How to Build a Platform Bed with Legs for $50!

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A simple tutorial for building a DIY platform bed and headboard with solely 2×4 lumber and basic tools for less than $50! Learn how to build a platform bed with legs the easy way and start sleeping in style.

Welcome back to week 4 of the $100 Room Challenge – a one month room makeover challenge hosted by Erin from Lemons, Lavender & Laundry where I’m joining a group of over 10 other DIY and home decor bloggers as we all transform a space in our house over one month with a budget of just $100.

Each Wednesday we share an update on the project with the final room reveal going live on January 29th.

Which means we’re already only one week from the big reveal!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’d encourage you to check out the prior week updates before reading today’s post:

WEEK 1 | WEEK 2 | WEEK 3

This week was a big one in Andrew’s room makeover.

Not only did we get most of the closet organized, but we also completed the largest part of the project – his DIY platform bed!

Here’s a look at how the room looks now:

Not much happened in the main part of the room besides adding the bed.

But we did a lot of organizing in the closet!

Our work in the closet included removing two hanging rods in order to make room for his basketball hoop and a few additional shelves, sorting and purging the books, reorganizing his clothes and maximizing the shelf storage for toys.

It’s not quite done, but much closer!

RELATED: HOW TO TURN A CLOSET INTO A READING NOOK

Let’s take a look at our mini-project list as of this week:

  1. Paint the green wall
  2. Remove the loft bed
  3. Build and install a new bed
  4. Organize the closet (which includes sorting through his clothes and all their books)
  5. Sort through and purge the non-LEGO toys and stuffed animals
  6. Install the cork wall
  7. Organize the LEGOs
  8. Final decorating!

This final week will include finishing touches on the organization of ALL the toys and putting up the final decor.

Chris built a fun night stand to attach to the side of the bed, so we’ll install that with a lamp too.

We’ve spent about all of our budget at this point:

$48 in lumber for the bed
$49 on cork wall materials
$5 on bins for the LEGOs
= $103 Total!

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Ok, let’s get back to the DIY simple twin bed frame, shall we?!

I still can’t believe how awesome this DIY basic bed frame turned out!

My husband Chris build this bed in just 3 hours and for just $52.

We wanted his bed white, so the filling, sanding and painting part added about 4 hours (but didn’t cost us anything because we had all of that on hand.)

Overall it was a relatively quick and VERY simple build!

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How to Build a Bed Frame

For a printable copy of the materials and instructions, scroll down.

Materials Needed:

Tools Needed:

DIY Simple Platform Bed Frame Build Instructions:

STEP 1: Cut the Boards

You’ll want to begin by cutting all of your boards to length.

Here is the cut list:

Headboard

  • Two 8″ 2×4
  • Two 22.5″ 2×4
  • Two 36″ 2×4
  • Two 38″ 2×4
  • Two 38″ 2×6
  • One 45.5″ 2×6

Front Feet

  • Two 8″ 2×4
  • Two 9.5″ 2×4

Frame

  • Two 78″ 2×6 – Side Skirts
  • One 41″ 2×6 – End Skirt
  • Two 71″ 2×2 – Stringer Supports
  • Nine 41″ 2×4 – Stringers
  • Two 71″ 2×2 Inside Pieces

We like to lay out our pieces in an orderly way with each piece sitting around where it will end up when it’s assembled.

STEP 2: Assemble the Headboard

Begin by building the headboard posts.

For each post, glue and screw a 8″ 2×4 and a 22.5″ 2×4 to the 36″ 2×4 with a 5.5″ gap between them (this will be for a 2×6 to sit in at final assembly.)

Use a good amount of glue and clamp them in place before screwing them together.

We recommend test fitting one of your 2×6 boards in the gap to verify it’s the right size before gluing and screwing the boards in place.

After you’ve assembled both of the posts, screw one of your 38″ 2×6 boards between them with the bottom of the 2×6 at 8″ from the ground. You can use one of the front leg pieces as a spacer to get it perfect.

This 2×6 should line up with the gap you left on your post for the side frame 2×6.

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**Note: We built the headboard in pieces as we went, so some of the following pictures are later in the process, but we recommend you build the entire headboard first then move onto the main frame.**

Next, install your top cap.

Place your 45.5″ 2×6 on top of the posts with a .75″ overhang on the back and two ends and then glue/screw it into the posts from the top.

Next, use a rubber mallet to install a second 38″ 2×6 directly above the lower 2×6 you just installed.

Screw it into the posts from the back at an angle.

Next, install your two 38″ 2x4s the same way – one directly below the top cap and one with the bottom 18.5″ from the ground.

STEP 3: Assemble the Base Frame

Begin by building the two support legs.

