tips, tricks & tuts: kura bunk bed ikea hack

Thursday, September 18, 2014 18 Permalink 31

ashleyrachelle bunk

if you follow me on instagram, you’ll know that this blog post has been a long time coming. the idea was conceived back here, executed last summer, and finally blogged about today. i won’t post a full tutorial since there are plenty of upholstery tutorials and headboard tutorials out there on the internet. however, i will post several pictures that will give you a pretty good idea of how i accomplished this project.

when i first had the idea to upholster the bunk beds i was so excited because there was nothing out there like it. at least there wasn’t any interwebular evidence of it. then literally, the very next day, i got the restoration hardware baby & child catalog in the mail and what did i find in there? upholstered bunk beds. noooo!! i was so disheartened. silly, i know, since there’s really no such thing as a completely original idea, however i do really try come up with new variations or put my own spin on things. now that i think about it, i should have just been pleased that rh was validating my idea! ;)

the kura bunk bed from ikea continues to be a favorite of mine in children’s rooms. i mostly love the proportions of this bed. it’s much shorter than your traditional twin bunk, however an adult can sit upright on the bottom bunk so there’s plenty of room for a child to grow. plus there’s the versatility of using the bottom bunk as a play area if you’re short on space and don’t need the additional sleeping area. it’s also really great for young child since they can safely sleep on the bottom bunk which is basically at ground-level.

well, back to the project itself. the materials that are used for this hack are extremely simple and inexpensive. my favorite combination, especially when the end result looks like it cost more than you spent!

all you’ll need is:

  • some upholstery grade fabric,
  • quilting batting,
  • foam core,
  • hot glue gun

and that is it unless you’d like to add the tufting. if so, then add:

  • some fabric covered button kits,
  • a needle,
  • thread (my go-to is quilting thread, it’s so much stronger than traditional thread),
  • and some basic 2 or 4-hole buttons (equal to the number of tufts/covered buttons).

oh, and 3m command strips to attach the upholstered “boards” to the bed frame. you could also paint the bed frame, but i’m always extra leery of painting little kids cribs & beds, so i stuck with the original finish.

ashley rachelle kura bunk bed hackyay! building ikea furniture…here’s a tip: if you don’t already do this, use a drill with an allen wrench and/or driver bit and drastically cut down your “construction” time!

ashley rachelle kura bunk bed hacki purchased the fabric covered button kit from joann’s. it’s super easy and the clear template makes centering your pattern a snap.

ashley rachelle kura bunk bed hacki ran out of hot glue sticks partway through wrapping the fabric and since it was naptime, i used duct tape to finish it up! haha, I know, so classy…but it’s held up and i didn’t have to postpone the project. win win.

ashley rachelle kura bunk bed hackusing a flat button of the back of the panel gives a wider surface area for securing the button on the other side. i also feel like it gives a secure surface for tying off the quilting thread.

ashley rachelle kura bunk bed hack

ashley rachelle kura bunk bed hack

ashley rachelle kura bunk bed hackthere are lots of ways that you could go about adhering the panels to the bed, but i liked the idea of being able to keep things flexible and non-permanent. the command strips were the perfect solution.

ashley rachelle kura bunk bed hack

all-in-all my materials came in at just over $50 for everything (excluding the bed frame) and a little over 2 1/2 hours. not a bad investment for adding a little personality and slightly diminishing the obvious ikea look. best of all, this upholstery job is completely removable. the command strips make it so you can cleanly removed each panel should the need arise, or when you just want to switch up the upholstery fabric. i was able to finish this bed just in time for my daughter’s 3rd birthday last year. so this project is almost a year old and it has held up beautifully.

there are so many other fun variations that could be done with this particular bed that you can really use the panels to suit your needs, and not just upholster them.

so how do you think it turned out? do you have this same bunk bed? would you or have you ever alter it?

if you try this tutorial, please share! #myARDIdiy or shoot me an email with pics! xo

want to work together on your next design project? contact me at



  • Bess
    September 26, 2014

    I love your upholstered bed it really us versatile. I was wondering where you got the pink rug that’s in the bedroom.

