How to Build a Ladder for a Loft Bed

  • Lots of things happen. Sometimes you get a loft bed or a bunk bed first and only then recognize that you need a way to climb up to it.
  • It is pretty easy and cheap to build a ladder for a bunk or loft bed if you have the right equipment and instructions.
  • Below you’ll find a short and straightforward explanation about how to build a ladder for a bunk bed.

Loft beds and bunk beds are very practical and modern space-saving alternatives especially if you have a smaller apartment. A loft bed for girls, boys, or adults is also a fun way to boost an overall interior of your living space.

Now sometimes loft beds or bunk beds come without a ladder and it makes it very challenging for everyone to climb up to it. Luckily, it’s not that difficult to make your own DIY ladder at home, with only minimal equipment needed!

Make the Measurements of the Ladder

To find out what amount of the wooden boards you’ll need for your project – first and foremost you have to make some measurements:

  • Measure the height of the sides of the ladder.  Starting from the upper rails of your loft bed and continuing to the floor, measure what length should the two sides of your ladder be.
  • Measure the width of the sides of the ladder. The most popular dimensions are 2x6s or 2x4s – decide which option would work for you the best.
  • Measure the number of rungs you’ll need. The number of rungs needed will depend on the height of the ladder. Usually, it’s recommended to leave the 8 – 12 inches gap between rungs. No smaller or bigger.
  • Measure the length of the rung. Think practically – how wide should be the ladder for you to feel comfortable climbing it up? Also, if there’s an ‘entrance’ to the top of the loft bed – you can measure the width of that ‘entrance’ and cut equal width rungs.
  • Measure the width of the rung. The same approach here – how much space should there be left for your feet to feel stable when climbing up those stairs?

Cutting the Bottom of the Sides

  • Measure the angle of the ladder. To get the ladder flush with the floor, use a sliding level. Simply place each side of the ladder to the top part of the loft, take a sliding level, and start measuring from a backside of the foot. Then, draw the straight line marking where the foot of the side will meet the floor.
  • Cut the unnecessary part. Take a saw and cut the part of the bottom of the sides following the line you have drawn.
  • Attach adjustable feet to the bottom parts of both sides in order to protect your floor from scratching and also to make the bed ladder standing even more stable.

TIP: The most common angle used to bunk or loft ladders is 15 degrees.

Measure and Cut the Tops of the Sides

As for the top parts of the sides, there are some things that need to be done in order to ensure the safety of the ladder:

  • Cut off the unnecessary parts. It is recommended to leave about 3-4 inches above the upper rail and to cut out the remaining parts of the boards using the saw.
  • Round out the scratchy edges. Using a sander – round out the edges of the top sides so that anyone who’s climbing the ladder would not get hurt or scratched. In other words – make them nice and soft.

Cut the Rungs

Now that you have two nicely made sides of the bed ladder, it’s time to make those stairs!

  • Cut out the rungs. Use the measurements or the rungs you made earlier and cut out equal pieces of wood.
  • Get yourself some clamps or braces. Depending on the number of the rungs you’ll need, get yourself clamps that would hold the stairs stable. For each rung, there should be two clamps attached to each side.

Attach the rungs

  • Measure about 8 inches from the floor and draw the lines on the inside of both sides of the ladder (in order to know where to screw).
  • Round out the rungs. Similarly, as with the sides of the ladder – you need to make sure that rungs are nice and soft and your clothes won’t get caught by the scratchy edges of the rungs every time you climb up your bunk bed ladder.
  • Move upwards marking the same lines on both ladder sides every 8-10 inches (Depending how much of a gap you have decided to leave between the rungs).

TIP: Do not place the last rung higher than the top rail of the bunk.

Drill the Holes

Time for some drilling! Now, follow the marked lines you made on each side of the ladder – you will have to drill two holes on each line from the inside out of each ladder side. Use the power drill to make it.

Insert Wood Screws

Once all the holes are drilled from the inside out – take two 3 1/2-inch wood screws and insert them into each hole. In general, there should be 2 wood screws per side. Make sure the screws are attached securely and the runs do not move around.

Important: After the wood screws are inserted, take the clamps, and use them to affix each side of the rung to both sides of the ladder. Check every rung carefully and make sure it’s stable.

Paint your Bunk Bed Ladder

Finally! The funniest part has come. Now that you have made your DIY ladder for a bunk bed – it’s time to color it and implement it to an overall interior of your room.

Important: Before you grab a bucket of paint – make sure that all the parts of the ladder are sanded and the primer has been already applied and dried up.

Now if the ladder is already dry, nice, and smooth – choose whatever paint you like and color your ladder. Finally, before you put your ladder in use – check if it’s dried up completely.

Here you go! Your one and only bunk bed ladder that you made with your bare hands are ready for use. Hope you’re feeling proud of yourself (because we definitely are). Good luck!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Like any other furniture, loft beds can be safe and unsafe if you don't use it on purpose. If your loft bed is elevated higher from the floor - make sure it has appropriate stairs or ladder. Also, pay attention to the bed railings - they are very important in order to ensure your safety while you sleep.
It really depends on how are they made. If you make the ladders yourself, make sure you follow the instructions carefully and test it before you use it.
There are various types of ladders for loft beds and bunk beds. If the ladder came together with your bed - there will definitely be some instructions on how to install it. If you have made ladder yourself, then you can choose your own way to attach them to your loft bed.
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