Picture of Cheap, easy, low-waste platform bed plans

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:
For similarly easy dining table plans, see:

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, 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.

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BeanGolem4 years ago
This Ible definitely deserves its rating. I just made one last weekend in a few hours. My lumber store down the street didn't have 14' 1x4s, so I had to improvise the breakdown a little and ended up with a few extra slats. I guess it just makes it that much more sturdy. The scrap is also long enough to be used in other projects, so that's a bonus. I'd post a picture, but... well... it kinda looks exactly the same...
After much searching, I found this Instructable for a platform bed. Built it, disassembled it and shipped it to where I needed it. Took under an hour to reassemble at the destination and it's wonderful. I tweaked the instructions slightly to account for the types of lumber available, but it's all worked out. Used the sheet recommendation in Instructables for a bed skirt and use plastic underbed storage containers to hold my clothes until the rest of the furniture arrives. This is a wonderful project and I recommend it to anyone who wants an inexpensive, easy to build bed. Would like to plug Otis mattresses. Made for futons and wonderful for this bed. Super quality - not a cheap mattress but worth it.
aeray (author)  mhendrickson4 years ago
Glad it worked for you. I am also a big Otis mattress fan: great beds, great customer service.
partrician5 years ago
i loved this project. i had to go to the home depot to get the lumber though but i got home and had this done within 2 hour. now i want to do the headboard mod with the nigth stand extension. i have already mapped it out and plan to install a drawer under the night stand exstension. thank you so much for such a cool project!!! i have saved a ton of money!!
tealeaf935 years ago
Well looks like im not the only one that has built one of your beds and liked it. Thanks a lot for posting this instuctable. I've saved a ton of money.
aeray (author)  tealeaf935 years ago
You're welcome, and thanks for the comment. I enjoyed (and still enjoy) making it and posting it. Enjoy your bed.
SunB12 hours ago

What would the measurements be for a king size bed?

Bee_bee8 days ago

I would like to use this Awesome plan to make 4 twin sized platform beds. Would anyone like to share the dimensions they used for their twin platforms? Thank you in advance :)

earthpsalts11 days ago

my husband and visiting son-in-law made this in a full size. our lumber store also didn't carry 14' of anything, so we had to improvise as well, and ended up with quite a bit more scrap. i love the height! our guest room has this bed and bunk beds, so it will sleep four... the height of this bed allows them to have a place to put their luggage as well as room for us to store blankets. my only complaint is that when they were buying lumber i didn't think to have them pick up casters. since it's against a wall in our guest room, it would sure have been helpful!

Surely this setting-up this one looks easier than done! Great project you've assembled, in my favs! cheers

cdistillery1 month ago
I went and priced out materials at Home Depot. $30? I didnt think so when I hit nearly a $100 bucks and I hadn't even been to price the $50 in screws I was going to need. I am not knockng the job which is great and based on the title and claim of cost I was going to make this. Unless you have ALL of the materials minus the screws you will surpase the $30 price point 4 fold.....
aeray (author)  cdistillery25 days ago

try your local lumberyard, not the big box stores. They have better lumber, a better selection, and sell bulk screws by weight, so you can buy just what you need. I am also in the Western US, in a fairly rural area, so lumber is cheaper here.

Dobes made it!25 days ago

Built a full version of this a few days ago, using Spax screws, grade two lumber, and extra slats (for a foam mattress). Total cost was under $50. The nightstand is adapted from one of the comments, built into two of the slats; not sure yet if this will work or if there will be too much "bounce". Great Instructable, thanks!

aeray (author)  Dobes25 days ago
Looks good. Thanks for the photos.
TravisS111 month ago
How would this hold up for a queen and I'm 6'5 500lbs my bed is on the floor caise i broke my old frame
noyoudiy1 month ago

What do you think of making these square? That way I could combine four of them make a queen size bed and two to make half a queen size bed. I was also thinking of placing the slats a little closer so it could function as a halfway decent table to throw papers and books on.

nhampto91 month ago
I must say that my personal sentiment is that the problem in modern, low-quality tools & products is because of engineers who think of 'likely' forces vs 'reasonable' forces. A reasonable force on a bed is my 260# rolling over. The likely force is my wife & I (400# combined) "gettin' jiggy", thus all joints are strained from the horizontal forces straining the bed back & forth & not just sleeping w forces going straight down. Then there's the additional forces of 5 children climbing into bed w us of a morning or a 3rd adult adding to vertical & horizontal forces on occasion. Expect the WORST, not under engineer for the best. My first queen, size bed fell apart within one month. My 2nd is still up.
aeray (author)  nhampto91 month ago

this bed has held up well for my wife and I (400 plus lbs) for seven years and three moves.

tawdphillips made it!2 months ago

I built this today! The plans were simple and easy to follow. I spent about an hour in Home Depot, had them cut all the wood. I spent another hour or so putting it together. It was about $50 for the wood and cuts, $15 for screws, and $30 for a countersink bit kit (didn't come in singles). Anyway, I have a question. I worry a bit about it holding my partner and I. It seems like it would be so easy to add a 2x4 down the middle for extra support. Is there any reason I wouldn't want to do this? Thanks!

aeray (author)  tawdphillips2 months ago
Thanks for the photo. Our combined weight is over 400 pounds, so you should be fine. We've been using ours for years now.
kinderdm aeray1 month ago
What about a combined weight of just over 500 lbs? I would love to replace our metal frame and box with this design but have some concerns. Also considering it will have to hold up to some adult activities as well. I'm not very concerned with mobility so I am considering maybe adding that center beam and the wood glue that some others had mentioned.
aeray (author)  kinderdm1 month ago

you might consider the second support, but the wood glue won't really make a difference.

