Some dorm rooms are so small that drawers mounted in a bed platform are impractical. In fact, they may pose a hazard for someone passing by. RV’s, campervans and converted loft/attic rooms may also have “space issues.”
The answer is to build your own ottoman bed. You will have a place to sleep and storage for valuables no one else will see. These beds are selling in European markets for high prices, yet you can build your own and save a bundle. I decided to design one that cost less, could be made to fit different spaces and mattresses.
This bed plan can be adjusted for any size mattress. Make a smaller version for an ottoman bed linen chest or window seat.
Gas lifts are used to lift and hold the bed in place while you place items in the space. Since mattresses vary in weight from size to size and from manufacturer to manufacturer, it is recommended to know the weight of the mattress and add 50 lbs for a twin, 100 lbs for a double, 125 for a queen and 150 pounds for a king. This weight covers the wooden platform as well as bedding. It is unsafe to have gas lifts, which are unable to hold the bed while you work.
This plan is based on a twin bed. It can be adjusted to make any bed from a toddler to a king.
You will need:
- · Marking tools and measuring tape
- · General woodworking tools and safety equipment
- · Four each 3″ angle brackets and mounting screws
- · Two or three 4″ hinges
- · Two gas lifts – these will come equipped with mounting brackets
- · Three 2-by-12 boards
- · Three 2-by-4-by-8 foot long boards
- · One box 3″ long galvanized screws
- · Two sheets ¾” furniture grade plywood
- · Decorative molding or plywood edging tape
- · Stain or primer and paint.
- · Wood putty or plugs
- · Drill with countersink bits and regular bits
Measure the mattress length and width. Find out the weight of the mattress. This may be on the tag, or can be found by contacting the manufacturer. If guessing the weight, it is better to guess on the heavy side for the gas lifts.
Write these measurements down. Subtract six inches from each side and write these down; these are the measurements for the platform. Add two inches to the length for the mattress stop and write down.
You will have a total of three measurements, which are all you need to build your own ottoman bed.
Cut ten pieces of 2-by-4, each 12″ long. Drill pilot holes and create four corners by butting two boards together. Connect with three screws.
Cut the 2-by-12 pieces to the measurements you wrote down. The end pieces should be inside the long pieces. Connect the boards to the corners you created making sure the top edges are flush. This gives a half-inch to one-inch rise above the floor for the platform. You can measure the 2-by-4’s and cut them to match the size of the 2-by-12’s so the platform appears solid.
Secure the pieces at the edges with three screws in each end.
Measure the long pieces and mark the center. Center the side 2-by-4 pieces and attach with three screws.
Cut the plywood base the size of the third mattress measurement. Cut a piece of 2-by-4 the width of the mattress minus eight inches. Center the piece and attach to the edge of the bed with the long side up. Use five or six screws running through the bottom of the plywood into the 2-by-4.
Lay the base on the platform. There should be a three- inch overhang at the foot of the bed and on the sides. There should be a five- inch overhang at the head of the bed.
Mark the place for the hinges. They should be at the front of the bed platform and underneath the head of the bed. It may help to flip the project over for this.
Mount the gas lifts on the inside or the outside of the platform. If necessary, cut wooden blocks to mount to the under side of the base.
Raise and lower the bed to ensure smooth operation. Adjust the lifts according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Prime and paint or stain the bed as desired. Place the mattress on the bed and enjoy a good night’s sleep with storage underneath.
- · The bed platform can include a frame of 2-by-4 or other wood attached to the underside of the base coming down over the bottom platform. Add decorative molding to this for a custom look. The platform looks solid and only the builder knows storage is available inside. The gas lifts should be mounted inside for this design.
- · The bottom platform can be padded with fabric, vinyl or other material for a modern look.
- · The joints in this plan are butt joints. Dado, lap joints, or dovetails can be made by more experienced woodworkers and decorated or left plain as part of the design.
- · For a toddler or child sized bed, 1-by-12’s can be used with 1-by-4 bracing.
- · For king beds, add extra side bracing and two braces running from side post to side post level with the top of the platform. This will provide extra strength for the weight of the mattress, the person(s) using the bed and the linens.
- · For full, queen and king sizes, cut the plywood base pieces with the seams running crosswise. Connect the seams using biscuit or dowel joints.
Set the bed up with enough clearance so that when opened, it will not hit the wall.
When you build your own ottoman bed, you will have an affordable alternative to spending hundreds or thousands of dollars for a European bed. Yours will be custom made to fit your mattress and your personal style. Make several as gifts for friends and family.
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse forms of DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects and more.