Do your kids share a room? A few months ago, I randomly decided it was time to put our girls in a room together. They seemed ready. They love sharing a room when we go on vacation, and they were always
yelling chatting to each other across the hall from their individual rooms at all hours of the day and night. And there were many, many times I’d wake up in the morning to discover that our four-year-old had crawled into her sister’s crib so that they could start playing baby dolls together as soon as humanly possible.
But I wasn’t quite sure how to go about the switch to one room . Here’s what we were up against:
- My youngest (age 2) was still in a crib.
- My oldest (age 4) was too small for a top bunk, but I wanted bunk beds.
- The girls slept realllly well in their separate rooms, and I was scared sharing a room would mess that up.
- I was tired of their nurseries and wanted to make their new room fun and not-too-babyish.
Then one day a few months ago we were on a road trip, and we ended up at IKEA. Since we don’t live near an IKEA, I decided we just HAD to buy one of the KURA loft beds while we were there. The KURA bed is much cheaper and much lower than the other bunk beds we had looked at, so I figured we could do something with it. Seize the day! Buy the Kura!
So we bought the Kura and with it I officially decided that we were going to turn it into an airplane bunk bed. Why not? Both girls love to tell us that they’re going to be pilots when they grow up (my two-year-old insists she must wear a costume while she flies.) And it’s not too girly. I have nothing against girly, but I’m all for the girls loving “boy” things like construction, trains, and airplanes. So I don’t want to too many pink princess things in their room, KWIM?
Since Nate (my husband) is a pilot, I knew he could help with the bed design.
Since my dad (newly retired) is handy, I knew he could build an awesome bed.
And guess what? They did it!
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Ikea Bed Hack: Kura Loft to Airplane Bunks
As you may have noticed, the KURA isn’t actually a bunk bed. (It’s technically a reversible loft.) My dad added slats to the bottom to give support for the bottom bunk. I’ve read that many people use the bottom of the KURA as a bunk bed without slats, but I wanted to allow for a little airflow (to prevent mold). Also, the frame my dad added lifts up, which gives me room to store a few things UNDER the mattress!
My faaaaaaaavorite part of the bunk bed is that the wings are desks! Isn’t that awesome!? My girls LOVE them. We added hanging organizers (you can find theme HERE) to the ends to hold notebooks, colored pencils, and stickers.
We made it a bit tall, so that there’s room to grow. I’m hoping this bed arrangement will stay with them for at least 5 more years.
The propeller actually spins. It was the final touch that turned it into a real airplane bed.
My dad also added spinning wagon wheels to the front–just like a real airplane would have. (The wheels spin, too!)
My girls are thrilled. They play airplane in it often–especially when friends are over.
And it’s also our favorite spot for snuggling and reading books.
Some days I’m still shocked that our crazy idea to have airplane bunk beds actually worked! And then other times I realize it’s so very “us,” and I forget that this is a new addition to our home.
If you’re feeling inspired to try your own IKEA bed hack, here are a few tips. Please keep in mind that building is not my God-given gift. All credit goes to my dad. These are all notes I took down while talking with my dad. Hopefully I got them right!
Tips for Building Your Own Airplane Bunk Bed
1) Start with the bed slats (if you want bed slats) and trim. My dad made these out of 1×4 boards, but you could also order bed slats (like these) from IKEA or amazon.
2) We used 2 x 4 boards for the wings. We ended up making a biplane bunk bed, so we needed four boards. The top side had white laminate (which we’ve already learned cleans up pretty well with a little help from a Magic Eraser.)
3) After designing the wings, Dad made braces to attach the wings to each other and the floor. We decided the shape was an isosceles trapezoid. He secured everything with lots of metal brackets and bolts. It’s solid.
4) Nate made my dad a pattern out of the cardboard. My dad used a jigsaw to cut it out and then attached it with a pin and a bushing.
5) The wheels were 13 inch wheels my dad bought at a tool store.
Total price: $430
- KURA bed — $200 from an IKEA store
- Bed tent — $30
- Airplane bed materials –$200
- My dad’s time and skills — priceless
This is a wee bit cheaper than the airplane bunk beds I’ve seen online. This one retails for $3000. And this one is $8000. And then there’s this one that goes for 25,000 EUROS. Excuse me while I calm down and try not to hyperventilate after reading those price tags.
Didn’t my dad do a great job?
If you have questions, email me or message me on facebook!