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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Second Level Kids Bunk Room Bunk Beds Opener With Copy

Ah, the Pinterest-famous bunk room. It’s up there with “outdoor kitchen” or “organized garage”—they exist mostly in magazines but they are part of the lifestyle-mafia “must have” checklist which taunts normal people on a daily basis. And I want one. Ironically, I don’t think I’ve ever actually been in a bunk room myself, so it seems like an odd thing to covet when I’m a virgin to its lifestyle benefits. But from what I can tell on social media, a bunk room ensures that my kids scamper to their room quietly, eager to tuck themselves into their own cozy spaces and sleep soundly through the night, waking at 8:30 am only to whisper adorable pretend-conspiracy dialogue to each other on their walkie-talkies.

Let’s revisit this fantasy land before I get into the fantasy plan…

Emily Henderson Lake House Befores

It wasn’t exactly full of youthful magic when we bought the house. Please remember this was the window-less master bedroom. We made the nearby extra family room the new master and this will become the kids bunk room. We debated the other upstairs bedroom being the kids room as it has an attached bathroom, but there is something so secretly amazing about the location of this room…IT HAD TO BELONG TO OUR KIDS.

Here’s the original floor plan (with overlays of what we were proposing), followed by the final floor plan, where you’ll see those swaps more easily.

Emily Henderson Lake House Floor Plan Second Floor Entire Floor Changes 021 Emily Henderson Lake House Floor Plan

So before starting the design for our magical bunk room land, we look for inspiration, of course. And we found a ton.

Built-In Bunk Beds Room
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The shiplap, the slate-y blue color, the little nooks and under-bed storage of the bottom bunk, the tongue-and-groove ceiling of the built-in…so much good here.

Built-In Bunk Beds
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What I love about the above is the mix of wood and metal which feels fresh, but probably too cold for us. This image is actually from a higher-end hostel in Bangkok (so not built specifically for kids) but that material play is great inspiration. Also, a concrete floor isn’t exactly what our cozy cabin needs.

Blue Bunk Beds With Ladder
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Ooh, but a blue and brass number isn’t exactly out of my wheelhouse like concrete floors are. This is probably not Scandi enough for what I’m aiming for in the mountain house, but it’s so wonderful. That rolling ladder is awesome (even though it’s on carpet so not sure how well it rolls without having to lift it up, but WHO CARES IT’S SO CUTE). Oh and um those draperies…I have mini curtain fantasies.

But where are the safety railings?

Do you want to kill your children?

Have you not seen this season of the “Bachelorette” where that one dude falls off the top bed and smashes his face with dramatic there-is-blood-everywhere commentary? HE WAS IN THE ICU FOR DAYS. I will not put my kids in the ICU on television with millions watching (or ever).

Built-In Bunk Beds
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I love the darker color of the above shot. It feels cozy, functional and safe but special. The idea of stairs (versus a ladder) is nice, and these look to have storage so…that’s a plus.

Bunk Room Inspirations
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The pipes and wood certainly feel cabin-y but maybe not totally right for the rest of the house.

We knew that we wanted something like all of the ones we showed you above, but we had some challenges. We needed to build around the master bathroom plumbing, which also had to be accessible:

Not impossible, of course, but…something we definitely had to work around.

In my effort to utilize the value of my talented team, I asked Julie to take a stab at reading my mind (and finding a solution/workaround for the bathroom plumbing). She knows this project really well (and has done a fantastic job so far) so with my direction, she designed the first round of our built-in bunk beds and after a few edits we got to this:

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Second Level Kids Bunk Room Bunk Beds 01

I’ll show you the first edits in my Instagram stories but honestly, they were so close to the final that it felt redundant to put in this post. Stylistically, we need to keep the theme of the house (reminder: a mix of refined-Scandi-chalet and rustic-California-cabin), and though it’s not easy, I think this is headed in the right direction. Here was the general direction I tasked her with:

1. Maximum bed space: We wanted two twins over a pair of full beds, so we can maximize the beds (also, so when it’s just our kids, we can read, cuddle and potentially sleep with them in the bottom bunks). Charlie is in a “please lay with me” phase and we are used to a full bed at our house so we’ll continue that phase as long as he wants (P.S. we give him the option of me laying with him for one, two or three minutes and he always chooses three minutes, but is generally ready for me to leave then).

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Second Level Kids Bunk Room Bunk Beds 03

2. Storage and shelving (in a clean, safe way): Because of some bath components and mechanisms in the nearby bathroom (the ones we showed you in the construction shot above), we had to build the wall out a bit at the bottom for pipes and electrical for my fancy bubble tub, so we inset some shelving and included a brass bar to keep books, water glasses and/or art intact.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Second Level Kids Bunk Room Bunk Beds 06a

3. Lighting: Each bed should have their own controllable on/off reading light with its own switch. The light needed to be safe (no bare bulb that could burn/hurt them) and not project too far out to hit heads.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Second Level Kids Bunk Room Bunk Beds 04

4. Safety: We know that our kids and our friends’ kids are going to rough-house, play, take physical risks and probably misbehave. We are big believers (fine, I’M a big believer) that every injury without an ER visit is a SUCCESS and should be celebrated. It means their brain just learned more about risk-taking and their body learned more about their physical environment. So I don’t want to make this a fortress. A guardrail is important, but a cage will make them unsafe in the long run. Not that anyone does that, but I’m justifying my only one-rail choice. Will they jump from top to bottom? Maybe. But I’m not going to create a padded room. They’ll learn and they won’t be reckless.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Second Level Kids Bunk Room Bunk Beds 05

We also have a railing going up the stairs/ladder to help with stability. I’m LOVING those brass details.

