How to create a ‘small space’ bed-deck over stairs

Finished bed deck at Rose Cottage

Sometimes space is so tight in a room that innovative thinking is the order of the day, and this was certainly the case in the second bedroom at Rose Cottage. When Hannah first viewed the house, this room didn’t even have a bed in it, just a sofa contraption and it was very, very cramped with no space for drawers or a desk. The area you can see in the image above where the head of the new bed and shelving are positioned is over the stairs, where a waist height cupboard had been built in by the previous owner. An idea began to germinate in my head and I asked the lads to rip out the existing cupboard (sorry no pics) and leave the space below. Down came the ceilings as well, at the same time. My idea was to create the deck to allow a full size single bed to fit in the room, with half of it positioned over the stair area, allowing storage underneath, shelving next to it and therefore space in the rest of the room for a small wardrobe, drawers and a desk. By taking the low ceiling partially down and opening it up to the roof line, the area directly over the bed would feel roomy and spacious. Now I just had to persuade everyone else it was a good idea… the words Bed deck? Bed Deck?! resonated round the cottage whilst they came round to my way of thinking, but they did, eventually!

The original cupboard positioned over the stairs, cramped & damp
The view to the stair area once the dividing wall and bulk head had been removed
Another view to the stairs from the small bedroom once the dividing wall removed

The bed deck was built to the size of a standard single mattress and Building Control asked us to get a structural engineer to do a drawing showing the strength / size of timbers to be used in constructing it – goodness knows what they thought someone would be doing on it 😉

We got to work constructing the basic frame which would be the ceiling to the stairs below and also the base of the bed above, this is the view from the landing before the hallway / bedroom dividing wall was built…

Then the lads formed the frame to make the shelves…..

This continued using timber framework to create the step effect (sorry no pics of this stage!) and then also the bed was extended into the room to be approx 2m long and loft board used on top of the joists. The framed area round the shelves was then strengthened using double plasterboard so it could be painted with emulsion. I used off-cuts left over from the solid oak kitchen work top to make the shelving, sanded the edges then varnished to protect against water marks etc. In an area where little else could be fitted to the wall due to it’s sloping nature, the step effect created a great use of the space. Make sure you fit a double socket above one of the steps for stereo / chargers etc, and we included wiring for a bedside light too.

Oak work top used as shelving

Around the bed area we used an inexpensive cladding and skirting board which was painted the same colour, Gardenia, as the rest of the woodwork in the house, with two doors on the front which opened to allow bedding etc to be stored under the bed. Below you can see the difference in heights where the area above the bed head has been opened up and plastered to the roof line.

Storage doors under bed deck

The creation of the bed deck gave a sleeping area, somewhere to sit and work on a laptop, extra shelving and then a heap of space at the other end of the room for storage / desk etc. All in all, worked a treat!

7 thoughts on “How to create a ‘small space’ bed-deck over stairs

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    1. Hi Nat,
      Difficult one to answer as I did the whole house for the client so don’t have a separate figure just for the bed deck. For a single bed size like this, with associated structural calcs, materials and labour, if you are not doing any of the work yourself…. I’d say between £2500 and £3000. There’s a lot of joinery work, plastering, making good then painting. Always depends on the house itself and where in the UK you live!
      Hope that’s useful,

  1. Hi, we have a small box room and want to knock out part of the wall that is over the stairs and have a wardrobe built outwards over the stairs but opening in the bedroom, Im not sure if I need to be phoning builders or joiners? or if it is even possible, do you have any advice please, thanks Thara

    1. Hi Thara, Have you done this wardrobe that your were planning to? Did it work? How did you do it? I would really appreciate if you can let me know. We are looking to do something similar but use the extention over the stairs as a bed for our child, so he can climb in it from his bedroom. Have you found any advice on your subject anywhere else?
      Thank you very much for your help.

      1. Thanks for the response Sian. Was looking to identify the pre-project space for a similar project. Mark.

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