E.’s Castle Loft Bed


The Land of Nod

E.’s room is small…about 7′ by 7.5′, to be exact. In fact, the person we bought our house from used E.’s room as a walk-in closet.  I don’t have any “before” pictures of her room, but suffice it to say that her space was cramped.  Her bed was against one wall and took up about half of the room.  The rest of the space was dominated by toy storage bins and a Tinker Bell play kitchen.  That left very little room for anything else.  After awhile, it became clear that this system (to be honest, it was really more of a complete lack of system) really wasn’t working.

Some serious brainstorming sessions later, I decided that a loft bed would let us create more usable space because E.’s play space could be underneath the bed.  I looked at lots and lots of different kinds of loft beds.  E. wanted a castle loft bed, but the price tag on it was in the $2,000 dollar range, and would take up more than half of her room.  Needless to say, that was way outside of the range of possibility.

I went to look at a loft bed that was for sale locally, but it seemed to be very flimsy and the sides were way too low.  Also, it was pretty much just a frame, and wouldn’t hide the toys (translation: mess) underneath it.  I began thinking that maybe I could build something that was between the ultra fancy castle and the plain loft bed…and most importantly would fit our small budget of $275.00.

After some planning, I came up with a design that had a castle facade, complete with a working door.  I bought four 4’x8′ sheets of  1/4″ plywood for a cost of about $40, two 8′ long untreated 4×4 posts, which cost $18 for both.  The mattress frame is made of about 6 2×4’s, for a total of $12.  The 2×4’s are not seen from the outside, so I opted to go for a lower grade lumber that was about half the price of the high quality stuff.    I cut the 8′ 4×4 posts in half, so that each one was about 4′ tall.  Using 3 1/2″ lag screws, I attached my 2×4 mattress frame to the wall,  then I used 4″ screws ($16.00) to attach the frame to the 4×4 posts.  A sheet of 3/4″ mdf plywood (about $20.00) was then laid on top of the mattress frame.  I attached the plywood to the mattress frame with 2″ wood screws for increased stability.

The two pieces of plywood that made up the front of the castle facade were cut down to 6′ and then trimmed the sides to fit the length of the mattress frame.  Since I wanted the castle to have a working door, I drew an arched door shape onto the two facade pieces that would make up the front of the castle.  I carefully cut these out with a scroll saw, because I intended use them to create the door. I also cut out a gothic window on either side of the door.

From another sheet of the 1/4″ plywood, I cut a 6’x2′ strip and another 6’x2′.3″ strip for a castellated parapet at the top of the facade.  I used  some of the leftover plywood from the front parapet to create frames for the two windows in the front, a partial castle wall and parapet at the foot of the bed where E. would climb up a ladder into the bed.

While I was planning this part of the project, I stumbled across an email I had largely ignored from Ikea.  They had the most perfect toy storage item that could also double as stairs!  I splurged and bought it as well as a pack of shelves, 6 coordinating toy storage bins, which you can see here and here.  For $89.00, I turned what would have been wasted space (just a plain ladder) into usable storage space.  It is a little bit wider than the bed, but it only stands out a few inches from the front of the castle, and it isn’t really noticeable.

E. wanted a gold castle, but I wasn’t sure about having so much metallic paint in such a small room.  As a compromise, I chose shades of yellow.  First, I painted all of the pieces except the mattress frame and a creamy yellow/white  base color.  Next, I used a dark golden yellow to paint the outlines of stones, giving the impression of mortar lines.  Using a sea sponge, I patted on some medium yellow to give some depth to the “stones”.  Then, I used a stiff bristle paint brush to dipped in a mixture of clear glaze, burnt sienna and burnt umber acrylic artists colours, and also used the glaze to define the left and bottom edge of each stone.  Lastly, I used the light base color to define the top and right edges of each stone.

After the pieces were thoroughly dried, I attached the two large facade pieces to the 4×4 posts and mattress frame with screws.  I added two 4′ long supports made from 2″x2″ lumber on either side of the doorway.