There are little-hidden cabinets inside, that don’t hold much but could house water, a nightlight and favorite books.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Second Level Kids Bunk Room Bunk Beds 07

The outside of the cabinetry has the same grooves that WERE in the kitchen cabinetry (that we’ve since changed to be easier to clean) with cute little latches. When opened, it would have a pretty clad interior. This is the same wood that is at the back of the bed built-ins and some of the ceilings because it echoes the tones of the living room ceiling (we didn’t want to all of a sudden jump into a hardwood like walnut or teak and this cedar is really pretty).

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Second Level Kids Bunk Room Bunk Beds 08

The same cedar is on the headboard wall and adds a ton of warmth and texture to the room. We wanted a darker, cozier feeling in here so that dark green and wood combo does it and obviously feels very “mountain-y.”

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Second Level Kids Bunk Room Bunk Beds 13

I’m VERY excited for this. Our GC has an in-house carpentry studio and he quoted us $7,500 – $8,500. I was very scared it was going to be cost prohibitive after we did all the renderings, but since we had to do this build out with the wall, doing something custom was necessary or else we would have had to lose a foot of the room.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Second Level Kids Bunk Room Bunk Beds 14

Here’s an “in action” walkthrough of it all:

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Bunk Room Update Bunk Beds Walk Through

I’m so excited about it and so grateful for a design team who can do these beautiful renderings that help get the design and details dialed in early on. But if you have any suggestions or concerns, speak up now because it’s going into production!


  1. The kids will love them and have so much fun! We had a bunk room and it was great, although VERY hard to make the beds. I’m sure you will be thoughtful about it but do some test runs with sheets and blankets, because making the bunks ended up driving me a bit crazy.

    1. Exactly my thought. And based on experience, it’s even harder when there is a double bed on the bottom.

    2. LOL that was my first thought too, making up bunk beds is NO fun!

    3. This! We have bunkbeds for our kiddos, and I basically have to halfway lift out the top mattress to put the darn fitted sheet on it. Shop for bunk mattresses (which are thankfully 6 inches instead of 14 or whatever) that are lighter, in case you also realize the feats of strength are the only way to change sheets.

      Also – I love the design! Looks beautiful, and well thought-out.

    4. Bedding from Beddy’s!

    5. We gave the mattresses in our bunk room an “upholstered” look (removable, washable mattress covers in upholstery weight quilted fabric) and had sleeping bags made in a coordinating fabric that are easily washable and makes it so easy for the kids to make their beds each morning.

      1. Beddy’s is the answer to this problem! They are wonderful – and my kids don’t even have bunk beds (just beds that are pushed up against the wall on one side).

      2. Great idea!

      3. Great idea! Did a seamstress make the sleeping bags?

      4. That sounds cool

  2. I love the Smithhanes inspiration photo (the one with stairs right above the pipes one). I am digging your design too except for the top safety rail. For that, 1) I want it to tie into the wall and basically be an L instead of having the wall-side up-down post, since I think an L will look cleaner and also be structurally stronger. 2) I want the rail to be rounded. As an adult who has gouged herself on a nightstand more than once, I want rounded edges near my face at night.

    1. I like the idea of an L rail also and rounded. I kept wanting the rail to be the brass also. Making the beds is a real challenge. My queen bed has to be against the wall and it is VERY difficult but because of the size of the room there is no other choice, i.e. bunk beds. Hummm, maybe there is an new magic tutorial out there.

      1. Drawl on top of it.

    2. Interesting. I like this configuration for the rails better than an L; this seems more balanced. If one side tied into the wall, I’d want the other side to tie into the end post.

    3. I like the idea of an L rail as well. As they get bigger, they definitely will just sit in that spot and jump down and that was one of my favorite parts of my bunk bed growing up!

  3. The plan is lovely, but I’m worrying about making those beds.

    Having just spent a week in my family place, which has a bunkroom and also a separate cabin with a bed that has a twin on top and a double on bottom, I’m trying to figure out how you will make those beds. It is really hard to put sheets on a top bunk, especially when there is a safety bar. And it’s even harder when there’s a double bed beneath. And the double bed isn’t exactly easy either, when there’s another bed right above it. I bumped my head twice just putting on a mattress pad.

    The plan is great, don’t change a thing – but if you can think of a nifty way to make changing sheets less acrobatic, please let us know. Maybe if the mattresses were light enough to come down and the sheets were like pillow cases? Or if they were fitted sheets that had some way of holding the sides in place while you toss it back up into place?

