Introduction: Robust and Inexpensive Bed Frame

Recently, I moved out from a student residence where all necessary furniture, such as desktop, table, chair, and bed were provided. I realized that this move will involve new expenses so I needed to find a way to make this punch a little bit softer. A good friend of mine gave me the great idea to start making my own furniture, so here I am.

I started with the bed since I had a month or more sleeping with my mattress over the floor, which is by no means comfortable and also I found out that they are quite expensive. I decided to build a king size bed frame that can fit either a mattress of 180 x 200 cm or two individual mattresses of 90 x 200 cm. I did the latter since I already owned an individual mattress and it was cheaper to buy another one.

However, I noticed two main design challenges. The first was that I needed to design a bed frame that could be assembled with few tools since I only have a drill and a screwdriver and the second is that I will probably move out in a few years so the design needs to be practical for these situations.

Project summary

Total Cost: Materials + Tools: 120 EUR + 100 EUR = 220 EUR
Total Time: 8 hours (Basic tool experience required)

Step 1: Measure Your Mattress and Room

To start with the project we need to make sure that you have all the proper measurements to start the design. In this case, it was really important to measure not only the mattresses but also the room to give a better idea of how this bed frame was going to fit in the room. I was afraid about the space in both left and right side, but it was enough for placing night tables in the future. I used my folding rule to describe the place were the bed frame will be placed but you can save this step and simply draw a rectangle in your CAD software to give you the idea.

To be precise, my mattresses have a total width of 184 cm and 200 cm in length instead of the theoretical 180 x 200 cm. So there are small variations that might change your result so take caution.

Step 2: The Design

Now that we have our measurements we can start with our design!

After making some research online, I discovered that many king size bed frames have a central support with two legs. This brings stability but also reduces flexibility of the space under your bed. The solution, a crossbar working as central support for the middle bars.

Note: This design might work well for smaller bed frames too (such as queen size), but it might be a little bit stiff for such purposes. You can either remove and reallocate your supports or reduce their cross-section size.

Step 3: Bill of Materials and Tools



- (2) 3.5 X 19 X 200 cm

- (2) 3.5 X 19 X 191 cm

- (4) 7.0 X 7.0 X 41 cm

- (3) 3.4 X 5.4 X 200 cm

- (1) 3.4 X 5.4 X 184 cm

- (2) 3.4 X 5.4 X 186 cm

- (13) 1.8 X 8.0 X 184 cm

Note: if you ordered cuts in your DIY store, check the dimensions of your boards before leaving.


- (12) M8 thread inserts for the legs

- (12) M8 socket head screws

- (12) 4.5 X 60 mm wood screws

- (14) Steel angle brackets

- Box of 4.0 X 30 mm wood screws


- (2) Clamps

- (1) Steel square

- (1) Drill

- (1) Level

- Wood drill bit set

- Allen keys

Step 4: Double Check Your Measurements

Before we start assembling the bed, it is a good practice to double check your measurements. You don't want to find out that your mattress doesn't fit at the end of your project. I placed my mattress together with the wood boards that will be part of the frame. At this point you are still able to make some tweaks to your design if necessary. Once your are done it's time to put everything together.

Step 5: Assembly Part 1 - the Frame

  • I started by placing the frame over the floor. I also checked if the floor was even by using a level.
  • I knew that two small pieces of wood from the large wood boards were going to be available so I planned to use them as an aid to place the legs.
  • With the help of your steel square, draw the crosses where you are going to drill your holes. Once done, clamp one of the sides together with either front or back to one leg. Check the sizes of your wood boards before drilling, you don't want to make a mistake at this point.
  • Since I am using a socket head screw I needed to first create a box for its head. To do that I used a 14 mm drill bit which I marked with the height of the screw head. After drilling to the desired height I changed the drill bit size to 8 mm. Never start with the smaller drill bit, otherwise you will have a non-concentric set of holes. I drilled till I barely touched the leg just to mark it from both sides before removing the clamps.
  • I then drilled the holes in each leg for the thread inserts.
  • Finally, I added the thread inserts and proceeded to assemble them.

Step 6: Assembly Part 2 - the Slat Frame

  • At this point you might see that both left and right side can spin if you move them. That is because the front and the back boards have only one screw instead of two to lock this movement. For the side boards you need to have two screws to support almost the entire vertical load of your bed but the front and back are used to hold it together. Some ways to lock this movement is to place screws in the edge of your frame. However, in terms of aesthetics, this might not be the best option. Another option is to place some wood dowel pins and glue them to join the boards, this is a good way to hide any screws, nevertheless it requires a little more expertise and tools to manage a proper assemble of the parts. My idea was simply to use steel angle brackets as they are cheap and easy to place.
  • Before placing the brackets make sure that everything is aligned using your steel square and level. Do the same procedure for each corner. Once done you can proceed to the first part of the slat frame.
  • Using the same two wood pieces that you used to place the legs, place the lateral support for the slats using 6 screws per side to fix them. Make sure that height of the support corresponds to the one in the legs. I placed the screws at different heights to make this part more stable.
  • Now that these parts are fixed you are ready to turn it around and give it a check.
  • Proceed to assemble the middle support. I used 4 brackets at different heights so the screws weren't colliding with their counterpart.
  • The middle now will work as a good reference to place your final supports. Use the images for references.
  • Finally, place your slats over the frame and you are done!

Step 7: Final Details

Don't forget to protect your work with some varnish, paint or oil. That being said, enjoy your creation!

Furniture Contest 2018

Participated in the
Furniture Contest 2018