Deconstruct an Old Bed Base for Reuse!




About: I'm a husband, a father, an engineer, a maker, a business analyst, an accountant and business leader, (yada, yada, yada ...) and a catalyst for community driven innovation. Greetings and my hats off to the ...

Going through the hassle of buying or replacing a bed mattress and box spring (or foundation, or bed base) is rarely a joy. And what the heck do you do with the old one? Sometimes you give it to a relative in need, sometimes you give it Goodwill or Salvation Army, and unfortunately, many times these end up in a landfill. I’m about toshow you how a wooden bed base can be salvaged to save much of its framework for reuse.

This old mattress base has given its all and was no longer suitable for its intended use. It had run its course, and really wasn’t donation worthy. So, scrap it to the land fill? Heck no. There’s some good scrap lumber in there that can be used in other Instructable projects! Here’s the process we used and I’m really satisfied with the outcome.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: What You’ll Need

  • Flat screwdriver
  • Gas or Channel Lock pliers
  • Hammer
  • Nail pulling bar

Basically, your favorite deconstruction tools.

Step 2: Remove the Fabric

This fabric, like most, was stapled on place with a ridiculous number of staples – maybe 200 or more. Take your time. Slipping the tip of flat screw driver under each staple and giving it a half-twist pulled it up high enough to give the channel lock pliers a good, quick grip. So, to get efficient here, move along twisting up all the staples you can first, then go back with the plyers and, in a repetitive move like a well-choreographed dance, simply grab and pry each staple. Drop ‘em into a can or cup as you go and that will save a floor clean-up exercise later.

Once the staples are all out, off comes the fabric. Reuse or discard as you see fit.

Step 3: Disassemble the Frame

Here’s where you reap the benefit of disassembly. Much of the wood in the frame is perfectly good for reuse in other projects you may find yourself working on. I won’t waste your time telling you how to use scrap pieces of wood, only you and your creative soul can be the judge of that. But you’ll find a use. :-)

Step 4: Weighing the COST of Your Time Vs the BENEFIT of the Scrap Lumber

This frame must have been assembled by someone who absolutely got their greatest joy in life out of pulling the trigger on a nail gun. There must have been 6 or more nails at every location that connected two pieces of wood. Aaaarg. Like so many things in life, you have to make a decision about how much time it’s going to take you to do something versus the benefit that may be gained. In this case, the benefit is, well to be polite, let us say marginal.
So tackling all those nails with the hammer and nail puller would take a good part of an hour, or more. No thanks, I can still get most of the scrap lumber if I use a power saw, and it’ll take me 10 minutes or less.

Step 5: Let the Deconstruction Proceed

Using the saw, all the most stubborn connection points for the lumber can simply be cut. The scraps can be collected and salvaged for later reuse. And as for what was left over – the nail-ridden refuse from hell? You could get creative, perhaps relinquishing them to a bonfire of some such festivity. As for me, that little bit left over from that big mattress foundation was indeed relegated to the trash. And I felt great about not having tossed the entire mattress foundation in a landfill.

Have you ever disassembled a box spring or bed foundation? Please share your creative whimsies.



  • Make It Fly Challenge

    Make It Fly Challenge
  • Stone Concrete and Cement Contest

    Stone Concrete and Cement Contest
  • Metal Contest

    Metal Contest

11 Discussions


2 years ago

I disassembled a large boxspring because where I live, we can only place stuff like that on the curb in May! Not only did I salvage the wood, but mine was covered in nice waterproof fabric that I used to make a large dog bed. And I still have some left over.

The nail-ridden scraps would be perfect for making charcoal! There are many methods for it, the easiest and most frugal being a conical pit or a metal barrel and a fire. You can find 'ibles for either method! Once carbonized, the wood will easily release the nails.


3 years ago on Introduction

Usually, the foundation is like this one--just a box. No sense buying a new one, unless the warranty you preserve is unusually awesome--most are not.

3 replies

Yeah, basically a wooden box frame. When the fabric covering it has worn out its welcome (as this one did after 20 years or so) is another reason to deconstruct it and buy a new one.

I feel the only function of the upholstery is to disguise the box so people will think it's more like a box spring, and worth the jacked up price they want for it. One could just recover the box and add Velcro strips for an easy to remove/wash dust ruffle.

Looks like the site is having an "oops" moment with all the text published vertically. Perhaps the site admins can fix?


3 years ago on Step 5

There isn't as much salvageable in a sofa/Divan and they tend to have more glue joints but they come apart in much the same way, makes them much easier to dispose of even if it does take a few weeks to put the foam into the regular house hold waste collections.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

I agree. End-of-life sofas are a nightmare to dispose of in any kind of Earth friendly graceful way. Luckily in my history I've been able to pass old sofas on to others in need. Of course, that just kicks the can down the road (in a good useful way), but relegates the disposal problem to another party in the future. Such is life on planet Earth.


Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Thanks. Deconstruction like that is always kind of enjoyable and satisfying in an strange way. :-)