    1. https://beddys.com
      Is a great resource for easy to use sheets and blankets meant for kids rooms and bunk beds. Created by a mom who realized making a bunk bed was really difficult and starting making beddy’s as a solution.

  4. So where /how do you access the plumbing? I want all the deets! Also, I stayed in a bunk set up like this (with other 20/30 yr old adults) for a vacation at a lake and FREAKING LOVED IT! They had power outlets built in the most convenient spots that I wouldn’t have even thought to have considered (for our phone charging obsessed world). The whole thing was hands. down. amazing.

    1. Yes, sad but true — always put plugs near every bedside.

    2. Yes! Definitely make sure there are charging outlets by each bunk… Even if your kids don’t have smart phones now, other guests might!

    3. The power outlets by each bed was going to be my comment too. I saw an outlet in the rendering, inside the lower cabinet, so that solves the issue on the lower beds. I was also thinking that’s best for adult guests who unfortunately are glued to our phones at all times.

  5. I haven’t been following this process closely so please excuse the newb question, but….why did you remove the closet in the bunk room and add a staircase?? Seems like such an odd choice. Love the rich color you and mix of wood and brass though! So cozy.

    1. The staircase goes up to a little attic room and there’s a still a small closet under the stairs.

      1. Oooooh cool!!

  6. What if the drawers on the lower bunks have a larger “face” that allows for a consistent, even border on the front? (Even if when you open the drawer, the interior would be shallow, since the mattress takes up half the depth.) Or have a fake matching drawer front above the working one, to really make it look custom? Second the rounded edges of the bars, too.

  7. My suggestion is make the top bunk low enough that you reach the top mattress to change the sheets. Use fitted sheets to make it easier to make.

    In terms of the bottom bunk – can you make it a trestle bed style so that you can pull it out when needed but push it away when not required and makes access to the top bunk easier?

    Also – having a full sized double bed under the top bunk makes a very tempting landing spot for children to dive onto from the top!

  8. This is gorgeous, they are going to have so much fun (and they’re definitely going to jump off the top bunks)

  9. Love, love, love this! My in laws built a bunk room in their new house for the grandkids and they all love it! Each has their own little space. They each decorate them differently with washi taped art work..it’s too cute.

    Someone mentioned a charging outlet and love that idea as the kids age and of course when you have adult weekends and friends stay in the bunk room. Bed schmed. Yes, bunk beds are a pain in the arse to make, but the fun outweighs the not so fun!

    Oh the memories your family will make in this home! So excited for you.

    1. Agreed! Maybe the outlets can be tucked in the cabinets as long as there is room to lay an iPhone in there too… not that they will have phones anytime soon. Or they could be placed in a non visible way along the book shelves. This room is going to be the setting for so many wonderful memories for your kids 🙂

  10. Can you adopt me? I want to be a kid that gets to sleep in this room. Just stunning.

  11. These are amazing and honestly that price is sort of amazing for building something of that quality out! I am stealing a tip from Chris Loves Julia but it’s a smart one… make sure you have somewhere besides the light itself to control the lights, otherwise when the kiddos fall asleep (especially up top) with the light on, you won’t be able to turn it off. Can’t wait to see this one!

    1. That is a really thoughtful comment (about the lights). I agree!

    2. GREAT IDEA about the second switch for the lights away from the bunk for parents. Brilliant!

  12. love them plan! I would highly highly recommend putting outlets in each bunk. We have this same condition at a vacation home and as an adult with things to charge, phones, ipads, ect.. outlets in each bunk is such a life saver!

  13. What computer modeling program and rendering program do you guys use? The drawings look amazing and love the design of the bunk beds!

    1. I second this question! I also LOVE the design. It’s so friggin’ cute.

    2. I second this question! I thought maybe it’s sketchup with a light rendering plug-in? Also, I LOVE the design. So friggin’ cute!.

    3. I’d also love to use what program/software you are using 🙂
      What a fabulous room it will be!

    4. You guys are right! We use Sketchup to model the interiors and the SU Podium plug-in with SKP to make the renderings! You can add the lights that you want using the plug-in and it also comes with a lighting warehouse 🙂

      1. Great, thank you Emily!

  14. Another caution about doing some thinking ahead of time about changing the beds. My girls have twin bunks with the thinner mattress, which on one hand are helpful since I can literally take the top mattress down to change it. (That said, fitted sheets don’t fit well, so I found these bungee cord clip things to keep the sheets on tightly.) We recently got “bunk bed hugger” comforters, which have been amazing – the bottom edge is like a fitted sheet, and I was able to specify the mattress depth so there’s not five extra feet of comforter flapping around – much easier for my girls to deal with!

    I love the idea of a bunk room though, so fun!

