans. 

For the plans for the desk I did :

3 Double Stacked Cubed Cupboards

1 - MDF Board cut to 68" x 40" then trimmed down with a Jig Saw to shape. *see photo*

Tools Needed

Mitre Saw or Circular Saw


Jig Saw






Measuring Tape




Wood Glue




Finish Nailer


Wood Filler


Safety Glasses


Ear Protection




Paint Brush




The Step-by-Step

You can find the Original plans for the Loft Bed here and Bookcase on here. If you like the desk that they use, you can find it here, if not, see the plans for the desk I built here.


The Loft Bed

First we are going to build the ends using 2” Wood Screws and Wood Glue.

Center the 37 ½” planks on the sides of the legs and screw

If you are building the Bookcase as well, the bottom plank is only needed on one end. The other end will be supported by the bookcase.




 With this being such a big piece of furniture, these next pieces are going to be made removable in case you ever need to move.

We are going to mark off where these rail pieces go and use a screw to temporarily hold the boards in place.



Measure out and cut the filler pieces for the back, as shown in the photo.

Use wood Glue and 1 ¼” Wood screws /Brad Nails to attach.

Note: Make sure that you do not make them to tight to the rails. There needs to be a little space for being able to remove the boards


We are going to do the same for the front filler pieces as we did in the back.

Measure out and cut, then use wood Glue and 1 ¼” Wood screws /Brad Nails to attach.


Now we are going to add the Outer Leg pieces, 1” x 3” @ 71”.

However, first we need to unscrew the rail boards we put in temporarily in step 2.

Once that has been done, with the rail boards resting in place, attach the Outer Legs pieces using 2” Wood Screws and wood glue.

**Note: Do not fasten through the rail boards


Now fasten the Back Top piece, 1” x 2” @ 80”, to the back legs using 2” Wood Screws. Do not use wood glue to attach this board, as it will need to be able to be removed if you have to take the bed apart to move.

This board will be flush with the back, but will have a ledge exposed in the front to attach the Top Side pieces. See the drawing below.

For the Top Side pieces (1” x 3” @ 40 ½”) you will attach them using Wood Glue and 2” Wood Screws. This will be attached  to the ledge over the back legs the flush over the front legs. As shown in the drawing.


The side cleats, 1” x 2” @ 75” will be fastened to the side rails, flush with the bottom edge. Use 1 ¼” Wood Screws and wood glue to attach.

The Center Cleat 2” x 2” @ 75” will be centered and flush with the bottom of the 1” x 8” Plank. Use 2” Wood screws from the outside to attach, but do not use wood glue for this support.


Position the slats, 1” x 2” @ 40”, with a 4” Gap in between. A quick way to lay out is to make two scrap pieces at 4” to act as spacers as you go. Attach the slats using 1 ¼” Wood screws


Now it’s time to build and attach the Guardrail. Use 1 ¼” Wood Screws and wood glue to assemble the unit through the side that won’t be visible. When assembled attach the guardrail to the frame again using 1 ¼” Wood screws and wood glue through the front rail.

The Ladder

Now it’s time to build the ladder for the bed! Cutting the top of the ladder (legs) is the only tricky part, the rest of the build just flies along.

The best way to cut the 2 leg boards is to cut 75 Degrees off square, leaving 15 degrees. I would definitely use a Jig Saw or Circular Saw to do this.

Next, measure down 2 ¼” from the top point and cut at a right angle (90 Degrees)

Then, measure down 65 ¾” and cut a 15 degree angle at the bottom of the leg (See the drawing below). Do this for both legs then use the top of this board as a guide to cut the 2 top filler pieces.

Construct the ladder as shown in the drawing using 1 ¼” screws  when joining the filler pieces to the side legs and 2” wood screws when attaching the treads to the leg sides. Don’t forget to use the Wood glue for all pieces.


To attach the ladder to the bed, use 1 ¼” wood Screws from the inside going through the bottom rail into the ladder.



The Bookcase

It’s time to big the Bookcase that will also act as support for the bed.


Using the 1” x 12” boards, build the frame shown below. Measure and mark the location of the shelves on both the front and back so that you are able to properly line the shelves up. This also makes it easier to know where to screw. Use 2” Wood  screws and wood glue from the outside of the frame.  If you own an Kreg Jig, you can drill pocket holes on the underside of the shelves as an alternative method.


Attach the footer 1” x 3” piece shown in the photo, set back ½” using 2” wood screws and glue from the side.. Again, if you are using a Kreg Jig, drill your pocket holes on the ends of the 1” x 3” and attach to the sides.


Cut your wood panel to size and tack on with 1” Nails. If you have a brad nailer, it makes this easier.


Just like when doing the footer, attach the top shelf trims the same way using 2” Wood Screws and glue or using your Kreg Jig.


This step is optional, but I highly recommend doing it. This keeps the top shelves from moving, and gives them that extra support. Use scrap pieces of 1” x 2” and fasten to the sides of the frame.


Now that the bookshelf is fully assembled, it’s time to attach it to the Loft Bed.

Using 2” Wood Screws, attach the bookshelf to the legs of the loft bed. Set it back so that it is flush with the rail up above.


The Desk

Lastly, if you are going to building in the desk, you would do so here. For using the original desk plans from Ana White, check the links above. If you are going to do something similar to what I did, its very simple.

I used Left of Cube Shelves that I had from IKEA as the legs. I then took a piece of MDF and cut it to size to fit in the area. While in place I marked out the curved pattern and used the jig saw to trim it to shape.



Once all of this is done, its time to finish the Bed.

Fill any holes with wood filler, let dry then give it a good sand before you paint it the desired colour.



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