We have a bit of a guest bedroom situation we need to deal with. Nearly two years ago, we completed a budget makeover of our guest bedroom. This involved plaster repair, hole patching, a fresh coat of paint, and a few nice accessories to turn a room previously reserved for junk storage into a proper area where guests are able to...gasp....sleep. I know, what a novel idea.

One of the best parts of this room's quick and dirty makeover (and one of the most popular blog posts on our website) was ultimately our DIY that transformed an old door into a fancy headboard.

I have to admit, I was rather skeptical of the concept and our ability to pull it off, but Wendy's grand vision and my modest knowledge of woodworking allowed us to embrace a true trash to treasure moment. The headboard served as a perfect backdrop to our inflatable mattress for a solid year and a half, making an otherwise temporary bed look rather permanent in its home.

However, after we purchased a new mattress set for our master bedroom in September 2012, we were faced with a somewhat difficult dilemma -- what to do with the old mattress? Rather than put it on the curb, we figure it's at least as comfortable and useful as our inflatable mattress, so we might as well put it to use. We collapsed our air mattress and moved our old box spring and mattress into the guest bedroom, where it's sat on the floor since that fateful day.

Moving the old inflatable mattress out of the room also eliminated a critical storage area (and by storage area, I mean shoving stuff under the bed). From our central vac hose and wand, to random ironing supplies, and of course some of Wendy's hoarded shopping bags, they all found some way to he nearly tucked beneath that inflatable bed. Now that our old box spring and mattress are right on the floor, there is no "under the bed" available to stash our stuff.

This brings is to our current situation. We have a guest room that has a mattress and box spring sitting on the floor. The bed is low and offers no storage. Our headboard is too tall for the mattress, and the whole exposed box spring just looks, well, like something you might have seen in my college fraternity house. Rather than continue to be frustrated by our guest bedroom, we're going to do something about it. Today I'll fill you in on our plan and we can see just how long it takes us to actually implement the grand scheme.

Given how much we like our custom headboard, we want to stick with the theme and look of what we have, so we're planning on building out the rest of the bed in a similar manner. This means we'll have a proper bed frame of sorts to complement the headboard. But our plan doesn't stop with a simple bed frame. Oh no, that wouldn't suit our style. In order to complicate the matter, but to make it look far more functional, we're also planning on building it quite a bit taller and including a significant amount of under bed storage in the form of drawers. We've taken our inspiration from several styles of bed that we've seen in various catalogs. Here are a few from Pottery Barn that demonstrate the style we're going for.

The $1500+ price tag though just seems crazy, especially when we can build it exactly to our liking for just a couple hundred. In our design we're planning to incorporate two drawers on each side of the bed, each with a paneled drawer front to mimic the panels of the headboard. We'll also add two panels in the foot board area, again to mimic the headboard. The foot board will not extend much higher than the sideboards, if at all, and each drawer will offer a significant amount of storage.

That photo represents a rather crude sketch of what we're trying to accomplish, as well as a simple list of the lumber we'll need. I've also placed an order for a few sets of full extension drawer slides that will ultimately support the interior. But hey, anything will be better than this travesty.

I'm actually pretty excited to get this project moving along. Sure, we have a ton of other things ongoing right now (ahem, the dreaded master bathroom project), but I haven't done any substantial woodworking lately. I'm hoping this can be one of those projects. 

Do you have any experience building drawers or a storage system? Maybe you have plans for keeping things neatly tucked away in your bedroom? We'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Comments 14


2/12/2013 at 1:58 PM
While I love the idea of building a bed (awesome!), why not go to the route of adding legs to the box spring frame to bump it up?

Also, please make me a bed with drawers. I need one :)
We used to have a metal frame for the box spring, but got rid of it years ago when we got our bedroom bed. We've planned on building something for a while, so we just didn't want to buy another thing we'd only use for a little while.

