Home » How to Build a Bed Frame: Step-by-step Guide

How to Build a Bed Frame: Step-by-step Guide

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Building a customized bed frame offers many advantages. You can personalize it in the size you desire and choose the materials you want to work with. The bed frames brought from stores are expensive. However, if you decide to build one yourself, then the price will be a fraction of the ready-made bed frame cost.

The DIY bed frames can be made in varied sizes ranging from king to twin beds. If you already have a mattress at home, then you are free to work out the bed frame dimensions around the measurement of your mattress.

Then there are traditional bed frames, platform beds, and raised platform beds. You may also want to customize the headboard to match the bed frame. In a nutshell, building your DIY bed frame gives you innumerable choices to work with, and the project is fun too.

Here we help you with the step-by-step guide of how to build a bed frame. The entire project could take you a week or two. So let us get started with the details of how to DIY your bed frame.

Build a Bed Frame – Step by Step

Build a Bed Frame - Step by Step

This is a DIY bed frame build guide for a 79×75 mattress. The bed frame is built considering the mattress size. You may want to switch your bed frame dimensions based on the size of your mattress.

1. Bed Frame Supplies

  • 2x6x8 Pine Boards – 4 nos. for the outer frame
  • 2x4x8 Pine Studs – 4 nos. for the inner frame
  • 1x4x8 Pine Boards- 15 nos. for the slats
  • 4x4x8 Douglas Fir – 1 no. for the legs
  • A box of 21/2 inch screws
  • 1 quartz of polyurethane with satin finish
  • 1 quartz of wood stain
  • Sandpaper to sand between the poly coats (320)
  • and outer board (220)
  • Foam brushes
  • Wood glue
  • Circular saw or miter to cut the board.
  • Drill bits and power drill
  • Square
  • Power sander
  • Clamps

2. Picking up the Boards

Make sure to pick up perfectly straight pieces for the board. Stay away from treated wood. Measure the bed to get the right dimensions and double-check it before you start cutting the wood.

Here are the final board measurements:

  • 79-inch slats- 13 nos.
  • 79-inch inner frame board – 1 no. of 2×4
  • 75 inch for middle support board and inner frame length – 3 nos. of 2×4
  • 81 7/8 inch for foot and head of the bed- 2 nos. of 2×6
  • 76.5 inch – 2 nos. 2×6
  • 6 inch – 2 nos. 2×6

Once you cut the outer frame of the board, get rid of any imperfections using the sander. You will save time if you start with a smooth board. Cut the inner frame board, the legs, and slats and sand them to get a smooth finish.

After you finish sanding, it is time to stain and finish the board with polyurethane. One coat of stain on the 2×6 outers and legs work well. Give some time for the stain to dry. You should at least leave 24 hours for the stain to sit before applying the polyurethane. Then apply three coats of polyurethane on them.

3. The Assembly

The Assembly

The assembly should not take a lot of time. Frame the inner 2x4s and screw in the legs. You may choose to not have the inner 2×4 at the head because it does not offer a lot of structural support.

Now screw the 2x6s in the 2x4s using the 2 1/2 inch screws and the bottoms are then flush. Let the slats sit on top of the 2x4s. Use three screws between each of the foot drilling pilot holes in the wood so that the wood does not split. The slats can be kept 2.5 inches apart. Lay the slats and screw them tightly into the 2x4s.

Things to Consider Before Building a Bed Frame

You may be a novice DIYer, but that should not deter you from building a bed frame. This is because the process is easy. All that you need to do is to understand the structure of the five major components namely the headboard, footboard, the two rails that are placed horizontally, and the wooden slats which are used to support the box spring and span the rails.

You first need to decide on the design, style, type, color, budget, and wood species to get started. You may choose to build an oversized or a twin bed, and the construction process overall remains the same.

Before starting to build, list down the tools and materials that you will need for the DIY project. This will save you from nasty surprises like discovering midway into the project that you will need a woodworking machine that you do not have or a wood species that is hard to find. It is best to plan all the tools and materials well in advance before you start with the construction.

1. Standard Bed Sizes

Standard Bed Sizes

Here are the standard mattress dimensions:

  • Twin bed = 39 inches by 75 inches.
  • Twin XL = 39 inch by 80 inch
  • Full = 54 inch by 75 inch
  • Queen = 60 inch by 80 inch
  • King = 76 inches by 80 inch

These are the dimensions for the mattresses. You will have to build the bed frame one-inch longer and wider to fit in the mattress and the box spring. If the bed is built very small, the friction will cause the wooden frame to rub on the fabric on the mattress and the box spring. Also, if the fit is tight, then changing the bedcover will be difficult.

2. Choice of Materials

Bed frames can be made with any kind of wood. You can use varied varieties of hardwood and softwood. Hardwood is rigid, strong, and hard. If you are using softwood for the construction like cedar or pine, you would want to cut it a little wide and thick to give the bed frame the required rigidity and strength. Plywood is best to create large panels in the footboard or the headboard. Solid wood works well for the other structural components.

3. The Height of the Bed

The beds’ height is an individual choice. The height that may be comfortable for you may be too low or too high for someone else. Measure the box spring and the mattress and then adjust the bed frame to achieve the desired height.

On an average, the bed height should be 25 inches off the floor. Some beds are 36 inches or 18 inches in height as well. To measure the height, sit on the edge of your mattress keeping your feet flat on the floor. The knee should be at level with the hips.

At times you may want to eliminate the box spring and build the platform to get the desired height of the bed. But in this case, you should replace the wood slats using a thick plywood panel, or you may want to leave the slats in their place to give support to the mattress.

4. The Construction Technique

Using screws and glues to assemble the bed frame gives it maximum strength. You should make it such that the bed frame can be broken down and reassembled. Installing steel bed rail brackets is by far the strongest and the easiest option. Each of the bracket pairs has two interlocking parts. One part is screwed securely to the ends of both the horizontal rails. The other part is attached to the floorboard and the headboard. All that you need to do is slide the parts with each other, creating a long-lasting and strong joint. This joint can be easily pulled apart when required.

Bed rail brackets are convenient because it does not let you struggle when cutting the tight-fitting joints. Here only the brackets that are surface mounted are screwed in their place.

5. Painting the Bed Frame

You will need an easy to clean and durable finish. To give your bed frame a natural finish, apply two coats of polyurethane varnish. This is water-based and protects the wood, giving it a natural look without altering its texture and color. A pigmented wood stain tints the color of the wood.

Paint is also a popular choice because there are a plethora of colors to choose from. The problem with paint is that it is not very durable like polyurethane. If you still wish to use paint, then first use a primer coat, followed by two topcoats of acrylic latex paint of high quality in satin or semi-gloss sheen. These two sheens are easy to clean compared to flat paint and are also less reflexive than high gloss.

Now that you are well-versed with the little nuisances, here is a step-by-step guide for you.


Your bedroom is the most sacred space in your house. But if you are renovating or remodeling your bedroom, then it can end up breaking your bank. This is where DIY projects come into the picture.

Apart from saving money, it gives you inner satisfaction when you flaunt your construction and say that the bed frame is your DIY project.

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