Making a Bed Frame With Lots of Storage




Introduction: Making a Bed Frame With Lots of Storage

About: Lazy Old Geek

Problem: I’m a Lazy Old Geek (L.O.G.) who moved back into a small modular home and inherited a single (AKA twin) bed (39” x 75”). The mattress was firm but the springs were soft, the bed was too soft, so I tried putting a board underneath. It helped but not enough. Also the modular home is small and had little storage room. To solve both problems at once, I decided to make my own bed frame. . These pictures show the results and some of my Geekiness.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools


3  4’x8’ ½” particle boards       Can use MDF or plywood.
      Suggestion: if using particle board, I would advise using  ¾” lumber for the top, instead of ½” I used.

6’  1”x1/2” wood strips              Used for book case

Box #8x1” Phillips head wood screws       Not critical

Cost: August 2010, Grand Junction, Colorado is about $55.


Safety Glasses

Saw   I used an old Black & Decker circular saw. Not recommended but it got the job done.

Drill/Screwdriver   Makitas are well made, though expensive tools. The black and white one is a Makita DF030D. I didn’t have this when I made the bed frame but it’s a very nice drill/driver and so picturesque.

Step 2: Safety


An Old Japanese-American proverb say:
   In battle between whirling steel and human flesh, human cannot win.
  The best human can do is not lose.

Just ask my brother. He lost three fingers to a table saw.

Another Old Japanese-American proverb:
   A split second of NEGLECT may lead to a lifetime of REGRET

Use safety glasses when cutting. If they’ are a used pair, they’re probably pitted and scratched. But it’s better that the glasses are pitted and scratched rather than your eyes. 
Sams Club had six pair for $12.95.

When cutting wood, always be aware of where the whirling blade is in relationship to your fingers and other body part!!


Step 3: Bed Frame Overview

Guidelines: The dimensions are flexible. In the past, I made a similar frame for a full/double bed.
The bookcase headboard is optional.
The finished height depends on your height and preferences, the mattress’s thickness and if you are using a pad. Mine has a two inch memory foam pad on top of the mattress. When I was younger I preferred a hard mattress, now I’m OLD.
In other word, make this your own.

The bed frame is a long piece of particle board standing on edge with three cross pieces of particle board for support and another piece of particle board on top. The mattress goes on top. There are no box springs. I recommend using a thicker or stronger piece on top than the ½” I used. If you look at the bed storage picture, on the right side you can see where I had to reinforce the corner where it broke off just by sitting on it. The bookcase is not shown.

For the drawings, I am using Google SketchUp. I highly recommend it and it's free. If you use it, i would suggest you save often to different names as it doesn't always do what you would like it to do. 

Step 4: Main Frame

The height of the frame needs to be adjusted for your specific requirements.
Some factors: mattress thickness, additional pad thickness, your preferred sitting on the bed height, softness of the mattress. I made the height 16” or actually, 17” for the head and 15” for the foot. I prefer to sleep with my head slightly elevated. This is often recommended for people with GERD (GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease). As I learned from experience with my first bed frame, this is much easier to implement from the beginning.
The length can be adjusted for no bookcase and/or bigger mattress. In other word, make it your own.

The drawing for the main bottom piece indicates 16” x91” rectangle. I am LAZY and not that familiar with Google SketchUp so kept it simple. Mine is actually 17” on the left (head) and 15” on the right (foot). Another thing not shown is: for the foot, I cut out a little triangular piece so there’s a little bit more foot clearance. This is slightly visible in the bed storage picture.

The dimensions may be hard to read. From the head of the bed, the slots are 13", 32", 51" and 71". Each slot is ½” wide to fit the crossmember and half of the height (about 8"). I marked both sides of the cut and ran the circular saw down the sides then broke off the narrow center piece. It’s good to keep the width close to ½” the width of the crossmember so there’s not much wobble.

Some thoughts on crossmember spacing:
   Spacing should be closer where there will be more weight. Probably in the middle
   where you sit down and your (maybe) fat belly is.
   I put the first crossmember closer to the head,13” so there is more support for the head
   board bookcase.
   In my case, I should have moved the last one closer to the foot as my bed is situated
   where the foot is likely to be sat on.
   Also think about what size stuff you want to store (width and height).

Cut and slot the main bed frame support to your own specifications. Make it your own.

