With our 18 month old attempting to climb out of the crib we decided it was time to transition him to a bed of his own. He would be sharing a room with his 3yr old sister. Rather than having two beds take up precious play space we thought about purchasing a bunk bed. We immediately realized that our 18 month old was not ready for the bottom bunk of most bunk beds since they were so high off the ground. We were also unsure about the ladder that our daughter would have to climb and descend from at night (potty training was in progress). There were a few bunk beds with stairs but most were wrong style, color and configuration for our room.
After a little research I decided to take on the project of utilizing an IKEA Kura Loft Bed and use the IKEA Trofast Toy Storage unit as stairs. The top bunk of the Kura bed is fairly low compared to true bunk beds and the bottom bunk would be on the floor which is ideal for our 18 month old.
- Sanding and painting the Kura frame and Trofast units gray.
- Adding safety railing to the stairs.
- Adding guard rails to the top Kura bunk.
- Adding a shorter bottom step to the Trofast unit.
- Carpeting the stairs.
- Adding a lockable babygate to the bottom of the stairs.
- Adding ambient LED lighting to the stairs for nighttime safety.
To ensure a durable finish, sanding off the clear stain was vital. Sanding and painting all the wood pieces took much longer than I expected. I went with Glidden Diamond Semi-gloss for durability and its No-VOC and low odor formula.
Assembly of the Kura bed and Trofast units was pretty straightforward but be sure to keep the pieces organized in groups. A few of the Kura pieces have numbers printed on them. I used a little blue painters tape to mark them.
Once the assembly of the bed and stairs was complete I performed a test figment of guard rails for the top bunk. I used some 1×2 wood for the rails and secured them to the existing bed frame posts with some wood screws. I reinforced a couple of the vertical supports with some metal mending plates. While we wanted our daughter to be safe we didn’t want too many horizontal bars that would block her vision of the room and the TV.
Note once I completed assemble of the Trofast unit, I reinforced each step with metal braces since it was not designed to be a staircase.
Next up was the safety railing. I have no experience when it comes to designing or building railing for steps so this took a little longer than I expected. Prior to making any cuts I had our daughter walk up the steps and I marked where her hands touched the wall when she needed stability. I used those measurements for the height of the railing. Like the guard rails, I secured the top of the railing to the bed frame and to the vertical risers of the Trofast unit. I also reinforced the 1x2s with metal mending plates.
Before securing all the railing pieces I attached a custom bottom step that was only 6.5″ in height rather than the 11″ of the first “step” of the Trofast unit.
I decided to add carpet to the stairs for safety and comfort. I used a Mohawk carpet runner and added some padding while I was at it. To ensure long term durability I secured the carpet to the stairs using some tackless strips and some 1/2″ staples.
To round out the safety features I added a baby gate with self-closing hinges and a sliding lock to ensure our 18 month old would not be climbing the stairs without our knowledge.
Here is the final product. We are truly happy with the end result and the kids love their new bed!