We recently moved into a new home and I was very anxious to get my four year old daughter’s room in order, organized and functional. A few years prior, I purchased a full-size bed for her, but soon realized that it eliminated a lot of “play” space for her so I really wanted a loft bed for her. Looking at prices, it was a splurge that I couldn’t justify so when we moved, I begged my husband to help me build her a loft bed and he agreed! This was our very first… yes, VERY first construction project and let me tell you, there was a lot of learning along the way, lol!
Let me start by saying, we are still building the ladder that goes on the front of the bed and the bed needs some touch up paint, especially over the bolts, but I was anxious to share this with all of you, so here’s how we did it!
I love the perks of building our own furniture!!
1. You can choose your own safe and non-toxic materials.
The majority of furniture companies today have moved away from the days of solid wood and natural materials, leaving us with formaldehyde laden particle board and plywood, chemical glues that off gas for months and toxic fumes polluting our indoor air. Indoor air pollution has been found to be 2-5 times worse than outdoor air and the off gassing of chemicals in our homes can lead to allergies, asthma, behavioral issues, cancer and more!
When choosing the materials for the loft bed, we chose solid wood that wasn’t treated or stained.
2. You can choose your own finish/paint.
Paints and wood stains or finishes can be extremely toxic and hazardous to your health, especially for babies and kids. Paint and stain fumes, also known as Volatile Organic Compounds emit hazardous gasses into your home and they can often takes weeks to even years to fully dissipate.
VOC’s from paint can cause:
- Eye and Respiratory Irritant
- Increased risk of Asthma
- Increased risk of Cancer
We chose a primer/sealer and paint that were both No/Zero VOC paint. Many local hardware stores now carry no VOC options, however, if you want to absolutely certain that your paint is the safest, there are some companies who have created their business for this sole purpose. Lullaby Paints are Zero VOC and no odor, Mythic Paint is a Zero VOC and non-toxic paint company, and Benjamin Moore Natura paint is another great option.
It is always very important to choose a low or no VOC paint/finish, however, I always choose the no VOC option when available. Some people have chosen a low VOC paint option from local hardware stores to later find out that the paint still off gasses paint fumes when both painting and when the area is dry. For this reason, as I mentioned, No or Zero VOC paint is a much better option.
3. It’s fully customizable and (sometimes) you can save money!
We learned our lesson the hard way by thinking this project would only cost about $100-$150 as the website indicated. (California prices didn’t help the matter either!) We didn’t have many of the supplies so we pretty much bought everything! With a few mistakes, the paint, primer, wood, materials and about 15+ trips to Lowe’s Hardware Store, the project probably cost us closer to $300-$350. If you know what you are doing and already have some of the nails, bolts and tools, you could probably do the project around $150.
Here is how it turned out!
We followed the blueprint plans from The Design Confidential.
If you are thinking of building this, make sure to read my tips first:
- My husband wasn’t a big fan of this website as there were a few measurement issues, so if you are going to follow their plans, make sure to read all of the reader comments at the bottom of her page.
- We built it a couple inches higher than the blueprints instructed because I felt it was a little too low. The bed sits very high so make sure that you measure where the top of the mattress will be to make sure that you are comfortable with having your child at that height.
For the “hideaway” under the bed, I used curtain cords from IKEA with clips and made curtains that lined the inside of the bed frame. I love these, it makes the curtains so easy to slide!
The bookcase is an old piece that we had from IKEA (Yes, I know!! Gasp, it’s not real wood! However, we bought it many years ago before I knew everything I know now and thank goodness the off gassing is long gone!) One day, I would love to build a new one but for now, this works perfectly under the bed! I love how we can make use of the extra storage on top of the bookcase also!
The pink and white polka dot mat is a temporary solution but it works great for now. Most foam mats are made with toxic materials, such as formamide, that have been linked to cancer, however there are some companies who have had their products tested and their products do not contain formamide or the other materials that have been linked to this finding (which is the product that I have been using as shown in the picture). A great alternative altogether is FLOR carpet tiles. FLOR carpet tiles are not made with toxic glues and most of them are made with recyclable materials.
Thank you for reading, I know this was a long and detailed post!