  15. The bunk room will be so much fun, but the bed making is a nightmare! Maybe you can do something with a sleeping bag/ sleepsac situation with a bottom mattress cover that doesn’t need to be changed as often…. The bed rail as is is a little concerning to me as we did have one er run for chin stitches after a jumping on the bed and falling on a corner incident. Maybe a railing more like the first example would work. My son’s bunk bed had a single board, attached to the vertical with some sort of bracket that allowed easy removal, which sort of helped with bedmaking… Also, I’m not sure I’d even bother with the cabinet doors as they just seem like an opportunity for injury, and the shelves wold look great even without them…

  16. There are zip off sheets made specially for bunk beds to make them easier to change. Also check out Beddies – it’s an all in one set that somehow goes on a bunk bed. I’ve never tried this but it looks pretty clever.

  17. I have a whole Pinterest board of bunkrooms and no kids! I don’t know what it is but I love the look of them.

    Random aside – I really struggled with my vote on the kitchen design because I preferred option 1, but thought the cabinet fronts were extremely busy and the white looked way busier than the gray. The note that you went another direction made me really happy:)

  18. Love the built-in bunk beds! Chris Loves Julia did that for their girls in the girl’s shared bedroom. You should def check it out, it turned out really nice. Great inspiration in the post Emily. I can’t wait to see what you do, your kids will LOVE the bunk beds, and they will def jump from the top bunk!

    1. I 2nd this. They added light switches that were accessible to the parents on the outside edges of the beds to avoid having to climb up and turn off lights if a kiddo falls asleep with the light on. Also, charging plugs in each section is genius.

  19. Can you design the stair to hinge up for added storage and/or great hiding spot for the kids’ hide and seek games? That would be fun.

    Check out Beddy’s for the bedding. I bought a set for our twin over full bunk beds and it was money well spent.


  20. We had a bunk for 15 years. It is a pain to change the sheets, but not impossible. I would just forego the flat sheet because making the bed daily is not very easy either. As for the shelves on the bottom beds, I would suggest foregoing the doors. Bunks are tricky as it is without having doors swinging out handy for banging elbows or heads. Otherwise, gorgeous! Your kids will love them (until they are teenagers :)!

  21. Can you envision a situation where an adult might need to sleep in one of those twin top bunks? I’m curious if that opening at the top of the ladder is big enough for an adult to crawl through.

  22. I’m pretty sure this bunk room is going to be the most pinned/IG image of 2018/2019!!

  23. I like it but it definitely looks California new traditional (the brass, sharp railing corners and green color) and doesn’t look Scandinavian at all.

  24. Ugh I hate bunk beds because the beds are a nightmare to make. But loving this rendering!

  25. This is really great! What color green is this?

  26. We did built-in bunks and it turned out beautifully! My one suggestion is to make sure there’s a way to turn off those bunk lights that doesn’t include you climbing over sleeping children! We put them all on switches that are easy to reach from inside AND outside the bed!

  27. That is beautiful! I would add that I would definitely bump the bed out to a queen. I have even seen and slept on awesome twin/full over king bunks that don’t look big in the room. I assume the king is too big for this room but the full bed size ends up being too small way faster than you think. You won’t EVER regret having that extra space. The bunks will last for the kids much longer and be usable by adults and guests that are couples for years after the full beds are a no-go. I agree with having and outlet that has a USB plug also. I have a friend who had the sheets she chose for her bunk beds sewn together(flat to the fitted) at the bottom and along the one side that would be tucked into the wall side of the bed. That kept the bed from having to be tucked in all the time on the interior side. Much easier to keep tidy and to make up. Also, you can still choose your own sheets that way!

    1. I was thinking queens too if possible. Depending on how many people you plan on staying here and space.

      A full would be fine for kids/cuddling and teens/solo people… but two adults need a queen. I’m 5’10 my husband is 6′ we’re broad shouldered people, we cannot sleep together in a full.

  28. Love, love the design and wouldn’t mind spending time in there. I only have a suggestion to not use handles that stick out on the bottom drawers. You will bump into those ALL the time when you walk by, get out of bed or just swing your legs out of bed.

  29. Have you already told us which bathroom the kids will use? I’m guessing they will wind up in yours for the next few years?

  30. Mic drop. These are AMAZING! What an absolute kid paradise! Way to go, Team EHD!

  31. We just put in a bunk room in our cabin and it is now the favourite room in the house! Making the beds is an actual nightmare but I view it as my cardio for the day. I intentionally didn’t put any power outlets near the lights/shelf area because I’m trying to fight the going to sleep with my phone thing but my contractor and electrician thought I was crazy to not do that. It may be something you consider??

  32. This looks super cozy and fun. My note: the drawer handles for the bottom bed storage look like potential foot/ankle/shin scrapers, and maybe an unintended place for small feet to use as a foot rest/step, which could pull the handles off the drawers over time. You might consider a recessed drawer pull (like a campaign style where the handle sits flush and pops out when needed), which would give you that metal accent there, or a no-handle style drawer front. Anything that doesn’t protrude.

