How to loft a dorm bed so you can actually study and chill in your room

You got me lifted, shifted

A rainbow background with a picture of a pretty dorm room on it.
(Image credit: Future / Dormify / Beth Mahoney)

POV: You step inside your college dorm room and instantly realize you need more space. As to be expected from a classic college experience, your room is probably going to be super tiny and look as if there just isn’t enough space for what you need. 

The good news is that there’s a simple (and cost-effective) answer to getting more space for organizing your dorm. See: lofting your dorm bed. This will give you plenty of room for storage or to turn it into a cozy area for studying or chilling with friends. 

I’ll level with you here, if you’ve never lofted a dorm bed before it can seem a li'l overwhelming but, honestly, it’s not too bad. The whole process is quick, easy, and actually fairly simple. 

Wondering what steps you need to take in order to (safely) loft your dorm bed? Don’t panic, because we’ve got the lowdown. 

Good to know

Time: 1 hour (this includes the whole process from removing the mattress to putting it back after the bed has been lofted)

Difficulty: Intermediate. (Don't panic, this is only ranked as being harder because you'll have to remove your mattress)

Helpful hint: Ask a friend or your roommate to give you a hand, as this will make the process far quicker, easier, and safer. 

Here's what you'll need

You'll want to choose one of the following kits based on the type of lofted bed you're after. Check in with your college to see if they provide kits or if you're allowed to bring your own risers or frame.

  • Bed lofting kit — your college should have these available if they're allowed!
  • Bed risers if you'd prefer a raised bed that's lower to the ground — this Amazon set has over 14,000 five-star reviews
  • Loft bed frame — if you have to furnish your space, this highly-rated frame from Amazon is good pick 

How to loft a dorm bed

 Step 1: Get a lofting kit 

The first step is to get your hands on a lofting kit. You can either ask for one from the college housing office (most colleges offer these but some come with an additional charge) or you can opt to buy one online. Just make sure it's allowed and you select the right choice that'll work with your bed.

Step 2: Remove your mattress

The next step is to slide your mattress off your bed and move it out of the way (try leaning it against a wall). Ask your roommate, a parent,  your resident assistant, or a friend for some help. You definitely don't want to do this on your own.  

Step 3: Turn the bed frame onto its side or lift the legs

Before you can get to work, you need to turn your bed onto its side, so that you have easy access to all four feet. This is another two-person job, and don't try to do it alone! 

If you're using bed risers, you won't need to do this. Simply lift up each corner of the frame in order to slide the risers beneath.

Step 4: Add the attachments to the legs of the bed 

Start by adding the pegs to the legs. Most bed lofting kits come with pegs to add to the base of the legs that can then be used to attach the leg extensions safely onto the bed frame. They should fit easily into the bottom of each leg. When fitting these, it’s important to make sure that everything comes together perfectly and that the pegs and the additional legs fit snugly onto the bed frame. If you're using bed risers, slide these under each leg. 

Step 5: Check the frame and replace your mattress

Get your frame back on its feet or back into position and replace the mattress. Just like that and you have a new and improved bed to get you through the semester!


How high should I loft my dorm bed?

Our social editor and lofting pro Nishaa Sharma says, "As someone who's lofted their bed halfway and fully, I would say half is definitely the way to go."  She notes that at half height, you can fit your chest of drawers and additional storage items and organizers you bring from home.

"I had one roommate even completely fill underneath her bed with plastic drawers for her clothes and shoes," she says. "Out-of-state students, you can also easily fit two full-sized suitcases behind your storage solutions as well. I found a fully lofted bed is great to create extra hang-out space in your dorm, but the climb up after a late night out? So not worth it."

How to safely raise a loft bed

The safest way to loft a dorm bed is to use a lofting kit. These kits are made to be secure and sturdy and usually come with safety rails and a ladder to ensure that the setup is safe. Risers are also a good choice. Always ask a friend or roommate for help!

Do loft beds need to be attached to the wall?

Usually, lofted beds don't need to be attached to the wall, but it's always best to read the instructions that come with the lofting kit to make sure that your bed is safe and sturdy. Double check with your college about what's acceptable, too.

Are there certain safety specifications for lofting a dorm bed?

Every college has different rules, and while there are no set specifications for safely lofting a dorm bed, it's best to check with your RA or housing office to make sure that the lofting kit you have is allowed to be used. 

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.