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Simple Queen Bed Frame?

268746 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  alenmics
Hey Guys! Just joined the forum - after the joyous discovery that such a thing exists!

I'm in the planning stage of building a bed frame for my bride and I - constrained by budget, and design requirements.

I'm looking to build a queen-size bed frame -really just something that will be reliable, and allow us to use the underside of the bed for storage.

I also have the use of 5 2X6 (8') lengths of wood that I would like to make use of (counting on needing to get more wood to have enough for a good design) - thinking of using 4X4's for the posts, 2X6 around the box spring, and 1X6's for the slats.

Main goals:

. Sturdy/reliable
. Under-bed storage
. Use materials at hand (budget)

My bride says we can use a bed skirt to cover up any "unsightly" wood grain, etc.

That said, I have only helped build a set of bunk-beds - my first go at a design could use some improvement!

Based on the following initial design, what changes could be made to improve it?

(here are links to higher resolution files)

I will have limited access to a table saw and circular saw-and I have a hand-miter saw, cordless drill, and sander.

Any suggestions would be appreciated-especially since with the design above, the top of the mattress stands at 37" - just above counter-top height!
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I suggest you check the bottom unit of your mattress set, and see if it really is a "box springs" unit, or just a foundation unit. I have noticed that in many newer mattress sets, the bottom part is just a framework with a solid top such as plywood. If this is the case with your mattress set, you could add a plywood top to your framework, and place the mattress directly on the bed without the lower foundation unit. This should lower the top of your mattress to a more normal "bed height" while still providing lots of storage area.

Just be sure that your framework is solid and that the top of the plywood is nice and smooth. On the unit I built (a murphy bed) I went so far as putting heavy cloth on the top of the plywood so that the mattress wouldn't be directly on the wood.

Keep in mind that if your mattress set is new, that using the mattress without the matching foundation unit will void the warranty, even if the bed and framework you build provides better support than the factory unit.
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Great input from Lifesaver.

I think your basic design is good.

I would add that rabbeting out the legs so the rails sit on the shoulders would be nice. About a 1 1/4 deep rabbet x 5.25 inches. You may want to put a chamfer on the inside part of the leg to accomodate the corners of the mattress.

If you went to steel rails and put your efforts into a headboard, would that be an option acceptable to both? You would gain underbed clearance. You'd have to figure out a way to raise the steel legs off the floor. I've seen factory plinths, made of plastic, which do that. But you could make those out of wood too, as I have done.

What sort of tools do you have access to? I should have asked that first.


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I'd thought about getting rid of the foundation/box springs (still not sure which it is) - that's a possible solution. Talked that over with the Boss this morning, and that seems to be an option.

The part of the design I'm least sure about are the corners-the joints between the side boards and the corner posts. Seems like those would be the linch-pins in the design-if you get those right, you might not need a lot of additional supports?

here's another go at the design-the foot-end of the bed will probably need some 'prettying up'. That, and I am strongly considering replacing the slats with some 2X4s and a plywood or masonite sheet:

I hadn't considered steel rails in place of wood-is there an economical way to do that? If I get angle-iron, that'll mean I have to drill all the holes to anchor them to the wood-something that will take time and add weight-is it worth it?

Tools I wil have access to:

Table Saw
Circular Saw
Cordless Drill
Miter saw (hand saw and plastic miter)
Quick-grip clamps

That's about the extent of the tools I'll be able to use.
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When I built my bed frame I used something similar to these to fasten the side rails to the head and foot of the bed:

The other option I considered is bed bolts but I didn't want fixings visible

Hope that helps
I like this design, Lucky.

(The angle iron idea was just to use a regular hollywood bed frame and put your wood and design all into the headboard, which just bolts on.)

The downside of this deisgn is the prominence of the legs at the foot-they'll stick out considerable. If that is not a concern for you, it will be fine. However, if it is, see if you can, with your impressive sketchup skills, find a way to get them under the corner of the mattress instead of outboard of it.

Many of us here have described how a certain project is just plain absolutely completely dependent upon the purchase of "one more tool" and here I think you'll want to include in your budget a random orbit sander and ample paper (I assume the material you have is softwood) from 80grit on up to 150.

One final thought. Most mattresses are made to be over a box spring. Some mattresses are made to be used without, on a surface. I think if your mattress is the former, it will see a premature demise if it ends up on a platform bed.

Oh, and a final, final thought. Jeff Miller's book on Beds is excellent. He starts simple and advances, lots of pix, lots of discussion. I highly recommend you try out your library and see if you can get a copy to get you fired up on this delightfully designed project.


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I like your latter design, Luckysawdust. And, as you considered, I encourage using a solid material over the slats. That way none of the innersprings will be unsupported (located above the space between slats). You might want to use sub-flooring (either OBS or plywood) with canvas from a small drop cloth cut to size covering it. The canvas will reduce wear on your mattress ticking.
Luckysawdust, you have a nice design. If you want some more ideas chech my beds out on my page. Mine our more of a mission style but they are sturdy. But I do like your plan. Just make it really sturdy and it should last you a long time. And I agree with the others I would use a solid piece over the slats.
Thank you, EVERYONE, for your tips and hints-I think I've been able to make some improvements to the design. I put in some bevels on the corner posts for style, and will be using bed rail hardware, instead of putting rabbets in the posts for the side rails. That should make it easier to take-down should we need to.

This is the set of bed-rail hardware that I chose:

I don't have a router to mortise those brackets - so I went with some sturdy surface-mount hardware.

Hence, below, is what I ended up with. Corner posts that don't "Stick Out" so much. I am also seriously considering using 2X4s and joist hangers for supporting the foundation/plywood. I'm thinking 4 should be enough?

Here's what the whole thing has evolved into. My wife may want to paint it. Posts are cedar - side-rails and head/foot boards are going to be 2X6s.

Any glaring errors I should be made aware of before I start making cuts?? Weak points? Modifications?
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You resolved a concern I had by making the headboard removable, Luckysawdust. With a removable headboard you won't have problems if the width of your hallway (present or future) is less than the height of the headboard. If you hadn't decided on using bedrail hardware I was going to recommend using lag screws rather than glue to attach the bedrails into the headboard dado in design #2.

Also keep in mind not all queen size mattresses are exactly 60 inches wide by 80 inches long If you purchase an innerspring mattress, the finished width and length varies depending on the number of coil springs. Because your frame is going to last longer than most mattresses, you may want to design in some tolerance for the differance in queen bed sizes.

This is a project I think both of you will enjoy for many years!
Great progess on the concept and plans, Lucky.

The metal rail brackets are good.

I think the 2×4s are crude and overkill.

If you're going with a foundation:

A 1" piece of stock glued to the bottom of the rail full length, as a ledger for the slats, is typical. And the slats are typically 3/4 thick, laid flat, usually 3 - 3.5 inches wide. A single piece box spring distributes its load around the perimeter, so the weakness in the middle of the slat is immaterial.

If you can get the side rails milled down to inch and a quarter they'll look better. Any furniture that has typical dimensional lumber dimensions-1.5, 3.5, 5.5, etc-looks like something out of "Beds you can build in a weekend!" or "Grab your Skilsaw and make a bed!" kinds of articles. I think you're beyond that level!


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