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: 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.

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BeanGolem5 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)  mhendrickson5 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!!
tealeaf936 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)  tealeaf936 years ago
You're welcome, and thanks for the comment. I enjoyed (and still enjoy) making it and posting it. Enjoy your bed.
Can someone give me the full size measurements?
aeray (author)  JamesC1015 hours ago
They are given several times in the comments.
HarryK23 made it!1 month ago

Hi, I made a queen size bed, like described. The instructions are great. Here are a few comments from my experience.

1) Total height including the mattress. I got a new mattress with the bed. If you're mattress is 11" inches or more in height, like mine, then you might find the total height being too much. You might end of having to crawl up onto the mattress. I will reduce the length of the legs by a few about 10" inches, making the cut between bottom and mid screw, to balance out the total height a bit.

2) Warranty of the mattress. For the warranty of my mattress to be valid, it says the slats can't be more than 1.5 inches apart from each other. But they are according to the this plan. To compensate that, I simply added 1" x 3" slats between the 1" x 4" slates (see image). That's a quick work around. Check your mattress warranty, if you care about that.


Does the queen mattress extend over the slats, and if so, by how much? I would love to make one myself.

aeray (author)  karmasue5 hours ago
2-1/2" on each side.
SteveC4610 days ago

I helped my son make one for a queen bed for use at college. We increased the height to 24 inches, by getting (6) 14' rather than (4) 14'. It took us a little less than two hours. He learned the importance of Measure Twice and Cut Once, and how to make a controlled straight cut with the circular saw. This was my first use of TORX screws and I couldn't agree more with the recommendation. Home Depot calls them T-Star plus. He is tall (6' 2") so the mattress height is OK for him, and he has a great deal of storage space underneath it.

JessicaH2413 days ago

can I make this frame queen to fit my full size bed and add plywood to the top?

luvxzoe made it!13 days ago

I made this bed yesterday! Modified it slightly to add a center support rail and widened it a bit to maximize the space underneath the bed. Took a couple hours to assemble. My mom was surprised at how solid it is. Thanks for the clear instructions.

EllenL8 made it!14 days ago
Thank you ever so much for these plans! I took this on as my first woodworking project ever and am very very happy with the results.

I made two significant modifications to mine:
1. Attached each leg using 2 carriage bolts instead of 4 screws! Now my frame is easily disassembled for transport and storage (I am moving cities and bringing it along in a couple of weeks)
2. Changed the measurements to fit a double mattress:
-2x4s changed to 5'7" and 3'11"
-Slats were 4'3" long
-10 slats instead of 11, spaced 4.25" apart (markings on my frame were therefore 2-3/8", 10", 17-5/8", 25-1/4", 32-7/8", 40-1/2", 48-1/8", 55-3/4", 63-3/8", 67-5/8")
-I also made the legs a bit taller for more storage (1'10")

Is it solid in the middle ?

KathyB18 made it!16 days ago

Thanks for this great instructable! We made this full size this afternoon for about $45 for our small guest room. Really like the way it came out.

Pinguino7227 days ago

I've been looking for a king bed frame for weeks on the local selling sites. Any chance you have the materials/cut sizes to fit a North American King size mattress?

KarynP29 days ago

the bed and your plans look amazing and simple THANK YOU. Wondering if you also calculated the cuts and materials for a single size bed to be super efficient in reducing material waste?

lovetree1 month ago

Hi, I'm wondering what the clearance is under the bed if I cut the legs at 1'-9" as specified in the directions. I'm hoping to be able to slide these plastic boxes under the bed and so need to know the vertical distance from the floor to the bottom of the frame or the first piece of wood a box would hit when sliding under the bed. Thank you!

I cut legs to 16" instead. This provides 13" clearance under the bed, or just over the height of two stacked shallow (drawer-like) storage boxes. It's not quite enough for one of those deep storage bins.
DukeLeto made it!1 month ago

A very solid, simple, and cost-effective build. Mine is adapted to a twin mattress, slightly lower to the floor.

I bought materials at Home Depot for around $50 (counting lumber, countersink bit, speedsquare, screws, and finish), and hand-cut the lumber there.

If you plan on doing the project without power tools (save for a drill), the build takes about three hours, and most of the time is spent on sanding. I have yet to put on a finish but I anticipate that will take about a half hour, excluding dry time.

Thank you aeray!

blair710 made it!1 month ago

I made it! Great design, this replaces my own DIY platform bed that I (extra)over-engineered.

Quite happy with it, we found it's a bit too high with our sort of thick mattress so going to cut the legs down 7 inches and it should be about perfect!


I just completed this project for my daughter's queen size memory foam mattress. She liked the extra height because of the mattress being thicker than a futon, and it feels very sturdy. The only trouble i had was related to using Phillips head screws because I couldn't find Torx or square head screws in the needed sizes and didn't want to wait to order them by mail. Thanks for such an inexpensive, simple, low waste project!
Just completed this project for my daughter's queen size memory foam mattress. Feels very sturdy, and she likes that it is higher than a regular bed frame. This is my first building project, and it went pretty smoothly, though i couldn't find Torx screws
erick.reinikka made it!11 months ago

I made two twin size versions of this design for my girls and it went very well. I used three 12 foot 1"x4" for the slats and legs; and I used two 8 foot 2"x4" for the frame. I cut 12 slats to 36 inches out of 3 of the 1x4s. My 1x4 lumber was 1" over the 12 feet so I could make the slats to a full 3' and still make up for the width of the saw blade and had very little waste. The frame was cut out of each 8 footers to 29" and 66 ⅞", one from each piece. This made up for the saw blade thickness and left nothing but sawdust. I cut the legs to 18" out of the 1x4 for minimal waste, but then cut them to 15" because we thought the legs were too long for our purposes.