    1. I second this!

    2. great suggestion -a campaign style handle to save both shins aaand the gorgeous-against-that-deep-green brass element (I just had a flash of someone missing their landing while jumping from above and landing on the existing protruding brass handles -ouch!). of course beddys already exist (created specifically to make changing sheets on a bunk bed simpler -I like the ones Chris and Julia are using a lot) but, i also loved a previous suggestion of having the fitted and flat sheet sewn together -just think of all the possibilities to customize bedding : )
      soooo much fun watching this educational/inspiring/beautiful project come together!

      ps. I am hoping to come meet your Portland Fixer Upper this weekend : )

  33. The book ledge and rail is awesome!

    I agree that I’d rethink the safety bar. Those sharp corners look rough and if its flat on top its inviting kids to rest things on there that will inevitably fall and smack the person on the bottom bunk. I’d also think through the lighting. You might need something very flush to the wall or with a bulb that is covered so it isn’t glaring into little faces.

  34. This is perfection. I am so excited!

  35. I love all the little details like the brass brackets on the sides of the stairs, and the outlets in the cupboards. As for changing the sheets, I make the kids climb up there and do it at our house. They are perfectly capable. Stretchy jersey sheets seem to be easiest.

  36. Love it!! They are going to be so fun and beautiful!

    Having recently done the hostel circuit in Asia… outlets in each bunk are a must. Also maybe think about curtains. I know that the bottom bunk can’t have them but depending on the ceiling light situation, being in the top bunk is direct line of sight for the lights. (especially when it gets accidentally turned on in the middle of the night) Bottom bunks seem to have a little more protection with the top bunk above them.

    I’m also wondering if not building the mattresses into the the bunks but having them more on a platform (most of the examples were like that), would make it easier to make the beds? Worth a thought anyway. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

    1. Another vote for considering curtains…but for a different reason. When I was a kid, we would go on family vacations to a lake cottage with a bunk room. The bunks had curtains we could pull shut, which made the bed feel like a special little fort. I would set up my books, squirrel away cool rocks and pinecones, and as I got older, write bad poetry in a diary! It was heaven. To this day my siblings, cousins, and I recall those curtained twin beds as the coolest part of the vacation, even over the fishing, games, swimming, and s’mores!

  37. Making the top bunk is terrible. Would not do it again!

  38. eh to all the PPs- making a bunk bed is annoying but not a deal breaker. I remember having to acrobatically make my lofted XL twin in college and it was fine, you get used to it. I have a tough time making my Queen sized bed solo! Love love love this room

  39. Absolutely ADORE this! The color scheme is so sexy and sophisticated (hope the kids will appreciate that as much as the adults – ha).

    One thing that I wanted to mention was a privacy curtain – probably not necessary for a cottage bunk room with children, but I once stayed in a cool hostel in Europe with privacy curtains on the bunks (obviously quite necessary in a hostel) and it was so cozy and fun! I realize that this may take away from the streamlined look that you have now, but it could probably be made into a discreet design feature.

    Loving these updates! Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  40. I’ll preface this by saying that I have 3 under 5 (almost 6 years old!). Bunk beds are hard to make, yes. But, even worse, is cleaning bunk beds when your kids are still potty-training + having bad dreams + any kind of little kid night time issue. Cleaning any body fluid from a sick kid is just 100% harder on a bunk bed. And, if they have a bad dream or just need some extra love, it’s nearly impossible to snuggle into bed next to them if they’re on the top bunk.

  41. USB sockets so iPads can be plugged in while movie watching.

  42. As others have brought up, I would seriously consider curtains. It helps if one child is sleeping when another comes in, or if one wants a nightlight and another doesn’t, or if one is an introvert (for whom bunk rooms may be a stretch anyway) and wants some private time and space to relax.

    I would also look for a way to make the cupboard doors fold back and away or in (or something!) so that it can be left open at night without worry about bonking one’s head. And then put an outlet in the cupboard. That way it can be left open to see the nightlight, or reach the water, or check the time on the phone. It would be significantly less functional if you have to open it in the middle of the night, or find somewhere else to put the nightlight.

    1. I love this idea!

    2. I also love your fold away doors idea! It can looks streamlined when you are showing it off but accessible all the other times!

  43. I was thinking the full on bottom takes away from the fun…too grown up

    1. My kid would’ve totally made that his playspace, which I think is much better than trying to keep a kid in his dayclothes from bringing toys into his cozy, clean bed. Up for sleeping, down for playing or a 3 minute snuggle with mom.

  44. I want to build a loft sleeping area for my teenage son. How much headroom should I go be him. I’m condo-huning in Berlin, where 2-4 m ceilings are common. He’s 6’ now and still growing, so I figure he needs 2m or maybe 7’ to be able to walk underneath, or I could make that closet/desk space to give him more room up above.

    This looks like a classy bunkroom. What goes on the other side of the room to balance out such a big, dark piece? One thing I’d change: use a bar for the safety rail. I bet roughhousing could break that wood.

    Your approach to I juries is refreshing. For years, people thought I was crazy mom for thinking experience is the best teacher, as long it doesn’t take too many stitches.

  45. While these look so lovely in photos, they are a nightmare to keep looking like the photos. 1. Impossible to tuck in the blankets on the wall side. We tried remedy with fitted flat sheet and duvet folded at the end of bed. Still it was really hard to get the flat sheet on.

