Intro: Elevated Bed From 3 Sheets of Plywood
I've experimented with elevated sleeping platforms before and have built 3 other elevated beds, each improving on design and functionality. Here's the latest design, using 3 sheets of plywood and incorporating:
- Inset base on all sides so there's no stubbed toes
- Carpeted mattress deck that prevents fitted sheet from being untucked
- Hidden underbed storage
In addition to the inset base to prevent stubbed toes, the mattress deck was also designed to allow the mattress to sit slightly over the decking, giving your knees and shins a soft surface to touch, not hard frame.
Here's how I made a smart and simple bed frame with only 3 sheets of plywood.
Step 1: Design
Using inexpensive 3/4"- 4'x8' (20x1220x2440mm) plywood I was able to make this bed frame from 3 sheets. I used inexpensive plywood as much of this structure is not going to be seen, and the portions that are will be painted and at floor level.
Using CAD software to design the frame, I started by measuring the dimensions of my queen size mattress. I wanted a continuous deck for my mattress to lie on top of, since the mattress was larger than one sheet of plywood I spanned it over 2 sheets.
Next I measured how tall I wanted by bed frame to be and made the side and end pieces to match the mattress deck. To utilize the space under the bed I designed drawers on each side of the bed frame, the drawer cut outs and components were arranged inside the sheets. To secure the bed from any sheer forces I also designed an internal brace to fit inside and provide stability.
All the components were arranged onto the plywood sheets in CAD to make an efficient cut plan. I used a simple notching at the edges to give a solid connection.
CAD drawing included, feel free to use or modify
Step 2: Supplies
Step 3: Cut Plywood
I printed each plywood sheet onto its own sheet of paper for reference.
Using a table saw I ripped the plywood into rough sections, saving the detailed cuts for the saw sled or jigsaw. With all the bed frame sections cut I labeled each with pencil to keep track.
Each piece was then sanded to have a smooth face and neat edges. If you are using very poor quality plywood you can spend the time to fill in any cracks or knots with wood filler and then sand smooth. Paint will be applied later and will mask any wood imperfections.
Step 4: Router Deck Edges
The mattress deck will be carpeted, but the underside will need to be routered to remove the sharp edge your legs my rub against when getting out of bed.
Using a 1/2" round-over bit on a table router I ran the mattress deck pieces through, ensuring not to router the two connecting edges (since my queen mattress was too large to fit on one sheet, the deck was divided into 2 pieces).
Step 5: Join Mattress Platform
To join the two sections of the mattress deck I used some scrap plywood from the sheets that the components were cut from. The connecting piece should be large enough to cover about 4" on both sides of the butt joint, but doesn't need to be structural as the deck will be fully supported by the frame. Measure your connecting piece to make sure that your connecting piece fits inside the frame when the deck is installed.
I sunk about 8 screws in each side to connect the deck sections.
Step 6: Assemble Drawers
After the drawers were cut from the plywood sheets they were assembled on the square drawer base. I decided to enhance my drawers by adding a decorative trim to the face and some embellish with some stars. You can find thin decorative cutouts at your local craft store.
I drilled openings for the drawer pulls, but left the handles off for now until after painting.
Step 7: Paint
Painting while the frame is not assembled makes a application much easier. I used an interior latex paint with an eggshell finish.
All exterior surfaces were painted, including the inside and outside of the drawers as they can be seen when opened.
Step 8: Assemble Frame + Glue Carpet
The bed frame was assembled with screws at the edge connections between pieces. The internal brace was fitted inside the completed frame and screwed into place. The mattress deck was then laid on top of the frame and pocket screwed from inside the frame to secure it in place.
Before laying the carpet touch up any areas that need repainting. Lay the adhesive directly to the wood deck then roll the carpet onto the adhesive to glue in place. I used heavy books on top of the glue to ensure a good connection. With a sharp hobby knife you can trim the carpet edges.
Step 9: Add Drawer Casters and Install
The drawer cutouts in the frame are tall enough to allow casters and enable the drawers to roll in and out of the bed frame opening. Casters were screwed into the underside of the drawer bottom then rolled into the opening. The enlarged drawer face I added stops it from rolling too far into the frame.
Step 10: No More Stubbed Toes or Shins
This simple bed frame strips away all the unnecessary elements of many contemporary frames and allows you to walk right up to your bed and not stub your toes or bump your shins and knees against any part of the bed. Instead you're met with soft mattress edge, perfect for returning to be bleary-eyed from nighttime bathroom jaunts.
The mattress is held securely in place with a carpeted deck, and all your goodies are neatly stored under the elevated bed frame.