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I'm building a loft bed, and while I have a pretty good handle on the surface, I'm still trying to figure out the posts. Two adjacent sides are against walls, so I could put in diagonal beams, or maybe I'll build in book cases including diagonal members.

But I'm having trouble figuring out what to do with the two other sides. One of the sides is supposed to be open (for access) and the other for hanging clothes, so the traditional crossed wood or crossed cables is out.

Is there a standard (or even non-standard) approach to this? Is leaving the two remaining sides open an option?

Loft bed

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On the side you will be hanging clothes, will you be able to put a horizontal cross bar at a low height so it won't interfere with the clothes hanging there? –  Andrew Bonnell Nov 17 '13 at 15:11
    
I could, but does horizontal solve lateral support? I thought you needed a diagonal. –  LoftyGoals Nov 17 '13 at 17:14
    
If it were rigidly connected to the posts a horizontal could be adequate, but truly rigid joints are difficult to achieve in wood. For the stability of the entire structure, diagonals are much much better. –  bcworkz Nov 17 '13 at 23:31

2 Answers 2

Since you are doing sturdy x-bracing under the bed itself, and two adjacent sides are cross braced as well, you have three braced frames in three planes, and none of the frames are overly long and skinny, there is adequate bracing for the entire structure. If you can in any way anchor the structure to the walls as well for additional rigidity, you will be better off.

Even if you can't, as long as the frames are truly rigid and do not rack in the least, you will be fine. The one unbraced post is a bit of a problem unless anchored at the base because it can move if bumped against. If bumped hard enough, you could lose the vertical support at that corner. Thus the connection of this post must be as rigid as possible at the top connection to the bed frame. It's essentially like a table leg, a loose one is nearly useless.

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Extend the "free post" upwards, and you can run diagonal (or bookcase) braces on the top.

Alternatively, fasten it to the floor - with the frame fastened to the walls, fastening the bottom of the post to the floor and the top to the frame will mean it can't move. I guess you didn't actually say you'd be attaching it to the walls, but you should consider that.

For the "bookcase sides" learn what housebuilders did years ago - a sheet of plywood on the back is even better than a diagonal brace.

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