Cheap Bed Substitute

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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!




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



Ingredients:

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: http://www.fedexfurniture.com/

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

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    72 Discussions

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    sbansban

    9 years ago on Introduction

    What are these archive boxes made of? Surely not cardboard - right? Can you please provide a link to the item at Staples or some other standard national chain store? Also, when you say "A new bed for $10" are you saying that $10 is the cost of ten boxes so each box is $1? The cheapest archive box / file storage box that I could find at amazon.com is $10.99 - http://www.amazon.com/File-Storage-Box-Nutmeg-12-5/dp/B000I5S4IM/ref=pd_ts_k_11?ie=UTF8&s=kitchen - these 9.5" H x 12.5" W x 7" D boxes are made of fibreboard and for an approximately queen size mattress (60" x 80"), you would need 55 of them which would cost $605!!

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    nebula61364sbansban

    Reply 20 days ago

    i started doing the math and the dimensions for a cheap lidded box were only ten inches wide so side by side that's only twenty inches and a twin size mattress is approximately 38" wide ... so what now pray tell

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    mlkerseysbansban

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I just made this bed today for my brother who is visiting for the summer, and I did indeed use cardboard boxes.   I had 10 from a previous move and bought 6 more of these:  www.officemax.com/catalog/sku.jsp  (if that link doesn't work, go to the OM website and search for "BANKERS BOX STOR/FILE BASIC STRENGTH LETTER/LEGAL, 6-PACK.")  For a full size air mattress I used 16, but you just have to measure your mattress and use the box dimensions to determine how many you need.  I think the more boxes you use, the better the support would be.  As you can see, my boxes weren't $1 per - but it's still a way better deal than buying an actual bed frame, and when he leaves in August I can just fold them up again and use them next time I move.  It's such a great idea, and it supports my big dog and me so it's plenty strong.

    My son purchased a queen bed with a box for his bedroom. Later when he got an apartment, he took the mattress and left the box (but took the rails) So I called to ask why he didnt take the box and it was because it did not fit upstairs with a corner turn in the staircase. So I went into the bedroom fully intending on taking the box to make a raised bed for veggies. When I looked closer, I noticed that the box did have steel springs flat across the top even though the box itself was empty. It was built better than the box with wood slats and cardboard top we got with our Sealy. (we paid over $300 years ago!)
    But after closer inspection I asked my husband to take his electric saw and cut a slit in the box on each side near where there was just a flat steel band which was part of the springs. I took it and folded it back and it made the bed half size so the box would fit up the stairs! I folded it out again to see if it would effect the box itself for use and it did not. So when he hauled it over to the apartment, we told him we needed help getting the box out of the car so he could take it up to his room. lol...He blew us off as pranking him, and even if we had it, it would not go up the stairs! So my husband carried it in and put it folded on the floor next to the steps. He got wide eyed but helped my husband carry it up the stairs. I got the frame locked together and then they put the box back in the frame unfolded. Then tossed on the mattress. My son dived onto it as hard as he could and went Ahhhhhhh! Thank you! We left him with a grin on his face.
    We have a true set of springs in our attic with a frame but no covering in great shape. Platform beds are nice but I finally built my own box and matress a year ago and plan to do an instructables on this project.

    1 reply
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    nebula61364NaturalCrafter

    Reply 20 days ago

    lol this was written for those of us who are willing to take chances with our bad backs

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    IsaiahK11

    Question 1 year ago on Step 3

    would any box work? I legit want to try this

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    nineurea

    2 years ago

    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?

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    peepla

    3 years ago

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

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    peepla

    3 years ago

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

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    matt392

    6 years ago on Step 3

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

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    zigzagchris

    6 years ago on Introduction

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

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    Absolut Zero

    12 years ago

    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.

    8 replies
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    MD_WillingtonAbsolut Zero

    Reply 12 years ago

    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...

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    GnosisMD_Willington

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    RedSnertzGnosis

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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?

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    MD_WillingtonHycro

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

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

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    forgotpasswordAbsolut Zero

    Reply 12 years ago

    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