May 20, 2013

Free Storage Stairs Plans for a Loft Bed

*BTW, I've made these plans available on Ana White's website.  You can find them at

A few people have asked about the steps I built a while back for my boy's room at the old house.  At the time, I built the loft bed from Ana White's plan with minor modifications.  However, I couldn't find plans that I liked for the stairs.  At least not free ones.  So with no experience, I drafted a set built them and couldn't be happier with how they turned out.

I love these stairs!  And why wouldn't I?
They have: 

  • 2 deep compartments which can store toys or extra bed linens
  • a shallow compartment in the top step that is perfect for treasures or those large flat books
  • a small shelf under the middle stair that fits a rolled up sleeping bag perfectly.
  • a large cubby under the top step that can be used as a crawl through, suitcase storage, could be divided into smaller cubbies or could have doors attached.  

Over a year later these storage stairs are still holding together beautifully even after the move.  Now, it is time to share the plans with you for free.  

The usual caveats apply.  I am no expert, build at your own risk and work carefully.  By building these plans you assume all risks and release me from any liability. I do not guarantee them in any way.  With that said, if you still want to try the plans I'd love to see and hear how your project turns out.  You can let me know in the comments section below.

Finished Dimensions:
34 5/8" H x 20" W x 42" D

3/4 plywood (I used Purebond)
Kreg Jig and 1 1/4  pocket screws
3 sets of hinges

Table saw/ circular saw
tape measure

Cut List:
3 - 1x3 @ 20 (tread brace of 3 steps)
4 - 10 3/4 x 10 3/4 (sides of bottom 2 steps)
2 - 5 3/4 x 17 1/2 (sides of top step)
2 - 20 x 9 1/2 (treads of bottom  and middle steps)
1 - 20 x 16 3/4 (tread of top step)
3 - 20 x 10 3/4 (front of bottom step, shelf and base of middle step)
1 - 20 x 22.5 (front of middle step)
2 - 20 x 33 7/8 (front and back of top step)
1 - 10 3/4 x 18.5 (bottom step base)
1 - 20 x 17 1/2 (top step base)
1 - 17 1/2 x 18 1/2 ( top step compartment base)

Step 1

  • Attach sides of the bottom step to the front of the bottom step from the inside with pocket screws.
  • Attach bottom step base from underneath with pocket screws.

Step 2
  • Attach sides of the middle step to the shelf of the middle step with pocket hole screws from the inside of the step.
  • Attach front of middle step from the inside with pocket screws.
  • Attach bottom step base from underneath with pocket screws.

Step 3

  •  Attach sides of the top step to top shelf compartment base with pocket hole screws from the inside of the step.

  • Attach front and back of top step from the inside with pocket screws.
  • Attach the top step base from underneath with pocket screws. (although the top step base is shown in the same color it is NOT the same size as the top shelf compartment base.

Step 4

  •  Join bottom to the middle with pocket screws, then middle to top in a similar fashion. I chose not to glue the top step to the middle step so I could take them apart to move them.  

Step 5
  • Add 1 x 3 tread braces to each step. Again, I used pocket holes screwed from the inside.  It would be easier to just screw down from the top.

Step 6
  • Attach the stair treads to each stair with hinges.

Step 7

  • Finish as desired.
  • Be sure to securely attach the stair to your bunk or loft bed.  I recommend placing the stairs between the wall and the bed or adding a stair rail, especially with younger kids.

Good Luck!

I now have free plans for all 3 parts shown above:  

and railing.  

To find the free plans and how to connect the finished parts please visit my post Storage Stair System for Bunk/Loft Beds.

Please check out all of my  DIY projects and free plans!


  1. Anonymous6/27/2013

    Hi, um these are the plans from Ana White, and I don't see you linked to the originals?

    1. Yes, these are the same plans you can find at

      But, I created those plans and originally posted them here on my blog 4 days before sharing them on Ana White's site.
      If you read through the plans on Ana's site you will see a link to my blog, and my blog address on all of the images in that post. The plans on Ana's site were "posted by" AGarrigan. That's me.

      Since the plan was originally created by me and posted here first, I didn't occur to me to link to it. However, I will make an adjustment in the above post to avoid future confusion.

  2. Hi! These plans are fantastic!! This is just what I would like to build for my 10 year old son to go with a loft bed. I believe you mentioned that your bed was made a bit shorter for your young son. How would I adjust for the taller bed?
    Thanks for sharing these!!!

    1. When I drafted these plans originally, I sized them to my needs. At the time, that meant they wouldn't extend into the room beyond the width of the bed, the steps wouldn't be too tall or narrow for my little guy to climb and the top step would be wide enough to allow a crawl through space underneath that would line up exactly with the other storage piece I was building. As a result, the distance from the top of the stairs, to the mattress is a big one. To solve this in my situation, since I was building my own bed, I build a ladder rung into the end of the bunk bed.

      The result worked for us. Little guy would still have to climb a rung or two of a ladder to get into his big brothers bed, but if he slipped, the top landing of the stairs meant he didn't have far to fall.

