How to Modify or Convert Bunk Beds

Bunk beds in a room.
What You'll Need
Bunk beds
Sandpaper— fine and very fine grade
Paint or stain
Optional furniture

One of the best and easiest ways to modify or convert bunk beds is to purchase an unfinished set that can be customized with paint colors. Additionally, cost-conscious consumers that find bargains on used bunk beds may choose this path to go where a refinishing project will update the tired look of an old, well-worn piece of furniture. Furthermore, you may wish to adapt the traditional bed bunk configuration to suit your personal needs. Here are a few suggestions.

Step 1 - Choose Paint

Often you can purchase an unfinished set of children’s bunk beds that you can personalize by selecting a color scheme that is your own. It is important to buy latex-based, non-toxic paint. If your child is old enough to collaborate, allow input. This will make him or her feel invested in the project. You can also allow him or her to participate in the painting.

Step 2 - Sand the Furniture

Before painting the bunk beds the selected colors, first sand all surface areas with fine grit sandpaper and then wipe free from all dust. Lightly sand once again, this time using a very fine grit sandpaper and again wipe it dust free.

Step 3 - Apply Primer

Your first coat, called topcoat, should be a special paint known as a primer. Do not skip this step because if you do, any imperfections in the unfinished wood such as knots or burrs will definitely show through if not primed. The paint will not stick well to unfinished furniture if not primed properly. Make sure the primer is thoroughly stirred and apply it to the entire surface area using long even strokes. Allow it to dry before lightly sanding with very fine grit paper. Make sure to wipe away any dust before proceeding.

Step 4 - Apply Paint

Bunk beds in a room.

The final step is to apply your selected paint color or colors. This is called a topcoat. Again, pay attention to your painting strokes making sure these are smooth and even. Always paint in one direction without stroking back and forth. The best method is to follow the wood grain. Let the paint dry thoroughly and then inspect it. If the primer coat shows through, once again lightly sand, wipe the furniture dust free and apply a second coat.

Step 5 - Change the Look - Make an Addition

Consider adding another element to your bunk bed such as under platform storage drawers or even wall shelving next to the unit. Some ambitious projects might be an extension added on the end that includes a matching chest of drawers. Use your imagination when seeking to enhance the bunk beds. Velcro straps allow for hanging storage bags that play home to stuffed animals at night when occupied or act as storage for small toys like play cars or dolls attached to your double bunk beds.

Check out auctions, garage sales, and flea markets to find inexpensive drawers or other accents to modify your bunk beds.