You may have read how I built my own dining room table but honestly I should have written about how I built my own bed frame first since I made it before my dining room table. Issue is writing about how I made the bed frame was much harder. Same as the dining table I built my bed frame in my apartment. I purchased the materials for this over a few months and once I was tired of the materials sitting around my place I took a weekend and went to town. Unlike my dining table the bed frame inspiration came a few years back. I have this photo pinned of a bedroom I liked and while the overall room is beautiful I fell for the bed frame. I searched for other bed frames but kept coming back to the bed frame in the photo below.
I can't find original source, someone help me out!
Being that this was my first adventure building furniture I did a ton of research and read up on how to build a bed frame from scratch. I originally drew up the plan in sketch up all the way down to every detail of the bed frame parts. This helped me understand the construction and the pieces I would need and how I was actually going to put it all together.
Once I knew how to build the bed I started looking for an upholstery fabric. I looked at tons of fabric in my materials library and went to some showrooms but couldn't find anything that spoke to me that was also in my budget. Then one day I was walking through a Joann Fabrics looking for something for a side project and saw this fabric on the upholstery bolt and walked past but then backed up and felt the fabric, looked at the price and said I need this many yards, and bought it on the spot. That was really the biggest piece to select the rest is mostly hidden under the upholstery so the fabric needed to be just the right shade of blue for me. I purchased this fabric so long ago now I have no idea what the name of it was but it was in-stock in a Joann's in Vermont. So once I had the fabric I started buying the wood and tools. Here is my list of what I used.
1) MDF Board-This was silly because the bed is ridiculously heavy now and did not need to be that heavy of wood. Its all hidden so I would just go with a particle board of something substantial enough but not so heavy like MDF.
2) Circular saw - I had Lowe's where I bought the MDF cut most of it down to size for me but I had a few pieces I needed to trim or cut down while building.
3) Power Drill
4) Tape Measure
5) Wood Screws, all different sizes depending on where its going in, you don't want to go too long make sure it wont puncture through the other side.
6) Spray Adhesive
7) Upholstery Fabric
8) Foam - I used 2" thick I wanted something soft to lean against.
9) Cotton Batting
10) Staple Gun
11) Staple Gun Staples
12) Solid Hardwood - I used Maple
13) 4x4 pieces
14) Bed feet
15) Kiln-Dried Heat Treated Spruce-Pine-Fir Lumber : I'm not going to list the sizes all my wood was, but if you want here is a link to my sketch up model which shows the different dimensions if you measure them yourself.
The wood for my frame was bought from Lowe's. I wanted to get most of the wood cut down to size in the store so I didn't have to do that at home and you can always count on Home Depot or Lowe's to do that for you, but more importantly in front of you too. I had some of the power tools already but I still needed to also buy the 4x4 pieces and the bed feet. I found the feet online and made sure I had the right height and look I wanted. I made sure to get the hardware to attach the feet to the bed. I'm pretty sure the hardware came with the legs I got but make sure you can attach the legs while buying your legs.
I go to town with overdoing things, so my bed has WAY more screws in it then it needs but thats ok its solid and nothing's ruining that bed. I started with the headboard, there are many ways you could put the two pieces together but since I was building this in my apartment I just put the two pieces together in the right direction and screwed another piece down the back and attached them together. It works for me but if I was to do the construction properly I would not have done it that way.
The next step was to cut all the wood pieces to size for my mattress and box spring. I'm not going to list my sizes for that reason, I really suggest drawing your bed frame in Sketch up to your size before to get all the sizes of your lumber. I've attached a link here to my sketch up model in 3D warehouse. Resize the bed to your size but I've colour coded each different type of piece which will hopefully help.
Once I had the two pieces of the headboard put together I started on the frame. My first step was using two pieces of the pine fir lumber cut to the length based on my mattress size. One piece was 2.5" inches wide and the other piece was 1.5" wide but the same length. Matching the bottoms up together I drilled the two pieces together which should leave a ledge at the top and leave you with one piece. I made two of those which will go on the side of the bed frame and will in the end be the support for the slats that the mattress or boxspring sit on.
From there I took my 4x4 lumber chunks and pre drilled the holes on the corner. I figured out with some measurements where to drill the holes. My goal was to be able to drill from the outside of the 4x4 chunk and drill into the two sides pieces I just drilled together. I probably didn't need this piece but I put 2.5" piece along the footer of the bed frame too. Once I had the basic frame built I drilled the basic frame to the outside frame that will ultimately be upholstered. I made sure to drill the small pine pieces up an inch from the bottom of the outside frame to give room for the legs to be hidden a bit by the frame.