    • ashley stephens
      September 26, 2014

      thanks, bess! i bought the wool rug from on final clearance. however, they always have really great sales and a huge selection, so you may be able to find something similar. good luck!

  • Ana
    October 10, 2014

    Where did you find foam core that was long enough for the bed? I would so love to do this for my girl!

    • ashley stephens
      October 14, 2014

      hi ana, i purchased the foam core from reuel’s art & frame in downtown salt lake. they carry several sizes, the largest being 48″ x 96″. if you’re not local, try calling around to framing and art supply shops in your area. good luck! :)

  • Mickel
    November 3, 2014

    Beautifully executed! We just purchased a Kura bed yesterday and about to do this. Did you only upholster the top outside panels? Are the polka dot panels on the inside some type of paper? I’m in love with what you did.

    Thank you!

    • ashley stephens
      November 4, 2014

      hi, mickel! all of the panels are upholstered with fabric. the “dots” from the headboard fabric are used to create the fabric covered buttons for the tufted side panels. hope that helps, good luck with your project! be sure to send pics when you’re finished! xo

  • Karen
    November 5, 2014

    Thank you so much for sharing this idea! I love it! The room looks so fun for a little girl. I also love the pop of color on the rug and your neutral wall color. Can you share your paint color for the room? Also, did you make those roman shades! Love!

  • Amber Nielsen
    November 6, 2014

    i remember seeing cute shelves you put in this room. Were they from ikea? I don’t see a picture…is there one on another post?

    • ashley stephens
      November 8, 2014

      hi, amber! thanks for stopping by! the white shelf brackets were from ikea the wood for the shelves was purchased from home depot and cut to size. i hand cut each corner to get that “custom” edge. there isn’t a specific post for the shelves, but you can see additional pictures in the slide show on my homepage

      hope that helps!

  • evangeline gonzalez
    January 19, 2015

    hi amber! this upholstered look is amazing…i have a question though, if the outside of the panels are upholstered, what do the inside of the panels look like? is there something i’m missing?

    • ashley stephens
      February 10, 2015

      hi evangeline, if you look at the “before” picture of the bed built, but unupholstered then you’ll notice the blue and white particle board panels that are part of the bed’s structure. i upholstered foam core and used 3m command strips to attached the upholstered panels to the particle board panels. hope that explanation helps. :)

  • melanie
    February 10, 2015

    Hey I love your creativity and your style! I’m planning to get the bed for my 3 year old and wondered what kind of mattress you used?

    • ashley stephens
      March 16, 2015

      thanks, melanie! i purchased the mattresses at ikea because they carried the correct/safe mattress depth recommended for the bed. so i just went the convenient route and bought them at the same time as the bed frame.

  • Tiffany
    March 22, 2015

    Hi, I have this bed for my girls and was considering doing something similar. Can you see the upholstered side of the particle board panel on the inside of the bed? Or did you cover it with another piece of fabric before putting it all back together?


    • ashley stephens
      April 2, 2015

      hi tiffany, i built the bed with the white side of the particle board panels facing in and the blue side facing out. i did not upholster directly to the particle board but to foam core and used command strips to attach to the blue side of the particle board. so the upper bunk has the unaltered white particle board panels on the inside. does that answer your question? thank for stopping by!

  • jaime
    April 9, 2015

    Brilliant and beautiful!! I am definitely adding this to my summer project list for my eldest son’s bed. Would you mind sharing where you purchased those lamps? They are exactly what I have been looking for

    • ashley stephens
      April 13, 2015

      thanks, jamie! so glad you are planning to do this project too! the lamps were a mini ikea hack as in i bought these wall sconces for $15 each: and switched out the lamp shades for a more modern version (also from ikea). a sales clerk let me man handle the display sconce so i could test a few shades to make sure they would fit. :) hope that helps! xo

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