Raised Bed with Expedit Bookshelves for Storage

Picture of Raised Bed with Expedit Bookshelves for Storage
I created underbed storage using Ikea Expedit Bookshelves. This is a super easy project with no sawing needed. And surprisingly, the bed is completely stable. Since I already had a bed and frame, it cost about $400.

Parts needed:

Optional items:

  • Ikea Lekman boxes ($12 each; 8 fit in each bookcase; I only put 8 Lekman boxes in the bookcase at the foot of the bed; Ikea has many storage options for the Expedit Bookcases)
  • 3 X Mat Shelf Liners sized at least 15.5" X 59" ($5-8 each)

Tools needed:

  • Drill
  • Philips screwdriver
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Step 1: Build the Expedit Bookshelves

Picture of Build the Expedit Bookshelves
Build the Expedit Bookshelves as Ikea instructs. Place them spaced evenly on the floor as shown.

Step 2: Install Cross Braces

Picture of Install Cross Braces
On the two end-unit bookshelves, drill and screw in the Ikea Observator 39" Cross Brace as shown. This will keep the bed from swaying left to right. Just with one cross brace, the bed was stable. I added a second one to be careful.

I chose to install the cross brace at the foot of the bed on the inside (under the frame) so that it would not interfere with reaching storage from the outside. At the head of the bed (touching the wall), I installed the cross brace on the outside so that it would not interfere with reaching the storage under the bed.
A1IT3R9 months ago

you could also install runners underneath and have no gaps in between the bookshelves. also use nice looking wood e.g,.ply for the top of the shelves (not chipboard)

This is great, I'm just curious how much weight the bookcases though connected and distributed would be able to hold? I'm going to place a 80x60 queen sized bed mattress on it, so I want to be sure.

SIRJAMES091 year ago
TY for sharing this.
I can think of ALL KINDS of variations to this idea...
For myself, I'd go with a twin mattress & 2 sheets of 3/4 plywood/chipboard.
But I love your idea! looks cool, & looks functional as well....
What a great repurpose! I love it! I recently bought a couple Expedit shelves for my apartment and I've since been dreaming about all the different places I could use them. :) I was initially concerned about the height of the bed; I'm 6'4", but the missus is quite a bit shorter and we have two small dogs. I think a good compromise would be to use the 1x5 Expedit shelves in place of the 2x4 units. Of course doing this would mean less total storage, but if you alter the design to a "U", "T", "I" , or even an "O" shape similar to what was already suggested , you could potentially get the same amount of accessible storage (or more) at a lower profile.
An U shape with 1x5 expedit shelves works great. 
I added some support at the head and center of the bed and did not attach the slatted bed frame to the shelves so we can still use the space for storage. Long term storage only, since it's quite heavy, but the weight also ensures the bed frame does not move from its place.
Thanks for the idea.
HollyMann2 years ago
I absolutely LOVE this idea!!! About 6 mos ago my dad and i built my son a loft bed from his full size bed. We used the frame from that bed and made more reinforcements as well. I love your idea better - but too bad you can't just use two of your ikea shelves - do you think that would work? So the kid could have some space to play or lay around underneath/read books,etc? Should be strong enough, right? Thanks for the great instructable!
chuckr443 years ago
I LOVE this design! Pretty pricey though. This would be useful for people who move a lot, like college students. It could be modified to put foot lockers under the bed (not as part of the support), as I use lockable footlockers for some storage.
nwzhnd chuckr443 years ago
If you get them off Craigslist (hopefully in your area) you may pay little or even get them for free. It all depends on the time of year (seasonal moves, schools ending, university graduation, etc.) and how desperate people are to get that big huge bookcase out of their home!
p0tty4 years ago
So is there any wobble at all? I mean how stable is it?
i just did the same thing for my girlfriends loft bed except i attached wheels and handles to the bookshelves underneath so that they could be pulled out and put back
natnie4 years ago
If I were to make this, I think I'd make it all the way around, as others have suggested. Then I could use my existing slats to rest the mattress on. Could potentially build a "drawer" that is actually a step, that can be taken out of the shelves, and then returned when not being used... oh the possibilities!
this is good result looks sturdy milk crates are pretty good way to store things like books now if they just had roller bearing slide out drawers that held like four hundred pounds
carress6 years ago
Is there somethign special about these bookshelves, or will any do? I've thought about using dressers too, but people on CL said it wouldn't work b/c of the weight....
I would think it would work as long as the dressers have no legs.  I suggested this same thing to my dad who knows a lot about these things and he said that it would break under the extra weight.  I figured that it's because of the furniture having legs, seeing as they were made for only so much weight on them, and if too much, they would become like spears in the floor. 
I found out the last bit with a bunk bed set that my family had and we were horsing around on it.  I was 7ish at the time.  Well, I wanted to do a jump on the bed while everyone was on it to tackle them all at once, and when I got the chance I did.  Well, when I did, BAM!! creek....BOOM!  When all six of us got the bed moved, we had ourselves a nice hole in the corner of the room. 
so yeah, make sure it has no legs.
Nelemmih5 years ago
That's so smart! Is it possible to skip the bookshelf in the mittle or move it closer to the head-end?
Risuji Nelemmih5 years ago
I would say so, so long as you used a couple of beams to support it. Btw, great 'ible :D
nadgee Risuji5 years ago
It is possible to have sex on it? Without breaking it?
Risuji nadgee5 years ago
Haha, I broke a bed recently. It was a bunk bed, so we both fell off
abadfart Risuji5 years ago
 ya we fell out of my girl friends bed because it was to small  
thetosquire5 years ago
what about putting them in a squared fashion? You'd have store all around the bed and not in the might require to put something in the middle to make sure the bed doesn't sag in that area though...
tcup5 years ago
I can see doing this with the Essential Home storage cubes that K-Mart sells. I'd make it lower for kids but this is a great idea. Now I'm thinking about implementing this idea--my hubbie's gonna love this one--he hates anything new I want to do. lol
Short One5 years ago
COOL! Total Space saver! that would be a great idea for someone with minimal living space.
laresekae6 years ago
could take some flat metal bars, fix it to the plywood, and then to the head and foot shelves and span across from one end bookshelf to the other, then use the empty space between the shelves to fit rubbermaid totes, larger boxes, etc. or they have cheap twin/full metal bed frames for like $20 that come in 2 folding pieces... maybe just set one of those on top of the bookshelves at head and foot? probably want to attach it to the bookshelves, though. might tend to tip, depending on activity level...
ericasu6 years ago
is there enough space to make a T-shape with two bookshelves, or would it be way longer than the mattress?
shooby6 years ago
Not bad, but pretty difficult to get at the drawers.
ripflash (author)  shooby6 years ago
Agreed, you can't have those Lekham boxes on the inside. That's why I only had 8 on the outside. You still have lots of space to put smaller boxes on the inner bookshelves. But you do have to crawl to get in there.
Scott_Tx shooby6 years ago
yeah, I'd turn the two on the middle and top to face outwards (U shaped altogether). pull the bed away from the window a foot or two and you'd have easier access to them.
mdmoose296 years ago
always love giving furniture a new purpose! this looks a little high for my likings. im more of a fight club, mattress on the floor, kind of a guy.