Introduction: Ikea Bed Hack (RYKENE)

I bought this bed frame a few years ago. Since then, I have always wanted to alter the bed to make it stronger and a little more sophisticated. 

The revisions that I have made: 

   - Increased the height to approximately 20" from the top of the mattress to the floor
   - Upholstered the headboard
   - Painted the unfinished frame
   - Added a custom made removable bed skirt  

Level of Difficulty 

I found this project to be very rewarding as it involves a few skills; Woodworking and sewing mainly. I have never really upholstered anything before, so it was very fun to work with new materials and experience new challenges. If i had to give this a rating, I would give it  a 7 out of 10. That might drop a bit if you sew frequently and have a similar level of woodworking knowledge. 


The total cost of the project is approximately $200 (not including the mattress)


I strongly recommend that you take on this project if you already have a RYKENE bed and you want to make it look a little more grown-up.


Please read and understand the owner's/safety manual of all your tools before using them. Some guards and safety devices were removed for the making of this instructable, I DO NOT recommend you remove any safety devices or guides from your tools. Safety comes first. Never put yourself in danger.

Note:  I believe that this bed was previously named DALSELV

Step 1: Materials

- RYKENE Bed Frame from IKEA - [1 piece] $129 Current Canadian price
- 2"x4"x8' pine - [1 piece] $10 approx.
- 2.5" #8 screws - [12 pieces] $0.50
- Utility Shelf Brackets (3"x5" approx)  [4 pieces] $2/each approx.
- Black Paint and Primer in One [less than 1 quart]
- Fabric for the skirt - $6 [3 meters]
- Fabric for the headboard - $8 [1.5 meters]
- 1/2" velcro, black - $15 [5 meters]
- Foam mattress pad, full/double size -$15  [1 piece] *thanks to jessandstavro for this tip
- Flat Bed Sheet - [1 piece]  $8 I used this to cover the back of the headboard, 
- Thread
- Chalk (Fabric Chalk is best, but I didn't have any and was able to do with regular chalk) 

Step 2: Tools

- Table Saw
- Router
- Cordless Drill *with allen wrench attachment 
- Sewing Machine
- Chamfering bit
- Chisel 
- Hammer
- Staple Gun 
- Iron
- Pliers
- Hot glue gun 

Step 3: Assembly

For me, this step was completed a couple of years ago.

If you have just purchased the bed from IKEA and haven't assembled it yet, then I would definitely recommend that you assemble the bed entirely before moving on to the other steps. This will allow you to get an idea of how the bed is constructed, understand how it is assembled, and also make the appropriate marks. 

While you are assembling the bed you will notice that there are 4 permanent pieces to the bed frame. These 4 pieces are designed to remain in tact while transporting the bed from one location to another. I have listed them below: 

- Headboard 
- Footboard 
- Side Rail 1 
- Side Rail 2
*I have indicated the 4 permanent pieces on the attached image. 

Step 4: Planning and Disassembly

While the bed was assembled I studied the original IKEA construction and figured out a plan to raise the height of the bed. 

I knew that I didn't want to change the configuration of the original joinery. IKEA did a good job of engineering the way the side rails attached to the headboard and footboard. It is strong and makes it easy to assemble and disassemble when moving.
Therefore, to raise the bed I would have to make all of my modifications below the rails (mattress support).  

Before removing the legs, I had to mark where to make my cuts and where to add extra material (wood).  I made my marks on the legs where they meet with the side rails.

Note that the top rail on the headboard extends past the legs. In order to upholster the head board I needed to mark and cut off those nibs.

Once I made all of my marks, I was ready to disassemble the frame.  I then had 5 pieces ready to cut (see image attached)

Step 5: Designing the Leg Extension

The design is quite simple. The idea is to notch the new piece of wood around the old one. Then glue and screw the two pieces together.  At first glance one might assume that this will not be enough to hold the two pieces together. However, the pieces will be glued together "edge to edge". This makes for a very strong joint. If had enough clamps on hand I would have skipped the screws.   

The following steps will describe how I made the new pieces and what modifications were made to the original legs. 

Step 6: Preparing the Original Legs

The first step in making the leg extensions was to prepare the old legs. The original legs had chamfered corners (corners cut off). In order to make the joint between the leg and the leg extension (new piece) as seamless and as strong as possible I needed to square off that corner, which meant cutting off approximately  3/16" of material along the length of the leg.  

The first step to squaring off the corner was to cross-cut the legs on the table saw. The position of this cut was determined by the marks I made in the previous step (where the rails met the legs).  The depth of the cut was very shallow (approximately 3/16") just enough to square off the corner. I repeated this on all four legs. 

The second part to squaring off the corner was to rip the legs on the table saw, removing approximately 3/16" of the material. The key to this step was stopping just short of the mark. See image attached. You don't want to go past the mark. 

As you can see the table saw cannot remove all the material without going past my mark. So, the third step was to chisel the remainder of the material. Being that the wood is pine and having used a sharp chisel, it was quick and painless. 

Preparing the legs also involved removing the ends (or bottom) of the legs, which had all four corners chamfered. 

Step 7: Making the Leg Extensions

I bought a piece of 2"x4"x8' machined pine from the Home Depot. I cut four pieces at approximately 16" in length.

I then took my first measurement from the original legs (that I prepared in the previous step). I measured from the bottom of the leg to the start of notch. My second measurement was to figure out the width of the notch (Both are shown in the attached image). 

WIth this information I headed for the table saw again.

