DIY

How to Build a DIY Bed

Brooke has been wanting a new bed for our master bedroom for a while, and she found one from Restoration Hardware that we both really liked. However, there was only one problem. It costs over $4,000! We both agreed that was way more than what we wanted to spend on a bed.

So I decided to build a DIY bed and use the one from Restoration Hardware as inspiration. I’ve built a built-in bunk bed before, but never a freestanding bed. So this was uncharted territory for me, but I was up for the challenge!

I documented the whole process so hopefully you’ll be able to follow along and build your own! Do keep in mind that these plans are for a king-size bed.

Materials and Tools

  • Finish Nailer
  • Miter Saw
  • Tape Measurer
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood Stain
  • Sand Paper
  • Wood Filler
  • 8 metal corner brackets with screws
  • 1 1/4″ Finish Nails
  • t-square
  • 2″ wood screws

Wood

  • 3 pieces of 1″ x 12″ x 8′ oak
  • 2 pieces of 1″ x 3″ x 6′ oak
  • 2 piece of 1″ x 3″ x 8′ oak
  • 4 pieces of 1″ x 8″ x 8′ oak
  • 8 pieces of 1″ x 2″ x 8′ oak
  • 8 pieces of 11/16″ x 8′ oak cove molding
  • 1 piece of 3″ x 3″ x 1′ oak
  • 4 pieces of 1″ x 3″ x 8′ pine

Step 1: Build the Footboard

I started this project by building the footboard. I cut one of the 1x12s to 78 1/2″ in length. Then I glued and nailed 1x2s all the way around the edge, making sure they were flush with the back of the 1×12.

Then I added cove moulding around the inside of the 1x2s. I cut each end of the cove moulding on a 45 degree angle so they would fit together nicely in the corners.

I applied some wood glue to the bottom of each piece of cove molding before placing them.

Tip: Cut the cove molding so that they are a snug fit. This will ensure that they fit together well in the corners.

Then I used a clamp to hold them in place while the glue dried.

Step 2: Build the Side Rails

I built the two side rails exactly the same as the footboard. The only difference is that I cut the 1x12s to 80″.

And on the back of each side rail I glued and nailed a piece of 1×2 the full length of the side rail.

Step 3: Build the Headboard

For the headboard, I started by cutting the top and bottom 1x4s. I cut the top one 78 1/2″ long with a 45 degree cut on each end. I cut the bottom one 71 1/2″ long.

Then I cut 7 pieces of 1×8 and 2 pieces of 1×12 each 44″ long. Starting in the middle of the 1x4s, I used a t-square to make sure the first 1×8 was square with the top and bottom 1x4s.

I glued and nailed all of the 1x8s as shown in the diagram. I applied a little glue to the edge of each piece and place to tightly against the previous piece.

Tip: Don’t add too much glue, because it might ooze our and get on the front of the headboard.

The last two pieces I added were the 1x12s.

I flipped the headboard over and cut two more pieces of 1×4 61″ long with a 45 degree angle on one end.

Then I nailed and glued them in place as shown in the diagram.

Next, I added two vertical pieces of 1×4 to create the division of the three panels.

Then in the same style as the footboard and side rails, I added cove moulding around the inside of each panel.

To give the headboard some thickness, I added a piece of 1×3 to the top and sides with it overlapping 3/4″ on the front. I cut the top piece 80″ long with a 45 degree angle on each end, and the side pieces 61 3/4″ long with a 45 on one end.

Next I added two pieces of 1×3 to the bottom of each leg. This added strength to where the side rails attach.

Then using some scrap 1×8, I cut two pieces to 4 1/2 x 5″. I nailed and glued one to the bottom front of each leg. This gave the side rails something to sit on.

And for the final touch of detail for the headboard, I added cove molding around the inside of the 1×3 as shown in the diagram.

Here is a closeup look at the upper right hand corner of the headboard. This will give you an idea of what the corners should look like.

