DIY $30 Platform Bed Frame

***UPDATE, APRIL 2015: We STILL have this same frame, we have done ZERO repairs, and it is STILL perfect.  LOVE IT!!!!***
***UPDATE, MARCH 2014: We have had this same frame for two years now; we also have a 4 year-old and a 1 year-old.  We have done ZERO maintenance to the frame and it is still perfect.  The kids jump on it regularly and play games, Daddy Man throws Robug all over it, and we are “happily married” (I hope we all get what that means).  So, if you have any concerns about durability, stability, crappiness, etc…two years and one month later and the platform is still standing with no maintenance :).***

In yesterday’s post I discussed our platform bed frame project and promised a tutorial—here it is!  Let me start out saying that step-by-step instructions are not my strong suit (which is why I rarely wrote out a lesson plan when I taught) and we had to improvise a lot of what we did, so my hope is that this tutorial will help someone else to do what we did but I am making no claims that it is complete, done the “right” way, is entirely safe, meets any kind of compliance standards, blah blah blah.  I’m laying out everything we did so as not to misrepresent our process.  We would definitely do things differently next time (but there hopefully won’t be a next time), so I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible in the hopes that someone else can use this and make an even better platform!  And, yes, I am well aware that some of this is some ironic innuendo if read in the right context–have fun reading it and let yourself laugh like a teenager 🙂

We were able to sleep on our brand-new king-size memory foam mattress last night (much to our surprise–we were told it would take a day or two to “decompress”).  Can I just say, “OMG, where has this mattress been all my life?!”  I fell asleep IMMEDIATELY (it generally takes me a while—tossing and turning to get into a comfy position), I slept through the night without a single wakeup (that hasn’t happened since before I got pregnant, and The Robug will be two next month), and I woke up this morning and MY BACK DID NOT HURT!  I feel great today!  I highly recommend memory foam!!!
We were able to sleep on our fabulous new mattress and have such a positive response because, after doing a lot of reading and research, we have it on a platform.  Finding no platform under $60.00, we decided to build one ourselves.  The total came in just at $30.00, purchasing lumber, brackets, and screws from Home Depot.  Here’s what we did:
Materials Used:
8 – 2 x 4 x 8; cut down to 2 x 4 x 76” (don’t cut any of these until you read the entire tutorial).  SAVE THE SCRAPS–YOU WILL NEED THEM FOR LEGS!
8 – 20″ scraps from above beams, cut 2″ off of one end of two boards (leaving you with 6@ 20″ and 2@ 18″)
2 – ½” x 4’ x  8’ Sheets of Plywood, cut to 38” x 80” (don’t cut these until you read the entire tutorial)
Screws long enough to go through all pieces (we used 3” fine thread drywall screws)
Drill bit corresponding to screw size above
1″ screws to attach plywood
Hand Saw and Hand Box
Duct Tape
Measuring Tape
Lessons We Learned While Completing This Project That You Should Know In Advance:
*We now realize that other people probably know these things, but just in case
1. A 2 x 4 does not actually measure 2 x 4—it is actually 1.5 x 3.5.  This makes a difference
2.  Always think out the ENTIRE thing BEFORE you begin
3.  Pre-drill all holes before doing any screwing
4.  Lay out all the pieces and make sure they’re going to fit together well BEFORE screwing together anything
5.  Invest in a good set of clamps
We worked from the assumption (without measuring until later, of course) that our 2×4’s actually measured 2” x 4”, so we had the 2×4’s cut to 76”, then adding 2” on each end from the side 2×4’s to total 80” wide.  Well, this is where we learned lesson #1.  We ended up having to add a ½” spacer  when we attached the side legs to make up for the narrower 2x4s to make the 80” width.

1.  Lay out the 2×4’s, creating a square, the top and bottom beams on the inside of the left and right beams; place the remaining four beams inside of the square, evenly spaced.
2.  With a pencil, mark where all the beams should be so that you can drill pilot holes (otherwise screwing everything together will be near impossible)

3.  Screw the entire frame together.  In a perfect world, once together, it should measure 80″ wide and 76″ long (this is when we found out that it measured only measured 79″ wide and had to figure out how we were to remedy that-to come in further steps)
4.  Legs!  
Of course, The Robug had to oversee and show Daddy how to do everything (and looking absolutely fabulous in the process):

We decided it would be in our best interest to put two legs under the middle of the bed, so put on on each of the two middle beams, spaced evenly apart.  Use the two scraps you cut down to 18″ and attach them with screws, butting one end flat against the floor so it will be level(ish) (we should have probably done these last).
5.  More Legs!  Now, to “fix” our “error” with the size of the 2×4’s (see step 2), we added a 1/2″ spacer between the side legs and the frame.  Using the 6 remaining scraps that measure 20″, attach one to each corner on the outsides and two at the foot of the bed, spaced evenly apart.  AND be sure when attaching these legs, you attach the frame TWO INCHES DOWN!  This will leave a 2″ “lip” at all the corners (on the side of the bed) and the foot of the bed to stop the mattress from slipping off the platform.
We completed this as a two-person job–my husband did the drilling and screwing, I held the frame level.  My job was very important (no, really–you need someone to do this): you need to make sure the frame remains level when attaching your legs–you don’t want to have an awesome new mattress and feel like you’re riding a bull every time someone moves or like you’re rolling right off the side.