I assembled the legs with pocket holes using a Kregg Jig. Totally optional, but I liked the way they turned out. I glued all joints to make them strong.

I spaced the slats at 2.75". I made the marks at 2.5, 5.25,8.75, 11.5, 15, 17.75, 21.25, 24, 27.5, 30.25, 33.75, 36.5, 40, 42.75, 46.25, 49, 52.5, 55.25, 58.75, 61.5, 65, 67.75 and followed the same directions you had for slat placement.

I sanded and put a clear coat of varnish on them and they turned out great. It was a very economical bed frame for my daughters.

2014-08-31 15.27.16.jpg2014-09-06 16.23.25.jpg

OMG! Thank you! I have read through a massive amount of comments trying to find the dimensions for a twin size platform. So many people have posted pictures without size.

Glad you could use the measurements. Good luck with the beds!
aeray (author)  erick.reinikka11 months ago
Looks good. I use a Kreg jig a lot, often to minimize clamping. For this project though, I figured most folks wouldn't have one and wouldn't want to buy one.
DarceyT11 month ago

Hi there! Great guide! I'd love to use it for my very small bedroom. I'm looking to make a queen-size bed that sits above a 6 drawer Malm Ikea dresser to make the most use of my space. Do you think this bed would be just as sturdy with longer legs? Is there anything you would change to ensure structural integrity?

GypsyRhaine made it!1 month ago

Just finished making a full size version. I personally decided to shorten the whole design to accommodate the shorter size of a full mattress compared to queen (5 inches shorter). I forgot to factor in that your measurements for slat placement included this 5 inches. And it was late when I realized it at the point where I was going to be marking the locations for the slats. So I did some calculations but then totally didn't account for the last slat being "opposite" and overhanging the frame and so the measurements were perfect for it to be flipped the other way on the frame. Soo I just flipped it and didn't have that end overhanging the frame which works out fine for the head of the bed frame. And I think it would make it very easy to attach a headboard right to the frame now if I decided to add one. I had thought of making a fence style headboard. for this.

Additionally, I am only 5' 5" so 1' 9" legs with the additional widths of the slats and mattress would have put the height of my bed over 2 ft off the ground... way too high for this fun size girl... so using the length of my bedskirt as a kind of guide, I shortened the legs to 1' 2". This has the bedskirt about 2 inches above the floor and bed isn't too high now.

Also, I used 1x4 furring (14 ft) as this is what I could find at a really good price at Home Depot and I didn't know where a local lumberyard is located since I just moved back to the area last month. I made sure I didn't get knotty pieces tho some had those rough places where the bark edge of the log was at. I just made sure that one side of each one didn't have these barky blemishes and was nice & smooth and made that my up side for the slat. Also made sure to get ones that didn't have any bowing. Because of reworking the lengths, I need 2 - 8ft 1x4s too and they didn't have any down so the guy at Home Depot gave me higher quality 1x4s for the same price as the furring rather than go to the trouble to get another (14ft furring had to be gotten down for 3 pieces ^_^) pallet down for 2 pieces. LOL I found the higher quality pieces were smoother but had more knots which I had to watch on screw placement and cuts.

Thank you for sharing!! Was an easy project even with the recalculations to reduce for my full size mattress!

lovetree1 month ago

Hi, I'm making a full size bed. My understanding is to decrease the slats by 2" to 3". So that would mean that the 11 pieces specified in the directions at 4' - 7" would be 4' - 5" approximately?

I would ideally like to create a bed with the width of a full size bed (54") and the length of a queen (80"). So these instructions would work for that I'm thinking if I did everything else the same as the directions except using slats 2" to 3" shorter? The size of the frame, distance between the slats, etc. would all be the same as the directions?

Thank you!

aeray (author)  lovetree1 month ago
naomicogan made it!1 month ago

Great project! We originally made this mostly to plan, though a few inches shorter, and with one additional slat (12 in total). The next week, we picked out a new mattress- Latex/spring combination. The mattress shop strongly suggested a platform frame with center supports, so we added the additional 2x4 and three center legs, screwing down the slats to avoid noise. It's been great! No squeaking, no wobbling, very solid. The next project is to add a headboard and free standing canopy couch to accommodate for studio living.

Note: We didn't use the suggested lumber, as our local Home Depot didn't have have it. We'll see how it holds up.

Thanks for such a simple and great design!

JerrickaS2 months ago
I love these plans and plan on building a twin size version. I apologize if this has been asked and answered already but can you please provide the teen size instructions thank you.
SunB12 months ago

What would the measurements be for a king size bed?

Bee_bee2 months 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 :)

earthpsalts2 months 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!

BartholomewH2 months ago

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

cdistillery3 months 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.....
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