For each leg, glue and screw a 8″ 2×4 and a 9.5″ 2×4 together, flush on one end and a 1.5″ overhang on the other. (this will be for a 2×6 side skirt to sit in at final assembly.)

With the legs built you are ready to move onto the main bed frame.

First, we are going to attach the one of the side skirts, 78″ 2×6, to the end board, 41″ 2×6. Add glue to the end of the end board and screw the side skirt on. Make sure to flush up the ends for a nice joint.

Now, in the same fashion as above attach the second side skirt, 78″ 2×6, to the other end of the end board.

Next, apply glue to the stringer support boards and screw onto the inside of each side skirt.

Space it a 1.5″ off the end board.

Next, we are going to screw all of the stringers onto the stringer support board.

Start at the open end of the structure or the end opposite of the end board.

Using one of the 38″ 2×4 lay it from one support to the other.

Flush it up to the end of the support and screw it in place.

**Note: Our supports weren’t cut to final length in this photo. We advise you to cut your supports to the right length before installing.**

Next, you’ll want to evenly space all the remaining stringers down to the end board, screwing them in space as you go.

We cut a 5″ spacer to make it quicker and easier.

You might need to adjust a little depending on material.

Simply layout all the boards and get them roughly evenly spaced.

The final stringer should be touching the inside edge of the end board.

Next is probably the hardest part but we can get through this together!

We are going to notch the previously assembled front legs so when they get installed they are flush with the main frame.

Be aware the legs end up being a mirror image of each other so you don’t want to cut the same on each.

It’s always best to transfer a mark then measure.

Start by laying the back of one leg on the top of the bed frame.

Flush up the outer end and mark the position of the 2×6.

This should be about 1.5″ from one edge and 2″ from the other.

Use a combination square to transfer this mark around the piece.

Cut away the piece that is 1.5″ wide and leave the 2″ piece.

You’ll end up with something as shown below.

Test fit into the bed frame and adjust if needed.

Man, that was complex! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now it’s time to install the legs into the main bed structure.

Add a bunch of glue to the top surface of the leg, slide into place and screw onto the side skirt.

Attach from the leg into the skirt to hide the screws.

Do the same thing on the other side.

The final step is to make the side runners the same width as the headboard posts by adding a 2×2 inside, on top of the support runners.

Install your two other 71″ 2×2’s on the inside of each side runner, flush with the top of it by screwing it into the the supports underneath.

(We didn’t get a picture of this before we started spackling and painting – so feel free to look at the finished pictures to get a peek at what I’m talking about if you’re not sure.)

Now the main bed structure is completed!

Take a break and admire the beauty of your future bed! ๐Ÿ™‚

STEP 4: Test Fit the Headboard

Now you are on the final stretch of building your very own DIY simple wood bed frame.

Test fit the frame and head board back together to make sure it all lines up.

It’s better to make adjustments now before you go through the effort of finishing.

Once you are happy with the fit you get to start the finishing process.

STEP 5: Fill, Prime and Paint

We preferred to minimize the seems so we filled all the cracks with spackling then allow to dry for at least 24 hours.

With the spackling dry use an electric sander with 150 grit paper and sand the whole bed.

Be sure to smooth off all the sharp corners to avoid getting hurt.

Now you are ready to get to painting.

We always start by priming the raw wood and finish with two coats of a semi gloss paint.

The semi gloss paint will help with the durability of the bed.

Allow the bed to dry.

Then you can disassemble, carry into the bedroom, and reassemble by screwing the main frame to the head board.

I just love how it looks in Andrew’s room!

It’s seriously a great, super simple, and cute bed!

Now it’s up to you. Head off grab a coffee, all the supplies and get to working.

Here are the printable instructions, as promised:

Yield: 1 Twin Bed

How to Build a Platform Bed Frame with Legs

How to Build a Platform Bed Frame with Legs

Simple tutorial for building a twin platform bed out of 2x4 material!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 3 hours
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate
Estimated Cost: $50

Instructions

Step 1: Cut the Boards

Headboard Cut List:

Two 8″ 2×4
Two 22.5″ 2×4
Two 36″ 2×4
Two 38″ 2×4
Two 38″ 2×6
One 45.5″ 2×6

Front Feet Cut List:

Two 8″ 2×4
Two 9.5″ 2×4

Frame Cut List:

Two 78″ 2×6 – Side Skirts
One 41″ 2×6 – End Skirt
Two 71″ 2×2 – Stringer Supports
Nine 41″ 2×4 – Stringers
Two 71″ 2×2 Inside Pieces

