Eric Strong might be the most creative dad around. The Palo Alto, California father just designed the coolest bed ever for his son — without spending a fortune.
The little boy was still sleeping in a convertible toddler bed and the family needed it for his younger sister. But he didn’t want to give it up for a “big kid bed.”
He finally agreed to relinquish his bed on one condition: if he got “the most awesome bed ever.”
However, “the most awesome bed ever” was out of the family’s price range. So Strong did what any handy and thrifty parent would do: He used an IKEA hack to make his own awesome bed. Then he made a video detailing the process, so anyone can follow his lead.
What’s an IKEA Hack?
“IKEA hacking” is a way to modify or repurpose items from the Swedish furniture store to create other items. In fact, there’s a whole community devoted to this DIY trend.
Strong’s hack costs less than half the price of a comparable kid’s bed, but it’s just as much fun. Plus, if you want to follow his lead, we have ways to save even more money.
Hacking an Awesome Bed
Strong spent some time looking at other people’s IKEA hacks and gathering ideas, from a castle-themed bed to a beach house one to a model with a slide. Since it involves so much innovation, Strong dubbed his project an “extreme IKEA hack.”
He decided to base his design on IKEA’s Kura, a children’s loft bed. Many people already use the Kura as a key element in their hacks since it’s simple, fairly inexpensive ($209) and includes parts that can be swapped out and rearranged to create various layouts.
The Kura’s design includes a bit of space underneath that can be easily transformed into a secret space or private area for kids, which is an added bonus.
Strong worked to incorporate some of his son’s favorite things in his design: playgrounds, simple machines, rolling ball sculptures and even a favorite Berenstain Bears book.
How to Build the Most Awesome Bed Ever
Strong started with a classic Kura bed. He assembled it in a loft style and used a three-tiered Trofast storage system underneath.
He also included a Besta shelving unit, and deconstructed a second Kura bed to use the pieces (and he used almost all of them).
These items, plus a bit of ingenuity, became a mini ball run (complete with golf balls and PVC pipe), and a crane and pulley with a bucket for added fun.
The bed has a secret space — complete with lights — you open by tugging on a fake book on the bookcase. (How cool is that?) Strong also added a secret window his son could use to peek out from the secret space, as well as a backup escape hatch.
How Much Does it Cost?
While this bed is far less expensive than purchasing a custom-built model complete with kid-friendly secret spaces and built-in gadgets (such as this fun castle bed that that sells for $1,342), it will still cost you.
- Two Kura Beds ($209 each at IKEA)
- Trofast shelving storage system ($65.99 and up at IKEA)
- Besta shelving unit ($104 and up at IKEA)
- Golf balls for ball run ($11.79 for 18 on Amazon)
- Bucket for pulley system ($6.85 on Amazon)
- Pulley ($4.85 on Amazon)
- LED lights for secret space ($19.99 for a set of four lightstrips at IKEA)
That equals a minimum of $631.47.
And don’t forget you’ll likely need some paint, rope and other minor odds and ends.
How Can You Save Money on Your IKEA Hack?
You’ll find plenty of ways to save on the hacked bed of your kid’s dreams. Follow these tips to get the components you’ll need to create the coolest bed around without going broke.
Sign up for the IKEA Moving Program
If you’re moving, sign up for IKEA’s Moving Program and you can save up to $25 on an in-store purchase of $250 or more.
Shop the “As Is” Section
Most IKEA stores have special “as is” sections with slightly damaged goods — those with ripped packaging, scratches, dents or other imperfections — marked down to great prices.
These drawbacks might not matter to you — for example, if you know you’re going to paint the item or the damaged side will be up against a wall. Check with your local store to see if they offer special deals and deeper discounts on items in this section.
Kids grow out of beds quickly, and you can likely find a family looking to part with an IKEA component or two in decent condition.
Buy Similar Items on Amazon
If you don’t live near an IKEA and want to order items online, you can expect to pay quite a bit for shipping: large item delivery starts at $99.
One way to get around this is to look for comparable items on Amazon, which generally offers free shipping for large items. This fun kid’s loft bed is similar to the Kura and retails for $222.93, but it comes with free shipping.
Make Some of the Pieces Yourself
If you’re handy, consider skipping the second bed purchase (or other parts of the project) and building similar components yourself.
You can often find free scraps of wood and other construction items on Craigslist, Freecycle or simply by asking at a work site. Sourcing these free items and doing a little more of the legwork yourself helps you keep more of your cash in your pocket.
Any of these ideas are sure to help you create a kid-pleasing bed like Strong’s. Your kids will want to go to bed with all these fun features — though getting them to actually sleep might be a challenge.
Your Turn: Would you ever tackle a DIY bed project like this dad?
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Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.