  46. The comment section is rocking with the ideas! I am making a list for future projects. The only thing I find aesthetically awkward is the top left corner… I understand the ceiling prevents it from matching the top right corner, but have you considered painting the top the same white as the ceiling to camouflage the corner? And then going with a natural wood on the bottom? Or just paint everything white?

    1. I didn’t notice that until you mentioned it, but good idea to make it match. Another option would be to add a slanted board on the right side to mirror the ceiling on the left?

  47. I’ve designed a lot of bunk beds for clients over the years and here are two things I’ve learned:
    1 – Double check the guardrail height on the top bunk! After adding bedding to a 12″ mattress, we often end up just a few inches from the top of the guardrail, and it sort of defeats it’s purpose of keeping bodies from falling out! Unless you know you are going with a mattress that is less than 12″ deep, keep this in mind, you may want to make the rail taller!
    2 – Sconce placement! Once the pillows are in [and there’s usually a sleeping pillow, a decorative sham and an accent pillow] the sconces are too far in the corner and the pillows run into them! You may want to consider pushing it away from the corner a few more inches!
    Love the ladder design and those brass details! 🙂

  48. Sorry if this is a repeat, I commented hours ago and waited, I know sometimes there’s a delay, but I think I actually need submitted it. ANYWAY, I think this is a dream room at a mountain getaway house! It is a pain to make bunk beds, but like another said, it’s not a deal breaker. Something else I would consider, If it’s not a safety issues (getting entangled in hanging items) is adding low profile non threatening to eyeballs pegs! Littles will definitely use those nooks for pretend play and pegs would be perfect for safari backpacks, stethoscopes, random kid weird toys that become treasures. And for teens, perfect for owning and personalizing the space…hanging hats, purses, whatever personal items. I love pegs and hooks!

    Agree with pp that mentioned taller drawer faces. That’d be a nice touch. This rendering is beautiful and the cost for FOUR CUSTOM BEDS seems like a great deal!

  49. Dont think this could be any better – It’s perfect!

  50. I just love the green and the wood!
    A question about the outlet – is the only one in the hidden cabinet? If so, I would want my head that direction (for easier phone access) as well as making it easier to sleep-whisper to the person in the bunk across the way. But the sconce is on the other side, implying you sleep with your head that way. Food for thought!

  51. How tall are the ceilings in this room? I’m always curious when I see these awesome bunk rooms whether they would work with my standard height ceilings.

  52. Gorgeous! And so much fun. My only concern is the drawer pulls under the double beds – all I see are foot and leg injuries any time someone is exiting the bed, walking by, etc. Maybe just do a cut-out instead? I feel the same way about the brass stair rails. So many daymares in my head right now. 😬

  53. Have you thought of putting up shelves on the back walls for clothes in bins or books or the things that kids collect? Or even pull-out drawers out of the walls to hold underwear, socks, pjs, etc?

  54. If this house is a fixer upper, I live in a trash bag 🙁

  55. Love, love, love this plan. What wonderful adventures await your kiddos! I agree with others on adding outlets, taking doors off nook, and rounding the rails on the top bunks.

    My real suggestion, however, is about the master bath. Can you use a pocket door for the entry to the bath? Looks like the entrance door and shower door will be banging into each other.

  56. May I suggest an electrical outlet for each bunk for alarm clocks, phone charging, etc.? Maybe choose sconces that have an oullet built in?

  57. I’m not a designer and have no experience with bunkbeds but I will say those handles on the drawers at the bottom look like an invitation to scrape an ankle or foot if there are any sharp edges…

    I was a nanny for a little while and the kids had bunkbeds and I will say making the top bunk is a nightmare that occurs frequently… Like every week!

    Love the green! So pretty!

    1. I could totally see myself constantly bumping into these handles with painful results

  58. Wow I’m very surprised/impressed by the quote you received. We have a perfect room for built in bunk beds (16 foot ceilings, no wall windows but skylights and exposed barn beams) …buuut we had a daybed built in recently and it was basically just a plinth with two cubbies underneath and it was 2k so I figured my bunk bed dreams would cost approximately 9billion. I was worried if I did it the kids wouldn’t like it for some inane reason and then I’d have to get rid of the kids. We opted for a fun and super cute not built in treehouse cabin bed. They don’t like it…still want to sleep in our bed *sob* our daughter has taken to sleeping on the floor beside it. But at least I didn’t spend the 9 billion I guess!

  59. Where is the dog going to sleep? I was thinking if the ladder to the upper bunks could be lifted up, you could tuck doggie bed into that space?

  60. Hello! I love your blog and style! Can you please share how your render you design ideas. Which software do you use? Can we mere mortals use it too?? Thanks!, Lori

  61. Love the brass details on the side of the stairs. And I really prefer the stairs instead of the ladder.

    And can I share a childhood bunk bed injury story??? I was between 2 and 3 (it’s my absolutely earliest memory). We were visiting the family of my dad’s best friend. It must have been a party because there were a lot of people there — not just our two families. The two boys who were the ages of me and my older sister had just got new bunk beds. I can even remember the 1950s woven cowboy motif bedspreads. It was my first time ever climbing up a ladder. But when I got to the top, I panicked. I thought I was going to have to go down the ladder head first, and I was freaking out.

