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Build A Platform Bed - How to Build a Platform Bed

frame pieces mattress frames

Attractive, comfortable, and easy to build, a platform bed is the best way to transform an ordinary mattress into a fully cushioned bed without the need for an ugly box spring. A platform bed setup is ideal for people who like a firm sleeping surface since the platform offers more support than the traditional square metal box spring. Though most commercially available platform beds are “modern” style, building your own platform bed gives you the choice of materials and style. Not all platform beds have to be sleek and contemporary, with the long straight lines and no nonsense appearance of Ikea furniture.

Materials

If you’re looking to build a platform bed of a particular style, look for materials that catch your eye. The platform itself is not usually the feature of a platform bed, but if you find a particularly attractive wood or paneling, you can easily transform your platform into whatever you want.

The basic materials for building a platform bed are:

10 pieces of 2 × 4 × 96 lumber (about $3 each for a total of $30)
6 pieces of 2 × 10 × 8 ($8.50 each for a total of $51)
2 pieces of 3/4 × 49 × 97 MDF (a total of $30)
plenty of deck screws
wood glue

You will also need access to a miter saw, a circular saw, and a power drill.

The Design

The platform bed you’ll be building is made up of two stacked frames. Why two frames? Since the platform bed is notorious for stubbing and breaking toes, we’re going to build in a recessed edge, much like the space underneath your kitchen cabinets. Another benefit of this “set back” frame design is that you can fit the bed around any radiators or other features that may otherwise be blocked off by a single full sized frame.

Don’t be surprised by the use of 2 × 10s on the base frame. You need the height of a 2 × 10 to create a decent space underneath the top frame, otherwise you’ll smash your toes into the bed every night. Trust me on this one. If you want, use 2 × 8s instead for a similar result.

Getting Started

This platform is designed for a standard King sized mattress, meaning that a mattress that is about 80 × 76. If your mattress is smaller, simply take twelve inches off each dimension to determine the size of your bottom frame. The top frame is the size of your mattress plus an inch on each dimension, so the top frame is slightly wider than the mattress itself.

Start by building your bottom frame. It should look like you’re building a book shelf — 4 2 × 10s (or 2 × 8s) across and one piece on either side. Make sure the sides of your frame are level, and attach the frame pieces with 2 1/2 inch deck screws. Since these frames will be taking a lot of abuse over the years, use pilot holes and wood glue to create the best possible bond.

Blocking

The most important part of each frame is the blocking. If you’ve ever seen bare floor joists, you’ve seen blocking. Basically, use your scrap 2 × 10 or 2 × 8 pieces to secure the frame in place from side to side. If you think of your frame as a “book shelf”, the blocking pieces go where your “books” would go — “standing up” between each layer of shelving. Be sure to offset the “book” pieces so that you can screw them in from both sides.

After you have built your larger “top frame”, place them on top of one another and make sure to center your frames. With deck screws, “toenail” the frames together with the same screw and glue method at every point of intersection between the frames.

You now have most of a platform bed. It is time to use the MDF to form the actual “platform” itself. Attach your pre cut piece of MDF (you measured and cut your MDF already, right?) every 12-16 inches along the top frame.

Your platform bed will be extremely heavy, but at a cost of about $100 you can have a really stylish platform bed. It won’t take long to build, especially if you have your lumber cut for you at the hardware store, and your modern bed will be the firmest night’s sleep you’ve ever had.

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