Build a queen size platform bed on the cheap, with storage space underneath, for less than $30, in about an hour, and learn some basic carpentry skills in the process. Please read the "design objective" below.

For similarly easy shelving plans, see: http://www.instructables.com/id/Cheap-easy-low-waste-bookshelves/
For similarly easy dining table plans, see:http://www.instructables.com/id/Cheap-easy-low-waste-trestle-table/

As a professional carpenter, furniture maker, and designer/builder, I see a lot of home carpentry projects that are grossly overbuilt and over-engineered. One of the goals of this Instructable is to avoid the unnecessary overbuilding that I frequently see on this site, and that I see every day working in the residential construction industry. Many of the building methods we (in the US) use today are horribly wasteful despite the advances that have been made in materials science and structural engineering, because most people in the residential building industry, from architects and engineers to carpenters, are mired in tradition, doing things a certain way "because that is how it has always been done", rather than consulting the best available science, or even questioning their own assumptions about "the right way to do it". I don't intend to knock tradition, either. Many of the tricks, techniques, and tools that I use daily are definitely "old-school", but seem to have been forgotten.

This bed is designed to be cheap, lightweight, sturdy, and produce a minimum of waste, using a minimum number of tools. It is intended for use with a futon or mattress without a boxspring and provides storage space underneath sized to fit common cheap plastic storage bins. It also provides good ventilation for the futon or mattress, something that I learned was necessary after my expensive futon grew a large mold/mildew patch on the underside. For those who might think that this bed is flimsy, my wife and I use it nightly, and I am 6'-5" and weigh 240lbs. I wouldn't jump up and down in the middle of it, but it will easily take any other abuse you commit upon it. When I calc it out, this bed uses 23.16 board feet of lumber (1 bd.ft.= 144 cu.in.), or 1.93 cubic ft., and produces only 42 cubic inches of waste, about 1.25%.

Instructables member frazeeg has posted a SketchUp model here.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

I was able to pick up these materials locally for just under thirty bucks. Bonus points for using reclaimed or scrap lumber.


(4) 14' 1x4 #3 and better pine
(1) 10' 1x4 #3&btr pine
(2) 10' 2x4 Std&btr fir larch
(8) 3" #10 wood screws
(72) 2" #10 wood screws

Try and pick fairly straight, pitch (sap) free lumber, if your local lumberyard lets you do so. Some yards are stingy about this. Try telling them that you are building a bed, and that you would rather not have pitch all over your mattress/futon and floor.

The finished dimensions of the top of the bed are 76" x 55". A queen mattress is 60" x 80". The slight mattress overhang covers up the ends of the slats and keeps the user from bumping their legs on them, and uses standard lumber lengths efficiently.

A note on screws: I am a professional carpenter and furniture maker, and I make things easier on myself by NEVER using Phillips head screws. The Phillips head was designed to "cam out" at a fairly low torque for assembly line work before the advent of adjustable torque limiting drill/drivers. I use only Robertson square drive or Torx head screws, and save myself a lot of time and frustration.


Saw (Skil, hand, jig, or miter. Shown is a Skil)
Square (Speed, framing, or try. Shown is a speedsquare)
Tape measure
Drill (Cordless or corded)
Appropriate driver bit for your screws
#10 pilot bit/countersink

