How to: Live large in a small space

By Don and Dave Runyan, Special to the Times
Published November 24, 2007

If you're a do-it-yourselfer with children or grandchildren, this sturdy, attractive bunk bed is a great way to multiply their personal space without remodeling or moving. The project combines a bed, desk and closet in an area the size of a standard twin bed, freeing up the rest of the room for more important things - like toys, games or even a sibling.

Above, the bed holds a standard twin-size mattress, has railings for safety and is accessed by a permanently attached ladder. Below, there's a desk top large enough for a computer (complete with a handy pull-out keyboard shelf) and a generous closet behind saloon-style swinging doors. The unit has two large drawers and a large cabinet in front.

Built mostly from five sheets of veneer plywood (birch is pictured, but other woods will work), the project is easy enough for most woodworkers. Most of the cuts are straight (with patterns for the curves on the doors) and construction is straightforward. Since the bunk bed isn't easy to move around, final assembly should be accomplished where the unit will be used.

The completed project measures about 78 inches long by 54 inches tall by 42 inches deep.

The 3-in-1 Bunk Bed plan, No. 844, is $9.95 and includes step-by-step instructions with photos, construction diagrams, a shopping list and cutting schedule and a toll-free help line for project questions.

A package of three plans for kids' beds, No. C161, is $22.95 and includes this plan plus plans for a bunk bed and a car bed. A free catalog picturing dozens of do-it-yourself projects is also available. Please include $4 for postage and handling and allow about two weeks for delivery.

To order by mail, clip this article and send it with a check or money order to U-Bild Features, c/o St. Petersburg Times, 3800 Oceanic Drive, Suite 107, Oceanside, CA 92056. To order by credit card, call toll-free 1-800-828-2453. Visit U-Bild on the Web at u-bild.com.