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Transform your old crib into a loft toddler bed


Simple and inexpensive modifications to make a “loft” toddler bed from an old crib.

It was time. We finally moved Levi into a toddler bed.

I’ve been procrastinating the move because—let’s be honest—I liked having him confined at nap times.

But since he’s now been potty trained for several months, it just made sense that he shouldn’t have to call for one of us to come and get him out so he could use the potty.

Our boys share a room — a very strange-shaped room. There are two doors (on different walls) and the longest wall has near floor to ceiling windows the full length of the room. (It’s not nearly as glamorous as it sounds — it’s actually very limiting in the small space.)

On top of that, there’s no built in closet, which necessitates a freestanding wardrobe and dresser to hold clothes for both of them.

All of that makes for a very complicated room to fit a lot of things into – two beds, a dresser, wardrobe, changing table, book shelves, toy bins, and a reading chair – and a very irregular room size and shape to do so.

We needed to come up with an affordable solution that didn’t fill up the room any more than it already was.

I scored this plain crib off of freecycle just before Judah was born and we bought a new mattress to go along with it:

And after a few simple modifications and a fresh coat of paint… we now have a toddler “loft” bed.

Originally we were going to cut it all down and make a toddler bed low to the floor, but decided to go this route instead so that we could add to our storage space.

We now have room underneath for a few toy bins and the boys “bikes”.

Levi can’t get enough of it. I keep finding him in bed “pwetending to seep” at odd times during the day. Here he is the first night we set it up (before we rearranged the furniture to where it all is now). He’s pretty impressed with daddy’s handiwork:

Dear friends, when did you transition your toddler into a big boy/girl bed? Would you ever consider a loft toddler bed… or do you think we’re a little crazy?

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  • Reply Susi 23 October 2012 at 12:51 am

    Hi there. Just found you through a friend on Facebook and wanted to let you know I love this idea. Wish I had come up with something like this when my girls were sharing a room!!! :)
    Susi recently posted..In a fog… {Picture Perfect Weekly #25}My Profile

  • Reply bernardeena 23 October 2012 at 1:48 am

    That is an absolutely fabulous idea!! I love it.
    bernardeena recently posted..On and off the needles.My Profile

  • Reply Ana 23 October 2012 at 3:15 am

    Love this!! We moved Isaac into his toddler bed around 18-22 months. It was a long transition that started with naps, and we eventually moved up. Ty build the boys bunk beds when Phinneas was around 18 months, and we started transitioning him as well (it worked out great because lil bro wants to do everything like big bro–score!) All that being said, I LOVE this bed!! Great work and Levi looks simply adorable pretending to sleep :)

    • Reply Adriel Booker 25 October 2012 at 7:13 pm

      yeah, i was holding off as long as possible… and levi still hadn’t started climbing out really. in some ways i was hesitant, but the potty factor was the deciding factor for us. wow, phinneas started young! i have a feeling judah might be like that too. he can already climb up and down from levi’s bed! he just turned one and we’ve had this thing for five days now! so…… there’s that! (arg!)
      Adriel Booker recently posted..umi’s story and project baby bilumMy Profile

  • Reply Leah 23 October 2012 at 6:08 am

    Would you possibly do a tutorial for this?

  • Reply Alicia 23 October 2012 at 6:55 am

    I love this idea! So creative, and I would totally do a loft toddler bed. Simon moved into his toddler bed at about 17-18 months. I was not ready for that change and so I wanted to “transition” him slowly starting with naps then eventually night time also. We had the toddler bed set up in his room for a couple days so he could “get used to it”. One day he climbed in it at nap time. That was it, he wanted nothing to do with that crib anymore. (He’s only fallen out once!) Funny how some of these transitions seem to be so much harder on me than they are on him!

  • Reply Bek {Just For Daisy} 23 October 2012 at 8:29 am

    I love this idea… Miss Daisy (2y) was 18m old when we moved her into a toddler bed. She tranisitioned really well. Not particularly agile so a loft bed may not have worked then but would be perfect now! :) Love this idea! :) Great job mum & dad!
    Bek {Just For Daisy} recently posted..Making A Geoboard Busy Bag with Activity Card PrintableMy Profile

    • Reply Adriel Booker 25 October 2012 at 7:18 pm

      thanks bek! levi wasn’t much of a climber at 18 months either, so it probably wouldn’t have worked for him then either! judah – who turned one three weeks ago – is already climbing in and out of it though!!! (Didn’t see that coming!) He is waaaaaay more into climbing than levi ever was. it terrifies me! crazy how different the kids can be, ey?!
      Adriel Booker recently posted..bokoro’s story | giving birth in the mudMy Profile

  • Reply Christina 24 October 2012 at 12:37 am

    Maybe something like that would be the catalyst to getting our 19 month old daughter out of our bed every night. Very cute idea!
    Christina recently posted..Following in Mom’s FootstepsMy Profile

    • Reply Adriel Booker 25 October 2012 at 7:18 pm

      hmmmm…. maybe! but in bed with mom and dad is a pretty fabulous option! 😉
      Adriel Booker recently posted..oh, my heartMy Profile

  • Reply Amanda 25 October 2012 at 8:41 am

    My girl is 3 and she’s still in her crib. She just climbed out for the first time a few days ago. ::sigh:: I guess it’s time to transition her.

    Love that little loft bed, though!