The first cut: Cutting the length of the notch
- I set the height of the saw blade to the same height as the width of the notch (tip. use the original leg as a guide)
- I then used the miter guide set to 90 degrees to cross cut the pieces at their marks. (see attached)

The second cut: Cutting the width of the notch
- I set the table saw to rip the width notch. 
- I also setup a stop that would prevent me from over cutting the piece. (You have to understand that when cutting on a table saw the amount of the material removed from the underside will be greater than what is visible from the top of the material, as show in the "Table Saw Cross Section" .

The third cut: Finishing the notch on the table saw
- I then flipped the piece over and moved the fence to the opposite side of the blade. (The reason I do this, is to be as safe as possible. You never want to have a small loose piece stuck between the blade and the fence. Chances are that it will shoot back at you). 
- I setup the stop again to prevent me from over cutting. 

Once the third cut was complete a small amount of material was left where the blade couldn't reach. I removed the material with a sharp chisel. 

I then drilled two holes in each leg of the original legs. This will be for the screws. 

I was now ready to glue and screw the leg extensions to the original legs.

Step 8: Glueing and Screwing

I applied glue to both pieces and then temporarily clamped them together with two F-clamps. While the pieces were clamped together I screwed them together with two #8 2-1/2" Screws.  I removed the clamps and let them dry for approximately 30 minutes. 

I cleaned off the glue squeez-out and then chamfered the corners with a router and a chamfering bit.. 

Step 9: Reinforcing the MIddle Support

Over the past couple years I noticed that the weak point  in the construction of the original IKEA bed was the two legs that hold up the middle support. 

The original pieces were much thinner. They were probably 1"x3" pieces so, i decided to replace them with 2"x4" pieces. I also turned them the opposite way. 

I also decided to add four utility shelf brackets (2 per leg). I felt the would help stabilize the leg without adding much weight or bulkiness.

Step 10: Upholstering the Headboard

The first step was to cut off the nibs on the top rail that extend past the legs. 

Once the headboard was re-assemble I stapled a piece of cardboard to the front face of the headboard. 

Adding the foam:
- I rolled out the foam (mattress pad) on the floor. 
- Placed the headboard face down on the foam. 
- Marked where to cut off the excess foam.
- Cut the Foam to size.
- Placed the foam on the floor
- Placed the headboard face down on the foam.
- I started by attaching the foam with a staple gun securely to 1 of the 4 sides.
- I then went to the direct opposite side and pulled on the foam tightly and secured it with staples. 
- I repeated this for the two remming sides. 

Adding the fabric:
-This step is pretty much the same as the foam but actually a little bit easier.
- I was extra careful to ensure that the fabric was pulled tot so that there were no wrinkles. 
- You also want to make sure your fabric is square with the frame. Especially if your fabric has a pattern with straight lines running through it. Even if your fabric doesn't have a pattern, the fabric still has a grain. The grain can be noticeable so try to keep it as square as possible. 

Step 11: Paint

The next step for me was to paint the wood. I purchased a quart of black paint & primer in one and applied it using a foam roller. I was very surprised to see how the paint reacted with the wood. I was expecting it to be a solid colour but after one coat the wood grain still showed through the paint. I really liked the way it looked so I stopped after the one coat. I'm not sure if that's how it always is, or if it was the type of paint that i was using, or if it was the foam roller. If I had to guess, I would  put my money on the foam roller. 

This was a bonus for me because I originally wanted to stain the wood but decided not to because it would involve the extra step of adding the clear coat. Going with the black paint meant saving one step, about 12 hours of dry time, and also a few bucks.  This might be a helpful time-saving tip for anybody trying to achieve similar results. 

Step 12: Sewing the Skirt

The first step to sewing the skirt was to assemble the completed frame. Once assembled, I was able to take my measurements. 

I determined the finished height of the skirt by measuring from the bottom of the side rail to the floor and deducting 1-inch. I then added 1/2-inch to that measurement and cut three pieces. The length of each piece was about 12-inches longer than the actual length of the bed. 

I then folded over one side of the fabric 1/2-inch and sewed it down with a sewing machine.
On the opposite side I sewed on the loop-side (soft side) of the velcro. See the diagram attached.   

I then attached the hook side (hard side) of the velcro to the underside of the side rails using a staple gun. 

Then I attached the three pieces of fabric to the three rails and marked where to seam the three pieces together. This was a little difficult for me as I wasn't really sure how to do this properly. After a few attempts, some pins, and a bit of chalk I was able to make my mark. 

Step 13: Covering the Back of the Headboard

I wanted to finish off the back of the headboard so I purchased a flat bead sheet.  I lined up two finished edges of the sheet on the back headboard. I pinned it in place while I marked my cuts. I then folded and sewed the two freshly cut sides to give it a clean look. I then pinned the sheet back up and hot glued it to the headboard. 

Step 14: Conclusions

Now that the bed is at an appropriate height for an adult, it is far more comfortable. It is stronger than it was originally and is much more stylish and sophisticated. I am very pleased with my decision to Hack my IKEA bed. 

Since completing the bed I have realized that it will be quite easy now to make slip covers with different fabrics for the headboard. The idea is that they will just slide over the existing board.  It's a great idea if you ever get tired of the permanent fabric that you attached to the headboard. I plan on doing this, so if I do actually get around to it i will definitely post an instructable.  

Thanks for reading through my instructable. If you have any questions or comments send them my way and I will do my best to respond to them. 

Woodworking Challenge

Participated in the
Woodworking Challenge