Always make sure when you have the pine cut to size the pieces that will ultimately be your wood slats to support your mattress are cut down to fit within the frame not the overall width of the mattress. Once you get to this part your bed frame should look like the below photo. I didn't drill all the slats down but only the ends and middle slat just to give the overall frame some stability. After all this is done it was time to start the upholstery work.
When you purchase your fabric always calculate 10% or more over what you think you need. Sometimes when you cut the pieces down you might lose some so make sure to take into consideration the width of the fabric and how you will be cutting the fabric out.
I started upholstering my headboard first. In advance of the construction I opened up my 2" thick foam and let it expand for over 24 hours. I got an exacto knife and cut the foam that was already expanded to the side of the headboard. I then used some of the spray adhesive and sprayed a good amount to the wooden headboard, and carefully laid the foam on the sticky wood. I let this set a little bit and to smooth things out laid the cotton batting over the foam and draped it around the edges. I then laid my upholstery fabric on the floor face down, I then laid some of the cotton batting over the fabric. Make sure your batting is a little bit smaller around the parameter then the upholstery fabric. You then flip the headboard with foam adhered to it over and onto the fabric and cotton batting. Now when I made my bed frame I flipped the headboard over by myself and you can tell in some places. That I did it myself. In retrospect I should have had a buddy to help so you can properly lay the headboard foam side down onto the fabric better.
Once you have the headboard on the fabric pull the fabric and batting around the headboard and staple a few staples to attach the fabric to the wood headboard. The best way is to start in the center of one side and then move to the other side. I find it easier to get the fabric pulled before you go into the corners. So staple a few on one side and when you staple on the center on the other side make sure to pull the fabric as tight as you can and then staple it down. Once you have the two sides in the center stapled move on up from the center making sure to pull in all directions. When you get to the corners you can almost fold the fabric out in a fan rather then gathered, it makes it easier to staple and hold this way.
Once I the headboard complete I moved to the frame. I found the best way was to lean the frame upright with the open side down. Be careful it won't fall over, so stabilize it if needed or a buddy would be great to hold it. I cut my fabric longer then the overall length of the side and the width so I had enough to fold the corners and wrap around the wood frame. The technique is really up to you on how to staple around the frame. I would use the same technique of starting in the center and moving outwards. When I got to the corners I wrapped the long way around the corner and started stapling around the corner. I didn't care too much about the fabric being cut perfectly because the other width of the frame piece will cover it when you staple that part. I made sure to cut the width of the frame wood so it was only 4" longer then the overall width, this gave me just enough fabric to fold over and wrap just a bit around the corner and give you a nice clean corner for the fabric.
The upholstery part is tedious but didn't take me too long. Once I got the hang of it and a good staple gun I moved along pretty quickly and before I knew it my whole bed was upholstered. Now to put the legs on and then assembled the pieces together. Follow the instructions for installing the legs based on the legs you buy. In my case I needed to drill a hole on the bottom and hammer in the piece that held the leg to the bed frame. I did this before I installed all my basic frame pieces together but as I said it all depends on the installation of your legs. From here my bed was basically all ready to be put together. I dropped the slats into the frame and pushed the frame up against the upright headboard. I dropped my boxspring which fit perfectly snug and came up just below the top of the frame. Then I laid down my mattress and for fun made my bed because I was excited the majority was done.
I ended up placing two decorative wings to the side. This hid the back of my headboard but also helped connect the frame and headboard together nicely. Cutting out those pieces was a blast since my cut was not straight. I had to cut it with a jig saw but I picked maple for my species of wood and I broke the blade so I ended up using a hand saw to cut it out. If I had the right tools it could have gone better, but I used what I had available to me at the time. Once the pieces were cut out, I stained them a wood stain I personally choose and drilled the sides into the headboard and a few into the frame. I added a smaller piece along the top to finish it off and I was done. I made sure to move my bed to its final destination before drilling the side wings into place; it'd be kinda hard to get into the room with the headboard and frame all attached.
This tutorial was actually really hard to describe so if anyone has any questions ask away in the comment section and I'll try and take a picture of it now and try and answer your questions. I hope this gives some people and idea of how to build a bed frame, it's all relative and make sure to compare because some people may have done things differently then me which could be better then mine :-) or more to your liking. Either way making a bed frame is a mission but well worth it, so good luck.
Jess Goodwin is an interior designer located out of Northern New Jersey, but does work all over the United States. She has a huge passion for interior design and architecture and all things design related to be honest. She's been working in the industry for over ten years now and been designing her whole life, thats not an exaggeration.