    • Reply Adriel Booker 25 October 2012 at 7:20 pm

      thanks amanda! yeah, levi wasn’t really climbing out yet either so i was really tempted to keep him in there. (totally love having him contained!) the potty was the deal-breaker for us though, and now that we’ve done it i’m so glad. he transitioned easily and stays in bed… and now doesn’t have to yell at us to get him up so he can go to the bathroom! it’s a win-win i guess! :) good luck with your transition!! x
      Adriel Booker recently posted..romney and obama: thou shalt be niceMy Profile

  • Reply Janice 29 October 2012 at 9:11 am

    I will definitely be checking back for the tutorial. Our 2 year old has learned how to climb out and I would love to make this out of her existing crib!!!! What a fabulous idea!!!!

  • Reply Turn a cardboard box into a DIY Lightning McQueen costume 29 October 2012 at 10:20 pm

    […] Since the boys room is fairly small and already pretty maxed out, I persuaded him to go with the DIY toddler “loft” bed option instead. (Levi looooooves it, by the way. Incidentally, so does […]

  • Reply Lindsey Whitney 2 November 2012 at 9:08 am

    Very fun. Both our kids went into toddler beds at 13 months… frankly b/c I think they are cuter. I like the kids to be able to get up when they wake up instead of crying for someone to come get them. I love the little loft though. Our crib is collecting dust downstairs… I wonder if we could still do something with it!
    Lindsey Whitney recently posted..Fall Party!My Profile

  • Reply jesse leal 3 November 2012 at 7:12 am

    I love this idea i have and old crib and would love to do this could you post the steps and what you need to complete it please =)

  • Reply Janice 4 November 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Such a great idea Ariel. We are looking at moving Kira out of the crib really soon, so this is a great idea! Not sure about our time and ability to make it happen, but maybe!

  • Reply DIY on a dime: How to make a toddler loft bed out of an old crib 10 November 2012 at 10:02 am

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  • Reply Maggie 29 December 2012 at 6:35 pm

    love this idea! quick questiond where u find/get the stair case?

  • Reply Whitney 2 February 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I LOVE this idea! We have a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and are expecting our 3rd. I may have to modify this and make a toddler friendly bunk bed by putting my 2 year old’s mattress on the floor underneath. Wonderful way to use space!

    • Reply Adriel Booker 2 February 2013 at 9:49 pm

      Love that Whitney! I thought about putting a mattress under there too… but I’m not quite ready to give our 16mo that freedom just yet! He’s a–how shall I say?–ACTIVE one. 😉

      Would love to see your photos if you end up doing it! Thanks for taking the time to say hello.

  • Reply Whitney 2 February 2013 at 3:02 pm

    P.S.- My son (now 3) went to a toddler bed when he was about 22 months. His sister is 11 1/2 months younger and wants to do everything her brother does, so she got one soon after him at the age of about 13 months. :-) We decided we’d rather move them out of their cribs before they climbed out and hurt themselves. Never have had a problem!

  • Reply Renee 1 March 2013 at 6:38 am

    OMG i have been looking for something to do with the crib when our DD moves out of it, but we are not ready to buy another bed yet. This is PERFECT!! I’m doing it this weekend! Thanks!!

  • Reply Stephanie 31 March 2013 at 7:16 am

    I love the storage under the crib and I’m been thinking about transitioning my little man from crib he is already older than my other 2 were. but he too shares a room with his older brother and it is a small bedroom so I need all the space I can get That is one reason we haven’t done it I store extra blankets and sheets in canvas totes under it. plus it would mean my little man is growing up.

  • Reply Francis 28 July 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Love this idea. Need to put my two boys in a room and was wondering how to go about it. Great idea.

  • Reply I don’t know who’s more excited! | lainybugcreations 15 January 2014 at 4:25 am

    […] it hasn’t even been a full day yet.  So thank you to Adriel Booker for the brilliant idea! And thank you to my Dad for taking the time to make it; it’s […]

  • Reply Katie Korpan 15 January 2014 at 4:30 am

    Just wanted to say thank you for the idea! I just posted a picture on my blog and the link to your DIY of what my daughters crib now looks like!
    Katie Korpan recently posted..I don’t know who’s more excited!My Profile

  • Reply ashley 18 January 2014 at 4:36 am

    hey my toddler and share a room so we are pretty limited on space with me being a single mom and all i wish i had a bed like this for my son he would love this

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  • Reply Amber Amber 5 February 2015 at 3:24 pm

    I Love this idea. We are full time RVers w/ a 17mo. & 9wk old. We opted for just the one BR vs the bunkhouse (which would give them their own room but take up a ton of the living space & rarely get used). We’ve been trying to figure out something to put in place of one of the couches. ive been looking at toddler bed ideas but storage is Gold in a RV… This is Perfect! Plus our large dogs will be less likely to think we bought them a fancy dog bed….

    • Reply Adriel Booker 25 February 2015 at 7:08 pm

      I hope it works out for you Amber!

      My family and I just moved into a caravan (perhaps a bit smaller than an RV) about three months ago and we’re loving it. My boys are now 3.5 and 5. It certainly has its challenges, but we’re learning so much and it’s helping to reveal our family’s values better than ever before (as well as our weaknesses and vulnerabilities that need addressing!). But anyway, I certainly know first hand how every bit of storage counts!! Hope you find the best option for you. I’d love to see photos when you decide! :)

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  • Reply Lauren 14 October 2015 at 4:43 am

    Super cute room! Don’t forget about childproofing doors with finger protectors for young children!

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