Introduction: Oversized Modular Bed

In this instructable I will show how I made a concept for a Bed with minimal tools and how it is Built.

As I am rather tall, I have never slept in a Bed that actually fitts my size. I have always sticked out my feet or curled up where that was not possible. As the matress of my former bed turned to be worn out, I decided that I could built my own bed that actually satisfies to basic needs: First being long enough. The bed I constructed here is for a 220cm long matress! Secondly, I always felt like the space under the Bed is being wasted. Either it is used to store an unnecessary amount of dust and (or) since the space beneath is so difficult to access, It is not used for other storage nor can it be cleaned.

Step 1: Design and Constraints/Design Considerations

Constraints/Design Considerations

In order to be able to build this Bed on my own, there were some constrains that influenced the design:

The bed shall be:

  • Home buildable with wood
  • Not too special tools involved in the build process
  • Last for some time
    • Hence it should be able to assemble and dissassemble it.
    • It should also be able to be used once I need more than the 90 cm of bedspace in widht
  • the sawing of the raw material should be done at store as this results in
    • More precision of the cut wood
    • less work for me
    • however the saw at the store has the limitation of only cutting 10 cm slim strips (10 cm are the limit for the Saw operator safety)
  • These sawing lmitations influenced the design
  • Slatted Frame - 1:1 Spacing
    • for Airing the matrace
    • Support of the matrace
    • Rigid frame good for heavy people that lie on the back (as I am not only tall but also heavy)


After some visits to the hardware store I decided that I would make the bed out of birch massive laminated wood boards that are usually used for kitchen countertops. These would be cut according to my plans in the hardware store so that there is no need for me to make any more cuts at home. This tuned out to be a great idea as the whole cutting process took the saw specialist only 45 minutes and it would have taken me several days (and a lot of sweat!). Additionally they saw on a milimeter precision which I would have definitively not been able to accomplish with a circular handsaw (the tool of second choice). I adapted my plans to the constraint of a minimal width of the wood of 10 cm.

I have Attached the wood cutting plans in several file formats. The pieces are color coded:

  • yellow: Longside o fthe bedframe and the outer pieces of the legs
  • orange: head and foot board of the bedframe. These exist in 91 cm and 182 cm variants as the bed wil be either accomodate 90 cm or 180 cm matraces. (Hint: the slatted Frames sometimes are wider than the matraces, hence I gave a cm in for play).
  • Gray: Piece that will serve as the middle bar for the slatted frame if the bed is used in 182 cm width
  • blue: desired shape of the scrappcuts
  • red: Inner parts of the Legs. the length of these correspond to the beds frame height over the ground: 47 cm
  • green: some kind of support for a night table which i did not use in the end.

Feel free to adapt the plan to your needs (I recommend using the .SVG file and Inkscape). If you adapt, make sure to doublecheck (let someone else look at it) as in my final drawing was a mistake that (luckily only affects the 91 cm head/foodboards) I found out afterwards. This mistake has been eradicated from the files uploaded here!

The design is based on a wood thickness of 27 mm (a standard width of the kitchen countertops) and hence some measures are x+27 mm or x+2*27 mm. If you switch to a material of another width, modify these measures.

The general design is as follows:

  • The long parts of the Frame (yellow) have a support for the slatted Frame glued/screwed to it. This is not in the cutting plan but hard to miss on the pictures below as the wood (square Timber, lengthend to 220cm) looks slightly brighter.
  • The frame is screwed togegther (the long yellow and Orange pieces).
  • Each foot consists of four pieces of wood which are glued together. Two inner pieces (red) and two outer pieces (yellow). This is where I adapted my design to the 10 cm Wood cutting limitation. I would have loved to have symetrical legs.
  • The Frame is then placed on the space in the legs and screwed to the legs (from the inside)

Step 2: Tools and Processes

I used some tools. Some which need some more descriptions and others not.

