Introduction: Bookshelf Re-purposed Into Bed!

Picture of Bookshelf Re-purposed Into Bed!

I have been living in San Francisco now for 6 weeks.  Since I didn't know how long I was going to be here I slept on a mattress on the floor for the first 5 weeks instead of throwing down hundreds of dollars for a bed-frame.

After organizing and tidying up the instructables office a couple weeks ago, we realized we had an extra bookshelf that wasn't needed.  I was bummed because I just bought a bookshelf for my room for $30 and the only piece of furniture I needed was a bed... but then I thought there has to be a way I could use it.  I took the specs of the shelf and my twin size mattress was exactly the perfect size to fit on the shelf if it was lying down.

Thus, here is my awesome re-purposed bookshelf bed!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

This bed (not including mattress) cost me about $40 including:

Bookshelf - Free
Piece of plywood (1/4" thick, the same width and length of the bookshelf) - $30, you could use any flat board like thing that does not bend easily
Screws (8) - approx. $1
Contact Paper - $10. You can keep it simple with clear contact paper or get more exciting with animal prints!
Screwdriver - already had
Drill - already had

Although you may not be able to find a bookshelf for free, check out yard sales and craigslist. You will be surprised how cheap you can get them for. They are often much cheaper than buying a used bed frame. Also, make sure the edges of the bookshelf are thick like this. If they are thin the bed will be flimsy and may not support your weight and it will be hard to attach the plywood.

Step 2: Attach Plywood

Picture of Attach Plywood

Measure the length and width of the bookshelf and buy a piece of plywood (or whatever board you chose, I chose plywood because its strong and sturdy) that is the same size.

Mark on the plywood where you will be drilling.  Put two screws in each corner of the plywood and shelf.  I measured it out so the screws would be exactly the same distance from the corner and in the middle of the shelf frame (i.e. the thickness of the frame of the shelf and the shelves is 2", so the screw is 1" from the edge )

Drill a starter hole for the screw so the wood doesn't split and the screw goes in easily.  Then drill the screws in.

Sorry about my final picture.  I took it at a weird angle and thought I would be able to just rotate it 90 degrees, but it didn't look good (or give me a headache) at any angle but this.

Step 3: Attach Contact Paper

Picture of Attach Contact Paper

I didn't want to leave the ply wood bare so I decided to line it with contact paper.  This works well because you can make cool designs with it and switch it up if you get bored!  You could also sand and paint the wood.

Measure the contact paper so it covers the entire bed and stick it on the wood.  This is pretty self explanatory.  I used two types of contact paper and made stripes!

You can see the paper hangs over the edge.  Cut it so it's all the same length. (You can see its the same length in the next step)

Step 4: We Have a BED!

Picture of We Have a BED!

Put your mattress, comforter and pillows on the bed.

Step 5: Auggie Outtakes

Picture of Auggie Outtakes

This is my roomates dog Auggie.  He's a black lab, German shepherd mix.  He really enjoyed the photoshoot!


M.C. Langer (author)2013-01-24

This is exactly the instructable I was looking for. Awesome reuse!

Two questions: how much did you pay for the mattress? Where can I find an economic mattress? In february 27th I will move to San Francisco for three months, and If I can't find a room with bed, I will need to make my own bed!

lharmon2 (author)2012-07-01

I'm always looking for extra storage space. Do you think a piano hinge would work instead of screws?

pddonovan2011 (author)2012-03-08

VERY Cool! I work for a garbage company, our mission statement motto is recycle, reuse, re-purpose, zero waste!

What you have here is a prime example of exactly that motto, you have done yourself proud!

Friendly critique! Contact paper = good, sand and paint = better. 3/8 foam covered with dark brown (Colored to closely match the color of the shelves!) vinyl upholstery = best! (NO SPLINTERS WHEN MAKING THE BED!)

I'm going to turn-on people to your instructable, because it is PRIMO!

jtharkness (author)2010-08-05

Creatively using (or reusing) what you already have - an admirable quality. Very nice. Are you now challenging yourself to adapt it even further by figuring out how to retain the bookshelf capability of the bookshelf. Perhaps you can board up one side while attaching double doors to the other side. Of course you would need a way to flip up the bed like a murphy-bed during the day so you have use of the bookshelf by day - not an easy task. If I come up with any feasible ideas, I will comment again.

verbatin01 (author)jtharkness2011-02-17

This isn't exactly retaining bookshelf capability, but you could try repurposing with additional functionality, like so:

As long as the flat bed support (plywood or pegboard, as another suggested) is screwed into the bookshelf as shown in the vid, you have enough support to be able to cut off one side and use the frame as segmented storage. To make it even more convenient, place cheap towels with a 2x4 board stapled on the end of the towel. Place stuff on the towel, then slide the board down the seg.ment with a yardstick. Anytime you want to access the stuff, just pull the towel out. To make it look nice, buy a couple of hinges from your local hardware store and latch it using velcro across the vertical members (the "shelves"). Check out the 3M industrial velcro - it can support a LOT of weight.

bobster580 (author)2010-08-10

if you use pegboard instead of plywood, then you should get enough ventalation. Pegboard = the stuff with hundreds of small holes in rows and that people use to hang things on.

