How to turn a bunk bed into a trundle bed

trundle bed

If you’re looking to add an extra trundle bed to your space without breaking the bank, you’ll love this DIY project that teaches you how to turn a bunk bed into a trundle bed! We found this great step-by-step tutorial at Payless Furniture, and it involves taking the bottom bunk off of your existing bunk bed, adding new legs to its frame, reassembling it with drawers on either side and adding casters underneath so you can easily roll it out of the way when not in use. This is an easy way to save money on furniture and upgrade your room!

Measure your space

Bunk beds take up more room than a twin-sized mattress does. Place your box spring (if you have one) on the floor for measurement purposes if you plan on placing it under the new full-size top mattress. This will help you ensure enough space under your new headboard for the box spring. Here you will learn more about bunk beds Canada and a lot of information about furniture.

The final measurement will dictate how wide your headboard needs to accommodate the trundle bed pullout mattress below. You’ll want at least 4 inches of space between each side of the frame, meaning a 36-inch wide opening will require at least an 84-inch headboard height once assembled. It’s recommended that you plan, measure twice and cut once.

Remove Side Rails and Metal Rails

Next, remove the side rails. You can do this by unscrewing the bolts that hold them in place on the frame. If there are metal rails inside of them, remove those too. To dismantle your mattress off the top of the frame, look for four bolts with wingnuts – two on each side. Loosen these until you can get enough room to swing your mattress onto the ground and a new foundation.

Removing the frame

  • First, the bottom bunk must be dismantled from the frame and any screws or bolts removed.
  • If the bottom rail on either side of the frame is too thick, use a hacksaw or handsaw to remove it.
  • Now that you have a space at the top of the frame cut out plywood that will fit inside. This plywood mustn’t be too thick to make one side of your new trundle bed high enough for standard storage.
  • Paint or finish your work if desired before assembling your new trundle bed!

Purchase Bunk Bed Wheels

The easiest option to ensure the safety of your child or children is by purchasing bunk bed wheels. These are placed underneath the frame of the mattress and allow you to push or pull them in or out as needed. You can purchase bunk bed wheels from any major store that sells furniture, such as Bed Bath & Beyond or Ikea. They will be affordable, easy to install, and provide your child with an even safer place to sleep.

Cut Slats

Traditionally, twin-sized trundles are 24 inches wide. That would mean the slats would be cut 20 inches long (plus one inch on each end for splicing). To determine how many slats you need, measure the length of your mattress and divide by 4. For example, if your mattress is 76 inches long, you will need 19 slats (76 ÷ 4 = 19). Be sure that you have enough wood or other material to use as a base for the trundle. Then cut enough slats with 45-degree angles on one end and a right angle on the other end. These will support the mattress on either side of the carton and in front of it.

Removing the mattress

The first step is to remove the bed from the frame. Make sure you unhook all the bungee cords so they are removed, and use pliers if necessary. Use your legs for added power by kneeling on either side of the frame, with them positioned inside whichever long part you are pushing or pulling from. Reach up on top of the end piece where the feet attach to make lifting easier and have your friend do this as well at their end.

Installing the board

  • First, measure your mattress (or the size of your sleeper sofa) and decide how high you want your bottom bed. A general rule is about 12-18 inches for an innerspring mattress, but ensure it’s not too low, or there will be little room for storage underneath. It also depends on the length of your sleeper sofa–the shorter the sofa, the higher you’ll want your lower bed to be. If you have different sizes of mattresses, this measurement will depend on what kind of top mattress you have.
  • Measure your frame to see where it can support a board of wood at least that height from one end to the other, with some room on either side for wider frames.

Installing the Slats

When installing slats, place them about half an inch away from the wall. This will ensure enough room for the bed to be pulled out without hitting the wall. The slats should be oriented vertically to give your child enough room. For maximum safety, I recommend using an additional bar placed horizontally at the head of the lower bunk for added support when pulling out.

Install the upper mattress, lower mattress and side rails

  • Lay the upper mattress on top of the lower mattress.
  • You may have to cut it down if it’s too long and narrow for your space. 
  • Lay the upper mattress, so its short side is nearest the end with the stairs. Cut off excess material from bottom side rails.
  • Attach the side rails at each end of both mattresses using brackets or clamps, using screws provided in the kit. Position both side rails even with the ends of mattresses and position one screw in each hole, then tighten screws down securely.

How do I turn my bed into a trundle?

So you got a bargain on that clearance furniture, and now your teenage daughter’s bedroom has two sets of bunks? The quickest, most straightforward way to make the room livable is by converting one set of bunks into a trundle. Yes, it takes some building, but what else are fathers for?

Remove the upper bunk from both sets by unscrewing or undoing the bolts. Place this portion on the floor out of the way so you can work with the bottom portions without having them moved around. Check out those teensy screws! It’s incredible what an Allen wrench will do.

  • Turn the bottom bunk over onto its side so that the end closest to you (the headboard) is facing away from you. Insert a spacer block behind the headboard end of the frame, so there is enough space between it and the back panel of the frame. Ensure there is no obstruction, such as another screw head or bolt, when inserting each spacer block because this could prevent proper placement of future boards.
  • Attach 2×4 boards at each end (bottom) corner with screws inserted through holes in either board into pre-drilled holes in each other; four total boards per side. Double-check alignment before attaching any further boards because once screwed down, they cannot be adjusted easily later on – these are key structural members, after all!

Can a trundle be added to any bed?

It depends on the bed size, but generally, you can add one to any bed. For example, if your desired spot for the trundle is under the arm of your couch or chair, you could use a twin-sized trundle. Adding a full or queen size would be best if you have enough room to put it in another room. To create space for the new addition, you may need to change some furniture; for example, moving an armless chair out of the living room or office and replacing it with an end table with storage drawers so that there is enough space under it for storage. Read about which type of furniture should be in a bedroom.

Final Words

The following instructions guide turns a traditional twin-size bunk bed into a trundle bed. As with any project, it is essential to use caution when assembling anything that could have sharp edges or protruding screws, so make sure not to over-tighten any bolts.

To begin with, measure and cut two pieces of plywood for the top of the bottom bunk and place them on top of the second uppermost mattress at each end (along the sides). For ease in measuring out 2x4s needed for braces and attaching them, use a four-foot-long scrap board from one’s garage/yard.

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