Make Your Own Upholstered Bed in One Weekend

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If you’re a regular reader of BBD, you might remember that we baited you with details about the bed we built a couple of weeks back. The inspiration for our bed came from the blog of Ana White. The plans for the bed are here and the plans for the headboard are here. We stuck fairly close to the original plans with a few modifications. For example, we did not incorporate the cutout in the headboard and we used scraps from our dining room table project to make chunky legs for the bed. We followed Ana’s shopping and cut list almost exactly. Although you could just follow her plans, I’ll share our own experience (and photos) building this bed to give you an idea of what to do and not do.

Just so that I don’t need to say this throughout this post, please  note that I used wood glue on every single place where two pieces of wood were joined.

Step 1: Assemble the box

Our mattress is a queen, so we followed Ana’s dimensions of 81.5 inches long by 60 inches wide. If we were to do it again, we’d probably decrease the width of the bed by about 0.5 inches to make the fit between the mattress and the side rails a little more snug.

On Ana’s plans, 60 inches is the inside width of the bed box (this is the length of the head and foot boards), while 81.5 inches is the outside length of the bed box (this is the length of the side rails). I used three #8 – 2 inch screws to secure the corners.

Step 2: Install corner supports

Next, I cut the corner pieces from some left over scrap from the 2×6 board that get installed in the next step. These corner pieces are 5.5 inches long along the sides and were attached using 3 screws through each of the box pieces. Later on, you’ll be drilling vertically through these pieces to install the legs. While drilling one of the four holes for the legs, I actually hit the screws that secure these corner pieces in place. As a result, I had to re-drill the hole around the screw a little bit. If I was to do it over again, I would only use 2 screws to secure the corner piece, and I’d pay more attention to where I put them so as to avoid the problem of hitting the screws with the vertical hole for the legs.

Step 3: Install the center support

The 2 x 6 is installed as the center support. Be sure to cut the 2 x 6 to the inner length  of the box.

Step 4: Side Supports

Flip the bed onto its side to install the side support. It’s a lot easier drilling vertically with the floor to press against. Be sure that the top of the side support is at the same height as your 2 x 6. On Ana’s plans, you’ll see that the top of the side rails and 2 x 6 center support should be 2 inches below the top of the bed frame. However, I found these measurements to be slightly off because the wood we bought is not exactly the size it is sold at. For example, our 1 x 8′s for the outer bed frame box are really more like 0.9″ by 7.25″. It’s no big deal though,  you just need to be sure that you install the side supports so that their top is at the same height as the top of the 2 x 6.

Step 5: Upholster the Bed Frame with Batting

We used a staple gun to upholster the bed frame with batting. Our staples were 5/16 of an inch long. We found that longer staples (possibly with a more powerful staple gun) would have been better because when it came to upholster the fabric over top the batting, we had trouble getting the staples to hold.

Step 6: Upholster the Frame with your Fabric

If you buy a really long piece of fabric, you could upholster the entire frame with one continuous piece. This would avoid the need for seams in the fabric. We opted to use less fabric and we used three separate pieces to wrap the bed frame. The two seams are located on the side rails about 8 inches from the food board. We installed the side rail fabric first and the foot board piece last. For the seam, you just fold back the fabric and ensure you use enough fabric to get a good overlap. No sewing necessary.

The corners are tricky because you’ll have to fold the batting and fabric and it will wind up thicker there than along the frame. If you have a good staple gun, that might be good enough, but we ended up having to use short nails and screws to secure the fabric in the corners because our staples weren’t holding.

Step 7: Construct the frame of the headboard

We used Ana’s plans for the headboard (found here) except that we elected not to include the cutout in her plans. Other than the cutout, I followed her plan dimensions exactly. Make sure to use a square to get perfect 90 degree angles. No one wants a lopsided headboard.

Here’s a close up of the legs. The middle piece is the front side of the headboard. That’s the piece we use to connect to the headboard to the bed frame.

Step 8: Wrap the Headboard in Batting

Pictured below is the back of the headboard. Since the back of the headboard is against the wall, you don’t really need to worry about upholstering the back properly.

