Moving on up (off the floor)
February 25, 2011 7:13 AM   Subscribe

How can I elevate a tri-fold futon frame, currently resting directly on the floor, to the height of an actual bed (and have it still be stable)?

I have a wooden futon frame that looks something like this, except with no legs - instead each section has three 2x4" "runners" attached to the slats and running parallel to the length of the bed. In the current configuration the runners sit right on the floor, which makes the entire contraption about 5 inches tall. I would like to raise it to be closer to the height of a real bed without making a rickety mess of things. I've seen cinderblocks suggested as an option for raising a box spring, but am a little leery of supporting discrete points of a platform that is hinged in two places and meant to fold up (although I guess if I had enough cinderblocks...). Is there a way to do this? Underbed storage would be nice but isn't a necessity. If building something is the way to go I'm pretty good with a hammer and could get to a hardware store for precut lumber and the like, but have no access to any power tools.
posted by josyphine to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Cinderblocks would work fine, as long as you put them under the ends of each runner and under each hinge point. Don't do this (or at least, don't do this without first putting down some carpet scraps under the cinderblocks) if your bedroom has nice wood floors.

A more elegant solution would be to build legs or some kind of frame under there, but that is hard to describe in text and without knowing the specifics of your skills and needs. So go with the cinderblocks if you want a quick, dirty, and cheap solution; build something with wood if you are willing to invest the time and effort, and buy some hand tools.
posted by Forktine at 7:26 AM on February 25, 2011

Best answer: The right way to do this is a torsion box, but that sounds like more then you are willing to do. I made a raised bed for a futon back in the day with 2x4s and some 2x6s. Basically I made two rectangles almost as high as the bed I wanted and as long as the mattress. Then joined the rectangles at the top and bottom, then put 2x6 across the width to support the mattress. If that seems wobbly you can put 2x4 across the diagonal of the 4 rectangles to stabilize. Also if you make the uprights stick up higher then the crossbars you sort of end up with headboard / footboard. Fine wood working it is not, but it worked for me. Sorry I don't have any pictures. This would work to support your frame or even without.

I would not pile more then 2 cinderblocks high if you go that root.
posted by d4nj450n at 7:32 AM on February 25, 2011

We had this same problem, and added an additional (inflatable) mattress to raise the bed height rather than trying to make the frame higher. It seemed like a more stable way to go.
posted by tizzie at 7:51 AM on February 25, 2011

Option 1. cinder blocks - 6 or 8 though so that the hinges are all supported - and I wouldnt' go above 1 block high. which probably won't get you much height above what you have.

Option 2. Build a basic Frame - that supports itself stably. - ie will stand on its own.
Make it slightly Narrower or Slightly Wider than the hinged runners on the bed - so the slats are supported by your new frame. screw down the slats a bit.
posted by mary8nne at 9:12 AM on February 25, 2011

Best answer: You can build a platform something like this:

=========================== < plywood top
||_______________________|| < plywood bracing
|| _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ || < 2x4 legs

The dashed line just represents the floor.

The bracing can go inside the 2x4's on two sides and outside on the other two sides. Alternately, braces on two opposite sides can go at the top, and the other two can go at the bottom. You can leave enough space underneath so you can slide stuff underneath it.

You should be able to make this out of two 2x4's and one sheet of plywood. Take your measurements first, and then you should be able to get the hardware store to cut the 2x4's and plywood for you for you, so you don't have to cut it yourself.

You can paint the platform and actually make it look fairly decent once it's got a bed on top of it.
posted by nangar at 10:11 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

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