Build Me Up / Bedframe Baby
July 20, 2013 8:46 AM   Subscribe

We have a king-size bed (Mattress, boxsprings) that is just sitting on the floor of our bedroom, taking up a big chunk of real estate and looking sort of shabby. To free up space, I would like to move the bed into a narrow alcove-like part of the room. This means we wouldn't have room for nightstands and so need a headboard w/ shelves. For aesthetic reasons, I would like a frame to cover the sides of the boxsprings. No need for the bed to be raised, it will still rest on the floor. For money reasons, I would like suggestions on how to build such a thing myself, or recommendations for good but economical products.

The bed is 6' x 6.5 'x 20". Right now I am thinking that two simple boxes/frames would do. The larger frame would lay horizontally on the floor, surrounding the bed (Four lengths of wood). The headboard/shelf would rest lengthwise on its side, with at least one shelf in it (At least five lengths), with a plywood backing for stability.

So now, questions:

1) I am leaning towards using dimensional lumber for this, namely 2x12s. Bigger/heavier/expensiver than needed?

2) Is there a particular type of stain that would be ideal for this kind of lumber?

3) Assembly: Are brackets and strap ties feasible? What are the appropriate screws?

4) Is this a horrible idea?

If you've come across designs or plans for a similar frame, or a decently-priced product that resembles what I've described (Poorly, I'm sure; I'm not great at translating visual into words) links would be great! Thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
It might also be nice to cut a little nook in between the studs on either side of the bed. Even if it were only 4 inches deep it could be useful. You could finish it with drywall and trim it to match your frame. Maybe incorporate a little shelf?
posted by carmicha at 9:19 AM on July 20, 2013

Best answer: The inexpensive pine lumber found at big box stores is virtually always cupped and or warped. Pick through the pile and get the best boards you can find.

1x material is at least more flexible, so it's easier to pull into shape by fastening it to adjacent parts of the structure. 2x material stays warped/cupped much more stubbornly. 1x also has crisper corners, and looks more furniture-like.

You will probably want some sort of vertical support element in the middle of the shelves. Six feet is a long span, and will tend to sag if you load it up.

Angle brackets and strap ties suck, for almost everything. I think they sell them because it's visually obvious how they're supposed to work, not because they actually work well; they don't. Much better to use nails and screws to fasten the boards to each other without intervening sheet metal .

Build the box surrounding the box spring first. Make it comfortably bigger than the box spring so you can at least get your hand in-between all the way around. Attach the two verticals at the head end. Bridge them with a top board sitting on the verticals, running a little bit past them to give whatever overhang looks good. Fasten the shelves between the verticals. If you have access to a table saw, the shelf unit will look better if you vary the widths of the boards a bit, with verticals maybe 1/4" narrower than the top piece, and the shelves in turn maybe maybe 1/4" narrower than the verticals.
posted by jon1270 at 10:39 AM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Perhaps some Ikea Hacks for inspiration?
posted by oceano at 11:39 AM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Not a horrible idea and totally doable, even if this is your first diy project.

If you're going to paint this, I'd use MDF (medium density fiberboard), which is sold in sheets (49"x97" in the US). Big box stores will cut the sheets to your specifications. If you're going to stain the finished piece, then look for furniture or cabinet grade plywood (note: considerably more expensive than mdf). You'll need to glue trim on the exposed edges to hide the plywood layers.

Dimensional lumber is overkill, in terms of structure and, as mentioned above, tends to be cupped or warped in big box stores. Further, getting pine to take a stain evenly/attractively can be a major pain.

Joints can be secured with a combination of glue, dowels, and/or screws.

What power tools do you have/can you borrow? A drill, circular saw and/or router would be very useful.
posted by she's not there at 1:46 PM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Great responses, folks, much thanks!

Thanks for the link, oceano, now I'm considering getting the IKEA Expedit shelving unit as the headboard - it's the perfect length, good height, and decent depth.

Thanks for the great points re: dimensional lumber warpage, that's always been a hassle in my limited DIY history.

Never having worked with it, I didn't consider MDF, but its versatility is tempting. At the very least it would be good for making the bottom half of the head board: a couple of boxes turned open face out (Or a long one open on both ends), supporting the Expedit and providing a bit more storage. As for using it to make the mattress & box spring enclosure, I'm not sure of the best way to join MDF. I'm guessing router & biscuits would probably be ideal, but that's beyond my abilities and resources. Would using dowel & glue butt joints be enough to keep an MDF frame together? Or would it be good/feasible to also screw a piece of 1x1 into each inside corner of the frame?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:11 PM on July 20, 2013

Response by poster: Bah, hit post too soon: What I mean by screwing a piece of 1x1 into each corner is using what this image calls reinforcing blocks*, but with the screws would be going from the inside to out. Would that provide the strength and stability needed for a frame that would experience daily wear and tear?

*Those carpentry people, they have a name for everything!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:16 PM on July 20, 2013

Butt joint with the reinforcing blocks would work fine, but glue the joints—also use the screws to keep everything clamped in place while the glue dries. The glued joint will be much stronger than screws alone. Stronger, in fact, the the MDF/plywood itself.

To help hide the joint, use wood filler and sand before painting.
posted by she's not there at 1:32 AM on July 21, 2013

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