Just so ya'll know, if you use an impact screwdriver and not a drill driver the phillips head screws go straight in. I was using a drill with a bit to run 4 inch screws into the studs of a wall and when the drill gets loose and jumps the track while your still pressing in it just eats the screw head. Not so with impact driver. I have never had the impact driver jump out the track of a phillips head screw, even once its all the way in it'll keep driving. Impact drivers are awesome!! I have a Ridgid at home and the new little 12V Dewalt for work.
By the way here is my twin version. It is kinda high for my liking and for kids to climb onto so I think I am going to chop the legs in half. It was nice to put those kids jumpers and walkers under there for a while.
<p>What were your measurements for this?! </p>
Do you have a supply list/dimensions for this twin? Aspiring woodworker, quick learner moving into a van to go travel/live in and this seems like the simplest and most useful one i have found so far. Thanks!
<p> Hello, I actually took the bed down a while ago. It started creaking when climbing in and out. Just being held together with screws. Might help to throw some glue in there unless you want to be able to take it apart easy.</p><p>I didn't make a material list of what I used but I made it to fit under a twin which is 38 x 75 mattress. I found some boards from it though. The boards on top are 32 inches long. I only used 9 of them and spaced it out to 72 I think. I ended up cutting the legs down to 14.5 inches long. That's the whole board. so it was 10 or 11 inch floor to frame. Don't hold me to this but the frame I think was 2 - 2x4 at 25 and 2 - 2x4 at 70.</p>
Thanks for the pics. I bought an impact driver several years ago, immediately after borrowing a co-workers. Unfortunately, I used it so much that it was in the shop being repaired when I made this Instructable. They were also really expensive at the time, so I didn't think many do-it-yourselfers would have/want to buy one. I frequently use mine to drive 12&quot; to 20&quot; long &quot;timberlock&quot; or &quot;olly&quot; screws while timberframing and installing SIPS panels, and have even used it to remove the lugnuts on my truck a time or two, not to mention siding two houses using solely screws as fasteners, and half a dozen+ metal roofs. Impact drivers rock, and are, IMHO, the best cordless tool invention ever.
2015: places rent tools <br>(Goes off to look up &quot;impact driver&quot;.)
<p>ok um... so your comment and a professional carpenter's comment about this is a little worrisome. <br>That is why a screw driver has a setting (usually) like a 1-10. Its not just speed (which the fast one usually has a drill icon) but also a torque / tensioner. Similar to the low gear of a car, slower is more powerful. At the point the drill meets too much resistance it ratchets as to not cause damage to the drill motor / gears. If you have a cheap little drill it will happen a lot. I am surprised the the whole Philips head comment. Of course a torque wrench or pneumatic / impact will do the job, the FPS of torque is significantly higher....</p>
<p>It's all in the proper explanation. I did not mean screwdriver. I did mean impact. A screwdriver has a clutch which will slip at the setting selected, Impact driver drives screws like a hammer drives nails </p>
Yes. But a Phillips head was originally designed to cam out at a particular torque. A Torx or star drive or Robertson or square drive or hex head was designed to stay engaged.<br><br>The big differences between drill/drivers and impact drivers are <br><br>1) drill/drivers have adjustable speed and torque settings, and a three jaw chuck. They can be used to drive screws and drill holes. They are better for drilling holes.<br>2) impact drivers suck at drilling holes, because they have a non-adjustable retractable collet type chuck, and are single speed. They excell at driving screws, and require almost no down pressure on the bit to do so, provided you are using a screw that isn't a Phillips head. A 18v impact driver will drive a 24&quot; long 1/4&quot; hex head screw into solid kiln-dried Douglas Fir, and sink the washer head an inch or more. A drill/driver won't.<br>3) drill/drivers are very big and heavy, compared to impact drivers, and must be firmly pressed into the work while resisting the torque generated. I'd rather pack an impact driver around.<br>4) impact drivers can be held with two fingers, a thumb, and a limp wrist once the fastener is started in the material, and it drives a screw much faster on it's single speed than a drill/driver can on it's highest torque (slowest speed) setting. If you are driving 5000 deck screws in a day, this makes a huge difference.<br><br>Both tools have their appropriate uses: an impact driver is only for driving screws, and excels at it. A drill/driver does both, but only acceptably, and is really better for drilling holes.<br><br>I use both, for their most suitable uses only.<br>