  • Belt sander - my tool of choice when it comes to smoothing the surface of the wood. It also turns out to be quite handy if you need to level off some wood that shifted during the gluing process. I used the following grids of sandpaper:
    • 120 Sanding down shifted surfaces
    • 150 general sanding of the surfaces prior to painting them
    • 240 sanding after first painting step and prior to second painting step
  • Saw - I did all of the sawing at the shop. When you buy wood at a bing hardware store in germany, it is quite common that they offer the service that you can cut wood there. They have these big saws that cut with a 1mm precision and give you perfect resuts in terms of surface finish but also perpendicularity of the edges. Bear in mind that even this very perfect saw has a width of the saw blade if you modify the plans. The one they used for me had 3 mm.
    If I would not have had access to this, the next tool of choice would be a circular saw bench.
  • Router - This was a new experience for me. I wanted the edges to be smoother than the 90° Angle from the saw. I decided to go for a 3 mm radius as this smoothes the edge but the overall "box"-shape of the wood is still the same. Here I made some CAD tests weather I liked the radius or not.
  • Screw clamps - you can never have enough. I had 8 and when gluing one(!) Leg this felt like it would not be enough. As this might seem od if you have no experience in gluing (like me) you will quickly learn that the two pieces of wood tend to glide over each other when the glue and the force is applied. As the force is never perfectly perpendicular to the gluing surface. One way to counteract this is having clamps in the other directions to limit these degrees of freedom. Please look at the pictures in the construction steps.
  • Glue - is glue. Glues wood. Important is to remove excess glue when it comes out of the gap and to sand over those surfaces where the glue came out of the gap. varnishing will behavie different if there are traces of glue left!
  • Varnishing - I used some Oil wax combination product as the oil part improves the contrast of the wood structure (like a Wet look effect).
  • Tools missed in this description:
    • Drills - I predrilled all the screwholes with a core drill hole diameter
    • Countersink (?) - Where i needed a flush screw head (mostly for the bedframe) i countersunk the screw heads
    • I used certainly more tools and so might you. A small list of items that i will not go into further detail: Pencil. compasses, ruler, paper, brain cells, kork block (for manual sanding)....

Step 3: Construction

If you want to rebuild the bed, you need to follow these steps:

1 Adapt plan to your needs

if you have access to the same "raw materials" like I (most likely if you live in germany, but maybe also in other countries). you can use the plan I provided. If you have one of the following things, you might want to consider modifying the plan:

  • Wood is not avialable in 27mm thickness
  • Wood is not available in 2,6m by 0,8 m boards
  • You are not living in a Metric country.

2 buy and cut the wood at the hardware store

If you have a benchtop circular saw you might be able to do all the cutting by yourself. If you are simillarly experienced in woodworking like me it is wise to have a professional cut the wood. Please also show them your cutting plan before starting and get their insights!

3 Glue the legs together

Here you will need a lot of screw clamps and maybe it is helpful to have someone helping you with the first leg. Be Aware that you can do an error here as one leg itself is not symmetrical. Hence you will need to glue together two "right legs" and two "Left legs".

4 Glue / Screw the squre tinder

As this sqare tinder was not perfecly straight, I firstly screwclamped it to the frame and then drilled holes and screwed it on temporarily. Then i took it back off and put some glue on the contact surfaces and screwed it back on. The screws have a spacing of roughly 20 cm and on the spots inbetween i put the screw clamps while the glue was drying as these put more pressure on the wood.

5 Screw the Frame together

I temporarily held the frame together with a tension belt as my screw clams did not go over the widht of the bed. Then I predrilled the screw holes and countersunk(?) them. I repeated the process for the other head/footboards(182cm) as these will at some point replace th 91cm version. I unfortunately have no pictures of these screws nor the process!

6 Screw the frame to the Legs

Once the frame and the legs are ready, you can rest the frame in the corresponding spot of each leg. Here I numbered the corners of the bed in order to have always the same leg in the same corner (and also not to mix up the bed frame pieces when the bed needs to be reassembled at some point in time). you need to screw on the legs. I initially planned with 8 screws per leg and soon realized that it might also withstand normal Bed usage with less screws. I ended up with 2 screws per leg. I made a small paper jig to have the screw holes for all the pieces in the same spot (an also to have the additional head/foot pieces) with the screwholes in the right spot.

Some might say that you will need to retighten the screws once the wood is set. I also expect that I might need to drill new holes when this bed is assembled and dissassembled some times. I drilled rather slim core holes for the screws and there is plenty of space for more screws.

Basically here the Bed is ready in its final shape

7 Insert slatted Frame

I just extended a slatted Frame (rollout model) to fit in the 220 cm bed. I furthermore modified the spacing in order to have some more rigidity. (no pictures taken...)

8 Edge and surface modifications

After the bed was fully assembled, I beltsanded (120) the topparts of the leg in order to level them with the bed Frame. I then routed all the edges that were accessible and that made sense to route in this position. I then disassembled the bed, routed the remaining edges (Attention: some should not be routed for design reasons) and belt sanded (150) all the surfaces of the pieces.

I varnished the pieces and then hand sanded them (240) with a cork block or with the bare hand on the sandpaper. Then I applied the varnish again. After the final drying it already felt quite smooth and hence i did not sand it again.

I assembled the bed in the final parking position :)

Step 4: Done!

The whole build ist done now. I am very happy with the construction because it is (despite my mistake with the 91 cm width head and footboard) rather sturdy.

It can be extended to a double matrass width thanks to the parts that i made along (182 cm head and foot board and middle rest for the matrasses (as you can see in the last couple of pictures)).

I estimate the cost of this be to be roughly about 220 euros. Aside from that I think it took me roughly around 40 hours to build it up, maybe less. I build it over the course of four weeks and I might have missed to put every detail in this instruction. Feel free to ask!