Hugging low yet appearing to float off the floor, this DIY platform bed is stable and ethereal at the same time. A platform bed is a hallmark of minimalist or contemporary bedroom design, and it can be yours for relatively little cost when you make it yourself. The build is straightforward and uses simple dimensional lumber.
How You’ll Build This DIY Platform Bed
Cantilevered sides create the impression that the mattress or futon rests on a single horizontal platform. That’s an illusion. Instead, a flat apron surrounds the mattress, with slats below the mattress.
- Floor Base: A rectangular base constructed of two-by-ten boards supports everything. The outside of the base is painted matte black. Since the base is tucked inward by a few inches, it recedes from view.
- Apron: Bordering the mattress is a 10-inch-wide apron. This perimeter provides the illusion that a single, continuous platform runs underneath the mattress. Within the borders of the apron is a space that is 82 inches by 62 inches—perfect for a queen-size mattress (80 inches by 60 inches).
- Slats: A series of 4-inch-wide wooden slats runs underneath the mattress. This gives the mattress some flexibility, plus helps the mattress to breathe. The slats are recessed 3/4-inch down from the top of the apron, so the mattress has a snug spot to lay without moving around.
Equipment / Tools
- Electric sander
- Cordless drill
- Cordless nailer or hammer and finish nails
- Electric miter saw
- 3 clutch-style bar clamps
- 2 scrap pieces of two-by-fours, each at least 6 feet long
- 7 two-by-tens, each 8-foot
- 12 one-by-fours, each 8-foot
- 2 one-by-threes, each 8-foot
- 3 trim moulding, 1-1/2-wide wide by 1/4-inch thick by 8 foot
- 8 4-inch corner braces
- 2 3-1/2-inch steel mending plates
- 4 protective sliders/feet for furniture (optional)
- Matte black paint, 1 quart
- Wood glue
- 3-inch screws
- 1-1/2-inch screws
Cut the Wood
- 1 piece, 62 inches
- 2 pieces, each 65 inches
- 2 pieces, each 82 inches
- 2 pieces, each 92-3/4-inches
One-by-fours: 12 pieces, each 62 inches
One-by-threes: 2 pieces, each 82 inches
Assemble the Base
Create a rectangle with two of the 82-inch two-by-tens and two of the 65-inch two-by-tens. Butt the two long pieces between the two short pieces.
Use the cordless drill to drive the screws provided with the braces. Join each corner with two of the corner braces per corner. Place the top corner brace 5 inches down and the next brace another 4 inches down from there.
Install the braces on the inside of the frame so they will not be visible.
Paint the Base
With the brush, paint the outside of the bed base matte black. There’s no need to paint the inside or the top and bottom edges of the base. Alternatively, if you wish to have the look of natural wood, stain the wood and coat it with a polyurethane finish.
Add Feet to the Base (Optional)
If the platform bed will rest on hard flooring such as hardwood, laminate, or engineered wood flooring, add four feet to the bottom of the base to protect the flooring. You can buy individual bed feet from hardware stores or furniture stores like IKEA.
Elevate the Base
Lay the two scrap two-by-fours flat on the ground. With an assistant, place the bed base onto the scrap two-by-fours. This elevates the base to provide enough working room for the bar clamps.
Attach the Foot of the Apron
Choose the end of the base that you wish to be the foot of the bed. Run a bead of wood glue along the top edge of the base’s short end.
Lay the 62-inch two-by-ten flat on top to create a 90-degree angle with the base. Center it so the ends of the board are lined up with the sides of the base (in the next step, the sides of the apron will extend to complete the rest of this apron). Secure with the bar clamps, wiping off any excess glue that may ooze out. Fasten with four screws. Remove the bar clamps.
Attach the Sides of the Apron
Similar to the apron foot of the bed, use clamps, glue, and screws to attach the two 92-3/4-inch two-by-tens on the sides. Be sure to butt these boards tightly against the apron foot. Use six screws per side. Remove the bar clamps.
The bed now has two side apron pieces and one foot apron piece that blend to look like a unified apron going around three sides of the bed's base.
Add Mending Plates to the Apron
Turn the base upside-down. Attach a mending plate to the joint between one of the long apron sides and the apron foot. Repeat for the other side.
The apron is now complete.
Add the Trim Over the Screw Holes
Turn the bed base so that it is turned upright again (not upside-down). Measure out three pieces of the thin, 1-1/2-inch trim, so that they cover the top screws that hold the apron to the base. Cut the trim at 45-degree angles for a finished look. Nail over the screw holes with the cordless nailer or by hand, with a hammer and finish nails.
Add the Inner Side Rails
Use the 1-1/2-inch screws to screw the two one-by-threes along the inner sides of the bed base.
The top edge of each one-by-three should be 1-1/2 inches down from the top edge of the base. Be careful with this measurement as this is the base on which the bed slats will rest.
Install the Bed Slats
Install the 12 one-by-fours parallel to the bed's width. Make sure that the front and the rear one-by-fours each butt up against their respective one-by-ten. Inner slats should be 3-1/2 inches away from each other. Drive four of the 1-1/2-inch screws per slat (two at each end).
Finish the Bed Apron
Move the bed to a ventilated but covered area, such as a patio or garage. Stain or paint the top and edges of the platform bed apron.
If staining the wood, follow with a layer of polyurethane coating. Let it completely cure. Lightly sand the coating, then apply a second coat. Finish with a light sanding with #220 or #320 grit sandpaper.
As an option, install a headboard to match the width of the bed. One way to do this is to screw a backer board of 1/2-inch plywood to the back of the head of the bed. Then, you can apply any type of design treatment to the plywood: pallet wood, wallpaper, tile, tongue-and-groove flooring, or just about any material you wish.