Turning a Guest Room into a Kid-Friendly Bunk Bed Haven

This week, we’re helping a couple transform a simple bedroom into a bunk bed room for their six grandkids.

The bedroom that the children stay in was once their daughter’s room. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Dave and Janet chose to downsize to a smaller home in 2010 when their kids left home. But since then, both of their children have married and had children of their own who visit frequently.

Now, these grandparents need a bedroom that’s fit for a pack of six to stay the night.  

The Projects

Building the bunk beds into the room instead of buying preassembled ones lets us customize their look and make the most out of the existing space. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Build Bunk Beds

It’s easy to buy bunk beds, but building them in gives you a customized look that’s specific to your mattresses. Plus, you can add custom details like color and storage. 

Before we build these custom bunk beds, we take the measurements of the mattresses and lay out the location of each bed.

Then, we cut the baseboard with an oscillating saw so part of it can be removed. To keep the sawdust mess to a minimum, David holds a vacuum cleaner nozzle next to the oscillating saw as the cuts are being made. 

After the cuts are made, we insert a wedge tool behind the baseboards, lightly tap it with a hammer and pry them off the wall. 

Next, we get the 4-by-4 support posts in place, then we build the mattress frame using 2-by-6s. Once the frame is made, we add some 2-by-2s to the bottom to support the slats. 

This square niche is the perfect shelf for a water bottle. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

To create a built-in niche shelf for each bunk, we frame the edges of the opening with 2-by-4s. We then install 1-by-6 primed trim boards to cover the entire exterior of the bed frame and panel the headboard around the niche. 

Then, we paint the bunk beds a calming sage green color that perfectly complements the walls. 

We skip painting the railing and ladder to add some warm wood tones to the room. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Lastly, we use 2-by-2s to construct the rails and ladders for the top bunks. Instead of painting them, we’re sealing the raw wood to add some warm wood tones to the room. 

The custom-built storage trundle is perfect for tucking away toys. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Create More Storage 

Not only do we need a place for these kids to sleep, but we need a place to store the toys that were already in this room. So, we’re basically building a giant drawer to utilize the space under the bottom bunk bed, and it’s built just like a trundle bed.

Watch DIY Guide: How to Construct a Space-Saving Storage Trundle to see how we did it.

Janet, with her years of painting experience, is skilled enough to paint straight lines along the ceiling without relying on tape. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Paint Walls

Dave and Janet’s grandchildren have a lot of energy, so they want the room to have some lighter, calmer colors that also aren’t too childish for the older kids. 

Chelsea decides on a light wall color throughout with some whimsical accents. 

To do that, we need to paint the whole room, paying special attention to the purple accent wall. But first, we fill the holes left behind from the frames with drywall mud. 

Janet has some painting experience, so she instructs Dave to paint the wall using her W technique. To do this, first, paint a “W” shape on the wall. Then, make horizontal rolls over the “W” to blend it in. 

This DIY Pennant Banner is the perfect something extra for a kid’s bedroom or play space! (3 Echoes Content Studio)

After the room is even painted with new color, Chelsea paints on some pennant banners between the top and bottom bunks. Head on over to Checking in With Chelsea for the full tutorial on this DIY Pennant Banner

With the new bunk beds, a ceiling fan just seemed like a bit of a hazard for the kids sleeping up top. So, we switched it out for a stationary light fixture. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Install New Light Fixtures

With the new bunk beds installed, a ceiling fan poses a safety risk to the kids sleeping on the top bunks. So, we’re replacing it with a stationary new light fixture.

The ceiling medallion covers the hole left behind by the fan. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Because the ceiling fan isn’t perfectly centered between the bunk beds, we have to cut a new hole for the wires. Instead of filling in the old hole, we’re adding a ceiling medallion to cover it.

These adjustable wall-mounted lamps are perfect for reading a bedtime story. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Also, so each kid has their own little reading nook when they get into bed at night, we’re adding a wall-mounted lamp above each bunk bed.

Dave and Janet are all smiles after completing their new room for their grandkids. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Post-Production Thoughts

Like many extra bedrooms, Janet and Dave’s had become a “drop-zone” for things that didn’t really fit anywhere else in the house. 

It was mildly functional for their grandkids, but the double bed and futon only provided space for three of the kids to sleep. And the only thing to identify it as a “kid’s room” was a stack of toys. 

But now, the intent of this room is obvious. The cool, fun colors and décor make it clear that this space is for kids. 

The two sets of bunk beds offer plenty of sleeping arrangements for a crowd,  and the storage niche and reading light in each bunk give each kid some control of their little corner. 

Plus, the toy storage trundles tuck neatly out of the way, leaving plenty of floor space for the kids to play. 

Other Tips From This Episode

Simple Solutions
Keep Long Plywood Cuts From Drooping With Duct Tape
Best New Products
Get Perfect Alignment with Dewalt’s Self-Leveling Cross Line Laser Level
Watch and Learn
DIY Guide: How to Construct a Space-Saving Storage Trundle

Bunk Beds

  • Wood cuts: 4x4s for the posts, 2x6s for the frame, 2x6s and 2x4s for the headboard storage, and 2x2s for the mattress trim, railing, and ladder. All primed finger-joint wood.
  • Bedding: Kennedy from Beddys
  • Mattresses from Brentwood Home


  • Wall: Behr Marquee Ice Sculpture in eggshell finish
  • Bunk Beds: Behr Marquee color matched to Benjamin Moore’s Saybrook Sage in satin finish
  • Pennant banner: Samples of Behr Marquee paint in Snowboard, Cork and Tan


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