DIY Platform Bed and Mattress Substitute - Out-Of-The-Box, Portable, Lightweight, Inexpensive

Picture of DIY Platform Bed and Mattress Substitute - Out-Of-The-Box, Portable, Lightweight, Inexpensive

Ever needed to lug a mattress, a box spring or a heavy, clunky wooden or metal bed up or down a few flights of stairs or load it into a car or van? Or worried about having to throw away an otherwise perfectly usable and expensive mattress / box springs because of bedbugs?

Your bed and mattress (plus the box-spring) are probably one of the biggest headaches come time to move - especially if you're on your own.

I wanted a portable, lightweight and inexpensive complete bedding solution that I could take apart and put back together at will, and whose individual pieces I could carry in my car when I move. A raised air bed seemed like the perfect one-stop solution - till they started devoloping leaks after just a few months, leading me to finally give up on them. So I went back to looking for the two separate main components - a portable, lightweight platform bed (eliminates the need for a box spring) and an equally portable and lightweight mattress that could preferably be rolled-up or folded for easy transportation.

1) For the platform bed, I did find a few metal bed frames that seemed at least somewhat portable - http://www.walmart.com/ip/Smart-Base-Bed-Frame-Queen-King/10924588 for $109 for example, but found them too heavy and unwieldy. I didn't think they would fit in my car when moving, and in addition, I thought the steel edges would tear up my planned improvised mattress out of several sleeping bags. After a lot of research, I came up with a platform bed substitute that is working well for me. The items are easily available at a standard, international chain (IKEA) and each individual piece weighs just 10 lb and measures (as packaged) 22" W x 2.125" H x 33.125" L. You need no tools to assemble it, it gives you plenty of storage space hidden from view underneath, and your improvised platform bed costs (as of 05/26/10) just about $96.

2) For the mattress substitute, I thought of this inexpensive DIY solution using easily available standard components (a few sleeping bags and a zippered mattress cover) that obviously requires no tools or any kind of workmanship - and it's working great for just $84.

So this improvised queen bed and mattress, put together pretty much out-of-the-box from standard, widely available components, add up to all of $180!

ecricirce3 years ago
how sturdy was this frame? Enough to have a guest?
sbansban (author)  ecricirce3 years ago
Absolutely - in fact I first got this idee after an IKEA salesperson told me that each stool can support the weight of one person standing on it (and it does). I have had no issues with sturdiness at all.
ellequoi4 years ago
I agree with your complaints with box springs. I never actually saw box springs until I came to Canada - in Asia, they always made bed frames to support the mattress directly. Many of the mattresses there were foam, which is nice and light. I would probably just look for a foam mattress myself if I did this project.

I like the use of the IKEA tables. They've lowered the price lately, so now the 'frame' would be even cheaper! Making your own headboard, if I'm to take it from the many Instructables about it here, should also be quite easy.
mkslocomb4 years ago
back in the bad old days, people used to "tie" quilts together. needle and yarn, through all layers of fabric, down and up, tie a square knot and cut at about 2 inches. do this many times (kinda like the button tufting on the backs of those expensive leather couches).... much safer than pins, and still removable for washing.
firefliie5 years ago
good idea! I wonder if a couch could be made in a way similar to this...
l8nite5 years ago
good ideas ! yoiu  might want to consider pining the sleeping bags together to prevent bunching as you toss and turn
sbansban (author)  l8nite5 years ago
@l8nite Thanks for the suggestion. I have been thinking along those lines - need to experiment further - though right now the little bunching that is occurring from time to time has been quite manageable.