    So I jumped.

    Heh. I can still feel my face hitting the linoleum on the floor. Fortunately, I only knocked out a baby tooth, so there was no great harm done.

    Your bunkhouse looks loads safer. 🙂

    P.S. I hate having to make a bed that’s shoved up against a wall. Making up a bunk bed would make me insane.

    1. ha! my brother had bunk beds growing up and reading this blog post took me on a trip down memory lane of all the injuries we inflicted on ourselves/each other. two that stand out were when the bunks were jumping off the top bunk and plastering myself against the wall across from it, and my brother dropping a metal tonka truck on me from the top bunk. but it was the 70s – kids did not admit injury to parents, it would only get you in trouble!

      however, this history does not prevent me from desperately wanting a bunk room for my kids. however i keep buying ‘charming’ old homes with dormered ceilings and other weirdness that prevent this from happening. thus i will live vicariously through this blog and enjoy your lovely bunks (without, i may add, the horrendousness of making bunk beds, which is a real thing!).

  62. I love everything about this post The bunks are AMAZING – & the bunk design is fascinating to actually see the challenges considered. I also loved the “part of the lifestyle-mafia “must have” checklist ” quote – too funny! I have a built-in bunk room pinterest board despite having no plans on doing one myself 🙂

  63. Have you seen Jennifer Robin’s work? She did a beautiful mountain home (with a bunk room) on Lake Tahoe with lots of cozy wood and shiplap.

  64. WOW! These bunks took my breath away! So beautiful and well thought out. Absolutely love them.

  65. Love it!! My only suggestion would be to def put ALL the soundproofing you can in that wall between your master bath and their beds. You don’t want to have to tip-tie around your new “spa” every night after their bedtime! Looks amazing!

  66. Put light switches where YOU can turn off the bed lights after the tiny tots have slipped off to slumberland and not where you have to reach over them and waking them up for another round of activity, trips to the toilet and fourteen more glasses of water and another trip to the bathroom … just because.

    1. Very important. This is one of the things Chris Loves Julia mentioned that they mistakenly did not do when building their daughters’ bunk beds, and they regretted it.

  67. Just looking at the renderings, I thought that the drawers were trundles which would have allowed you to sleep 10 or more in one bunk room. Perhaps that would be overkill, but with my family it would be awesome!

    It looks great!

  68. I LOVE this bunk room concept. Your kids, and visitors, will love spending time in that room. And having stairs instead of ladders is such a great idea. My oldest had a bunk bed and I agree with others that it’s such a pain to make the bed, but it’s worth it. Not a deal breaker. My concern is with those drawer pulls, I would rethink those and maybe get something that doesn’t stick out. Perhaps an inset/groove to grab the drawer open? A kid could definitely get their foot stuck as they are climbing up or jumping down,because let’s face it, that is what kids will do, haha.

  69. Heidi’s comments are so helpful! I noticed an outlet in the cupboard, I believe. I wonder about having that cupboard vented for electronics? Are there any safety/overheating issues with having a laptop or electronics plugged in overnight in a closed cupboard like that? I wonder if a roll-top door would be possible- that would keep the doors from encroaching in the bed area but keep the closed storage idea – the roll-top could have some open slats for venting or something. Just an idea. Definitely need a plug in near the open bookshelf to plug in a phone, I would think, to listen to music while you sleep and use as an alarm clock, etc.

    We are converting the attached garage at our Oregon cabin to a bunk room and this has me so excited! We’re doing twin over full bunks. Changing the bedding isn’t the worst – just use a fitted sheet with a duvet, and get the kids to help.

    Such great advice on the lighting – definitely having a switch near the door where you can control the individual sconces is a brilliant idea – so you can peek in and adjust the lighting after the tots go to sleep.

  70. Emily, this design is really fun and I am in love with the color! I do have a safety concern about the frame of the bottom mattress. I have six children and I can safely bet they are going to be jumping to that bottom bed and that corner near the ladder looks ominous! Even if they fell from the ladder they could hit that corner. Maybe they could design that edge under the mattress and it would also be easier to make that side of the bed? Just a thought.

  71. I LOOOOOOVVVVVVVVEEEEEEE this! I have experienced the “magic” of a bunk room. My sorority had two! We had a similar set up to this with built in desks and dressers in the middle of the room. It is “MAGICAL.”

  72. I love design and also quiver at the idea of making these beds. I am definitely going to investigate Beddies. My only suggestion is to heavily insulate the walls with soundproofing and pipe wrapping between the bathroom and the beds. All the plumbing and hookups for the soaking tub can be really noisy and the condensation can make a mess on your lovely cedar walls. Looking forward to seeing it finished.

  73. You can get light bulbs that you can control with an app. Ie program when they come on and off or the colour etc. not cheap and the downside is the light switch is then not able to be used without wiping the program. Cute and useful when you can’t reach the switch easily. Love the colour by the way!!

