Shared rooms aren’t easy. I grew up in a room with my 2 little sisters so I know it can be done and no one will die. It just seems hard to fit 2 little people in one room. Especially when the girls are not old enough for bunk beds. I saw this corner unit at Pottery Barn Teen and knew that if I could eek out 116″ in 2 directions I had to have it. But not for $700. So I built it and I am so happy I did. For just over $100 in materials including paint the girls have a place to store tons of stuff and their own little spaces.
Here is Phase One of my shared room update. The beds. The other size of the room is a work yet to be started. Oy!
Here’s a little close-up. We’ve still got lots of decorating to do on top but boy does this thing pack a punch as far as space!
This project is sort of funny because more than 2 years ago I built a storage bed for Sophia – the same one that would go with this corner unit in twin. But I built a queen bed. So, when Violet learned to get out of her crib at 16 months old and would not stop the room had to change. I took that big labor of love apart (it was made in 3 pieces) and now it is a giant couch for the kids. I chose to stick with good old bed frames with this corner unit. The girls and I like the bed skirts and using under bed boxes turns out to be much more convenient for storing their toys and keeping them hidden!
We wanted the girls to have a little space right by their beds for their special things and night time stuff. I love that it is hidden while the pillows are on the bed but then there for the girls when they hop in bed! These cubbies are about 14 inches deep and provide tons of room for books and jewel boxes and all of Violet’s beloved Disney figures. Right now, at 5 and 2, they use the corner shelf for passing back and forth books at night and for special displays when they play store.
How to Build It
To build this unit I followed the plans from Ana White’s site for the Corner Unit. I do have a few suggestions for those of you trying this plan.
Hip to Be Square
We used 2×2’s as Ana suggested, but here in North Carolina the 2×2’s at Lowe’s and Home Depot are furring strips and they are as warped as the day is long. They are also very flimsy pieces of whitewood. If I was to build this again I would go with 2×4 premium lumber. It is not hard to find straight boards and they are much sturdier. A few easy adjustments would need to be made. I have built a lot of furniture to be square within a 1/32 of an inch. I know how to check for square and keep square. Let me tell you, when actually building a square out of totally warped wood it will never be that square. Lesson learned.
When not totally square, each piece of wood is measured and cut to fit your frame. In this case, I had small differences in measurements of each piece of wood, but in the end it all worked out. And for awhile it was a fun fort. Its tough to find time with 3 kids! So, if you are having your wood cut at the store, make sure to have them cut each piece a little large and you can trim them at home using a circular saw or a jig saw. No one wants to waste a huge piece of wood!
If you look closely at the picture below you will see that the top does not fit fully flush on the frame because it is not totally square.
As a note, I used 3/4 inch plywood for the top of the base unit and the top cubby portion and 1/4 inch plywood for the side panels. For the top unit, I used pine boards. You could also use beadboard for the side panels if you want that country look.
Get through all of your cuts. Assemble the frame first and then cut each piece and test it out. Then paint it! This frame is too large to fit through our doorway anyway so it had to be assembled in the room. It was super easy to paint all of the wood laying flat on the ground. I used 1 coat of primer and 3 coats of paint color matched to a very cool pinkish orange in the quilts. Once you have painted you can start assembling your corner unit. Yes, you will need to do some touch up at the end.
When cutting the panels, I allowed for an extra 1/4 inch on one so that it would overlap on the corner and cover the other edge. This created a clean corner to apply my trim.
Attaching the Pieces
I followed Ana’s instruction on screw length but used deck screws to assemble the frame and attach the top to the bottom. They have a star head that does not strip when screwed in. I did countersink each screw using a countersink bit and then the screws went in like butter and pulled my unit together. Deck screws are super sturdy and also come in a wood tone that is much easier, in my opinion, to cover with wood filler and paint over. Wood screws strip and break easily and are not fun to remove. I did use regular wood scres to attach the panels. For the top unit I used my Kreg Jig but you could easily use regular screws for this as well. By the way, the Kreg Jig is the absolute best thing ever for joining wood without fancy joinery skills. It is about $100 and is so worth the money!
Finishing the Corner Unit
I went simple and safe here. I used a piece of rounded corner trim for the corner edge so that any injuries would be a bruise and not a bloody mess if they hit the corner. Then I ripped 1/4 inch MDF into 2 inch strips and attached them to the unit to cover the joint between the top and bottom parts of the unit. Here’s what it looked like before the trim.
I still want to add trim to the top, but for now I am taking a breather and focusing on the dozens of other projects I started! I think it looks great for now and is just what I need to start thinking about the rest of the shared room. I attached the trim with my nail gun but it would be fine to add with small nails and a hammer. Once it is on, simply fill your nail holes and any gaps and paint!
I added a hole on the top for cords. I will probably add another one in each cubby for the girls when they get old enough to have their own things that need to charge.
The good news is that you can build this no matter what your skill level with a little patience. It is large and that makes it a little more difficult. It can be taken apart to move. That is awesome. The kids have climbed all over this thing and is does not budge. Thank goodness!
Now, I’ve got the beds down and I’m on to the rest of making a shared room work and look good.
Let me know if you have any questions and please share if your kids share a room…how do YOU make it work?
I am linking up to the lovely Laurie from Tip Junkie. There are always some great DIY projects every week so check it out!
Also, if you like this would you be so kind as to pin this post or share it with your friends? Thank You!