Sherlock69 (author)2010-08-08

paronomasiac, That's a GREAT idea. Plus it would add storage if your room is small

marcintosh (author)2010-08-05

I just got done making a platform bed for my little one so I'm appreciating your design, work and use of available materials. This is stunning. Period. In the past when I made waterbed frames I would use hot water pipe insulation to attach to the edges so I wouldn't scrape my shins getting into the bed. Any fabric you want can be spray glued to it. If you want to do this I would suggest using the harder foam insulation (polyethylene foam pipe insulation) as it holds its shape better. You could also use those pool toys that resemble noodles for the edge / corner pads.
 Again, in case you missed it- Stunning

renni (author)2010-08-05

You should drill some big holes in the plywood and make sure air flows beneath the bed. Your mattress needs ventilation underneath.

raymccullie (author)2010-08-05

You could also get a "Hollywood Frame". Basic metal mattress frame on wheels. Around here they go for $50 new. They are adjustable size wise, too.

cindym (author)2010-08-05

Sometimes, we need to understand the REASON for a design... esp. one that has been around a while.... What most folks may not realize is that we humans sweat at night... there is a reason we have air flow under our bed, and that our mattresses are designed the way they are.... If you put a mattress on a wood floor, without a frame, you will end up either molding or warping the wood underneath. Please keep this in mind when creating designs.

achong0 (author)2010-08-05

A suggestion. Why dont you instead of affixing the mdf or ply to the bookshelf, why dont you add a couple of butt hinges and then you can lift the bed up and store stuff in the old book shelf, maybe even books, then there is no wasted space under your bed, you could even place the bookshelf the other way up and have the mdf on the bottom. I doubt that the matress would fall through any of the gaps if you wanted to be stingy and only use what you have there :)

porcupinemamma (author)achong02010-08-05

LOL, I was thiking the same thing achong0

alaricsp (author)2010-08-05

Where did you get the cute sleeping woman from? ;-)

rexdino5 (author)2010-08-05

The dog is so cute!!! I just want to go over there and rub and pet it all over.

l8nite (author)2010-07-30

cool repurpose ! if you had hinged the top you could have added hidden storage, of course you can always flip it over and add a hinged cover later....

suckrpnch (author)l8nite2010-08-02

This repurpose was a GREAT idea. Loved the hinge idea as well. That would be a great storage space. Though you might want some kind of stick on each side or something to hold it open as well. Kind of like a car hood often has to keep it up.

Carleyy (author)l8nite2010-08-02

I think I will try that! I am always needing new storage places

paronomasiac (author)l8nite2010-08-01

Eep, we think alike.

sillyzombie666 (author)2010-08-02

looks a bit like my lab mutt but we thing shes part grey house (her ears look like his)

also the only issue i have with this is that its wider than the bed, the only reason i have this issue is i some time like to kneel and lean onto the bed and i always some how hurt meself on the edge lol.i think you sould have added storage to it since there is plenty of room under it

Kye37 (author)2010-07-31

Aww Auggie's great he reminds me of my dog that recently passed away, hope he gets included in more of your instructables in the future.

Carleyy (author)Kye372010-08-01

Isn't he the cutest, he will definitely be in more instructables!

EdurusFas (author)2010-08-01

Highly Clever!!! Excellent!!

Debgal (author)2010-08-01

Fantastic Idea!!! I love the idea of repurposing

=3 (author)2010-08-01

You could put wood flaps or something around the mattress then you could put the shelf back up when you're not using it as a bed and use it as a book shelf. The only problem would be the books/stuff that would fall out if you flipped it back down. That could be solved by some straps to keep the stuff in. Books would most likely be easiest to put in the shelves. But if you have a big enough shelf and you want to put in smaller items (video games/crafts) you could buy one of those storage baskets. The ones that are covered in fabric and are found at Bed Bath and Beyond and Target and sometimes Wal-Mart.

kadeishasims (author)2010-08-01

cool.bookshelves a expensive but you can prob find free ones on it can be a cheap cool bed frame

paronomasiac (author)2010-08-01

This is wonderful, marvelous, groovy. If I were to do this (and were not all kinds of lazy), I think I would like 2 pieces of plywood half the width; one screwed to the frame and the second attached to the first with hinges, but not attached to the frame for easily accessed hidden storage.

omnibot (author)2010-07-31

That is brilliant!

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