Picture of Box Bed
Beds are problem for the nomad: too big to move, and too expensive to leave behind. By default, many of us end up with a box spring on the floor, down in the dust bunnies and lost crumbs. Putting the mattress on the ground also eats up a lot of square footage in a cramped apartment, taking away an opportunity for storage underneath.

I moved halfway across the country recently, leaving my old 2x8 Bed behind, and was looking to buy a spare, modern storage bed to replace it. Looking at Ikea's offerings online, I came across the Brimnes bed and realized hey, I could make that! While this version lacks drawers, it is still a sleek, low-slung modern bed with four sizable storage compartments, hidden behind sliding geometric screens. 

The Box Bed breaks down into four identical plywood units, each small enough throw in the backseat. Each unit is stiffened with an internal rib, fitted with a shelf, and has two sliding doors made from old radiator covers. The platform nature of the bed gives good, even support and eliminates the need for a box spring (saving money!). 

I made mine from high-grade plywood, running up the cost. Very little of the plywood is actually exposed, so you could substitute cheaper grades to save cash. I used 1/2" stock instead of 3/4" where possible in an effort to reduce weight and expense. I also made this whole project with just a circular saw; it would go faster and be more accurate if you had access to a table saw.  

(Apologies for some of the photos; the bedroom is small and so it is hard to back up far enough to get the whole bed in the frame)

If you find this Instructable helpful, please throw a vote my way in the I Could Make That contest! Thanks!

You will need these materials:

2 4x8 sheets 3/4" plywood
2 4x8 sheets 1/2" plywood
Wood glue
#6 x 1-1/2" slip-fit wood or drywall screws (I used Spax hardwood screws, which are superb for preventing splitting in plywood)
3/8" dowels for shelf pins and screw plugs 

You will need these tools:

Tape measure
Speed square
4-6 12" bar clamps
Circular saw
Relevant safety equipment

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Carte 1510 months ago

I'm not sure if I'm doing some bad math here, but how are you able to make 4 boxes with only 4 sheets of plywood? With 42" sides, you cant cut more than two pieces from a single sheet, no?

edel1 year ago
might be a stupid question, but I need to make (quickly) a couple of bed bases like this to get our mattress of the floor (hellacious dust bunnies here). I assume that the doors are for aesthetics only and that they don't provide any are the necessary? to speed/make it cheaper, I can leave them out, right?
wholman (author)  edel1 year ago
Oscelot is right, the doors are not structural. It is helpful, however, to still include the 3"-wide strip of plywood that is used as the bottom track for the doors, as it braces and squares the structure.
edel wholman1 year ago
great stuff, thanks for that, you have my vote!
Oscelot edel1 year ago
I imagine if the doors were structural you wouldn't be able to move them. Generally the support for this sort of thing comes from internal struts, which is why things like tv cabinets often have so many compartments - the walls are supporting the load.
How important is the placement of the internal ribs? Can they be made smaller? It's not super important, but I was thinking with them all the way to the back of the box (or with them being three inch ribs towards the top of the unit) you could gain a lot more storage space under the bed.
wholman (author)  ChuckMeIntoHell1 year ago
The ribs essentially divide the structure into thirds, so that the ribs fall roughly right under the sleeping occupants for maximum support. If you move the ribs all the way to the back, the top of the boxes might sag. Secondly, the storage space, as is, is about as far as you can reach. The gain in storage space would be essentially inaccessible.
nikinack1 year ago
This looks really awesome, but I feel like the mattress would slide around a lot when, uh, "getting intimate".
Adding a lip around the edge would help and wouldn't be too difficult. Just a piece of wood 3" wide and as long as the side of the box you're putting it on. One for each outward facing side of the box, creating an 'L' at each corner.
double sided carpet tape is your friend.
I LOVE this! I'll bet I could make this myself with these instructions. I'm not a guy, but I love working with tools and wood. Thanks for a lovely idea!!! I have always wanted one of these box beds and it would certainly help with our storage shortage. Big house -- no closets to speak of! Need extra storage and this is just the ticket!
MartijnD1 year ago
Looks nice! But have you thought of ventilation? An average person looses about half a liter of water a night, some via breath, some from sweating, estimated is that at least 0,1 liter goes in the matras and it needs to leave it again else you will get fungi or other species growing under and in the matras. Suggestion, raise the matras and supports with smal beams so at least half of the bottom surface is open.
I wondered about the same thing. Another idea would be to drill a bunch of holes on the top sides of the boxes to provide some ventilation.
wholman (author)  seamster1 year ago
Platform beds are pretty common; even beds with slats often have a thin sheet of Masonite or plywood to more evenly distribute the weight of the mattress. The mattress has 16 hours of unoccupied time to dry out every day. An mattress pad also keeps a lot of that moisture from ever entering the mattress.
Agreed, wholman. If you just leave the bed stripped once a week and don't be too fussy about making it up tight every morning, that helps to keep it dry as well. There's also the old 'flip the mattress' every month or so if you don't have a pillowtop one. Mine's unflippable, but I do turn it so the foot becomes the head about 3 - 4 times a year and that helps too.
nanaverm1 year ago
Good idea for storage space!

My DH made us a king-sized platform bed (with no storage underneath). No problems with mold under mattress. But important suggestion: Make the box assembly a bit smaller than the mattress, or you'll be barking your shins against the wood all the time.
I'm always looking for projects to do with my girlfriend. So this helps. I'll admit I haven't read it thoroughly; do you have drawers on the left side as well?
wholman (author)  Ironsloth19931 year ago
There are shelves on both sides, yes; it is made of four identical units tiled together.
Im doing this. Ive been chilling with the dust bunnies too long now, very good. I voted for you...