Instructables

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

I wanted a portable, lightweight and inexpensive platform bed substitute that I could put together and take apart at will and whose individual pieces I could carry in my car when I move. 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 found a solution that is working great for me. The items are easily available in 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 and the improvised platform bed costs (as of 05/26/10) just about $96.

Note: I am also using an improvised mattress made out of eight $9 sleeping bags inserted into a zippered vinyl mattress cover to go with this DIY platform bed for a complete, inexpensive, portable, lightweight bedding solution. Details are at  http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Mattress-Substitute-Portable-Inexpensive-L/
 
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Step 1: Buy 12 "LACK" Side Tables from IKEA

For a queen bed, buy 12 "LACK" side tables from IKEA - http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20011413 ($7.99 each as of 05/26/10). Each individual piece weighs just 10 lbs and measures (as packaged) 22" W x 2.125" H x 33.125" L. Though made of particleboard and therefore extremely light, I was told each table can support the weight of one adult standing on it. I was able to load and fit all twelve packages into my subcompact car quite easily.

urge2 years ago
@LowKeyEnergy's observation is inaccurate. My new wife and I destroyed a bed frame, so I replaced it with this and dropped our queen sized memory foam mattress on it. Now there's no bed wobble, no squeaking.

As a bonus, there's a nice "bench" worth of length left at the foot, for sitting while putting on shoes and such. It turned out very nice looking.

Thanks, @sbansban!
claudg1950 urge11 months ago
So "my new wife and I destroyed a bed frame"? What are you here for? To learn or to brag? :-)
urge claudg195010 months ago
:)

I guess I should follow up with some 1-year-later update. The platform remains solid, but it turns out that the tables aren't great for sitting on. Over time, the handy bench area shows wear where the legs want to push up through the top laminate. No such thing has happened under the mattress.

I'd recommend maybe setting a flat board or plexi cover on top of any exposed tabletop that you might sit or stand on.
sbansban (author)  urge9 months ago
@urge - I have been sleeping on the tables (with my 9-sleeping bag mattress on top) for 2.5 years now and don't have a single issue with the tables. I have been using them as bed frame only though - not individually as tables or for sitting on.
sbansban (author) 2 months ago

Update May 2014: The top of one side table gave way about a month back - but for me, no biggie. It has served me for four years and the replacement cost is only $8.

stillonaroll3 months ago

Ok the side table platform is GENIUS. But the sleeping bags as a mattress? That is just awful. You can buy a futon mattress that rolls up or an air mattress that deflates. Both would be quite cheap and probably considerably more comfortable

jwallace219 months ago
Tried it and LOVE. It's a little bigger than I expected but I like the extra "bench" space for when you don't want to sit on the mattress. Plus, the tables can be used for a million other purposes after they are done being a bed. Thanks a million
claudg195011 months ago
It's true that a structure of parallel members --with no diagonals-- tends to be weak (it deforms easily under lateral stresses), but: first, these tables have short members and they are built to be really strong, and second: if a strong side force is applied the mattress will slide long before the tables flex.
So how much weight could this support? And what about activity resistance? LowKeyEnergy had a good point. Not just sexual activity, but what about kids that run and jump onto the bed to be with mom/dad? That may not add a lot of weight, but sudden force in one area might affect it. Anyone?
sbansban (author)  whisperonthewind1 year ago
I was told by the sales person at IKEA that each of these side tables can support at least one adult standing on it. They never had a problem supporting my weight (around 180 lbs) and I am confident each table can support a much heavier person as well.
This would also be a quick and easy way to create a platform for a model railway, or a big gaming table for miniature battles.

Would it be strong enough to use as a makeshift riser for someone giving a speech?
sanewby3 years ago
if you did need extra tension for lateral force you could order the spare part tension rod that comes with the malm beds - those metal tension rods can be adjusted and hidden up nice and tidy but do give opposing resistance and strength,
this has no resistance to lateral shear force . if you try to have sex on it , the legs will break off .
 Use zip-ties to keep the legs together. No need for messy duct tape and if you need to change it or move you can easily cut the ties.
sbansban (author)  bigwhitebear184 years ago
@bigwhitebear18: Thanks for the suggestion. However, I found that the tables stay together on their own - never needed duct tapes or anything else.
 You could make it really interesting and buy one of each color.
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