Step 9: Upholster the Headboard

Even though we used a patterned fabric, you can see in the photo that we still made sure to align the fabric with the top of the backboard.

Step 10: Drill Holes for the Legs

This is a bottom view of the bed where the legs will be installed. As you can see, we upholstered around the bottom of the bed. That meant we had to cut a hole through the bottom of the upholstered footings in order to to drill a hole for the legs. (Actually, I tried just drilling through the fabric but that was a terrible idea as the fabric started to pull and wrap around the bit. Do not try to drill through the fabric.)

Step 11: Install the Legs:

Our bed legs are 4×4′s cut to about 5 inches long. Obviously there is one per corner, but we also put one directly in the center of the bed underneath the 2×6 center support. Kristen stained them dark brown with the same walnut stain that we used for our kitchen table. I drilled a vertical hole in the leg using a 3/8″ bit. You can see in the picture that I screwed in a receptacle for the 2.5 inch bolt. I can’t remember exactly what that part is called but that’s what allows us to bolt the leg through the bed frame footings.

Step 12: Install the Mattress Supports

We could have installed the mattress supports after step 6 but then we would have lost access to the frame for installing the headboard and the legs. Therefore, installing the mattress support slats the last step. You’re supposed to use 2″ screws to attach the mattress supports to the center support and the side supports. Because we were screwing right near the end of the support slats, we had trouble with the slats splitting at the ends. I tried drilling pilot holes to prevent the splitting, but I broke two drill bits. Finally we gave up and just placed the slats on top of the center and side supports without screwing them in. So far, not screwing the side supports in hasn’t caused any problems for us (no squeaking or shifting as far as we can tell).

Well, there you have it. That’s how you can build your own upholstered bed frame in 11 easy steps. The cost for our bed was around $250. The fabric was about $100 and the other wood and supplies were about $150. Although you can see that there are a few things we would have done slightly differently, we’re very happy with how the bed turned out.

Because we’re in a 100 year old house, our floors bow slightly towards the center of the room. Our old bed frame was on wheels and would roll towards the center of the room bit by bit every few days and we’d constantly have to push it back to our wall. The new bed does not roll and is way more solid. We used to be able to feel each other shifting during the night, but since building the new bed our movements are more isolated and we sleep better.

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Comments

  1. Monica says

    Kristen
    I love the bed! Do you guys have a boxspring? I want to make a bed like this but an unsure if the plans are for a boxspring or without. I would think without since there are slats but I’m not sure. Thanks.

  2. says

    Hey Monica,

    With the plans for this bed you do not need a box spring! I said it once and I will say it again the bed is very comfortable!

    Good Luck with the bed… I would love to see photos!

  3. dulce says

    Hi Kristen & Eric,

    Just wanted to say you guys have done a fantastic job on this project! It really turned out AMAZING – you guys have really inspired me. 2 questions – how much fabric did you use and did you screw the headboard to the frame or is it secured to your wall?

    Thanks,
    Dulce

  4. says

    Hi Dulce: We believe we bough five yards of fabric and the headboard is bolted to the bed frame- not secured to the wall. Hope that helps!

  5. Maire O'Brien says

    What a jaw-droppingly, breath-takingly fantabulous completed project. And, it’s actually comfy. Majorly inspiring. Me wanna make one too.

  6. Robyn Scott says

    This is AMAZING! My Husband and I are going to do this. A friend of mine did it as well and passed this site on to us. You did a really good job.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Especially when it’s something as ginormous and seemingly difficult as a whole bed.Big Box Detox and Anna (bed plan here, headboard here) demystify the process for us, with in-process photos, [...]

  2. [...] love the way the bed looks framed by the soft white linen curtains. With the new configuration, our DIY upholstered bed takes centre stage in the room. This makes me happy, considering all the hard work that went into [...]

  3. [...] it was the single hardest DIY job he has ever completed. I find that hard to believe considering he build our bed and our kitchen table.  and we have been living with a hole in the wall instead of a light fixture [...]

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