Step 2: Assemble the Headboard

  1. Glue and screw together the headboard posts - For each post, glue and screw a 8″ 2×4 and a 22.5″ 2×4 to the 36″ 2×4 with a 5.5″ gap between them (this will be for a 2×6 to sit in at final assembly.)
  2. Screw one of your 38″ 2×6 boards between them with the bottom of the 2×6 at 8″ from the ground.
  3. Place your 45.5″ 2×6 on top of the posts with a .75″ overhang on the back and two ends and then glue/screw it into the posts from the top.
  4. Use a rubber mallet to install a second 38″ 2×6 directly above the lower 2×6 you just installed and screw it into place at an angle from the back.
  5. Install your two 38″ 2x4s the same way – one directly below the top cap and one with the bottom 18.5″ from the ground

Step 3: Assemble the Base Frame

  1. For each leg, glue and screw a 8″ 2×4 and a 9.5″ 2×4 together, flush on one end and a 1.5″ overhang on the other. 
  2. Attach one of the side skirts, 78″ 2×6, to the end board, 41″ 2×6. Add glue to the end of the end board and screw the side skirt on. Make sure to flush up the ends for a nice joint.
  3. In the same fashion as above, attach the second side skirt, 78″ 2×6, to the other end of the end board, 41″ 2×6.
  4. Apply glue to the stringer support boards and screw onto the inside of each side skirt spaced 1.5" from the front skirt.
  5. Screw all of the stringers (38" 2x4s) onto the stringer support board with the first flush against the front skirt and spaced at 5" apart.
  6. Notch the front legs to make them flush with the front of the bed - transfer a mark, use a combination square to transfer all the way around the board and a hand saw to cut out the notch.
  7. Glue and screw the front legs into the main frame.
  8. Install your two other 71″ 2×2’s on the inside of each side runner, flush with the top of it by screwing it into the the supports underneath. 

Step 4: Test Fit the Headboard

  1. Put the headboard into the main frame and make sure it all fits together nicely.
  2. If not, make the necessary adjustments.

Step 5: Fill, Prime and Paint

  1. Fill all the cracks with spackle then allow to dry for at least 24 hours.
  2. Use an electric sander with 150 grit paper and sand the whole bed.
  3. Cover it with primer and two coats of paint.
  4. Disassemble, carry into the bedroom and reassemble by screwing the main frame to the headboard.



Be sure to send us photos of your finished bed!!! We’d love to see them.

And be sure to check out all the other fun projects happening as part of the $100 Room Challenge!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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15 thoughts on “How to Build a Platform Bed with Legs for $50!”

  1. The cut sheet lengths for the printable directions do not match the lengths stated in the cut sheet in the body of the post. Which one is correct? One has 38in and the other is 41in for the stringers and end skirt.

    Reply
    • So sorry! We updated the body but forgot to do the printables. It’s 41″ stringers for the end skirt. I’ve updated the printables now and they should be good-to-go! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
    • I’m so sorry you feel that way! If you wanted to avoid the ads, you could print the instructions found at the bottom of the post and use the tutorial without them. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  2. I want to thank you so much for this post! I have been looking everywhere for a great looking platform bed that was simple enough for me to attempt since Iโ€™m fairly new at woodworking. My son needs a new bed and I think this will be the perfect project for me! I love how yours turned out!

    Reply
    • Kassie, I’d love to know what measurements didn’t work for you so we can correct our mistake! Please let me know, because as far as we know we’ve recorded them all correctly.

      Reply
      • I agree with Kassie. The measurements are not right. For example, the legs of the headboard are wrong. Your instructions say “Glue and screw together the headboard posts – For each post, glue and screw a 8โ€ณ 2ร—4 and a 18.5โ€ณ 2ร—4 to the 36โ€ณ 2ร—4 with a 5.5โ€ณ gap between them (this will be for a 2ร—6 to sit in at final assembly.)” When I did exactly what you wrote, I am left a much bigger gap. 36″-18.5″=17.5″-8″=9.5 (the size of the actual gap). So in reality the 18.5 should be 22.5″.

        Then the next step says “screw one of your 38โ€ณ 2ร—6 boards between them with the bottom of the 2ร—6 at 8โ€ณ from the ground. In reality, I had to cut it to 35”. The 38″ was too big. Why? the thickness of the headboard legs.

        Reply
        • Thank you for the feedback! You’re absolutely right – not sure how I got those dimensions wrong. Chris just went through and verified all of them. We should be good to go!

          Reply
  3. It’s amazing. You make this fabulous bad seem doable. Maybe I’m just kidding myself but I’m certainly going to keep it in mind for the future! My kids are grown but I’m thinking extra guest beds for vacation home…..

    Reply

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