I want to build a 4'6" bed 6' up in the air which will be attached to the walls of my bedroom on two sides (so three corners of bed attached to wall) and have a wood 'leg' coming from the ceiling beam to the bed for the fourth corner. One wall is a chimney breast so 3'6" of the length of the bed will not have wall to attach to. The other wall is not load bearing so I would be attaching to its joists.

Has anyone ideas of how thick the wood would need to be? I hope to have the slats going straight to the edge of the bed to save room as my room is tiny. I thought of perhaps using 3" x 1" attached to walls and across to 'leg' and at least 3" x 3" for the 'leg'.

This bed is for adults not children.

I was thinking I might need to spread the hanging load by attaching wood across two or three ceiling beams and hanging the leg from that. Does that sound like a good plan or is the whole thing ridiculous?

  • 1
    A diagram would be worth hundreds of words....
    – wallyk
    Aug 9 '14 at 16:30
  • Is that bed 4.5 feet wide by 6+ feet long? Otherwise, I don't understand what an adult bed being 4'6" might mean.
    – wallyk
    Aug 9 '14 at 16:33

For any load bearing construction, you want wood-on-wood carrying the load, rather than lateral bolts carrying a shearing load. Give your bed some legs.

You can still screw it to the wall, but the load should be going from the wood frame, to wood legs, to floor.

  • 1
    Agreed, safer for the structure and the person sleeping in the bed. Aug 9 '14 at 22:06

Although I cannot form a clear picture of your plan by reading the description, I would go larger on the hanging leg (4 x 4). The ceiling beam you are attaching to was designed and installed as a support for your structure, you are now going to add significant additional load. Is it large enough to carry your load and that for which it was designed? What is above the beam? Can you reinforce it? Spreading the load across several beams is a good idea, you could use steel hangers to attach them. I did something similar for a heavy object. I was able to reinforce the ceiling joists I attached to by installing vertical boards from them to the roof truss in the attic space above, thus transferring the load.

Your attachment methods will be another important consideration. You should "through bolt" for attachment to the ceiling beam, assuming the beam is large enough to drill through without compromising strength. I recommend attaching ledgers along the walls to set the bed upon, this will distribute the weight across the walls.

You could drill and anchor into the chimney rather than leaving it unsupported in that area.

As for lumber size: for the frame 2 x 6 minimum, slats 2 x 4

  • 1
    2x4 slats? I have never seen that in a non-rustic setting. Usually slats are 1x3 or 1x4.
    – wallyk
    Aug 9 '14 at 16:31
  • The word "cabin" is in the question title, along with the reference to open-beam construction, sounds rustic. I was actually picturing big lumber, exposed wood, and pine trees. I agree that 1" lumber would be sufficient, depending on design. Aug 9 '14 at 17:12
  • I'd be hesitant to drill verically through a ceiling joist. That's removing a significant amount of material for 2x lumber. Plus you're inducing a stress concentration on the top and bottom surfaces of the board, which carry the max stress.
    – Doresoom
    Aug 9 '14 at 21:51
  • Ceiling beam size has not been stated, but were called "beams" not joists, and it is a cabin... so it might be big lumber. Disclaimer: "assuming the beam is large enough to drill through without compromising strength..." Aug 9 '14 at 22:05

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