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Building a bed is one of those projects that has been on my list for a VERY long time, but has never been a priority. It’s not something I’d normally show off, and we’ve slept just fine with our mattress and box springs on the floor (for an embarrassingly long time).

Finally, it was time.  I didn’t want to make a relatively useless frame, and since we have two cats, I didn’t want them to be able to hide underneath it.  They’re tough enough to clean up after when we can easily reach the mess.

A low, storage bed was the answer and it was surprisingly easy! The entire structure is  2×4 and 1/2″ plywood since you never actually see any of it. I faced the bed and drawers with some reclaimed barn wood that I had, but you could use any type of material and make it completely unique to YOU.

Here’s what I did.

Here’s what you’ll need:

(purchasing via these affiliate links supports ILTMS)

The mattress I used was made by Casper and I can highly recommend it. You can check out more info here and use the code “MAKESTUFF” for $50 off.

UPDATE:

I made some basic measured drawings of the bed available to help get you started. You can download them in .pdf form here.

Download

Cut down eight short 2×4 and two long 2×4. Mark where you’ll add pocket holes.

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Use a pocket hole jig to add holes for connecting the frame.

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Just screw them together. Then make a duplicate frame for the other side.

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Cut down plywood for the top, bottom and back panels for each cabinet.

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Cut down drawer dividers the same height as the back panel, and the same depth as the top and bottom panels.

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Screw in drawer slides to the dividers.  Add one to each side of the interior panels, and to only one side to the outside panels.

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Draw lines on the back panel to space out your dividers to keep them even and square.

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Attach the dividers with glue and nails.

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Draw lines on the top panel to match the measurements used for the back panel. These will show you where to shoot nails down into the dividers.

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Make sure the dividers line up with your markings, then glue and nail in place.

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Flip the cabinet over, and follow the same process for the bottom.  Then make a duplicate cabinet for the other side.

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Cut nicer looking plywood down to size for the drawers. Add a 3/16″ channel to each piece using a dado blade, router bit or multiple passes with a normal blade.

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Cut down a piece of 1/8″ plywood to size for the drawer bottom.

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Glue and nail three sides, then slide in the bottom panel.

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Glue and nail in the final side panel.

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Add the drawer slide to the sides of the drawers.  Repeat for the rest of the drawers.

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I laid my barn wood in position, flush with the back side of the bed.

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Then I made a mark right in the center of the drawer divider and drew a line across the whole face.

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Using a straight edge, I cut the barn wood along the cut line.

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Clamp the piece, on top AND bottom, to the drawer front.

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Counter sink and screw the barn wood and drawer front together.

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Repeat for all drawers. Keep the pieces in order for continuous grain pattern.

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Screw the under frame to the bottom of the cabinet, offsetting it by 1″ from the front and outside edges. This lip makes it easier to open the drawers from beneath.

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Add 2×4 braces to connect the two cabinets using two pocket holes on each end of each 2×4. Cut a scrap 2×4 to put under the piece you’re screwing in to keep it at the correct height.

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Add pocket holes to the “foot” end of the bed, and align the front face of barn wood. Clamp it in place.

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Attach the front face with pocket hole screws.

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Cover the 2×4 under frame with strips of pallet slats, trimmed down to 1 1/4″ .

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All done!

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  • Phil Reynolds

    Nicely done Bob. I have had this on my list for a long time as well but I’m what you would call a procrastinating woodworker. I need a headboard with it but not just a flat headboard one with depth so alarm clock and other various stuff can sit on it. With this design though it should be easy for me to figure out a good headboard. Thanks.

    • Rick

      A headboard could be made using pocket screws and the same wood you use to face the drawers. I made shorter drawers and made a double stack (6 per side). The headboard has 2 shelves starting just above the mattress and doors on each end (of the face).

      • Jose Jimenez

        can you post some pics and how much plywood did you use? hope you can answer and thanks

  • Jonathan

    Looks great. I would worry about the pocket holes on the slats, though. At the very least, I would have put the pocket holes on the bottom of the slats. so that the boards are supported by the screws. But at this point I would suggest going back with 1×4 or 2×4 material, whichever you have handy in a 6-7′ length, and screwing it underneath the ends of the slats (one board along the length of each cabinet) to ensure proper support for those. Over time I think the ends of those boards will crack and break through the pockets. Love the look, though!

    • Sam

      Jonathan, what do you mean by slats? Are you talking about the “braces to connect the two cabinets” (from directions above)? From this guy’s picture, it looks like he built it the same way you did with yours, so are you saying it’s different or do you just think it’s a good idea to use 1×4 for support anyway?

  • Celmar

    This is very nice, Bob. The combination of basic materials, easy assembly, and a rustic touch with the barn wood, that’s very inspiring, basically saying “anybody can do this and add a personal touch, just jump on it and get strated”. Thanks for boosting your viewers’ courage to giterdun, that’s what youtube’s maker community is doing for the common good, I say !