If we end up accidentally building two, we'll be sure to let you know. :-)
2/12/2013 at 9:44 PM
Im gonna hold that to ya ;)
Paula Pagano
2/12/2013 at 2:19 PM
Love this post and the idea!
Thanks, Paula!
Paul Smith
2/12/2013 at 3:15 PM
I am not sure where to start, but I will say I just found this blog today through REDDIT and I am home. While not quite in the position you are in, my wife and I plan to own a home within the next 2 years and are talking and making all kinds of plans and most of mine are very similar to yours. In regards to the bed, I am actually just finishing up the design for the bed we want to build similar to yours. I am using google sketch and am building it similar to this IKEA bed:

We would have bought this frame but they don't make it in Cal King size. Anyway I based my plans on the assembly instructions available for download with a few modifications. I have some ideas and would love to discuss it with you and share my plans if you are interested. Let me know. Also, I will be commenting and asking on other things I have seen so far with the DIY home audio and networking. Thanks so much for your effort in this blog, it really has made me excited for what I can learn and apply as soon as I get a house!
Hi Paul, glad you found us. I saw the link on Reddit today, pretty cool that you found us that way.

Best of luck on your project. I remember when we were in your place looking forward to our home purchase. Such a fun time.

I need to start using Google Sketch to do some of our work. The crude drawings aren't cutting it these days.

If you want to run some stuff by us, be sure to submit it under the Ask Old Town Home link on the right. We can possibly do a blog post on it as well...if we ever have enough time.
2/12/2013 at 3:49 PM
I know you have a ton of experience making plans on your own, but I was wondering if you had ever looked at/referenced the plan catalogs from Ana White? She has a plan for a similar bed: (ana-white.com/2009/11/queen-sized-storage-bed and ana-white.com/2009/11/plans-by-your-request-drawers-for-queen.html). Even if you go with your original plan the comments have a lot of tips. I'm still trying to work up the nerve to make something on my own...someday.
I actually did look over some of the plans from Ana White. She's got some great stuff. Her bed is far more of the individual boxes, like the second example we posted, but it does apply in many ways and will be helpful. I think one thing I need to start working on is putting my plans in a CAD type program. That way I can share them a little better here on the site.
2/12/2013 at 11:40 PM
My only suggestion would be to have a centre divider that touches the floor. With all the weight of the mattress, plus the drawers, plus the contents of the drawers, plus one or two (or more, hehehe) people on the bed, plus the mattress platform, you really need it. My brother used to have a cheaply made bed like this (solid wood fronts, and cheap wooden interior) and even though it was a single bed, the centre support eventually gave way, and the whole bed had to be repaired.

If you don't want it to show, you can cut away a curved notch at the first 6-10" where the centre divider meets the footboard. If you're really opposed to a full-length centre support, at the very least plan for 2 or 3 leg supports along the middle.

Another thing to consider is that the drawer(s) near the wall are essentially useless if you have any night tables next to the bed. You could have the drawers start farther from the wall, but then you ruin the look.

Otherwise, I'm confident you can pull this off. Keep the design fairly simple, and use lots of screws and/or biscuits. I'm really looking forward to seeing the progress on this!

Thanks for the tips, JC. I know Alex has plans to prevent any mid-mattress sagging. :-)

I had the same thought about the side table as well, but I plan on storing items in the front drawers that we don't need to access of a frequent basis. Luckily we only have one side table, so that means three of the four drawers will be easy to open.
2/13/2013 at 9:31 AM
Love this idea, and JC above has good suggestions. Nightstands aren't mutually exclusive with drawers up at the head of the bed--just use those for things you don't need to access frequently.

We have a high four-poster that belonged to my grandparents, so I use those plastic rollouts for underbed storage, concealed by a bedskirt. Works for us, but they get dusty. With the built-in drawers, you won't have to vacuum under the bed. Sweet.
Hi Jan - I totally agree. For the one drawer that will be blocked, we'll store items we won't need on a frequent basis.

Not vacuuming under the bed will be great, although I'm sure pet hair will still find its way into the drawers. It has a way of sneaking into everything! :-)
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