Bunk beds are a fun way to save space in shared bedroom, until the person sleeping on the lower bunk hits their head one too many times when sitting up. Kids usually do not run into this problem, but teens and college students certainly appreciate a bunk bed extension. Creating more distance between the two bunks makes for more comfortable sleeping for whoever draws the lower-bunk straw.
DIY Twin Bunk Bed Extension
Many bunk beds are designed to be used both as bunks and as separate beds, making them a versatile design for small spaces or just a great choice for space saving. This type of stacking beds can be made more comfortable by incorporating a DIY extension. Simply add an extra block that sits between the two beds when they stack on top of each other.
Start by taking a few measurements. Have the bottom bunk's occupant sit up on the edge of the bed. Measure how many inches of clearance he or she needs in order to sit up comfortably. This represents the minimum height of the extension.
Next, separate the bunk beds, noting how they are attached. Most bunk beds have a hole in the center of each corner post. A long rod sits in this hole to connect the two beds. An extension panel must have the same diameter wooden posts with holes in both ends.
Measure the corner posts to determine the size you need. Cut a new post to the desired extension length, remembering the minimum clearance needed for the bottom bunk occupant's safety and comfort, as well as the distance from the top bunk's sleeper to the ceiling. Repeat three more times so that you have four extension posts that are all the same length.
Next, determine the size of the drill bit needed to create a hole that matches the holes in the current bunk bed posts. You can either measure the diameter of the holes or insert drill bits until you find the correct size. Then, carefully measure the location of the current holes. You need to be sure the new holes you drill line up exactly.
Drill the new holes in the posts. Purchase four new rods that area long enough to hold the extension in place. Reassemble the bed.
The Top Bunk May Require Additional Stability
Even without extensions, bunk beds can sometimes seem wobbly. But their stability becomes even more precarious when adding an extension. Consider screwing an additional board or brace connecting the two head boards and foot boards and the extension blocks. This prevents excess movement.
Using a flat bracket, you can also screw the extension block to the upper and/or lower bunk posts to ensure the upper bed will not fall off. As a third option, you could use brackets to screw the top bunk to the wall.
An Alternative Method
If you only need to extend the bed by a few inches, you could take a four-by-four and lay it across the head board posts. Carefully measure where to drill the holes, and purchase longer rods to accommodate the extra inches. Repeat for the foot board posts. This gives you extra height and stability in one fell swoop.
Other Dos and Don'ts
Depending on the bunk bed's manufacturer, you could possibly purchase a commercial extension kit. Note that most bed raisers lift a bed off the floor and do not provide the proper security for a bunk bed. Purchase a kit designed specifically for bunk beds.
Do not stack wood between bunk beds without any kind of fastening system. Beds move around more than we realize! The top bunk could come crashing down without basic precautions.
If you are a college student trying to make your dorm room more comfortable, be sure to check with the university housing department before screwing any fresh holes in a college bunk bed. You don't want to be surprised by a fine for violating housing policies.