      If you are looking for stairs that go all the way to the top, you'll need to add more step boxes, adjust measurements, and be o.k. with reduced storage areas, or steps that jut out past the end of your bed. In short, redraft things a bit. Or, you could just choose another plan like this one posted on Ana White's site by Jenny from Birds and Soap. It is pretty impressive.

  3. Thank you Amy for making your plans available. I stumbled across you via a Pinterest link to Ana's site and followed you here. After a change around in all the bedrooms my soon to be 4yo son has inherited his sister's old midi sleeper. The problem being he has the box room so needed to maximise as much space as possible. With a mere 15" left at the end of his bed this was the perfect soloution. I had to tailor your plans a bit to fit the bed and adjust the bed a bit to fit the stairs but got there after a lot of work and my son loves them. I have also added carpet to the treads so if he has to get up in the night there's less chance of him slipping when he's half conscious. I have a few tweaks left to do but then the toddler bed goes for good an needless to say he loves running up and down the steps, much safer than the ladder :)

  4. Anonymous11/19/2013

    What if someone was interested in installing it so that the side had actual pull-out drawers like a dresser, and not just this open area? How could I do that?

  5. Anonymous11/19/2013

    And would you mind disclosing what was your approximate cost of this project? I think it's awesome and would love to build it myself. How much $ should I put on the side for something like this?

    1. Irish wish I could give you a definite figure, but we used mostly scraps on this and probably spent less than $20. Much will depend on the materials you choose to use and the prices in your area.

  6. To add drawers, I would recommend visiting she has excellent plans several of which are simple boxes with drawers added. Once you find one that looks like it would suit your needs, it just a simple matter of adjusting the measurements and following her directions.

  7. I am doing the happy dance! My 4 year old is having such a hard time with the ladder to his loft I wanted to build something like these and your plans are fab. The only change I would make is a lumber list to know what to buy. I added the measures in my head and figured it out but other people might be intimidated by that (like my math phobic partner lol). I'll let you know how they turn out, it will be my first project after the holidays.

  8. I will definitely be using this for inspiration when I (hopefully) build a new bed for my boys. Now that we know we're having a baby girl, the boys are going to move into the playroom. Right now, they have a bunk bed system that we purchased with stairs, built in drawers, and drawers underneath the bottom bunk. I've seriously been considering selling the bed and building a similar one in our own image, since we're going to be combining their play and sleep areas. Glad to see even beginners can do it! Very inspiring!

    1. Congratulations on the baby girl! I'm glad you liked my posts and wish you the best of luck with your project and your little one.

    2. Did you cut all the plywood yourself or did you get it cut in store? I'm trying to make a master shopping list using Ana's method of listing the items needed for shopping and then (I'm assuming) we'll make the cuts at home. Do you suggest we do this (as first timers) or should we/will they/can they make the cuts on site?

      You have one 1x3 listed. So the rest of this project is plywood? There is no other measurement attached to your 1x3 (such as: @ 8ft long). Do 1x3s come in a generic size or is there an inference I'm suppose to be making here?

      I want to call and get an estimate on lumber cost, and this is the only part I have left to add to my list.

    3. Sorry for a double comment but what does @ 20 mean on your 1x3 cut list. 20"?

    4. If you've never cut plywood before I recommend having them cut it for you.It's just so much easier and gets you to the fun stuff (assembly) so much faster.

      As for the 1x3: yes @20 means cut to 20". 3 pieces cut at 20" means you need 60" plus waste. At my store, 1x3's come in standard 6 or 8 ft lengths depending on the type of wood you use. Hope that helps.

  9. Anonymous10/02/2014

    The dimensions you mention at the beginning are 23 7/8 H x 20 W x 42 D...yet within your cut materials, the tallest piece you have is 33 7/8 H...was this a typo in your dimensions or in the sizes to have cut?


  10. I would like to see the hinged part of the compartment. Do you have any pictures or illustrations showing how you did this?

    1. I will do me best to get a picture up tomorrow, because the kids are almost home from school and I know I won't have time tonight. In the meantime, I'll try to explain it verbally.

      Imagine you have the boards for the treads in place on the stairs and there is a narrow space between them. If you think of the hinge as a butterfly with a body and wings take your hinge and fold it so the wings(flat metal parts that the screws go through) are together and the pin(body) is at the top. Now, you place the wings into the narrow gap between the boards so that the pin is sicking up above the board just enough for them to have clearance as they open. That is the position the hinge will be in.

      The tricky part is marking the placement, and keeping everything lined up as you try to get the screws in. Hind sight what is is and all, I'd probably put the hinges in before I secured the "stair tread braces" to the steps.

  11. Hi - I'm using your plans to add stairs to my ana white playhouse.
    I want to have a secret door - from the playhouse going through the large compartment.
    Any advice on how to do the doors? Would hinges like the ones on the stairs work?

    1. I had originally planned for a door similar to what you are describing. Wood was cut and finished, but I never got around to attaching it before we moved. I planned on using the same type of hinges and can't see any reason why they would not work.


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