<p>After reading on this thread about impact drivers (and having a regularly sore wrist), I went out and bought a Milwaukee M12 Fuel Impact driver and it stopped before the torx screws went in all the way. It seemed to stop leaving the top part of the screw out... where there are no threads. Is this drill just too wimpy or am I doing something wrong? I tried it on the #1 and #2 settings both with same results. I'm using Torx self-driving screws. It happened with all lengths of screws. Thanks for any suggestions!</p>
<p>The M12 1/4 hex impact 12volt? It claims 1000 in-lbs at peak which is about 83 ft-lbs. By comparison an 18 volt ridgid is 1750 in-lbs or 145 ft-lbs. That may be the problem. You could countersink for the screw heads. I haven't seen impact drivers with settings other than variable speed in the trigger </p>
aeray,<br><br>I told you I was going to do it again...but I didn't! She did it herself! (I pre-drilled all the holes) But she really did her thing, this was an excellent project to do together.<br><br>Thank you again.<br><br>
Thanks again. As divalea wrote: &quot;I guess platform beds are like kittens, peanut butter cups, and potato chips: hard to stop at one!&quot;<br><br>My only other comment is that the slats look a little widely spaced. If it is a fairly stiff mattress, and your daughter is fairly light (as it appears) it shouldn't be a problem now. As your daughter grows, and the mattress ages, you may need to add some more slats.<br><br>Please keep me posted, and keep up the good work.
Thank you, I thought they were far apart also, and was about to go cut another one when I remembered her mattress is the &quot;bunk mattress&quot; it has it's own built in slats at the bottom of the mattress, so I don't think it will be an issue.<br><br>Take care, I'll be checking back often, I noticed you talking about a corner unit and some other projects I'm dying to see, lol.<br><br>Goodnight.
<p>Also please wear a mask when using chemical sprays of any kind including paint!!!</p>
<p>SAFTEY FIRST!!! Good thinking</p>
I built this bed yesterday in a full sized version. I started with Phillips head screws which were a disaster, and quickly chose to drive all over town in search of Torx screws. After I found them, an hour and forty five minutes later, my &quot;work in progress&quot; guest room has a great looking sturdy bed! I'm working on a wood burning project for the headboard, and my daughter has already asked that I make her one in a twin version and paint it turquiose! I am going to shorten the legs though, she's only 5, lol. We are going to get the materials later today!<br><br>I am going to build bedside tables and bookshelves myself also. Once I realized how much money I could save, I decided the entire guest room will be made by yours truly.<br><br>Thank you aeray! I am inspired! ;-)
Ah 4 years ago. What is the problem with phillips-heads? I looked up &quot;cam out&quot; in Wikipedia. I saw the same recomendation as the OP but didnt understand.<br>Did it have any tendency to wobble with use, ie did the legs go out of square? <br> Many thanks for posting
<p>It means the design of Phillips head screws was a deliberate strategy to prevent assembly line workers damaging the product by screwing them in too far &amp; hard. If they went too far the drill would slip out of the screw head by design. The flat head screw is harder for the drill bit to slip out of at high torque</p>
<p>Can you tell me what measurements you used.</p>
<p>Just make the slats 5&quot; shorter. Everything else is the same.</p>
What measurements did you use for the full size bed?
A full mattress is 54&quot;x75&quot; or 54&quot;x80&quot; so I would guess you'd do 50&quot;x70&quot; or 75&quot; depending on your mattress.
<p>what are your measurements inside the legs on the long side of the full bed you made with these plans? trying to decide if I can use this to store a twin mattress under the full bed. so the leg-leg distance is the important measurement for me. thanks.</p>
Excellent work, and thanks for the photos.
This is such a wonderful layout for a bed frame/storage area. I have a question for the author, do you see a problem if I substitute using 4x4 for legs. I want to add wheels and will shorten legs accordingly to adjust for the height? Lynn
<p>Did you ever make this and add wheels? Did the 4x4 legs work?<br>What wheels did you use? I'd love to add wheels to mine. Then I can build super simple vertical storage bins under it, and roll the bed away to access them. Like a face-down book shelf.</p>
It shouldn't be a problem.
I am totally inept and I built this bed a year ago. It is a great bed, used with Otis futon. One of the best things about this bed is that it takes up so little space due to the fact the mattress overhangs. The size of the mattess if the amount of space the bed takes up. I'm about to undertake building 2 more. My husband is impressed as I have no carpentry experience whatsoever. Just trying to encourage other slightly beyond middle age women out there. <br>Thanks! Oh, p.s. only problem was that I couldn't find torx screws anywhere in the size recommended. Should I use deck screws on the next beds?