And here’s how it looks:
6.  Brackets–for extra stability, put a bracket on the inside of every corner
7.  The Platform!  Lay both pieces of plywood down on top of the platform and make sure they fit (yeah, I know, duh) and everything lines up correctly
Screw the wood down all along the edges, about 14″ apart

Then, we used a piece of duct tape over the seam so nothing snagged on it
The final measurements are: 76×80 (interior of platform; wider at the legs) and is 18″ from the floor (we wanted room for storage and, since there’s no box spring, we wanted to make sure the bed was still at the same height–it’s a little higher and we like it); with the mattress, it measures a total of 28″ from the floor. I also used an old queen flat sheet and laid that on top of the platform to have something between the wood and the mattress.

The following pictures show how a king-size memory foam mattress is delivered, and how you unwrap it.  It was pretty amazing that a huge mattress comes out of such a small box.

Oopsey Daisy

{Junk in their Trunk}

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21 thoughts on “DIY $30 Platform Bed Frame

  1. I’m thinking of doing something similar to this, except I plan on simply building a foundation to go on top of my existing bed frame to support my king size memory foam mattress, which should be arriving any day now!! I was really nervous about it, and couldn’t find anyone online doing what I’d like to do, so it’s GREAT to find this article!! And thanks for the tip about the 2×4 dimensions! I had no idea!! I have my plans all drawn up, and took a full 4″ off the cross beams like you did! Glad I found this before I went to Home Depot!!!! Thanks a lot!!

    1. Thank you very much! I had the same problem which is how we ended up doing this project and why I decided to put up the tutorial. I hope you’re happy with your finished platform and it works well for you–thanks for coming by and reading and commenting!

  2. Hi. Thanks for this. My wife and I are thinking of doing your design. However I guess I’m not 100% clear on measuring to avoid your boo boo!! I have heard that Home Depot will do the cuts for you for free or a nominal charge. If they will what are the lengths of the 2×4 i need to tell them? It looks like there are 2 cut to one length (for the sides) and 6 cut to another length. Also the size of the 2 pieces of plywood. We are putting boxspring/foundation plus the mattress so we will be either using no legs or very short ones. (We just want to get the bed a bit higher than it is sitting on the floor). Lastly have you or did you consider staining it?
    Thanks so much.

    1. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you–thanks for checking out the tutorial and asking questions! What you want to do is be sure your platform measures 80″ wide. We had to add the spacers because we assumed instead of measured. You want to cut yours to 77″ long because the 1.5″ width of the 2×4 on each side will give you the additional 3″ to make the platform a total of 80″. As for staining, we have yet (I know, it’s been a while) to finish it. We are planning to make a nice footboard and doors along the bottom. We did make a headboard you can find here Hope this helps!

    1. I wouldn’t think so as long as the slats are spaced closely together. If I had made this with slats, I probably would have added another two 2x4s just to keep the slats closer together. I hope you project works! Thanks for checking out the tutorial, and I hope it helped you 🙂

  3. oh my gosh! I was just shopping online at Wal-mart and buying a mattress that looks like same one I am getting but before I buy a platform I was looking for cheaper ways to make one and googled it and found this! Thanks for showing me.

    1. Thank you very much! I would love to have a ginger club that could take over the world–imagine what would get done, lol! I can settle for talking regularly, though 🙂 Thanks for checking out my project!

  4. From much of my research surrounding platform beds, I have seen that it is important for a mattress to breath from the bottom or the potential for mold increases. With the plywood, I think I would go back and drill some holes with a door knob bit on the drill in and around random places to allow air in from the bottom.

    1. I did not know that and didn’t even think of mold! Thank you so much and I think we’ll be going back and doing that. Thank you for taking the time to share that info and for stopping by!

  5. This looks really awesome. The boyfriend and I are moving into our first apartment together and he has a king bed but no frame. I really like the idea of the platform and how you guys did it but I have a question. How does it hold up against intimate times?

    1. We’ve had it for well over a year now and it STILL does not any noise, we’ve made our second baby on it, we jump and play on it with our 3yo, and we have not had a single problem. My husband and I have also enjoyed many an evening of adult fun time and have not had a screw come out of place or a creak disturb anyone, so I feel confident saying that it will hold up to whatever intimate time you have 🙂 Have fun, good luck, and thanks for coming by!

  6. When you said brackets on every corner. Did you mean every of the 4 corners or every corner of the 2x4s in middle support beams as well?

    1. We put brackets on each of the four corners at the top and bottom–they help to stabilize the joining of the sides to the top and bottom; we didn’t put brackets on any of the middle support beams because we just didn’t think it needed it and we haven’t had any problems. Good luck and thanks for stopping by to check it out!

  7. I am trying to talk my husband into doing this for us. has some amazing diy projects like this. Thanks for sharing and making it look doable.

    1. It really was easy and has been awesome 🙂 Thank you for the Ana-White link–I can’t wait to sit down and just click through everything! Good luck and thank you for stopping by!

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