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Home > Projects & DIY Toolkit > How-To Articles > Increase Your Space with a Loft

Increase Your Space with a Loft

One of the most common complaints from college students, other than classes start too early and there's too much work, is that there just isn't enough space in their dorm rooms or apartments. I'm afraid there isn't much we can do to help with the timing of classes or workloads assigned by professors, but we do have some advice to help create space in cramped quarters. When you need more space and can't build out the only thing left to do is build up. Lowe's is happy to provide this information as a service to you.


One of the quickest and easiest ways to increase your space is with a loft. Once you have your bed up and out of the way you can add a closet rod to create over six extra feet of closet space, add shelves for storing books and research materials or the classic - place your desk under the loft. Regardless of which space-saving technique you choose, you're sure to appreciate the 18 or so square feet of extra elbow room.

Making the loft is really quite simple. Just keep in mind that most schools have their own requirements and standards for the loft's construction. Be sure to check with your school before you begin your loft project, to ensure complete compliance with school standards. Due to difference in requirements from institution to institution, varying ceiling heights and mattresses sizes, it isn't possible for us to provide specific instructions for making a loft. Instead, we have compiled an overview of the tools and materials commonly used in loft construction.

Keep in mind building bunk beds for children has a different set of requirements than building a loft for adults.

Tools & Materials

  • Drill/driver: used to bore holes for carriage bolts and lag screws. Also used to drive screws.
  • Circular saw: used to cut lumber to size.
  • Palm Sander: used to smooth rough edges of wood and reduce the chances of picking up splinters.
  • Square: used to ensure accurate marking of lumber for cutting and to check the loft's assembly for square.
  • ;Ratchets, sockets and wrenches: used to secure bolts.
  • Tape measure: used to measure lumber for cutting.
  • Goggles and dust mask: these should always be worn during cutting, sanding and drilling, to protect your eyes and lungs from dust and debris.
  • 2x4's: used for mattress slats, bracing, guard rails and posts. To make 4x4 posts from 2x4 material, secure 2x4's face to face with glue and screw or bolt them together.
  • 2x6's: used for bed rails.
  • 1/2" or 3/4" plywood: used over 2x4 mattress slats to provide full support to the mattress.
  • Carriage bolts: used to connect framing members.
  • Lag bolts or lag screws: used as an alternative to carriage bolts to connect framing members.
  • 2 1/2" or 3" wood or deck screws: used to connect wooden components where the full strength of carriage bolts is not required. Always predrill holes for screws to prevent wood from splitting.

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Please visit our terms of use.

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