When your place is quite small or you have to make do with just a room and you just don't have enough space for both a workstation and a bed, it's time to get creative. If you're doing this for one of your kids, then they'll probably love it and if you're doing it for yourself, then you'll be reminded of a time when things were simpler. Using a loft bed can turn the bed area into something that you'll use even when you're not sleeping, which is kind of cool.
This loft bed/workstation combination was hacked together by John from San Francisco, who needed to add a work desk in his son's bedroom. It's also perfect for people with smaller rooms, who'd like to add a workstation without using a sofa bed. We've seen a few dorm rooms that used this type of loft bed to maximize the available room, especially when you have roommates.
John used the IKEA Fjelldal Loft Bed, which was discontinued a while ago. It was replaced by the IKEA Stora ($299) and Tromso ($268). The Stora is made out wood and comes without a desk so it will have to be hacked. The Tromso is available with or without a desk but it's mainly made out metal. While the ones with the desk are interesting, we like the Stora better since it's already made out of wood and thus will be easier to hack.
Currently, the Stora only comes in a dark color, so if you want to get a lighter colored one, it's best to check Craigslist and online stores to find a Fjelldal. A second-hand Fjelldal will cost between $120 to $200, depending on its condition. Just like John did, it's probably prudent to add a table leg to the tabletop that you'll be adding underneath. While you could just pop in a normal desk, it makes sense to use the existing frame of the loft bed to minimize clutter.
John used a solid birch door as the tabletop for his hack, and that is a possibility since a piece of wood that size can be expensive. The loft bed is big enough to simply pop in an IKEA Jonas desk. You could salvage a tabletop that's long enough from another desk, or go fishing at Goodwill. There are lots of ways of keeping this hack low cost. Even some older-looking wood might be good, once it's stripped, stained, and varnished. The tabletop that John ended up using looks somewhat slim. There's nothing stopping you from using something a bit wider so that you'll have more desk real estate.
A piece of wood was added to the back to add some strength to the structure and stop anything from rolling off the desk. A six-inch wide section of the door was used to hide away the cords. As for lighting, there are a number of ways that you could go. Since this desk is covered by a bed, it's important that you include quite a few lights to make it nice and bright when you work on it. A combination of IKEA LED Dioder strips should be used around the back of the table, the back of the bed, and the frame. That takes care of the ambient and mood lighting. Some spots could be integrated into the frame of the loft bed. Halogen spotlights might work best in this situation.
Check out Joel's DIY loft bed workstation that he put together in his room so that he could use all of the available space in his space as best as possible.
IKEA Jonas Desks
IKEA Dioder + LACK
IKEA Workstation Sets the Right Mood
Joel's Loft Bed Workstation
(via Ikeahackers, photos by John, It's the Little Things That Make a House a Home, Flickr member G00gl26 with permission)