Loft beds are almost invariably mentioned in articles aimed at college students as a great way get more space out of tiny dorm rooms. Should we leave lofted beds behind after graduation? Not necessarily. Loft beds for adults are a great space-saving solution for those with small bedrooms, as well as an excellent way to “create” a bedroom if you are living in a studio-style apartment.

Buying an adult loft bed

Some loft beds sold by furniture makers come with bed options larger than twin-sized, so you don’t need to rule out loft beds just because you have a significant other. However, most larger beds will need to be thick, solid wood or metal to support the weight of the mattress and the occupants. Make sure that the loft bed you are considering has a frame strong enough to support the combined weight of the occupants (some loft beds only support combined weights of 300 pounds, for example). You can purchase a foam mattress to reduce the weight of the mattress compared to a typical box-spring mattress.

“Teen” loft bed from wayfair.com

Full-sized (double) loft beds are the easiest to find commercially available, though there are some queen-sized loft beds. King-sized beds will probably need to be custom-made. For more options, you can expand your search to furniture stores like PBTeen, which has several options for full-sized beds, and no one ever needs to know that your bed was designed for a teenager.

Building a full-size (or larger) loft bed

Creating your own loft bed can be a rewarding weekend project for do-it-yourself people. One popular furniture plan is on ana-white.com, which includes instructions for expanding the default twin-sized instructions to a full size by extending some of the wood cuts by 15 inches. Many users have also submitted photos of their own adaptions of these plans, which you can use for inspiration when planning your own bed design.

Plans for queen-sized and king-sized loft beds are available on other home design websites, as well as furniture plan sites like instructables.com. Materials might cost around $500, and you may need to change the structure of the bed frame and design to support a wider mattress. Since the stability of a larger loft bed is critical, you should at least consult with a carpenter or other furniture expert, if not pay for them to make it themselves. A custom-made large loft bed will likely cost $1,000 or more, depending on the complexity of the design and quality of the wood. If you’re building the bed yourself, make sure it will fit through the bedroom door when it is finished or assemble it in the bedroom itself.

Interior design with loft beds

Loft bed built into a tiny home. CC Blaine O’Neill

Now that you’ve opened up floor space, use it well! Many people place storage and desks underneath the bed. Alternatively, you can create a full bedroom “unit” by adding a chest of drawers or wardrobe underneath the bed, which might be a good option for those in studio apartments.

If you own your home and can make structural changes, you can make your bed situation even more elegant. For example, if you have tall ceilings but are lacking in floor space, you can build your bed into the wall above the floor in a corner, and use the floor area for something else. Conversely, many tiny homes use an elevated bed, accessible by a ladder or stairs, to take up the whole “second” floor.

When you are comparing loft bed options, consider the height of your ceiling and figure out how much head room you will have for sitting upright in bed. A minimum of three feet of head room clearance is generally recommended for you to feel comfortable.