Introduction: DIY Platform Bed for Under $200

About: We're a busy working family focused on building our nest egg and enjoying life along the way!

Sometimes good parents make bad judgment calls. This platform bed (and the Instrucable you are reading) is a result of one of those moments.

We had our second child, fifteen YEARS after the first. For those who don't know, new baby = visitors. Lots of visitors. And our guestroom was basically four walls, a floor, and a ceiling. Oh, and a closet.

When the requests to visit came pouring in from out of town family, we panicked. We filled our formerly empty guestroom with our teen daughter's queen bed, bought her a new mattress (but no frame or box spring because minimalism) and promised to build her the bed of her dreams as soon as things calmed down.

Eighteen months later the parental guilt became overwhelming and we finally finished her bed. Our teen swears it was worth the wait. I kind of have to agree because it's a pretty darned sweet bed for under $200 worth of materials.

Check out the two part video to see exactly how to build this bed. We've also include some Sketchup diagrams to make the build go smoother. Let us know if you have any questions!

Step 1: Tools & Supplies


9 - 2x6 8 foot long ($54)

4 - 4x4 8 foot long ($30)

4 - 2x4 8 foot long ($16)

2 - 1x2 8 foot long ($3)

6 - 1x4 12 foot long ($30)

4 - 6" Flat corner braces ($8)

4 -6" Lag bolts ($8)

Pocket screws

Wood Screws

-(16) 2.5"

-(60) 1.5"

60 Grit sanding disks

120 Grit sanding disks


Miter saw or Circular saw

Kreg Jig for

Drill & Bits

Socket Set & Wrench

Chisels (optional)

Level (optional)

Random Orbital Sander


1 Qt. Dark Walnut Oil-Based Stain

1 Qt. Weathered Gray Oil-Based Stain

Minwax Whitewash Pickling Stain OR white latex paint diluted with water

3 paint brushes (one with stiff bristles)

Cotton Cloths

Step 2: Prep the Boards

To keep the costs low on this project, we used white wood framing lumber and studs. The knots really add to the modern rustic vibe of the bed. But framing lumber is pretty rough to the touch and often has the manufacturers branding stamped on it.

We prepped the boards by giving them a quick sanding using a random orbital sander and 60 grit sand paper.

Step 3: Cut the 2x6" Boards to Size & Drill Pocket Holes

The platform bed is made up of five 2x6 boards that form the base and four 2x6 boards that sit on top to form the platform ledge. The short boards of the ledge overlap the long boards.

Since this is a custom bed, you can either make the bed to fit the exact dimensions of your mattress or you can make it standard just in case you get a new mattress in the future.


  • Measure your mattress or use standard mattress measurements for your bed.
  • Base boards - Cut four (5) 2x6 boards to the length of your mattress plus two (2) inches.
  • Ledge Boards (Long Side) - Cut two (2) 2x6 boards to the length of your mattress plus two (2) inches.
  • Ledge Boards (Short Side) - Cut two (2) 2x6 boards to the width of your mattress plus 13".

Now that you've cut your 2x6s down to size, it's time to drill the pocket holes on the inside of the base boards. Use the Kreg Jig to place pocket screw holes two inches from the end, then every 6 inches after that on four of the base boards.

The fifth base board is a support brace for the slats. It runs down the middle of the bed. Drill three pocket holes on each end of the board.

Step 4: Cut the Notches for the 4x4s

Our bed design calls for the 4x4 posts to be inserted inside the 2x6 ledge instead of just sitting on the outside.

First, mark out a 3.5 x 3.5 square 2 inches away from the edge of the board on each short ledge board. Make sure you mark off both sides of both boards for a total of four holes--one for each 4x4 post.

To cut out the notches, use a miter saw to make multiple cuts in the wood (kerfs) then clean up any rough spots with a chisel and sandpaper. Check out the video for a real time visual of how to do this.


Another option would be to use a jig saw to cut the notches.

Whichever method you choose, make sure to test the fit of the 4x4s and sand or saw off any excess wood until you have a good fit.

Step 5: Cut the 4x4s & Corner Blocking

Cut the 4x4s down to 7' tall.

Use the scraps to cut two (2) eight inch long pieces. Then cut those pieces in half using the 45 degree miter cut on the miter saw. '

This should give you four triangle blog pieces. One for each corner of the bed.

Step 6: Sand & Assemble the Base

  • Use pocket screws to attach the long base boards to the long ledge boards, making sure that the ends line up.
  • Use pocket screws to attach the short base boards to the short ledge boards. Here, the inside edge of the notch in the ledge board should line up with the end of the base board.
  • Sand all of the boards using 120 grit sand paper.
  • Construct the base by using corner blocks to join the sides of the bed together with four 2" wood screws per block.
  • Attach the middle base board in the center of the base using pocket screws.

Step 7: Install the Posts and Canopy

Slip the posts into the post holes of the newly assembled base. They should just slide right in. If they don't, use some 60 grit sanding paper and a random orbital sander to knock them down until they do.

Secure the posts to the base by drilling a pilot hole and screwing in the lag bolts in the middle of the corner blocking. Use a level to keep the base straight.

Cut the 2x4s down to size.

Measure the distance between each post (at the base) and cut a 2x4 to fit. In theory, you should be able to use the same measurements as you did for the base boards, but it is a good idea to check the measurements anyway.

Screw a flat corner brace into the to top of each end of the two longer 2x4s. Now the board will sit in place on top of the 4x4 posts making it easy to install. Use wood screws to secure the flat corner brace into the top of the 4x4.

Attach the shorter 2x4 posts to the other side of the corner brace.

Step 8: Install the Furring Strip & Cut the Slats

Now it's time to attach the furring strip that the bed support slats will sit on. Measure the distance between the corner blocking on the long side of the bed and cut the two 1x2 furring strips to that length.

Use wood screws to install the furring strips 1.5" from the top of the bed (in line with the upper edge of the base boards and below the ledge boards).

Measure the inside width of the base and cut the 1x4 boards down to size. Each 12' board should yield 2 slats.

Step 9: Finish the Bed

The simplest way to finish the bed is to apply a coat of oil-based stain followed by a sealer like Polycrylic.

To replicate the exact finish we used for this bed, follow these steps:

  • Use a brush to paint streaks of weathered gray on the wood leaving some of the wood uncovered.
  • Using a separate brush, fill in the empty spaces with dark walnut.
  • Allow the stain to set for a few minutes then wipe off the excess with a cotton cloth.
  • After the oil stain has dried, use a coarse bristled brush to dry brush a white wash on top of the stain.
  • Top coat with two coats of Polycrylic or top coat of your choice.

Step 10: Assemble the Bed

This bed is 100% solid wood so it is extremely heavy. Plus the tall posts and canopy make it virtually impossible to move in one piece. Luckily, this bed was constructed with disassembly in mind.

First, remove the canopy by unscrewing the corner braces from the 4x4s and one side of the 2x4s.

Next unscrew the large lag bolts from the base of the 4x4s and remove the posts.

Now you can lift the base of the bed in one piece, take it to it's new home and reinstall.

To reassemble the bed:

  • Insert the 4x4 posts and secure with lag bolts.
  • Place the wood slats across the furring strips and secure using wood screws.
  • Attach the 2x4 canopy to the top of the 4x4 posts using the corner brace and wood screws.

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