osinstructables made it!1 month ago

Made this bed last night. Home Depot in Davie Florida was nice enough to make ALL the cuts for me. They all fit in my small car. Total was $45 in wood and screws. The height is a little on the high side. I plan to take the legs down a few inches to better accommodate my kid. Follow the instructions to a T. Thanks for the great post!!

aeray (author)  osinstructables1 month ago
Glad it worked for you. It also looks like you got better quality lumber than HD usually stocks.
MalenaC made it!1 month ago

I just build my first bed, about to start headboard its 29-30 inches tall with mattress, the platform it self 17 inches, am not comfortable with height, my daughter loves it and told me to sleep on it for a while I don't think I can get used to it, any advice?

my bed2.jpg

Find the ideal height for you and subtract that height from the current height. If it is 2 inches or 3 inches, that is what you deduct off of the legs. To do this, remove the legs and cut off that amount from each legs and reattach the legs once done. Hope this helps.

MalenaC1 month ago
SteveR141 month ago

Thanks for the great instructions. The lumber yard cut the wood to length and we already had the screws. We did have more waste since they didn't have the 1x4s in the lengths you recommended but it still only cost $30.41. It looks great and is very sturdy. Much easier to put together than most of the furniture you buy and assemble at home.

SteveR141 month ago

Aeray, I've made one of these in twin size a couple of years ago, but now I'm putting together a Queen. I made a silly mistake and only put one screw in the center of each end of the slats and I was wondering if you think that would cause an issue. Should I remove those and do the double screws?

aeray (author)  oo0nothing0oo1 month ago
At least on one side of alternating slats. Example: first slat- two screws on the left, one on the right. Second slat- one screw on the left, two on the right, etc, etc.

Heh, well, if I'm going to do that, I might as well do it right. I'll undo these and put double screws on them :) At least I know that they won't be moving while I'm screwing them in.

knavefool1 month ago

There's a brand of screw named "Spax" (I have no connection to the company and I haven't even worked in construction in 30 years). They're high quality, come in all the standard head shapes, and the tips are very sharp. I've found them to be the best self-tapping screws for driving with a cordless drill. I think they may only come in phillips, but I've never had any problem with the bit stripping them, as I always have with cheaply manufactured screws. They're pretty easy to find, even though they're not carried by home depot (I don't know about Loew's) most True Value/Ace Hardware stores have them and most lumberyards that carry screws also carry them. And they're no more expensive than whatever Home Depot is selling for the same purpose. They come in green plastic boxes with clear tops.

clazman1 month ago

Please, everyone, do not reply, for I will only receive uneducated and indignant remarks.

Going from over design to under design in one easy step. Yes, some designs
here and elsewhere are over designed. In both cases it is due to lack of
engineering knowledge.

You've got a lot of followers though.

Squeaking indicates movement which indicates a problem, which indicates a
poor design.

No glue, and only 2 #10 screws only 3 inches long, results in only 1-1/2 inches
into end grain, the weakest possible direction for highly directional wood

Only 3/4 " from the end and the wedging action of flat head screws, no
wonder followers are experiencing splitting, blind leading the blind. There is
a reason for using large heavy washers under the head of the bolt in wood
structures. Please check out some engineered wood structures. That helps
distribute the loading over a larger area which reduces the stress on the wood.
This is very important because the strength of the wood where loads are perpendicular
to the grain is quite low.

No glue to spread the load over a larger area and using very week butt
joints, oh well.

This frame will take very little lateral loading. If one gets into bed very
carefully and does not apply any horizontal forces.

Let’s see, from a simple vertical and, yes, static 320 LB loading: 16 ea #
10 screws. Stress area is 0.1875 X 1.5 = 0.28 IN2 per screw. 320 LB/16
screws = 20 LBS/ screw. Bearing stress is 20 LBS/0.28 IN2 or 71 PSI.
Not bad … if the screw doesn't bend or there is no joint movement. In either
case, the stress profile becomes complex (non-linear) with areas of very high
stress. Apply a couple of g’s and the loading is doubled or tripled. Now, for a
complex loading created from someone running to the bed and jumping on, wow,
that never happens.

Yes, there is some friction between the wood components which helps “absorb”
some of the load. But that is quite subjective and should not be considered here
for it depends greatly on the screw torque and how well the wood can “hold” the
screw and, how well the “user” creates the joint.

In summation, there is some need for an engineering study.Even civilizations of old incorporated
engineering in their designs.

aeray (author)  clazman1 month ago
I am not pooh poohing engineering. I run calcs for beams, joists, headers, and rafters frequently.

The goal of this project is to be cheap and simple. It is.

The legs also gusset the frame rails together, and glue would defeat the nomadic aspect of the bed.

My bed has held up well and required no repair for seven years and three moves, so I'd still consider it a success.

Thanks for your comments.
HandiGirl1 month ago

Thankyou for this really great instructable. Even though I have not made this craft yet, I will especially consider this, once summer rolls around. Also, this is the perfect bed a person can build for putting in the basement and then, hang on the wall to give space to a small room at other times. Thankyou!

gailmoore762 months ago

Do you know the cut wood material sizes for a full size bed??

hsockeywest3 months ago

Was Wondering if anyone has tried this with a memory foam matress to know how that would work?

I guess if the Slats don't work I could always just lay plywood on top of the slats?

DocThomas3 months ago

wanting to do this as a full. I've read you say to do same as queen
but make the slats only 50". But I'd also like to slip a twin mattress
underneath for storage. so I need 75"doesn't appear there's enough room on the long side for this since the longest cut board is 71" am I correct on that? thanks

aeray (author)  DocThomas3 months ago
Not enough room, no.
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