Introduction: Floating Bed With LED Lights
Project: make a lighted platform bed that appears to float, has storage in the bed base and can be assembled and disassembled without tools.
Step 1: Constructing the Base
Purchase Kallax Shelf Units from Ikea (2ea). Assemble them, ensuring that the pre-drilled holes for securing the units to a wall are in the rear.
Examine your Kallax units and determine which side will be top and which will be bottom. Turn the units horizontal.
Advertised size is 57 7/8” (length) x 16 1/2” (high) x 15 3/8” (deep) but the actual size when assembled turned out to be 57 3/4” (length) x 16 1/4” (high) x 15 5/16” (deep). Be sure to measure your units after assembly so that any adjustments to cuts can be captured in the planning phase.
Step 2: Add Feet
The addition of feet is not required. However, if you desire more height, pre-manufactured furniture feet are available at Lowe’s or Home Depot. They come in various sizes but you should choose feet that are substantial rather than spindly. Usually, they are mounted using top plates, also sold at Lowe’s and Home Depot.
Turn your Kallax units so that the side you have chosen as
the bottom side is accessible. Secure 6 top plates to the bottom side of the Kallax, 2 on each end, 1 front and 1 back, and 2 in middle, 1 front and 1 back as shown above.
Screw feet into the top plates. Turn the unit upright. Repeat for 2nd Kallax unit.
Step 3: Add Backing
Paneling makes great backing material. It comes in lots of styles and is generally about 3/8” thick.
Cut backing to cover the backside of each Kallax unit.
You may choose to paint the backing to match the shelf unit or not.
Nail backing in place using finishing nails. Repeat for 2nd Kallax unit.
Set finished shelf units parallel with enough space in between to make the width a total 40”.
Step 4: Connecting the Kallax Units
French Cleats are a great way to hang things on the wall but they can also be used to connect the shelf units together. French cleats have a top bracket and a bottom bracket that fit together. The angles of the two pieces allow the top to fit securely into bottom.
Make French Cleats. Ideally, we would make a single French cleat for each end of bed base but if we do that, both the hanger and the bracket would have to be removed in order to move the bed. Since this bed needs to be as portable as possible, a French Cleat was modified and used to connect the two Kallax units.
The bottom bracket becomes two brackets while the hanger remains a single piece. Now when the bed is moved, the hangar is the only piece that needs to be removed and it can be removed by simply lifting it up and out.
From 1 sheet of cabinet grade plywood, cut two pieces. Each piece should measure 40” (length) x 10” (width) x 1/2“ (thick), actual. Set table saw blade to 45 degrees and cut each piece down the middle of the entire length. When finished you will have 2 sets each with one long bottom piece (bracket) and one long top piece (hanger), each 40” long.
From the bottom piece, cut two that are the same length as the depth of the Kallax units. Save the remaining piece for use as a spacer block.
Making sure the angled edge is at the top facing inwards, use screws to secure each bracket to the end of each Kallax ensuring that the bottom edge of the bracket is 10” from the top edge of the Kallax. You may choose to use glue and screw or just screw it into place.
Step 5: Dry Fit
With the angled edge of the hanger facing outwards, slide it into the brackets on the ends of the Kallax unit. The hanger should fit securely into the bracket despite not being connected on the far end just yet.
Remove the hanger while you attach the second bracket to the other Kallax unit. Now when you put the hanger in place, set the Kallax units so that they are exactly the width of the hanger and set the hanger across both units to stabilize the bed base at 40”.
Step 6: Stabilize the Size of the Center Gap
With the French Cleats installed and cleanly centered, go to the back of the hanger and install the spacer block to the backside of the hanger in between the Kallax units. You may choose to use glue and screw or just screw it into place.
Repeat this same process to make the French Cleat for the other end of the bed base.
Note: If you do not anticipate ever having to disassemble the bed, you could secure the hanger in place with wood glue and screws. However, since this bed is designed to be disassembled and reassembled without the use of tools, do not glue or screw the hangar in place.
Step 7: Cut Pieces for the Platform
Using cabinet grade plywood, cut two pieces, each 60” width x 40” length.
Lay the two pieces on a known good flat surface. The 60” edges should meet to make one large piece that is 60” in width and 80” in length, the size of a Queen sized mattress.
Step 8: Create Platform Stops
On the underside of each platform piece, identify where the bed base will be and measure the distance to the edges of the platform. (In my project the overhang on the sides was 10” and the overhang on the other two sides was 10 3/4”.) Mark the entire length of the overhangs. See the illustration above. (My pencil marks are shown by dashed lines in the illustration above.)
Cut 2” x 4” ’s to fit on the dashed lines as shown making sure that you allow enough space for brackets at each corner.
Lay the 2” x 4” ‘s flat on the platform next to the pencil line so that the widest part of the 2” x 4” is flat against the platform. The pencil marks should be just visible. (See gold dashed line in illustration.) Glue and clamp in place, followed by screwing in place. Do this for both platform pieces.
Step 9: Add Strapping for Support
Once the 2” x 4” supports are glued and screwed in place, add heavy duty metal strapping in a zig-zag pattern around the edge as shown in the adjacent image. Do the same for the other platform piece.
Step 10: Add Strap Ties & Spacer Block
Add Strap Ties
Add a 16” x 3 1/4” strapping tie to one side of the platform piece that meets with the other platform piece. This strap tie should be inset at least 1 ½” from the side and positioned so that it has an overhang of about 1 ½”. This piece will support the seam where the two platform pieces meet. Do the same for the other platform piece except add the strap tie to the opposite side. This way there will be one large strap tie supporting the seam on each side of the overhang.
Add Spacer Block
Add a block to the middle of the large platform piece which is the same width as the gap between the two Kallax units. This block should be positioned along the long edge that meets with the long edge of the second platform piece. Do the same for the other platform piece.
Step 11: Add Hasps
Turn over both platform pieces and fit on bed base. Ensure sides are even. Snug pieces into place. Then secure the hasps in place as close to the sides as possible but leaving enough room for trim. The hasps will draw the two large platform pieces together.
Step 12: Trim Platform
Using the 1” x 3” x 8’ Whitewood board, route the top edge with a round-over bit. Then using a straight bit, cut a channel that is the same thickness as the platform pieces. The channel should be up from the straight edge by about 3/8”.
Cut 4 pieces to trim the outside of the platform edge, mitering the corners.
Using glue and finishing nails, fit the platform edge in the channel and secure trim to outside edges of the platform.
Step 13: Add Corner Brackets
To ensure adequate support for corners, add brackets similar to the ones shown here. To the outside corners of each Kallax unit. These brackets are just visible in the image below. The brackets are designed to be mounted on a single screw. For added security, consider stapling hook and loop tape fasteners to the bracket at the point on the Kallax unit where the bracket meets it.
Step 14: To Assemble Platform Bed
Line up the Kallax units parallel and put hangers in place, adjusting gap between Kallax units to ensure a good fit.
Add corner brackets to each outside corner of the Kallax units.
Place one platform piece top ensuring the spacer block fits snug against the Kallax units. Put the other platform piece in place carefully sliding the strap tie under the opposing platform piece. Move both pieces as close together as possible, then use the hasps to close the small gap.
Place mattress on platform.
Step 15: Add LED Lights
Once the bed is assembled and in position, add a string of LED lights under the overhang. For the bed pictured here, the LED lights that were used are the kind that come on a reel and have a remote control and can change colors and flash