  • Alexandra Leatherman

    This is a great very very useful video!! I would use the plywood to face it like you were saying and I would love it, my husband and I love low beds just like that one.

  • Gadi

    This is great, I already purchased the mattress today, so I have a deadline to meet! 🙂
    before I start the plan, can you by chance share the measurments you used? it will save me an hour…

    Many thanks for a great video

  • Justin

    Just built as my wife and I just bought the same size mattress. Thanks for the inspiration Bob

  • cory

    Did you ever post measurements?

    • Yes, I added a download link above with a measured drawing that you can download.

  • Mike Atencio

    Got plans for a Queen?

  • Shardae Maliu- Calairo

    Aloha!!,
    Are you able to give exact measurements for storage?

    • There is a link for measured drawing above, that should give you any dimensions that you need. Have a look, and if you still have questions, let me know and I’ll do my best to help out. Thanks!

  • William Fox

    Do you have a materials list for the king bed?

  • Angel Peterson

    This is awesome! Thank you. How tall is this with the mattress on? I could see using this as a trundle of sorts in a tiny house.

  • Ron Babineau

    Some pics of the bed & headboard projects (still need to face bed with pallet wood) – thanks for the plans and videos!

  • Ryan

    This looks amazing! My wife and I are preparing to move this summer and will probably try this in our new place. Do you think there would be any stability problems if I doubled the height to allow for two rows of drawers on each side instead of one? We are currently sleeping on a DIY lofted bed, which has tons of storage, but the frame always creaks a bit, which I’d like to avoid on this next one. If I’m going to double the height, should I use thicker plywood for the cabinets? Thanks for the help!

    • I think you’d probably want to build the boxes out of 2×4 at that point rather than ply wood, or at least reinforce it in several places. The taller you get, the more likely it is to fold down given force from the right direction.
      I suppose you could put a 2×4 in the inside back corners and screw it in place to both pieces of the corner to lock them together.
      It’s definitely possible, just reinforce it to keep it rigid. Good luck!

  • Jonathan

    Do you sell this beds ?

  • Colm de

    How steady are the middle braces, just being held by horizontal screws? I can see my kids jumping on the middle of the bed and the whole thing collapsing…

    • They’re holding up perfectly fine to all of the typical bed uses. If there were no mattress (or maybe a very thin one) that might be an issue, but the mattress distributes the force/weight to the whole surface of the frame, so it hasn’t been an issue.
      If it was really a concern, you could always put a little 2×4 block under each cross piece, in the middle, running down to the floor, for extra support.

  • Amir Behnam

    Hey Bob great video, I was wondering what are the measurements for the drawer. Wondering how much room you suggest leaving on each side. Thanks 🙂

    .

  • Sam Whitley

    I really enjoy your content and it inspired me to make a bed all the way in New Zealand

  • Sam Whitley

    I really enjoy your content and this Video really inspired me to getting making and so I tried making a bed not 100% done but getting there ?

  • Guest

    This is exactly what we are looking for!! Thanks for sharing, will this design support a king box spring and mattress? Cheers!

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  • Haley

    Could I make this frame for a smaller bed? I’m wanting to make a bed frame for a Full Size bed and love the idea of having storage, but I’m worried that shortening the middle slats could compromise the integrity of the frame… Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you!

    • The length of those slats isn’t really important at all, so you could easily shorten or remove them to make a smaller bed! Good luck!

  • Dhatura

    Thanks for posting this project! It was our first furniture build and we are pretty proud of it! We ended up going with a live edge blue pine, and left the blank space at the head of the bed (instead of the foot). We were unsure how we were going to attach the smaller piece, so we left the drawer next too it long enough to cover the blank space. This allowed us to make an awesome modification. We drilled a 2 inch hole in the back of the cabinet and one on the side, inserted a power strip and now we can hide all of our power cords.

  • Tom Willson

    how did you decide how much to downsize the drawers from the space you had…I assume you give a little for the slides but for a rookie woodworker like me is that standard? and as far as the drawer height looks like you decreased by 1.5″ or so? I don’t wanna goof this up too many times!

  • Constantin Stefan

    Hello Bob.
    I really enjoy your videos.

    I was wondering if you could tell me the below:
    1. From what wood is the plywood made of?
    2. What thickness does the plywood have?

    I am asking, because I am thinking of using MDF boards instead of plywood, since I can only buy plywood in very large quantities in my country.

  • Patrick Pruneau

    Thanks for the inspiration Bob!! Found your channel this spring and…”binge watch” all you stuff! I was looking to buy for some time already a bed with storage. Then I saw your video and I thought “I can do that”…even if I never old a saw :P. I take my time and, well, I think I manage to do something great 🙂

    It’s not perfect but I learned soooooo much in the process, it worth all the time and the…few…swear words haha.

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