El Peterson Design

DIY – How to transform an old bunk bed into twin beds

Hello all, Today I wanted to show you how I turned an old bunk bed into two twin beds. My boys have grown up and the top bunk is just not big enough for the two of them. When we bought the bunk bed the older brother naturally called top bunk. Well the younger brother always wants to be where the older brother is so the top bunk has been both of their beds for too long now. It’s sad to say but they are getting bigger and its time for beds of their own. Sometimes its better to use what you have than to go out and buy new furniture. I took a long look at the bunk bed and thought I could use the wood and the rails to build something new. I understand most of you may not have the old bunk bed to make this bed below but you can still build it as long as you have 2 old twin sized beds. For example Ikea makes a black twin bed with a plain headboard and footboard. Follow my instruction and you can create something very similar.



I started by disassembling the old bunk bed. When I removed the screws and bolts I had four headboard pieces and four rails. I put the rails aside and began to alter the headboards. If you have 2 Ikea flat twin beds you can follow the same instructions and make a similar project.



First I grabbed my circular saw and cut out a 1 foot section to make a footboard.




Now that my footboards were cut down to the same height I place my attention back to the headboards. What I had planned required a full size headboard and the height of the original piece was too low. I used the scrap piece to add to the headboard and give it some extra height. I used wood glue a drill and wood pegs to connect the pieces together.


After I glued and secured the headboard back together, it was the perfect height. Next I cut ship lap and a header and nailed it to the headboard. This was going to work as the base of the headboard and footboard. I purchased the ship lap at Home Depot for about $6 a (8′)plank. Overall the wood cost about $40. So far this is my only expense.



Once I had all 4 pieces built I brought the unfinished headboards and foot-boards back into the room. I put the beds back together using the rails I had put aside.


My vision was to place the beds back to back and build a shelf between them so we could display the boys toys and books. I hate to waste space in a bedroom and I noticed the space behind the beds was fairly large. My boys are at the age where they love to build forts so I decided I would make a hideaway under the desk for my boys to play in. For safety reasons I decided that if this was going to be a fort I would need to make it  strong and resistant to weight. I framed out four walls using 2×4’s and cabinet grade plywood. I don’t want the boys getting any splinters. I added 3/4′ plywood to the top as well. Not shown in this picture. I even added some white paneling on the inside for them to draw on. All the wood cost a total of $50.


El wanted to add board and batten to the walls as well. Thanks wife let me get right on that. I do agree with her that it makes a great addition to the space. I used 2.5″ mdf boards and measured them out into 17″ boxes. To adhere them to the wall I used “liquid nails paneling”and finishing nails. If you have a nail gun it will really speed up the process, If not use a punch and hit the nails to recess them into the boards. After I filled the holes with Spackle and used paint-able caulk to seal the cracks between the boards and the wall. The mdf boards are $5 for a (8′) piece. I spent about $80 in total.


The texture on the walls were already smooth so I didn’t need paneling this time. I used a semi gloss white paint to  paint the walls and trim.


After putting up the board and batten it was time to finish the beds. I wanted to complement the wall with a similar design on the headboard. I went with a barn yard door look. I used the excess wood from the old bunk bed to cut into 3 equal pieces of trim using my miter saw. As you can see I nailed 2 on the sides and 1 in the middle. Next I used 2 more pieces of trim and cut them at an angle to create the M pattern in the headboard. For the top I used a piece of molding. If you don’t have spare wood You could use the same mdf boards to achieve the same look. Next was time to paint. We went with Benjamin Moore “Chelsea Gray” in Flat. I highly recommend Benjamin Moore paint. We use it throughout the house and I have always been satisfied.


After painting the beds I added small case molding around the legs to give the bed a little character. As you can see in the image below there is adequate space for the boys to hide out in. I even hung some battery powered led push lights. You don’t want your kids leaving the lights on so battery powered lights are a better choice. For the desk top I used an old Ikea bed headboard. I secured the desk top to the plywood with liquid nails. I also painted the desk with Chelsea Gray.


Now that everything was built and painted, I assembled them together with a few finishing nails. The molding was meant to connect the 2 beds and top shelf together to look like one finished piece.


Here is the finished bed. I’m happy with the way it turned out. It was time to go shopping and I had my eyes on some cute kids room decor at Pottery Barn Kids. They have the best selection for super heroes themed pillows and decals. I also love the anywhere chairs. I choose to go with 2 Gray with white piping anywhere chairs. I found this blue Moroccan Trellis Shag rug (8′ x 10′) at overstock.com. I’ll link a coupon below if you want 10% off your purchase. The bedding is Beddy’s zipper bedding and I did an entire blog on this awesome product.  I hope you find this tutorial useful, please tag @elpetersondesign on Instagram if you end of taking on this DIY project. I would love to see how it turns out. Have a fabulous day everyone and thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned for more DIY projects. XOXO -El


Christian’s Batman side –  Batman Lumbar Sham  ; Batman decal , Batman Pillow case , Batman Light from Pottery Barn Kids is sold out



Gavin’s Spiderman side-  Spiderman pillow sham ,  Spiderman decal , Spiderman pillow case




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