DIY

How to Build a Porch Swing Bed

In this article, I’m going to show you how to build a super simple, yet beautiful swing bed for your porch. These are definitely one of my favorite things to build, for a couple of reasons. One, they easily impress people, which makes me look smarter and more talented than I really am. And two, they are extremely awesome for taking naps. Anything that enables more nap time has to be good.

I’ve built a few, and so far none of them have been the same. One of my favorite parts of the process is coming up with new designs. For this one, I wanted it to have very clean lines and I wanted it to be very easy to build, even for beginners. I also wanted it to be affordable. I was able to build this one for around $200. Of course, that price can vary based on what wood you choose to use and where you get your wood.

Let’s get started. Here’s what you’ll need:

Wood

  • 3 pieces of 1″ x 8″ x 8′ clear pine
  • 8 pieces of 1″ x 3″ x 8′ clear pine
  • 1 piece of 1″ x 4″ x 8′ clear pine
  • 2 pieces of 2″ x 3″ x 8′ framing lumber
  • 1 piece of 2″ x 4″ x 8′ framing lumber
  • 3 pieces of 1″ x 3″ x 8′ knotty pine

I tried to keep everything as simple as possible. So all joints in this build are butt joints. And in case I forget to mention it anywhere in this tutorial, assume that everywhere there is a joint or two pieces of wood meet, apply some wood glue.

I started off by building the main bed frame out of the 1×8’s. You can find the measurements in the illustration. On these joints I used 2″ finish nails.

Then I added an inner frame for support and something to nail the bed slats to. On the sides I used 2×4’s for some extra bulk since this is where the eye screws will go through. I made sure the bottom of the 2×4’s were flush with the bottom of the frame. Then I nailed and glued them onto the inside of the frame using 2″ nails. For the front and back I used 2×3’s making sure the top was even with the top of the 2×4’s.

For the slats, I cut 6 39″ long pieces of the 1×3 knotty pine and spaced them out evenly along the inside of the bed frame as seen blow and nailed them in place. This will be the support for the mattress.

Then I constructed 4 posts out of the 1×3 clear pine, one for each corner.

Each post is made from two pieces. I applied a bead of glue down one edge.

I placed the other piece on top of the glued edge to form an “L” shape and made sure the edges were perfectly lined up. Then I nailed the two pieces together with 2″ nails.

Then I attached each post to the corners with glue and 1 1/4″ nails.

After all four posts were in place, I cut all of the rails. These are the horizontal pieces that connect all of the posts. I attached all of the back rails first. Then the side rails. Refer to the illustration below for lengths and spacing.

As I mentioned earlier, I really wanted to design this swing to be super simple to build with only straight cuts that could be done with the miter saw, but then I got to the arm rest pieces which required a little extra cutting. I first cut each arm piece to length from a piece of 1×3. Then I had to use a jig saw to cut out a notch for it to fit around the back post as you can see below.

After I finished these cuts, I glued and nailed them in place as shown in the illustration. Then I added 1×3 trim around the bottom of the swing on all four sides using glue and 1 1/4″ nails.

The final step in the building process was adding the top to the back and a middle rail support. For the top piece, I used 1×4 and for the middle support, I used 1×3.

I filled all holes with wood putty and to round off the corners a bit and get rid of any splinters I sanded the swing with fine sand paper. I then applied a coat of stain and three coats of polyurethane. Even though the swing won’t be in direct weather, I wanted to give it a little extra protection.

Once everything was dry. It was time to add the eye screws. The rope will run through these and hold up the swing. I measured 1″ from the edge of the post, and 1 1/4″ up from the bottom, which put me in the middle of the bottom trim piece. Then I drilled my hole for the eye screw and screwed it in.

And that’s it. When you hang your swing, you’ll use the same eye screws in the ceiling. You just need to make sure that you are screwing into ceiling joists. For the mattress, any twin mattress should work, and you can get a burlap mattress cover from World Market. Then you can finish it off with some pillows.

I hope you found this tutorial useful, and if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

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12 Comments

  • Reply Tatiane

    Great job Henry! I love the way you explain,very easy to follow along. It turned out beautifully. Our porch for our new home is small and our deck is not cover. Do you think we can just add legs and use as a kind of floor sofa/swing for the deck? Thank you so much for sharing.

    October 1, 2018 at 12:09 pm
  • Reply Henry

    Thanks! Glad you like it. Yes, you could definitely do that, but I would recommend using a wood that is more weather resistant, like cedar, cypress, or treated wood.

    October 1, 2018 at 12:20 pm
  • Reply Frayne

    Love this! What color stain did you use?

    October 3, 2018 at 5:52 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Thanks! Whoops. I guess I should have mentioned that in the article. I used Minwax Polyshades Mission Oak.

      October 3, 2018 at 6:57 pm
  • Reply Rhonda

    Nice work – Thanks for sharing! How did you do the inner support with the 2×4 to get the over lap bulk look – like in the picture of you with the drill.

    October 4, 2018 at 4:32 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hi there Rhonda. Thanks and you’re welcome. 🙂 I think you might be referring to the 1×3 trim pieces that are nailed to the outside of the frame. Check out the step right after the picture of me with the jigsaw.

      October 4, 2018 at 5:01 pm
  • Reply Tammy

    Love the design. Where did you get the cushion for the swing?

    October 8, 2018 at 10:27 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Tammy. Awesome! Glad you like it. It’s a standard twin bed mattress. I think we got this one at BigLots.

      October 9, 2018 at 1:24 am
  • Reply Beth Dodd

    Where did you get the twin cushion?

    October 13, 2018 at 2:47 pm
    • Reply Henry

      It’s a standard twin bed mattress. I think we got this one at BigLots. We didn’t want to spend much on it since it’s outside.

      October 14, 2018 at 2:23 am
  • Reply Brenda Estrada

    Hi, how do you hang the swing bed to the ceiling ?

    October 20, 2018 at 4:09 am
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Brenda. I screwed eye screws into the ceiling joists in the porch ceiling. Then ran a rope through them and through each eye screw on the bottom of the swing, and tied knots as you can see in the pictures.

      October 22, 2018 at 12:14 pm

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