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Frame and Finish a Sleeping Loft

Why build a sleeping loft? Maybe to add space to a small bedroom. Maybe to spice up a dull bedroom. Maybe because, as in this case, the family teenager plays a truckload of saxophones, and a sleeping loft would induce him to spend more time in the garage that he's claimed as his studio. That, at least, was the thinking of John and Michelle, wise parents who realized that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" was first uttered by the parent of a sax player…

Having built a series of sleeping lofts, I've come to think of them as the ideal weekend project. Using basic tools-a circular saw and a drill (and a router if you have one)-you can delight the child in your life.

The basic limitation on lofts is ceiling height; I would not build one unless the ceiling is the standard 8', and even that makes for a snug fit. In an 8' room, place the bottom of the frame 50" off the floor; this provides 40" of room above the bed, and enough to put a desk or storage below it. To minimize height requirements, rest the mattress inside the frame, not on top of it. 2 × 6 makes a good frame; since few mattresses are thinner than this, 2 × 6 doesn't waste any more space than a 2 ×4 frame.

A sleeping loft requires serious support, provided by lag-bolting the frame to the studs (lag bolts are big screws with hexagonal heads). For simplicity, build the frame on the floor and have helpers hoist it into position.

Step 1: Loft Placement

The room's floor plan usually governs the placement of the loft. We built in a corner, but you can also build into an alcove, or against one wall. While scouting your location, note the stud placement. Rather than placing a frame corner more than 8" away from a stud, move or enlarge the loft so the corners can be supported by studs.

Since corners are probably the most popular location for sleeping lofts, that's what we'll describe here.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Improvements © 2004 by David J. Tenenbaum. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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