How to IKEA hack a lift up cabin bed + desk

diy lift up cabin bed with removable study desk for teen's room

In our daughter’s small room, space was at a premium. We needed a new bed for her that provided lots of storage as well as the flexibility of a desk for a teenager with lots of schoolwork. 

Making it easy to keep clean would be a bonus.

Here’s what we ended up with:

diy lift up cabin bed with removable study desk for teen's room
Lift up DIY cabin bed with study desk

2 x 4 KALLAX Shelving Units 77x39x147 (2 units)
2 x 2 KALLAX Shelving Units 77×77 (2 units)
Single cube KALLAX Shelving Unit 42×42 (1 unit)
KALLAX inserts to suit (we used a mixture of storage drawers and boxes, the drawers at the front conceal any mess behind them, but remember, where you have attached the gas struts mechanism, you will not be able to fit any boxes or drawers there.)


Lift-n-Store™ Premium Ottoman Lift Up Bed Hinge (Large) with 700 N gas struts (gas struts suitable for large double mattress) these come in pairs.

Roll of 2 mm perspex sheet cut to size to fit on top of the units, stuck down with industrial double sided sticky tape

Bed slats (cut to size to fit the gap) Pine Stripwood Moulding (PSE) – 15mm x 68mm x 2.4m

Frame for slats made from Round edge Whitewood spruce C16 Stick timber (L)3m (W)70mm (T)45mm (the top of mine has a 100mm x 25mm only because it was what we had without buying more 70mm x 45mm)

Down middle of the underside of the frame a piece of lumber (L)2.4m (W)100mm (T)25mm

Attaching the ottoman mechanism to the KALLAX units Whitewood spruce Timber (L)1.8m (W)50mm (T)47mm & Timber (L)2.4m (W)100mm (T)25mm

Screws were old ones we had, the larger ones were bought for the specific job they were used for

One of the cubbies in our KALLAX units has the plug socket inside. We turned the off, and changed this from an original double to a modern double with 2 USB charging points. This also has space for a small bin in front of the plug.


We were filling a certain space, so planning was a lot easier. 

Also we wanted to replace the old floor laminate with more modern laminate. We chose to do all the floor as opposed to just laying the laminate around the KALLAX units. It cost an extra pack of laminate, but laying the laminate was quicker. And also if the room is changed at a later date, the floor is already done.

The first thing on our DIY list was to assemble the KALLAX units as per IKEA instructions.

Next we placed a 2×4 and a 2×2 unit together lengthwise on both sides make up the side panels of the bed frame. 

Three of the units were attached to the wall with the KALLAX wall hardware provided. The 2×2 unit with no wall behind it was attached to the 2×4 unit with 4 screws. (Bolts and nuts with washers would of been a better option.) The screw heads are covered by the drawer inserts. 

We then placed the perspex on the top of the units. This protects the KALLAX units and also makes them non slip.

We also placed perspex on the single cube KALLAX unit. Mia will be using the cube as a step for getting on and off the bed. (In the photo, it’s currently positioned away from the wall. That’s because the wall behind it is not yet finished. We will attach the cube to the wall when we’re done.)


The bed frame was made for the specific nook that we had. We cut and screwed together the 70 x 45mm timber, with a 100mm x 25mm running down the middle.

The slats were cut to size, we left a 250mm overlap on both sides of the frame for strength. Slats start from the bottom of the frame because that end is visible. The slats do not cover the whole of the frame, because when you lift the frame up, you need a small amount of clearance there so you can lift the frame up. A slat was used as a spacer to make uniform gaps between the fixed slats.


Pieces of 47×50 were cut and attached to the KALLAX units as support battens (as shown in the pictures). 3 attachments on each side, screwed through the KALLAX units, screws were put in from both sides for added strength.

A piece of 100 x25 was cut to size for both sides, screwing into the 47×50 battens. Before screwing into place, put the bed frame on, and lying underneath mark were the frame comes down to, fit the 100×25 below the mark you have just made


With the gas struts not connected, and the bed frame on we marked and screwed the mechanism into place, onto the bed frame and the 100×25 attached to the KALLAX unit, if possible screwing into the battens if the mechanism holes allow.

With someone holding the bed frame up, fit the gas struts as per instructions.


Mia’s worktable is just a piece of 12mm MDF sheet, which is removable and stored under the bed when not in desk mode. Alternatively you can use a plywood sheet or any IKEA desk top, eg. the LAGKAPTEN table top. 

The chair is the IKEA JULES chair that has a mechanism to raise and lower the seat. It fits under the bed when lowered, ensuring the top of the chair is offset from the middle bed support.

Completing the teen room

Besides the new cabin bed and new floors, the whole room got a repaint.

The door frame was removed and sanded, and then the sides were turned so the back is now the front, which makes it look like a new frame.  The frame was refitted with a new door added.  The instructions for fitting a door I got from the internet. Never having fitted one before, buying the right tools for the job is definitely advised.

diy lift up cabin bed with removable study desk for teen's room

The room was finished with open plan wardrobe units, a bluetooth, multi coloured light, controlled by a remote control or a smartphone for more functions. New accessories like curtains and curtain rods, and a new vertical radiator completed our kids room

This DIY cabin bed hack delivered on all counts:

  • Storage with a place for everything
  • A desk for a teenager with lots of schoolwork
  • And easy to keep clean

Any feedback let us know in the comments below.

~ by Nigel T.