Raised Bed With Expedit Bookshelves for Storage

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I created underbed storage using Ikea Expedit Bookshelves. This is a super easy project with no sawing needed. And surprisingly, the bed is completely stable. Since I already had a bed and frame, it cost about $400.

Parts needed:

Optional items:

  • Ikea Lekman boxes ($12 each; 8 fit in each bookcase; I only put 8 Lekman boxes in the bookcase at the foot of the bed; Ikea has many storage options for the Expedit Bookcases)
  • 3 X Mat Shelf Liners sized at least 15.5" X 59" ($5-8 each)

Tools needed:

  • Drill
  • Philips screwdriver

Supplies:

Step 1: Build the Expedit Bookshelves

Build the Expedit Bookshelves as Ikea instructs. Place them spaced evenly on the floor as shown.

Step 2: Install Cross Braces

On the two end-unit bookshelves, drill and screw in the Ikea Observator 39" Cross Brace as shown. This will keep the bed from swaying left to right. Just with one cross brace, the bed was stable. I added a second one to be careful.

I chose to install the cross brace at the foot of the bed on the inside (under the frame) so that it would not interfere with reaching storage from the outside. At the head of the bed (touching the wall), I installed the cross brace on the outside so that it would not interfere with reaching the storage under the bed.

Step 3: Place Frame & Bed on Top

In order to protect the shelves from scratches and provide some grip, consider placing a mat liner at least 15.5" X 59" on top of them (mine are 16" X 62", so I had to cut a few inches off the end).

Then place the bed frame or 80" X 58 5/8" sheet of wood on top of that. For this project, I lined up 4 narrower sheets of 80" X 14 5/8" wood.

That's It

Because the bed is around 3 1/2 feet high, kids and those under 5'10" will need a chair or stool to climb into it. But if you need the storage, this provides lots of organized space.

See my original article on the Ikea Expedit Bookshelf Bed.

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    32 Discussions

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    dtoff

    3 years ago

    I'm considering making this, but I'd like to know: about how much weight this can support?

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    sallydaw

    3 years ago on Introduction

    I wish you had included the prize of the mattress. It's been a goal of mine to start working on my own homemade bed for a while, but they are just too damn expensive!

    Looks really good. How do you climb it, though?

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    BartholomewH

    3 years ago on Introduction

    TY for the flat pack hack idea there. I could offer you at least another 10 great ideas for IKEA assembly hacks, but I think you're pretty good at your own as well :) It looks a bit hard to access the middle storage unit tho, but there's a flat pack furniture hack for that as well, right? :D
    cheers

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    A1IT3R

    4 years ago on Introduction

    you could also install runners underneath and have no gaps in between the bookshelves. also use nice looking wood e.g,.ply for the top of the shelves (not chipboard)

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    aroszkiewicz

    5 years ago on Step 3

    This is great, I'm just curious how much weight the bookcases though connected and distributed would be able to hold? I'm going to place a 80x60 queen sized bed mattress on it, so I want to be sure.

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    SIRJAMES09

    5 years ago on Introduction

    TY for sharing this.
    I can think of ALL KINDS of variations to this idea...
    For myself, I'd go with a twin mattress & 2 sheets of 3/4 plywood/chipboard.
    But I love your idea! looks cool, & looks functional as well....

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    What a great repurpose! I love it! I recently bought a couple Expedit shelves for my apartment and I've since been dreaming about all the different places I could use them. :) I was initially concerned about the height of the bed; I'm 6'4", but the missus is quite a bit shorter and we have two small dogs. I think a good compromise would be to use the 1x5 Expedit shelves in place of the 2x4 units. Of course doing this would mean less total storage, but if you alter the design to a "U", "T", "I" , or even an "O" shape similar to what was already suggested , you could potentially get the same amount of accessible storage (or more) at a lower profile.

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    smjdcountryjustice

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    An U shape with 1x5 expedit shelves works great. 
    I added some support at the head and center of the bed and did not attach the slatted bed frame to the shelves so we can still use the space for storage. Long term storage only, since it's quite heavy, but the weight also ensures the bed frame does not move from its place.
    Thanks for the idea.

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    HollyMann

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I absolutely LOVE this idea!!! About 6 mos ago my dad and i built my son a loft bed from his full size bed. We used the frame from that bed and made more reinforcements as well. I love your idea better - but too bad you can't just use two of your ikea shelves - do you think that would work? So the kid could have some space to play or lay around underneath/read books,etc? Should be strong enough, right? Thanks for the great instructable!

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    chuckr44

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I LOVE this design! Pretty pricey though. This would be useful for people who move a lot, like college students. It could be modified to put foot lockers under the bed (not as part of the support), as I use lockable footlockers for some storage.

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    nwzhndchuckr44

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    If you get them off Craigslist (hopefully in your area) you may pay little or even get them for free. It all depends on the time of year (seasonal moves, schools ending, university graduation, etc.) and how desperate people are to get that big huge bookcase out of their home!

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    p0tty

    8 years ago on Introduction

    So is there any wobble at all? I mean how stable is it?

    i just did the same thing for my girlfriends loft bed except i attached wheels and handles to the bookshelves underneath so that they could be pulled out and put back

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    natnie

    8 years ago on Introduction

    If I were to make this, I think I'd make it all the way around, as others have suggested. Then I could use my existing slats to rest the mattress on. Could potentially build a "drawer" that is actually a step, that can be taken out of the shelves, and then returned when not being used... oh the possibilities!

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    rapidprototyping

    8 years ago on Step 3

    this is good result looks sturdy milk crates are pretty good way to store things like books now if they just had roller bearing slide out drawers that held like four hundred pounds

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    carress

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Is there somethign special about these bookshelves, or will any do? I've thought about using dressers too, but people on CL said it wouldn't work b/c of the weight....

    2 replies
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    lycoris3carress

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I would think it would work as long as the dressers have no legs.  I suggested this same thing to my dad who knows a lot about these things and he said that it would break under the extra weight.  I figured that it's because of the furniture having legs, seeing as they were made for only so much weight on them, and if too much, they would become like spears in the floor. 
    I found out the last bit with a bunk bed set that my family had and we were horsing around on it.  I was 7ish at the time.  Well, I wanted to do a jump on the bed while everyone was on it to tackle them all at once, and when I got the chance I did.  Well, when I did, BAM!! creek....BOOM!  When all six of us got the bed moved, we had ourselves a nice hole in the corner of the room. 

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    Nelemmih

    10 years ago on Step 3

    That's so smart! Is it possible to skip the bookshelf in the mittle or move it closer to the head-end?

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    RisujiNelemmih

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    I would say so, so long as you used a couple of beams to support it. Btw, great 'ible :D