How To Make Bump Beds
by Roy Baller
In small or crowded rooms, freestanding beds squander valuable floor space and headroom but the squandered space can be reclaimed or put to good use. A built in bed that seems to vanish into a wall when not in use (opposite, top) saves floor space; a pair of bunk beds built in two tiers uses the headroom. And an ordinary bed set into a built-in nook (opposite, bottom) uses its headroom to good effect—the curtained nook traps body heat and protects the bed from the drafts of a wintry bedroom. The most dramatic space saver is the disappearing bed, which comes in twin (39 by 75 inches), full (54 by 75 inches) and queen (60 by 80 inches) sizes.
The frame of the bed swings up from the
floor into a simple wooden cabinet; the manufacturer supplies the frame and the hardware needed for its installation, but generally you must make the cabinet yourself. Many builders camouflage the cabinet, which juts about 2 feet into the room, with built-in shelving or cabinets on each side.
Two types of disappearing beds are available. The more elaborate and expensive has a plywood-panel bottom that rises with the bed; the panel comes in a variety of finishes, or can be finished to match the room around it. The simpler type has an exposed metal frame that must be hidden by cabinet doors. A built in bunk bed, like all built-ins, is fastened to the house frame.
Because of this strong support, the frame can be made of lumber (which is slightly more than 1 inch thick) instead of heavy corner posts. Though the beds can be built to hold box springs and mattresses, most builders prefer to design them for shallower innerspring mattresses, which leave room for drawers and shelves.
To increase headroom in rooms with low ceilings, use 6-inch sides rather than the 10-inch sides shown here. The mattress for a manufactured bunk bed is 3 to 6 inches narrower than twin size; the length is the same. You may prefer to design your beds for conventional twin sized mattresses, which cost about the same, are easier to fit with sheets and are generally better made.