Introduction: Foam Mattress Bed Frame for Under $100

Picture of Foam Mattress Bed Frame for Under $100

After going through two warranty exchanges for sagging mattresses from Mattress Firm (ironic, right?) my wife and I decided to try a foam mattress. The problem was that it wouldn't work with a traditional metal frame, so we decided to build our own!

These plans are for a king size mattress from Tuft & Needle, but it should fit other brands as well. Please confirm the measurements of your mattress to ensure proper fit. Final dimensions are 76” wide by 80” head to foot. The legs can be adjusted to the height you need, but this height, combined with the new mattress, matched the height of our old frame, box spring, and mattress. These plans give you tons of room underneath for storing items in large plastic bins.

This frame will be *rock solid* and should last a long, long time. All of the materials are common to any chain store like Home Depot or Lowe's, and the cost should run close to but under $100.

Step 1: Gather Tools & Materials

Tools

  • Hand or Circular Saw
  • 9/16 Wrench or Ratchet & Socket
  • Carpenter’s Square
  • Hammer
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Drill with small drill bit for drilling pilot holes and larger 3/8” drill bit for carriage bolt holes
  • Sandpaper

Wood

NOTE: These will be visible, so choose boards with a nice sanded surface for painting or staining

  • (4) 2x6 boards – 8 ft. length
  • (1) 4x4 post – 8 ft. length (I recommend having the store cut this into (4) 20” sections)

NOTE: These will NOT be visible, so just find the straightest boards you can – surface does not really matter

  • (3) 2x4 boards – 8 ft. length
  • (20) 1x3 spruce/pine furring strips – 8 ft. length

Hardware

  • (6) 2x4 joist hangers
  • (24) 1” wood screws (#8-10 size should work, just make sure they fit the holes in the joist hangers – these are usually sold in the small plastic bags of 6 or 8 per bag)
  • (8) 2.5" wood screws (2" will also work)
  • (12) 3/8” x 6” carriage bolts
  • (12) 3/8” washers
  • (12) 3/8” lock nuts
  • (1) box of 1.5” nails – you will need at least 60 in the box

Step 2: Make Your Cuts

Cut (2) of the 2x6 boards to 76” – these will be the head and foot

Cut (2) of the 2x6 boards to 77” – these will be the sides

Cut all (3) of the 2x4 boards to 77”

Cut all (20) of the 1x3 furring strips to 76”

Cut the 4x4 post into (4) 20” sections if you didn’t have the store do it for you

Sand all cut edges, especially the ends and surfaces of the furring strips since these will be supporting the mattress.

Step 3: Assemble Outer Frame

Picture of Assemble Outer Frame

Lay the 2x6 boards in a square, with the head and foot boards (76”) overlapping the ends of the side boards (77”) as shown. Use a carpenter’s square to make sure the boards are lining up at a right angle. It’s okay if some of the boards have minor warping or twisting. They will square up as you connect each corner. Working one corner at a time, drill pilot holes for (2) of the 2.5” screws, drilling through the head/foot boards and into the end of the side boards. Screw the 2.5” screws into the pilot holes to connect the first corner, then repeat the process for the other 3 corners, making sure to square them up before drilling your pilot holes.

Step 4: Install Joist Hangers

Picture of Install Joist Hangers

Next, you will want to attach the 2x4 boards to the inside of the head and foot boards using the joist hangers as shown. The 2x4 boards are shown in purple and the joist hangers are shown in green. When installing these, have a friend hold the 2x4 so that the edge is flush with the top of the head and foot boards as shown below. Holding the joist hanger around the 2x4 board, mark the holes. Then pre-drill the holes and attach the joist hanger using the 1” wood screws (4 per joist hanger). The hangers should be installed on center at 19, 38, and 57 inches from either side, or 19” in between each one.

Step 5: Flip the Frame

Picture of Flip the Frame

At this point, remove the 2x4 boards from the joist hangers and carefully flip the entire frame upside-down. Installing the legs while the frame is upside-down will ensure that the top of the legs are flush with the top edges of the frame.

Step 6: Install Legs

Picture of Install Legs

Measure 3.5” from each corner and draw a vertical line on both the head/foot boards and the side boards. Along that line, measure 1.5” from the top and bottom of the side boards and mark it. These will be your holes for the carriage bolts on the side boards. On the head/foot boards, measure 3” from the top or bottom of the line you drew to find the center and mark it. This will be the hole for your carriage bolt on the head/foot boards. Have a friend hold one of the 4x4 legs up against the corner while you drill the holes, going all the way through the leg to the other side. NOTE: If you are doing this indoors on a carpeted surface, you may want to use a scrap of 2x6 board underneath each corner to make sure that the frame is flush with the 4x4 leg. After drilling the holes, install your carriage bolts through the holes, putting a washer on the inside, followed by a lock nut. Do this for all 12 bolts, then tighten them with your wrench or ratchet.

Step 7: Flip the Frame & Install Joists

Picture of Flip the Frame & Install Joists

Flip the bed back over, right-side up, and add your 2x4 boards back into the joist hangers.

