Is it a really bad idea to screw pieces of 2x4 to my box spring?
August 17, 2015 5:03 AM   Subscribe

I want to add feet to my boxspring instead of buying a bed frame - is there any reason I shouldn't just screw pieces of 2"x4" direct to the wood of the boxspring?

I have a traditional mattress and boxspring that's about 8 years old. I've used it on those cheap metal frames you get with a mattress, but I'm bored of that, and it's too high for the aging yellow lab to hop in to bed. (and winter is coming, so it's warm-dog-in-bed season soon.) I don't want to spend a lot on a bed, because moving is also in my future.

I don't want to put the bed directly on the floor, because I feel like it looks a little unfinished, and because I have moisture concerns - we live in an old, sometimes damp house.

I was planning on putting a cover on the box spring, screwing chunks of 2X4 directly into the frame and putting felt feet on the 2x4.

Is there any reason I shouldn't do this? (I do not care about the box spring being reusable after this project).

Do you have any tips for success?

My plan was to use the 2x4 in its flat orientation (so only raising the bed about 2"). I was going to screw 4"x4" chunks into the 4 corners of the frame, and then the remaining part of the 2x4 (or about the length of the bed less 6" on either end) down the middle of the box spring under the center brace.

Any improvements on this or any caution?

Basically, doing this, minus the brackets and fancy feet:
posted by mercredi to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
Don't screw the 2x4s so close to the edge that you can't get a fitted sheet/cover to hook under it. That's what I'd use to cover the box spring so that you can easily remove/wash it.

Pre-drill all your holes to minimize the risk of splitting the box spring wood. The 2x4x4 (assuming that's what you mean by 4"x4" chunks) on the corner will likely split; you should use longer lengths of 2x4.

I don't see why you couldn't just run three or four 2x4s down the length of the bed - one on each side and one or two down the middle.
posted by jshort at 5:31 AM on August 17, 2015

The one you linked to seems to be asking for trouble, because I don't think box springs are meant to have unsupported sides. Over time, it seems the box spring would bow or even break. I would at least put an additional leg in the center of the long sides.
posted by The Deej at 5:32 AM on August 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

The linked project is OK, but won't be good long-term because of the amount of side-to-side movement a bed naturally endures. The screws and brackets are better than no brackets, but still, a few wood screws aren't going to do great with that amount of force. I'm talking about just getting into and out of bed -- the box spring combined with your own weight is a lot.

I absolutely would not just screw 4x4 directly to a box spring and expect that to last more than one day.
posted by amtho at 5:47 AM on August 17, 2015

I once put a box spring up on blocks this way, and it got destroyed fairly quickly. It seems like it just wasn't designed to carry the load all by itself. You might have more success if you reinforce the box spring (maybe with some diagonal reinforcements and something along the center line) before putting on the legs.

I had particular problems with the long pieces of wood along the sides and down the center of the box spring (they cracked fairly quickly), and with shear / twisting forces. The bed as a whole had an unfortunate tendency to "walk" -- it twisted and rocked back and forth rather than staying rigid and parallel to the floor. This setup also hastened the death of my mattress -- it sagged in the middle, and wouldn't stay aligned with the box spring (it was always trying to droop off a corner). Obviously, these things did not make for a comfortable night's sleep.

Again, if you're going to do this, you might want to figure out some kind of reinforcement to make it work better. Good luck!
posted by ourobouros at 5:54 AM on August 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

You could easily improve on this plan by just getting some 2x4's to make a frame around your 4x4 legs, or just look through other folks' 2x4 bed frames. You can always take someone else's plan and change the height of the legs.
posted by amtho at 5:54 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm with amtho on this.

Box springs aren't constructed in a way that you could attach legs in such a way that they'd resist sheer forces well. I fully expect that if you do this, one day you'll sit on the edge of the bed and have all the legs tip to one side.

If you want to elevate the box springs, it would make more sense lay a several full-length boards on the floor and rest the box spring on them, with something like rubber mats (as are used under rugs) top and bottom to prevent sliding. No mechanical attachment to the box spring.
posted by adamrice at 5:55 AM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Why would using the brackets be better than screwing the wood directly to the frame?
posted by mercredi at 5:57 AM on August 17, 2015

Response by poster: Ok - so the consensus = bad idea. I'd build the bed options, but I own no tools right now, so that would be a investment.

I think I'm going to put it directly on the floor, with just some underlayer to prevent sliding and add a little elevation from the floor. Something thick and rubbery, like yoga mat in strips. Any hardware store suggestions?
posted by mercredi at 6:13 AM on August 17, 2015

You have a ,metal bed frame. Remove the feet/ casters, screw on the pieces of 2 x4.
posted by theora55 at 6:20 AM on August 17, 2015

Response by poster: Alas, the bedframe feet are riveted on.
posted by mercredi at 6:24 AM on August 17, 2015

Have you thought about using pallets? Bonus points - they can be arranged to create stairs for your puppy?
posted by hydra77 at 6:37 AM on August 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

There are doggy steps you can buy too, if getting the dog on the bed is the main concern.
posted by MsMolly at 6:52 AM on August 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

Came in to suggest doggy steps. My elderly cats used the smaller versions of these, and they figured them out immediately.
posted by clone boulevard at 8:08 AM on August 17, 2015

This is actually not a bad idea. People are just saying that the box spring has to be supported properly on the weight-bearing parts... unlike that example you linked.

I would just go to the hardware store and ask for plastic furniture feet, like the kind that come with a nail that you can just tack in. Get a dozen or so of them and put them on all the parts of the box spring that would take weight on the floor.
posted by zennie at 8:14 AM on August 17, 2015

We have our bed raised up on a set of these box spring bed legs, which I carefully screwed into the bottom of my box spring in the indicated places. It might be a little more expensive than just buying the lumber, but it provides a really secure way of attaching the legs, and the legs support the box spring in all the right places. We've had the bed like that for three years now and haven't had a single problem with it.
posted by dialetheia at 8:41 AM on August 17, 2015

If you are just going to be laying the box spring on top of flat 2x4s that sit on the floor, raising the box spring up 1.5", I think you will be totally fine. That sounds like what you want to, which is quite different than the link you provide. I don't think you need 4x4s at all.

Just lay a bunch of 2x4 pieces across the bottom of the boxspring and be done with it. I would aim for 7 pieces or so. You can screw them in or use nails, but a couple fasteners per is all you need as you are just holding them in place.

Alternately, get rid of the box spring, put wooden slats across your bed frame (about a dozen 1x4s) and just rest the mattress on those. The box spring doesn't really do anything (despite the name, it is really just a box).
posted by ssg at 8:52 AM on August 17, 2015

Bed rug
posted by oceano at 11:13 PM on August 17, 2015

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