Introduction: IKEA Bed Hack

About: I've always been very creative and loved figuring things out for myself. My mom is also a very hands-on person and knows everything from laying tile to how to build a little house, so I learned a lot from her …

When I moved into my first apartment, which was a studio, I was short of any storage that I desperately needed for things like suitcases, a ton of books and school stuff. I came up with a hack for an IKEA bed that involved some of their cheapest products.

I built this bed hack back in 2012 and I don't think I even knew of instructables yet, so I apologize for the horrible pictures that I have from back then.

I do think they'll convey the idea behind this hack and the finished project yielded a very comfortable and sturdy bed with ample of storage!

Step 1: The Idea!

I honestly don't remember when and how I came up with this idea to puzzle together my own bed, but I knew that I loved higher beds which weren't very common then in Germany. I knew them because I had been to the US a couple of times before and my now husband lives in the US as well.

Also, I had barely any money to spend, so I think that's how many great ideas (if I may say so) start - out of desperation. :P

Step 2: Materials & Tools


For the structure:

Fjellse Bed Frame

Billy Bookcase (I got mine [31" wide] from their reduced "as is" section with a few scruffs, but they weren't visible)

For the headboard:

Foam & batting



Some extra wood (to replace two of the short legs)

Paint (optional, I didn't have any/didn't bother)





Heavy duty stapler (for headboard)

Step 3: Assembling Billy

First I put together the Billy bookcase according to IKEA instructions, except for the backing and the shelves in between. Essentially, the bookcase was going to be cut in half and laid on its side when finished.

I measured those shelves that I put aside earlier and used that length as guide for how wide I wanted my new shelving to be. I was able to fit two whole shelves, with some smaller spaces on the outside, when measured from the center of the Billy (on its side). See for clarification in pictures. So, again, I put two shelves aside and then started cutting all other ones as well as the entire bookcase in half using a simple hand saw. As we all know IKEA uses only prime quality solid wood so cutting was a pretty tough... Nah, just kidding. :P

Once everything was halved, I just attached the side to the newly cut shelves by drilling a few holes from top and securing it with wood screws. I wasn't to bothered with appearance since neither side would be visible once finished.

The backing that comes with the Billy is actually a big piece folded in the center, so separating that down the middle was easy. I applied some wallpaper I had left over to the side that would be visible and used little nails to attach the backing to the new bookcase.

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Side note: You might ask yourself why I didn't just buy the Billy shelf that's cheaper AND exactly half the size of the "standard"/the one I used. Well, I did, too ask myself that while I was writing this 'ible, but after a few minutes of brain wrecking and memory loss, I finally remembered! I needed the longer shelves so I could actually have some space once the bookcase was on its side. The shelves for the smaller bookcase come only "half size", so they wouldn't have been much use to me as I wanted large shelving.

Step 4: Assembling Fjellse

After the bookcase was assembled and cut to size, I went to work on the bed frame exactly as IKEA told me. :)

Next, I cut off two of the legs of the bed (see picture) where the frame would be resting on the bookcase. I lifted the bed frame onto the bookcase, which lifted the entire frame into the air basically, because the two remaining legs are pretty short. This, however, helped me measure exactly how long the two remaining (new) legs have to be for the bed to be level. So I measured their height and used a piece of wood to cut new legs. Those replaced the IKEA legs and I just drilled holes where IKEA had on their original legs. The reason I assembled the bed with the original ones first, was just so I did everything correctly at the beginning without shifting etc.

Now that all legs were back attached and the bed leveled, I screwed the two together from below for stability (see picture).

Step 5: Modifying the Headboard.

The one that "came" with the bed was just way too short and of course not very comfortable. I utilized what the bed had to offer mostly to extend it, like those short bars that where in threes at first. I spread them out more so the foam would hold up better and then I used cut offs from the legs to extend the headboard.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of how I attached the foam and fabric, but I basically used some foam core first and covered that with some batting, which I stapled to the back of the headboard. Then I pulled the fabric, which I also bought from IKEA, over it tightly and stapled it to the back as well. This step was quite hard by myself, but definitely worth the time, compared to the dull and hard wood headboard.

Step 6: Final Image

The bed is done! I call it the Fjilly. It has so much to offer - a place to sleep and rest, ample storage underneath, shelving on the side, stability and it sure is a conversation starter if it sits right in the middle of your studio. ;)

One could paint this bed now to match the color of your Billy or everything with an entirely new color, if one would want to take this to the next level.

Again, I apologize for the horrible quality of those pictures, but I hope you were able to follow this instructable anyway and maybe this hack sparked ideas on what you could build/modify in the future.

I entered this into the Furniture Hack contest, please consider voting. Happy making!

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