I use google sketch up to draw up my plans. I am still new to the program but there is a plethora of YouTube tutorials available. It really helps to have a scale drawing to help figure out how much material you need to purchase and how everything hopefully will look when I'm finished. Stability and strength were the clients biggest concern and to match the other decor that was going in the room they wanted the bed painted white. To keep the price in their goal range and keep structurally sound we went with dimensional construction grade lumber.
The first step was to build the three identical frames that the mattresses would sit in. I know a lot of beds use slats but as a child that survived a bunk bed collapse because of a sibling jumping on the bed above me I suggested a solid bottom. Now here is where I came upon my first little bump in the road. Since I wasn't installing the bed in my own house and I really couldn't build it in the clients home I had a little bit of a available room issue. Luckily for me I have a completely supportive wife who let me take over the living room for awhile.
From there I was able to start cutting and constructing the vertical supports. I started from the floor and built my way up to the top. This way each piece was cut as needed and I wasn't relying on a cut list or plan. Not there is anything wrong with either of those but in my experience a plan is only as good until the first problem or issue.
In the picture you can see how each bed is not only secured by lag bolts but a physical joint for added strength.
By building from the ground up it allowed me to be one step ahead of adding an additional level with structural support.
Building a triple bunk bed in the middle of your living room sure does make the space seem much smaller. I also made sure that as I built the bed it was designed to be able to be taken apart first so that I could deliver it to the client but then also down the road if he wanted to move he could take the bed with them. But first I had some painting to do.
The living room once again prove very useful in this part of the build. I did a good deal of the painting outside but as it started getting dark we had to move it inside. Once the paint was dry it was time to deliver and set up.
There is every so often a moment when I question my decision to downsize to a smaller truck... but them she pull through for me and we make it happen. This was one of those moments. I recruited the help of one of my friends and we loaded up the bed and headed out to set up the bunk bed for the client.
The client was very pleased with how the bed turned out and so was I. I hope those girls get many years of enjoyment out of this huge structure that they will share nightly as they go through their childhood. I still have many fond memories of playing on our bunk beds as kids with my brothers. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions with this or any other project. I enjoy building, sharing, teaching, and learning and make time to do all of them. You can read about my other projects HERE or follow me on facebook at www.facebook.com/MerzkeCustomWoodworking. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to hearing from you.
You can now purchase the plans and SketchUp file for the Triple Bunk Bed from