  74. I love so much about this concept from the wood to the brass & paint color. The idea of the larger beds coupled with the smaller is thoughtful. However, I’m not sure if you’ve thought about the struggle to actually make up the beds or not but it’s not easy, good luck. I made a “ bunk room” for my grands, all five of them. But the upkeep of changing sheets, comforters etc. I have to have help!

  75. This is so awesome. I love the detail, the finish and the colouring. I also respect how transparent you are with the budget, not a lot of people do that. It’s going to be amazing.

  76. These bunks are so cute! Having slept in a top bunk/ loft bed for most of my childhood and for 2 years in college campus housing, changing the sheets really wasn’t that bad – just do it sitting on the top bunk rather than standing on the ground/lower bunk. By about age 5, your kids can probably do it themselves. Just keep the bedding simple – a fitted sheet, a blanket, and a pillow is all a kid really needs.

    One weird thing to consider is how your heating and A/C vents are setup. One of those years of college I woke up every day sweating because in the winter the heat vent was at the top of the wall by my bunk and would blow straight onto me. My roommate on the bottom bunk was always cold, too, because the heat was getting trapped up there. Just something to consider!

  77. This is so beautiful! I would re-consider the handles on the drawers of the bottom bunks. It looks amazing, but anything jutting out will eventually hurt someone. You didn’t mention anything about electrics, but that cabinet looks like the perfect spot to hide a power socket for electronics (even if it is just for guests to charge their phone) and make sure that your light switches are within your children’s reach.

  78. I came back to see if there was a reply to my question about how much room should be between top bunk and ceiling. No 🙁

    But there are EVEN MORE people saying it’s SO HARD to make bunk beds. Are they all incapable of climbing into the top bunk? Jeesh, people! Go up there, drop the old sheets onto the floor (unless the kids already did it), put on one end of fitted sheet & pull it tight (just like you would do on a side of a freestanding lower bed), climb over the rest of it (just like you would walk around a freestanding bed), put on the other end. Then put your sheets on one end of the mattress, pull them halfway up, climb onto that half, and pull them the rest of the way up.

    It isn’t rocket science. Or Olympic level gymnastics. And little people can change their own beds starting in first or second grade.

  79. Not sure how the original bedroom was allowed by code as a bedroom without a window for egress. From your new bunk room plan, will the windows you show allow for egress?

  80. Any chance you would create a bunk bed roundup on pre-fab bunkbeds? Ikea, pbk, etc? Unless design wise there just isn’t any good ones out there?

  81. Absolutely ADORE!!!! Perhaps my most favorite thing you’ve ever made. It’s darling, and sophisticated, and fits the cabin perfectly, and the kids will love it!

  82. Love these! I have heard a good tip for built-in bunkbeds, which is to include a light switch that’s easy to access without having to climb into the bed – that way, when kids accidentally leave them on you can easily turn them off yourself.

    Can’t wait to see it completed!! Looks fab!

  83. How easy is it for you, Emily, to get up the stairs and change the sheets? That was something I didn’t think of when my kids got bunkbeds. I could do the ladders that come out into the room that are angled, but the ladders that are straight are very hard to work on.

  84. One thing to consider would be adding trundle beds on the bottom (in lieu of storage). I assume you’ll have a closet in that room and since this isn’t a primary home, you just won’t need that much storage. We have a beach vacation condo and the “kid” room has a twin over full bunk plus twin trundle and I love it. My daughter (almost 5) always uses the trundle and you may have a situation with a smaller child and parents where the trundle bed is a safer option than the top bunk–just a great way to maximize your sleeping options (for little extra cost).

  85. Looks amazing Emily.
    Without exact measurements, I am not totally sure, but would the lower beds be king sized if you bought them out a little further and considered the wood paneling and shelf as the headboard?
    I just thought this might make the room extra functional.

  86. Bunk bed makings 101:
    6 kids, many bunks..worked for me, your milage may vary….
    1) Take twin flat sheet, figure out amount of extra width of sheet that hangs beyond depth of mattress, dive that amount in half.(each side of bed) sew double side hem with that measurement each side. (this makes for a firmer bit of fabric to tuck (aka: shove) down each side of bed without having to lift mattress. kids usually dont need the sides tucked under mattress.
    2) like once upon a time long ago waterbed sheets were joined at foot of bed, (top and bottom sheet sewn together)…sew the two pieces together, ending where corner sections meet side.
    3) with the stairs I’d just climb up the end and hook top section of sheet combo
    over top 2 corners and smooth, tuck in sides as I backed down to foot, repeat.

    For the railing I like the design, but worry about head entrapment potential…there’s always a dear darling
    who inevitably tosses and turns, ends up crosswise in bed… can the head get stuck?

  87. Love it! I’d be interested to hear about the process to custom design these.. Was there discussion with your GC about what materials to use (for sturdiness, etc.). I’d also like to see the working drawings you gave your GC to build from – Did you dimension these 3D drawings, or give 2D drawings as well? So curious about that whole process 🙂

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