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

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

tawdphillips made it!6 days 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!

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aeray (author)  tawdphillips6 days 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.
hsockeywest18 days 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?

DocThomas1 month 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)  DocThomas20 days ago
Not enough room, no.
debrast1 month ago

This is a great design! How high do you think the legs in this design could go (assuming the proper side braces are added) and still be sturdy? I'd like to build a 6 foot high bed but am wondering if I should use 4x4's instead of the 1x6s screwed together. Thoughts?

aeray (author)  debrast20 days ago
As high as you like, as long as you add cross-bracing.
DocThomas1 month 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

DaveG71 month ago

So I've gone through the comments and gotten the dimensions for a king size frame.... 71x68

but a king mattress is 76x80

isn't that quite a bit of overhang???

MikeP72 months ago

Hello! So I guess that for shorter legs I would shorten 4 of the 1'-9" cuts from the 1x4s. Is that right?

aeray (author)  MikeP72 months ago
Yep.

Do the plans have a king size option?

Want to try this!

I just found this, as I have gotten more into woodworking. What dimensions are best to use with a twin bed?

yuanmingz3 months ago

I'm searching twin loft bed plan and found your plan on Google. Can I extend the legs long enough to build a loft bed?

KimberlyM23 months ago

Would this plan work for a California King futon mattress?

Heyboots made it!4 months ago

I made this bed last night with the same specs as in the instructions. I couldn't find 14' lumber (all the lumberyards were closed and home depot only goes up to 12') so I had to do a bunch of figuring at the store to figure out what to buy, I ended up buying 7 10' pieces and cut them:

5x 55", 55", 10" spare
1x 55", 21", 21", 21", 2" spare
1x 21", 21", 21", 21", 21", 15" spare

That's the best I could come up with. I could have used 12' pieces but I wouldn't have been able to fit them in the car and the waste/cost was about the same.

In retrospect, I would have pre-drilled the screw holes for the legs as I split the ends a couple times (nothing too bad though) since those screws end up fairly close to the edge of the pieces.

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aeray (author)  Heyboots3 months ago
Thanks for the photos.
Thanks for the great Instructable! I can hardly make a straight cut, but this gave me some great practice.
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aeray (author)  brian.gray.1213983 months ago
Nice headboard, and thanks for the photos.
agibby5 made it!3 months ago

I made it again for the second time in a week or so! This time it was for our new king mattress. All the lumber came from a local lumber yard (total for lumber was ~$50 with tax). I used the SPAX torx screws from Home Depot (~$16 total but we didn't need to buy them this time around since there were plenty left for this project too). We also put casters on it from Harbor Freight for another $15 and I had a spare 4x4 for the legs. With the mattress and blankets on it, the bed looks like it's floating.

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aeray (author)  agibby53 months ago
Glad you like it, and thanks for the photos.
MaryS43 months ago

Can you give me the info on making a twin size bed. thanks

aeray (author)  MaryS43 months ago
A few people give it in the comments section.
Tbibler 3 months ago
Hi there! I've never built anything like this and have been looking for for a simple plan for months for my boys shared room. Your plan appears to be the best I've found in that time.
One question (if you'd be so kind)... If love to lift this up 2 feet higher off the ground and add some stairs so the boys can have (what they're calling) a "man cave" (chuckle). Any thoughts on stability if I add 20-24 inches in additional height? The boys can get pretty rowdy so I'd want to be sure it's super sturdy!
Thanks so much for your time and detailed instructions above.
aeray (author)  Tbibler 3 months ago
You should add 1x4 diagonal bracing at 45° in each direction on each leg.
agibby5 made it!3 months ago

I made this with my wife! I had her stain the frame but we left the slats raw. I modified it a bit to fit inside an antique frame as a box spring replacement for a fraction of the cost! It's pretty comfy too! I used the SPAX torx screws from Home Depot (~$16 total but have extra for the next one). All the lumber came from a local lumber yard (total for lumber was ~$34 with tax). I used #2 pine for slats and spruce 2x6s. I ripped 3/4" off the 2x6s to be the proper 24" mattress height the old box spring provided.

I made a full size. The frame was the same dimensions as the queen, but my slats were 50" each. I also had to make the top and bottom slats flush with the frame to fit within the antique frame. Since I was putting it in an antique frame, I didn't need legs. Hopefully this makes sense. The pictures should help too!

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agibby54 months ago

It'd be really nice if you could edit the original post with the various bed size dimensions for this frame rather than repeatedly reminding people to refer to the comments. The comments on this site are frustrating and very time consuming to go through. Thanks for your hard work on this project. I really appreciate you keeping up with it. It's nice to see you replying to people's comments years later. Great job on the design too!

Thank you so much for sharing this excellent design! Built it today and it's solid as a rock. And I'm a big guy too so I love the height

stickmop4 months ago

Hi aeray, built a queen (the original) over the course of a week. My projects typically progress slowly so that was normal for me. I decided to stain my "cabinet grade" 2x4 studs and "whitewood" slats, and the wood took the stain well, considering the wood quality. It matches my door molding pretty well.

I wound up buying 8' or 10' 2x4s since none of the local yards here had 14 footers. I can always use bits of scraps anyway. Cutting was done with a cheap Japanese style wood saw (another reason the project stretched out for days).

This is for a guest room but we did sleep on it one night. It was too high for my tastes (12" foam mattress on top) so yesterday I unscrewed the legs and lowered the platform by 7". So the bed is now approximately 29" high.

In Step 5, you have a minor "be/by" typo (Note that the first and last slats will overhang the top and bottom of the frame be 1". ). After a million hits, and no telling how many beds built, I don't think it matters a lot. :-)

Oh, I made your shelves for my last house and left them in the basement for the new owner to enjoy. And it's been a while but I've enjoyed quite a few of your artisan loafs of bread. Thanks!

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xdby545 months ago

Thank you so much for this. I built this for my son's room in just a few hours today. It's been a while since I built anything and it was really great to get back in to it. I finished this part today, and eventually I am going to build a free standing "themed" bunk-bed around it. The instructions you gave were super simple and if I had to measure out the slats by myself, I would have shot myself. Thanks for doing all that math for me. My hubby thanks you for doing the math as well.

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Dreneht made it!5 months ago

A great instructable, thank you! I modified the size to make a standard double. I also decided to use a set of slats from Ikea, to give a bit more spring to the bed. Therefore needed to add a centre beam, and some bracing struts. We needed a new bed to fit into a small room. We couldn't find anything to fit, so decided to make this! The guy at the timber yard cut the wood for me, so it was really easy to assemble. It cost me £30 for the wood and £24 for the slats. I'm a bit disappointed that we only needed the one bed - I fancy having a go at another

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omegaton5 months ago

I did this project in 2012. The instructions were great and the project was easy. The bed is sturdy and extremely functional. I sold it when I moved across the country, and plan to make it again once I get settled. I may make the second version a bit shorter so my dogs can jump on and off more easily. I will lose some storage capacity, but that's okay with me.

CraftyGemini made it!6 months ago

Hi aeray! I've made two of these platform beds now and I wanted to thank you for the thorough instructions and plans! I created a video tutorial on this project for my DIY YouTube channel and I link to your plans so I hope you get more visits on this page from it. You can check out the 3-part video series here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tQRwdP6gnQ

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