Step 8: Add Slats

Picture of Add Slats

Line up one of the 1x3 furring strips with the corners of the frame, and make sure the edges are flush with the side boards. Using the 1.5” nails, put 1 nail in each end of the furring strip, driving the nail into the top edge of the side board. Add another nail in the center of each furring strip, driving the nail into the center 2x4 joist. Use a scrap of 2x4 on each end, between each furring strip as a spacer. This will give you the proper spacing for all 20 of the furring strips. Remove the 2x4 scrap after hammering in your nails and repeat for all of the furring strips.

Step 9: You're Done!

Picture of You're Done!

That’s it – you’re done! Remember to check and tighten the lock nuts on the carriage bolts after a few weeks of sleeping on your new bed.

You can view the 3D model at:

https://www.tinkercad.com/things/ev1U7iZ67Qb-mattress-frame/

You can purchase a great mattress for your new bed frame at:

https://www.tuftandneedle.com/mattress/

Comments

ChristopherT105 made it! (author)2017-03-18

Turned out great!

Riller (author)ChristopherT1052017-03-22

Thanks for the feedback. It looks great!

bill7nurse (author)2017-02-23

Thanks for the design and instructions. I did one for a queen size mattress several years ago using 2x4's and 1x4's, and it was great. I know I will need more support for a king (also thinking of getting the Tuft & Needle king foam).

I need it to be lower though, so I don't have to climb up onto the bed, so I'll cut the legs down to 10", so the top of the mattress will be just over 20". I'm wondering if I'd be ok using 2x4's for the framing, to make it a tad lighter, and mostly to still leave enough clearance for some under-bed storage than I'd get with 2x6 framing, and at that shorter height. What do you think, please?

Thanks...
Bill

Riller (author)bill7nurse2017-02-23

Hi Bill,

You might be able to use 2x4 boards for the outer frame. If you do, just be mindful of the carriage bolt holes at the corners. I think you can probably make it work. It would definitely make under bed storage easier since you're cutting the legs shorter.

As for the mattress, we still love ours from Tuft & Needle. It still springs back every morning and we don't have any valleys or peaks in it like we did with our traditional mattress. And because they are always the same price, you don't have to worry about coupons or holiday sales.

Good luck!

bill7nurse (author)Riller2017-02-23

Thanks, Riller, for your quick reply, and your advice, and your further recommendation of the Tuft & Needle. As you know, buying a king size bed, or any bed, is a big decision. Really helps to have real input for reviews. Think we'll go ahead and get that one. The price is sure better than most others!

CrunchyGuero made it! (author)2017-02-05

nice, thanks. saved the day

Riller (author)CrunchyGuero2017-02-06

Awesome! Thanks for sharing and I'm glad you found this helpful. :)

PeterM77 made it! (author)2016-11-13

Thanks for the instructions. Made building this fast and easy. plus how tall it is makes room to build extra storage underneath, unless the dog takes over that spot.

Riller (author)PeterM772017-02-06

Looks great! Our dog claimed a spot under ours, too. :)

AhmadFaizan1 (author)2016-11-24

Great, really easy to make bed, i will be giving it a try in a few days if God wills

Modifiedmk (author)2016-09-12

i've made it except of nailing the 1.5"s. i used the wood screws and countersinked the holes to match the wood screw head diameter .so there flush and i can disassemble when needed. good job at explaining and showing the diamension and configurations!

chiok (author)2016-09-07

If you have the means, a bed is one of the simpler things you can build for yourself. Mine is 9 IKEA Lack tables attached together. That's it. Mattress on top. Bought them in a sale, cost me less that £15. Still good 5 years on.

tjdux (author)2016-08-29

Great project. I love "out of the box" furniture. few random suggestions....

fill in the space between the bottom of the matress support with storage drawers just because...

line the underside with LED strips for custom lighting.

Also are you still using a box spring? you probably don't need one with that frame. Most modern box sprigs are really only to give a solid surface for matress. they usually don't even contain sprigs

Riller (author)tjdux2016-08-29

Thank you! Those are all great suggestions. Drawers just don't work for us because we already have enough storage for clothing and needed the space for larger items and bins. Our smallest dog, a beagle named Penny, loves sleeping underneath the bed. I love the LED lighting idea and will probably get some and see how it looks.

We're not using a box spring. Mattress Firm took them away when they picked up the mattresses, and we were happy to see them go. This frame is just for our Tuft & Needle foam mattress.

Excitebike (author)Riller2016-09-06

Old box springs (two) stripped of their fabric and stood on end make good racks for storing all your lumber in the garage or workshop.

Malkaris (author)2016-09-02

I don't know why I didn't think of this, I built some elaborate boxes for our new foam mattress, (1/4" plywood, etc) and but your strips make way more sense...

TMarizzle (author)2016-09-01

How hard was this to get into your bedroom? I've been wanting to make a frame for my bed, but not looking forward to carrying up and around stairs to my room.

Riller (author)TMarizzle2016-09-01

We actually carried all of the cut and sanded boards into the bedroom
and assembled it there. It probably would not have fit down our hallway
and through the doorway with the legs attached. If we ever have to
move it out of the bedroom, we'll have to take the legs off. Luckily,
it's only a matter of removing the 12 nuts and carriage bolts.

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-08-17

Great modeling job.

Thanks! It was my first time using TinkerCAD and it was really easy. I'd definitely use it again.

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