Instructables

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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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.

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

yuanmingz21 days 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?

KimberlyM227 days ago

Would this plan work for a California King futon mattress?

Heyboots made it!1 month 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)  Heyboots27 days 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.12139827 days ago
Nice headboard, and thanks for the photos.
agibby5 made it!28 days 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)  agibby527 days ago
Glad you like it, and thanks for the photos.
MaryS429 days ago

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

aeray (author)  MaryS427 days ago
A few people give it in the comments section.
Tbibler 27 days 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 27 days ago
You should add 1x4 diagonal bracing at 45° in each direction on each leg.
agibby5 made it!1 month 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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agibby51 month 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

stickmop2 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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xdby542 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!2 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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omegaton2 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!3 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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aeray (author)  CraftyGemini2 months ago

I finally had a minute to watch these. Good job, but really, try Torx screws next time. So much easier, and they will flush up much easier.

cslniamh2 months ago

I just made this with my 23 year old daughter, outside, in
the leaves, in the New England cold for her new apartment. Her
second woodworking project. Took
all afternoon and it turned out great! Cost $52 for a full size. Directions were very clear. Thank
you.

Rstad2 months ago
I feel like i am missing something, how is this 66 2" screws instead of 72?

44 for slats (11x4)
12 for leg assembly (4x3)
16 for leg attachment (4x4)
Totaling 72?
aeray (author)  Rstad2 months ago
Damn. You're right, and you are the first person in six years to notice. I'll have to edit it. Thanks.
Rstad aeray2 months ago

Haha well I'm guessing most people go out and buy a box of 100 screws or something (as I did) so they don't end up noticing when they use a few more.

Will try and post pics when I finish assembling; did all the cuts and pre-drilling at the house of a friend with a saw and now just need to finish screwing it together in the bedroom.

Rstad Rstad2 months ago

Modified a bit since we've got different plans but same idea. This was a fun project!

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Yellowbug2 months ago
I need to make this for a full-size mattress. How do I re-size measurements so that I don't have to make it twice??:)
wahela3 months ago

I made a twin size one of these several years ago, put a futon mattress on it. and most people would rather sleep on that, than on a bed, they say its very comfortable. I now have a couch (not so great when I bought it), that is starting to fall apart, my dogs sleep on the back cushions, etc. so its ready to go to the curb. I'm thinking of making another twin size, put a back on one side, make some pillows and velcro them onto the back of the futon/couch. It would be sturdier and not so likely to be beaten to heck by the dogs (who bark at the mailman out that window. )

As for the Torx screws, I've been buying ONLY Torx screws now for years. My local lumberyard has every size and length needed. And the lumberyard employees agree with me. Life is so much better with a torx on my powerdrill/screwgun.

PadraicR3 months ago

Absolutely perfect for what I needed. Lumber is a bit more expensive here in CT, but the whole thing was still under $75. I trimmed down the legs a bit but still left enough room for some storage. Done in about 90 min! Thanks a million!

rcastag made it!3 months ago

I had to change up the dimensions etc for my girls. I ended up making two single platform beds.

My saw broke, so I was actually able to make a cutting plan that only required me to make one cut with a hand saw.

Thanks for sharing..

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tinamcruz3 months ago

How do you think I could adjust fire to make for my California king mattress? I want to do this today and surprise hubby before he gets home from hunting. Thanks

aeray (author)  tinamcruz3 months ago
King size adjustments are given several times in the comments. There are several pages of them to wade through; they might be on page 4 or 5 but I am not sure.
BarbaraK1 made it!3 months ago

Terrific! Made 26.5 by 8 foot day bed with these plans. Used 1by4s for frame as well. Like the way these plans have the mattress wider and longer than the frame-prevents baseboard and electrical plug in problems.

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BarbaraK1 made it!3 months ago

I used these terrific plans to make a long narrow day bed. It's very sturdy and light weight too. I switched to 1 by fours for the frame as well, as suggested by my lumber store. I think its terrific to have the mattress a larger size ( just and inch in my case) than the frame supporting it- prevents issues with baseboards and, in my case, electrical plug ins.

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CatBird3 months ago

These instructions are great and the amount of comments and luck people have had making this is impressive! I just got back from my local lumber yard with my wood order. My husband wants to make sure it is strong so we are going with 15 slats instead of 11, and the guy at the lumber yard recommended going 2x4 for the whole project and 4x4 for the legs. Having read the comments I know this is overkill and I feel we were over-sold to buy Standard and Better Kiln-dried SPF. I have a few questions before we begin the process.

1) I was wondering if there will be any issues or anything we should take into account using 2x4 for the slats.

2) For the 4x4 legs we are going to do two screws on each side to connect it to the frame. Will these 4 screws (#8 3") be enough to hold the legs in place?

3) Any advice on handling strong-willed salespeople who didn't seem to care when I said "The people of the internet said the bed is strong enough made with 1x4 pine."

I'll add pics with the finished project and thanks again for making this seem doable!

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