Building a Platform Bed for Style and Storage Is Easy
You could say the problem with my bedroom is that it’s too small. Trying to move around in my bedroom is difficult – I keep bumping into things. The bed, the dresser, the other dresser, the end table and them damn posts that stick up on all four corners of the bed. I tried to solve the problem a while back by cutting the 2 posts off the footboard part of the bed. I turned a $1200.00 bed frame into a mistake that’s worth 50 bucks now, if I’m lucky.
But wait… maybe it’s not the room’s fault. True, it is only 11′ x 12’6″ (not counting the 2×8′ closet), but that’s not nearly as small as some bedrooms I installed flooring in over a 35 year span. Maybe the real problem is my continued insistence to stuff all the big furniture from my old house into this much smaller space. And I’ve been living like this for nearly 4 years now. Well, not like the mess you see in the pictures below. I had been doing some construction before this project and I wanted to snap some shots before I forgot.
So the real problem is not the smallish room, it’s the huge-ish furniture. I came up with a plan. There’s too much junk… uh, I mean prized possessions and I needed both dressers to hold it all. If I were going to get rid of one of the dressers, I would need some additional storage. I could do that if I had a bed with storage underneath – like a platform bed. No, not like just stuffing crap under the bed, I mean like drawers or, hey, maybe some a them stylish baskets I see the decorators use on HGTV.
Getting rid of a big dresser won’t solve all the problems though. My queen-size bed takes up way too much room. Being realistic, I gotta admit to myself that being old and sucking air through a hose in my nose ain’t too sexy, so it’s pretty unlikely that the girls will be jumpin’ into my bed. If it’s gonna be just me, I don’t really need a queen size bed. A full size will give me an extra half foot all around. So that’s the plan: a full-size bed with storage under it. I think a platform bed would be just the thing and very economical, as well as stylish.
The base is just a series of 3-sided boxes to hold the baskets. There has to be a little wiggle room and the baskets have to be big to hold things like blankets, Levi’s, maybe seasonal shoes or even all the receipts from all the crap I buy to remodel my apartment. I used ¾” plywood for everything except the trim. The trim is clear Doug Fir. Since the plywood is going to be partly visible, I use ACX quality – Attractive on one side, Crappy on the other and all layers glued together with eXterior adhesive. The bars across the top, near the front edge of the cubbies is to give the box sides dimensional stability and to use for support and mounting of the platform.
A platform bed with storage cubbies doesn’t necessarily need legs. The plywood sides are plenty sturdy enough. But I want this bed to have great looks too, so something that looks like legs capable of holding up a platform with people on it (okay, just me) will be nice. I make them out of doug fir, just like the trim. I wanted them to look solid and not like the boxes they actually were, so I mitered the corners. I made them sturdy by using some scrap 2×6″ lumber for the top and bottom of the inside of the legs. I recessed them slightly so I could put furniture glides on them without having the whole leg appear not to touch the floor. I will also be using the tops as an attachment point for the platform.
My vision for the whole room is to keep it bright with a generous amount of warm white wainscoting and trim and some cool shades of green on the top portion of the walls and the ceiling. I want to add richness with a dark wood-look floor and I want the platform bed to blend with that to help reduce it’s overpowering heft. After all, it will still be the largest piece of furniture in the room. Plywood doesn’t take stain very well. My tests showed that the plywood, even after stain prep and 2 heavy coats, was very blotchy and inconsistent. I opted to paint the plywood a deep chocolate brown and stain only the trim and legs a dark walnut color.
A platform bed can be quite heavy and hard to move, when the time comes. This bed is modular though. The basket cubbies are large, 3-section boxes. The height of the boxes are just under 14″ and with the support braces, are fairly easy to carry. Once positioned, the base is aligned back-to-back and held together with blocks and long machine bolts, washers and wing nuts. I drilled the holes with a little slop so the bolts would go through smoothly. The blocks also act as fastening strips to attach the platform.
The platform base is in 2 pieces. One has the trim glued and nailed on three sides. The other platform has trim only on one long side. I first attached the trimless platform (the one with only one side trimmed), aligning the pre-drilled holes to attach it to the blocks I mentioned. Using quality screws (drywall screws are not strong enough), I attached the platform at 3 points along the back of the cubbies, 3 points along the front support and 2 screws in each leg block. I also added a single screw to the top of the trim that overlaps the trimless platform. Touching up the screw with a drop of brown paint helps it blend in and become unnoticeable.
I moved the assembled platform bed around by pushing and pulling it over my bare concrete floor (I removed the carpet and pad when the room was empty to save time). It moved fine and there were no problems with it coming loose or anything breaking. Always a good sign. The bed took me several weeks to build. Hey, whataya ‘spect from a guy who packs a tank of oxygen everywhere he goes. I can’t tell you how much fun I had building this and I hope you have fun doing things like this too.
One of the unfortunate side effects from late stage COPD is that my lungs make this awful gurgling and rumbling sound when I sleep on a flat surface. I constructed a “wedge” so my upper torso was elevated. It’s a duplicate platform that gently raises up to about 6 inches and trimmed to match my new bed. I am anxious to sleep on the bed for the first time tonight. I still don’t have all the bedding I need, so I am making do with my old comforter and some new sheets. This new bed begs for new linens, including a good mattress pad, new firm pillows and a decent blanket. One of these days I will learn what the difference is in coverlets, duvets and other fancy bed clothes. Maybe I’ll even get some a them things when my room is completely remodeled. Look for more of these exploits here on my website.
Oh yeah, before I hit the sack… don’t just read this and surf away. Leave me a comment. I like teh comments. Good, bad or indifferent, let me know what you think. Below is a slideshow of the finished bed in the finished bedroom.