Step 4: Build the Legs

This was by far the easiest part of the process. To create the legs for the foot of the bed, I cut two pieces of 3×3 5 inches long. Pretty simple!

Later in the tutorial, I’ll show you how I attached them.

Step 5: Fill Nail Holes and Sand

After I had built all of the pieces for the bed, I filled all of the holes using wood hole filler.

First, I used medium grit sandpaper and went over all of the corners to knock off any splinters and make the edges not so sharp.

Then I used fine sandpaper to go over the faces of all the pieces until the wood was smooth to the touch.

Step 6: Apply Stain

Deciding what stain to use was very difficult for us. We were torn between going with a natural look or very dark. But in the end, we stuck to our original plan of a dark bed for more contrast and chose Ebony by Minwax.

I applied three coats of stain using a cloth.

And I used a brush to get in all of the crevices and corners.

Step 7: Assemble the Bed

After the stain had dried, I carried all of the pieces up to our bedroom but I did have to get some help with the headboard because it is super heavy. Oak is a very heavy wood!

Here’s how the four main pieces of the bed fit together.

I connected each inside corner with two metal brackets, placing one near the top and one near the bottom.

I placed the two legs under each corner where the side rail and footboard intersected and set them in 1/4″ from the outside edges. Once I had them lined up properly, I drilled a hole from the top down through the slat support into the top of the leg.

Then I drilled a 2″ screw through the hole into the leg, and I hand tightened the leg until it was snug against the bottom of the side rail and footboard.

Next, I added 4 slats running across between the rails for the box springs to sit one. For these, I used a cheap pine 1×3 board. I cut each of them 77″ long and screwed them in place, spacing them out about 18″.

For additional support, I cut four 5″ pieces from the same wood and added a furniture leg pad to each one. Then I glued and nailed them to the bottom middle of each slat as you can see below.

Final Thoughts

And that’s it! I was able to build this for around $400, and I probably could have built it for less if I would have shopped around more for the wood.

I really enjoyed this project and it only took me two days, and I spent the majority of the first day rounding up material and tools.

Here’s a few more photos of the finished bed. Good luck building!

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13 Comments

  • Reply Anna C Williams

    Holy cow this is incredible! Turned out so beautiful! And thanks for the awesome step by step…maybe one day we will attempt this 🙂

    June 20, 2020 at 4:19 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Thanks Anna! Glad you like it.

      June 20, 2020 at 4:41 pm
  • Reply Wendy Burgess Melton

    Can you share how to adjust this to a queen size bed and did you use a mattress and boxspring? Thank you in advance!

    June 20, 2020 at 6:30 pm
    • Reply Henry

      I’ll be adding how to do other sizes to the article very soon. Yes, we are using a boxspring and matress.

      June 20, 2020 at 8:17 pm
      • Reply Wendy

        Great! Thank you!

        June 20, 2020 at 8:20 pm
  • Reply Sharon B

    Absolutely beautiful!

    June 20, 2020 at 7:12 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Thanks!!!

      June 20, 2020 at 8:18 pm
  • Reply Kirsten Valentine

    Sooo beautiful!!! You are so talented!

    June 20, 2020 at 10:33 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Thank you so much. 🙂

      June 22, 2020 at 2:54 am
  • Reply Nicole

    That’s a great project. Made with your own hands. With solid wood materials. From your local store. Not China. And no warning labels stating that it might be harmful in the state of California! Bravo!

    June 21, 2020 at 1:01 am
    • Reply Henry

      Thanks! Those are all advantages of building your own furniture. 🙂

      June 22, 2020 at 2:56 am
  • Reply tina young

    Lordy That’s beautiful. Great job!!! This is classic and will last for years. I have the RH King James bed and while I do like it, I wish it was higher on the legs and it is not made quality wood. It’s not real solid wood.

    June 26, 2020 at 2:25 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Thank you so much. We feel pretty optimistic about it lasting for a long time, or at least until Brooke wants something different. Lol!

      June 26, 2020 at 2:32 pm

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