Step 5: Crossmembers

If you are sloping the bed, the crossmembers will have slightly differing heights. Just measure the height from the main frame support. Again the slots are ½” wide to fit the bottom piece. Width of crossmembers is dependent on mattress size.

If you can't read the drawing, the length is 39". The distance to the slot is 19.25" from the ends so that the slot is 1/2" wide.

Cut and slot the crossmembers.

Step 6: Putting It All Together

Slide the four crossmembers onto main bottom piece, lining up the slots:

My SketchUp skills are not very good but you should get the idea.

Cut the top piece 39” x 91”, the width of the mattress and the length of the mattress plus space for the bookcase. Place it on top of the frame.

Step 7: Finishing Up Bed Frame

Probably because I had Home Depot split the top piece into two pieces for easier transportation, I used metal straps to tie the two pieces together.

I used two straps (available at Wal Mart or hardware store) on each side, one on the top and one on the bottom using nuts and bolts to tie them together. Use one plate for a drill template. Try to keep the bolt length to a minimum(3/4”?) so you don’t scrape your fingers sliding stuff in and out.
Also to keep the top board from sliding around, directly over some of the crossmembers, I drilled some holes for #8 x 1” wood screws. Make sure these go into the crossmembers so that the sharp ends are not sticking out. If your crossmembers are too sloppy, you can tighten them up with L brackets and nuts and bolts. Also if you are getting squeaks and creaks, use some more L brackets.

Step 8: Bookcase

The bookcase is 5 12” pieces of particle board. If you are a lousy carpenter like I am, it’s better to use 12” shelving boards rather than the leftovers from your 4’x8’ boards.
2 12”x18” for the sides
1 12”x39” for the top
1 12”x38” for the shelf
1 12”x39” for the back
6 ½”x1”x 8” wood strips to screw into. Two are on the base as shown, the other four are right below the top and the shelf toward the back.
#8x1” screws

Use your drill to make holes for the screws so the particle board won’t split.
One method would be to stand up the top on edge on a flat surface and screw on the sides, install the shelf and attach, screw on the back using it to keep the whole assembly square, place the bookshelf onto the bed frame and attach it from below.

If I ever redo the bookcase, I would make it a little taller. Use your best judgment. The space under the shelf can be used for less-accessible storage. 

With this bed frame, you should have lots more storage which will quickly fill up if you are like me.

By the way, this should be fairly portable. It would be easier if you marked the parts for easier reassembly.

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    10 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Why do you have bottles of chemicals and cleaning things in your room man! Besides that, you should really be keeping your items safe even if you're putting them in storage perhaps a door or something would be good to add in to this design so that you can keep the dust out and also more hidden away from eyes. Then you can even hide valuables under your bed after that!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Indeed! I have an old Makita that I still use when I need 3/8" drill.



    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    our is also old, it was great untill the batteries whent dead :( gotta buy new ones


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Batteries are the weak link for most cordless tools. My new little Makita has Li-Ion batteries. I think/hope they will last longer.

    I have a Hitachi cordless drill with two batteries that won't charge. I tried to make one good battery pack but couldn't get it to work. I decided it wasn't worth trying to get new batteries.

    If you have trouble finding replacement batteries, I heard that Batteries Plus will replace rechargeables in a battery pack. Don't know how much they charge.



    9 years ago on Introduction

    Please make an instructable about the portable holder!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Here it is. LOG


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    If you are talking about the laptop holder, I've started writing one up. It will probably be about a week. Lazy Old Geek

    You have given some good advice and made some good points on where to add support (and foot room... foot room is IMPORTANT!), material thicknesses to support body weight, and things to consider as far as portability. Funny how the older we get, the more we know that moving is a reality, as well as knowing just how much weight we want to lift. I used to move furniture regularly, but the older I get, the more I just want to move it out of my way! Thank you for some ideas in creating my "on my own again" bed.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You are so right. I use to move around full size beds relatively easily. Later, when I got my divorce, I noticed I had a hard time moving the mattress. I was also glad I'd made a similar bedframe and could tear it into smaller, lighter pieces. My current mattress, I didn't select it but I'm glad it's a single (except for the fact that my laptop has fallen off a couple of times. I also didn't want to move the mattress off so I could take better pictures for this Instructable. Of course that's partly because I'm LAZY which seems to have something to do with getting older. Thanks for the feedback and think about doing an Instructable when you create your bed. L.O.G.