Being me and a bit overbuilding, I use hex-head lag screws. Yes, they show. I call it decoration and industrial and they can be removed
If you have already built one, you are NOT inept. You read it and ran with it and it worked out, and you're about to do it again (and again). I'd like to see pics. As for the &quot;deck screws&quot;: &quot;deck screws&quot; will be more expensive (you're paying for corrosion-resistant screws), and if you made the first one with Phillips screws, you can make the other ones with Phillips too. If you still can't find Torx or stardrive screws, try finding Robertson or squaredrive screws. If you are really into it, McFeeley's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mcfeelys.com/">http://www.mcfeelys.com/ </a>has just about any kind of screw you could possibly want. Any kind of drive other than Phillips or flat will make it far, far easier and faster, so ordering might be worth your time.<br>
<p>Thank you for the link. Finding the #10 2&quot; Torx wood screws was impossible at Lowes, Home Depot, and my local lumber store. I used #8 instead as that was all those stores carry that is close to the #10 2&quot;.</p>
Just made 2 of these (twin size) had to make different heights to accomodate mattress thickness. My sons wanted couch height. This was so easy, thank you for the instructions.
Do have the measurement for twin size
They are given multiple times in the comments.
<p>May I ask what measurements you used? and How are the platforms holding up for you?</p>
Glad you liked it, and thanks for the photos.
AWESOME project! I have put together some name brand furniture with more difficulty and lesser quality. I asked the lumber yard to cut it for me and just assembled it when I got home. It took about 1 1/2 hours and an adjustment after I was finished as it set too high for my thick mattress. I used it until I moved and gave it to my niece who has been using it now for over a year with no problems. Thank you for a great, easy project.
I'm glad it worked for you, and thanks for the compliment.
I absolutely love the instructable! I built the first bed and then I could not stop and had to build one for the upstairs bedroom as well. :) I think the text was well written and even with zero carpentry background I was able to build the beds with great success. Thanks aeray!
I made this today! Thank you for posting such awesome directions. I have never assembled anything this 'detailed' before. I had the help of tool identification and uses from my dad and an exceptionally smart 7 year old cousin. I haven't put my mattress on it yet, but I've got a feeling its going =)to be postiively splendiferous. <br><br>By the way --- using a saw leaves you with a very strange satisfying feeling!! =)
I'm glad you enjoyed it. Any pictures?
This is an excellent instructable. Directions were clear, thorough and easy to follow. The project turned out just as it should have. Even though we calculated and purchased for a different sized bed (Full) we had no trouble doing so. Took us slightly longer than we had planned but that was due to a severe thunderstorm, two meals and a movie break. :-) We are not &quot;rushers&quot;. Thank you for posting this. We have plans for one more (twin) in a month or so. Also, we decided on a different sized bin due budgetary restraints and found it advisable to &quot;downsize&quot; the legs by 6 inches. I'll post a pic when I can. Also, I'll try to show our &quot;hack&quot; for attaching my legacy store-bought headboard.
I look forward to it.
This looks pretty simple! I'm planning on building this but for a full size mattress. How would the measurements differ?
Just make the slats 5&quot; shorter. Everything else is the same.
Firstly, this bed looks incredible, and it seems like an extreme thorough and concise instructable. As a college student, I especially like the low price estimate!<br><br>I'm hoping to build a platform bed for a twin size mattress, but it needs to fit a 28&quot; tall dog crate underneath. It seems simple enough to just build much longer legs, but is that safe? Should I add an extra leg in the center and/or connect all four legs to keep it from wobbling? Maybe drill it into the studs along the wall? How much bowing do I need to account for? I don't have an extremely extensive amount of carpentry experience, and I'm worried about crushing my dog!
For a twin, you should be fine with just elongating the legs. If you want to be extra-safe, just use 1 x 6's for the legs instead of 1 x 4's.<br><br>
Perfect! Thanks so much! I can't wait to build my bed!!!

About This Instructable




Bio: Craftsman of fortune. Less is more, and simpler is better.
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