Things to Consider When Building a Bunk Bed Futon

A Bunk bed futon is a practical way to save on space and still provide enough places to sleep for overnight guests or children sharing a room. You can build your own with basic carpentry skills and the correct tools, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind when planning this project. These include fitting the bunk bed's measurements to the rest of the room, choosing the best building materials, and planning for safety issues.

Couches vs. Beds

The most common structure of a bunk bed has the bottom bunk as the versatile couch that collapses into a bed. There is the option to build both bunks as couches-into-beds, but this has not been proved to be the safest or most practical option. Your best bet is to use the bottom bunk as both a couch and sleeping area.


When building the headboards and footboards yourself for a futon bun bed, it is recommended to cut each post no more than seven feet high--shorter is preferred. Take into consideration the heights of both your ceiling and those of the sleepers who will be using the bunk bed futon. Futon bunk bed frames usually come in the size of a double bed, give or take. Plan ahead how this will fit with the rest of the furniture for the most practical use of space.

Ladder Access

It is recommended to attach a bunk bed ladder to the headboard or footboard of a futon bunk bed, rather than to the side. Metal futon frames are not designed for you to add a ladder securely enough to the side without the chance of it coming loose under a climber's weight. Make sure you attach the ladder to the end of the bunk bed that is not too close to the wall or another piece of furniture, so as not to make it difficult to access the top bunk.

Building Materials

Wood and metal are the most common types of materials for futon bunk beds, and both have their pros and cons. Metal frames often fit better with modern furniture designs, but wood is popular for the wide variety of colors and stains that are available for it. This gives more versatility in making your bunk bed posts coordinate with the rest of the room.

Many DIY builders find that wood pieces are simpler to assemble when constructing a futon bunk bed frame. Wood posts and other parts can be secured together with screws and will stand up to many years of wear and tear. Wood bunk bed futons need to be thoroughly sanded and finished to prevent the wood from weakening over time. This part of the project is more labor intensive, but necessary to preserve structural integrity.  

If you decide to build your bunk bed entirely out of metal, keep in mind that working with metal posts and frames can be a challenging undertaking unless you are familiar with welding techniques. Many metal bunk bed futon frames now come preassembled and simply need to be screwed onto wooden posts, headboards, and footboards. This combination of wood and metal often makes the most durable futon bunk bed.