Cheap Bed Substitute




Introduction: Cheap Bed Substitute

A new bed for $10 in 5 minutes.

Having blown $300 on a mattress, I wasn't about to blow another $300 on a bed frame or box springs. I had all these archive boxes that I used for moving, so here's a cheap-ass substitute.

Its as strong as a regular bed, environmentally-friendly and great for people who move frequently. And you instantly have 10 boxes worth of storage space under your bed!

Step 1: Buy Materials, Assemble and Finish Construction (5 Minutes)


1. 10 x archive boxes from Officeworks or Staples (about $10)
2. 5 minutes
3. Lack of shame
4. Mattress

Just arrange the boxes in 2 rows of five with lids on (if you're an even bigger bum, you could do without the lids by just flipping all the boxes). Was considering taping the boxes together, but that actually takes work, so I skipped that. The boxes are very strong, even when not taped together.

I put on the mattress and jumped up and down, but the boxes were really stiff and didn't deform at all. It was as if I had placed the mattress on solid concrete blocks.

Note the elegant blue stripe in the middle, which is very hip this season.

Step 2: Hiding the Shame

Picture of girlfriend covering the boxes with a bedsheet. I would have skipped this step too, but the girlfriend was adamant about hiding the ugly boxes (and using this cheap bed substitute).

I think this bed is great because you instantly have 10 boxes worth of storage space under the mattress.

Step 3: Add Mattress

Add mattress. The bonus is that this bed, with the mattress, is exactly the same height as the bed next to it (which is a standard bed frame from Ikea).

If you don't even want to buy a mattress, you can tape together a bunch of free padded envelopes from Fed-Ex, like this guy:

When you want to move, just flatten all the boxes, or you can use them to move!



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    70 Discussions

    would any box work? I legit want to try this

    Has anybody considered using a wooden Fence pallet adding or not legs?

    What about those top PADDED Ottomans which hold 80 to 120 kg each and have a hollow inside useful for storage?


    2 years ago

    Love the " lack of shame" comment....i woukd have said " creative flair," instead.


    2 years ago

    Good idea. Could also use plastic boxes like you get from the store. It works

    Lack of shame! Ha! Great Instructable. Very innovative.

    your fedex furniture link is broken, i was really excited to see it..

    As a former mattress salesperson, I would not recommend this to anyone that wants to keep their mattress in top shape. A mattress will last much longer (8-10 years - thereby getting more bang for your $300) if paired with a boxspring. It has a specific function - to dissipate the forces exerted on the top of the bed and provide a constant, level surface.

    My suggestion: If you plan on spending just $300 on a mttress, negotiate the boxspring be included in the sale. Most people don't realize the pricing listed is for the set (but an unscrupulous salesperson will gladly sell only the mattress for same price), and if you purchase mattress only, you get NO WARRANTY. So when the banker's boxes crumble in a couple of months (warping the mattress in turn), you'll have to pony up another $300 for the same crappy mattress.

    Live and learn.

    13 replies

    Many boxsprings are nothing more than a cheap pine frame, a cardboard cover and maybe $20 worth of fabric.. Plenty of people who work making mattress and box springs can attest to the poor quality and huge markup on these things... Oh well get what you pay for these days don't we...

    I think it is not good for the body's electrical field to be sleeping on top of metal metal, imho. I would make a platform that does not use metal screws either.

    Should I put magnets in it?  Do you have a suggestion for a pattern to put them in?  Maybe an ankh, with the loop under the pillow?

    She sleeps on the planet earth one big huge iron ball with a monster magnetic field... how's that working out?

    Thanks for the industry insider info. I think I'll go splurge and get another 2 archive boxes to prop up the overhanging bit, or just cover the ten boxes with a plank. Are mattress companies any good at honoring warranties though?

    update: A friend saw my instructable, and needed to move, so he borrowed my ten boxes. The mattress is on the floor now.

    OMG!  You CAN'T be getting proper support for your valuable mattress by just laying it on the FLOOR!  What are you thinking!  LOL

    I hate to tell you this, Absolut, but "box springs" are items of historical legend - or, possibly, cost prohibitive.  What is sold nowadays is properly called a "foundation" (and I don't mean a girdle, either) because there are absolutely no springs involved; it's just a box.  So I'll go with the platform or slat construction.  And BTW, I've been using my less-than-$300 mattress very comfortably for the past 11 years and counting.  There's no "only $300" about it.

    what are box-springs?
    as far as I know , all the beds in my house are frames, slats, and matresses. they're all fine. (unless I'm wrong and the box-springs are hiding in there somewhere)

    This is absolutely bogus. You must have worked for Seep Experts since they have tried to screw me over the mattress I tried to purchase from them. First, the sales person tried to tell me that there was a Federal Law saying that I had to purchase a complete mattress set from the same manufacturer. I then of course did two things I said then you can't legally sell them as parts so I'll pay the single price for one part not the set, the other thing I did when he didn't agree to that was pull out my iPhone and show him no such law exists. I agree that the box idea is not that wonderful, cardboard won't hold up to the movement that I would expect to find on a bed (nothing kinky). But, it would be very easy and cheap to make another frame that matches the one you have already. Simple lumber from your local supplier.

      You can definately tel that he/she is a young salesperson to actually believe the crap they tell you where you work. Haha. I remember when I thought Kirby Vacuum Cleaners were the best and you just COULDN'T have a normal vacuum cleaner. 

     I have had hand-me-down mattress' since I was born. The one I have now is over 16 years old. Ew? Yes, but it works fine and it's FLAT. There is nothing wrong with it other than it's probably full of dead skin. Haha.