Once the facade was up, all that was left to do was make the door…which was probably the most time consuming part of the entire project.  I opted to use liquid nails instead of screws because the frame pieces were thin, made of 1″/2″ lumber.  I made a 1/2″ wide curve (drawn to match the curve at the top of the door) out of a piece of scrap lumber I had left over from an entertainment center I built.  I cut two vertical supports (one for each side of the door) and a horizontal support for the bottom of the door.  At the top of the vertical support, and at the two bottom ends of the curved one, I drilled a 1/4″ hole.  I filled the holes with liquid nails and inserted a small dowel in the vertical pieces, joining them with the curved piece (which had its ends coated with glue).  The bottom horizontal support was attached with glue only.  I clamped the pieces together and let them sit for about 24 hours to dry.  Next, I glued the two facade pieces I cut out to make the hole for the door to my now-dry and cured frame.  These were also clamped together and left to cure for another 24 hours.  After all of the glue was dry, I sanded the door to remove any rough edges (there were a lot, because I bought a lower grade of lumber).

E. wanted her castle to have a red door, so I painted it with a coat of red enamel.  The enamel was very thin, and some of the wood grain was visible underneath. It was quite nice looking, so rather than give it a second coat, I chose to paint faux boards in line with the wood grain.  I wanted big, intricate iron hinges on the door, so I went online and looked for pictures of  antique hinges.  When I found a unique looking pair of hinges for sale on Ebay, I copied the picture, enlarged it, cut it out and used it as a template.  I taped it to the front of the door and traced around it, making three faux hinges on the door.  I painted them black, using gray and white as accent colors to make them stand out.  I also painted a large iron ring “handle” on the opposite side of the door.  After all of the painting was done, I painted the entire door with about three coats of clear gloss enamel.  When at last the clear coat was dry, I attached the door to the castle facade with three black cabinet hinges.

E. also wants roses painted on the castle, but so far, I have only had time to paint on the leaves and vines.  Here are some pictures of her new room (sadly, there are only two of the room as a work in progress)!

Work in Progress

E.'s bed in progress!


Front of the castle

Painted front of the castle, waiting for the door to dry.

castle loft bed stairs

The loft bed stairs...still waiting for the door to dry.

Someday, I’ll get around to painting the stairs to match the rest of the bed.

Stairs to the loft bed

Stairs to the loft bed

Red Castle Door

Finally the castle door is in place! I also seem to have been holding the camera at a weird angle...

castle door

The door! Again!

The foot of the loft bed

The foot of the bed.


I had to show her bedding, it's so cute!

there is a pea!

The details in it are fabulous. There is a pea!

...and a frog prince!

...and a frog prince!

the lamp in E's room

Which matches the lamp in E's room!

More storage

The storage bins under the stairs. It's so nice to finally have a place for everything!

Plenty of room

The Tinker Bell kitchen in its new home under the bed. E. has enough room to play with it now.

Toy bins

And her old toy storage bins fit. It's a miracle!

There is plenty of space to play under the bed, and the rest of the room (usually) stays clean:

Tidy, tidy!

Tidy, tidy!

looking down

A view from the top, looking down.

 The best part of all is that E. loves it!

The best part of all is that E. loves it!

For the final cost, we came in just slightly under budget at $231.00…and that includes the $89.00 storage system from Ikea.  Awesome!   Of course, the fact that E. enjoys it makes it absolutely priceless!


posted under Finished Projects
4 Comments to

“E.’s Castle Loft Bed”

  1. Avatar September 16th, 2011 at 9:21 am Anonymous Says:

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  3. Avatar January 11th, 2012 at 11:29 am Dario Says:

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  4. Avatar May 12th, 2016 at 6:26 pm Cindy Abrams Says:

    We bought a castle bed for my daughter this Christmas and she loves it. She can t stop playing with it and after a long day of fun she goes to bed on it. Also we bought the disney princess sheets, comforter, and curtains they all go well with this bed. It’s only plastic, but my daughter loves her princess room!

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