Well, it’s been a little over a month since we finished our new bed, and I’m just getting around to posting about it. Whoops!
I’m just gonna kill the suspense and kick this off with a picture of the finished product.
Ta-da! There she is. OK, now let’s back up for a minute.
We’ve been wanting a king-sized bed ever since we started letting our dog sleep with us. (Brad will endlessly blame that on me, because I invited her into the bed while he was out of town once. But it’s not my fault, because she WILL. NOT. SLEEP when he’s not home, and she was driving me frigging insane pacing all over the house. I invited her into bed so that I could cuddle her until she was unconscious. It was absolutely necessary.)
Macy takes up a lot of space on my side – she insists on sleeping with all four legs completely straight – and Bela, our big cat, sleeps at Brad’s feet. When we were sleeping in a queen-sized bed, we were basically both sharing the very center of the bed. It was not a good situation.
We got our mattress at Macy’s during their Columbus Day sale. It’s a Beautyrest “Vanderbilt” firm pillowtop, which I can’t find on the website anymore, but I’m pretty positive that this one is exactly the same. It’s the freaking bomb. We scheduled a delivery for a few weeks out, without actually having chosen a bed frame. We knew we wanted a platform bed, though, so we skipped buying the box spring and saved a few hundred dollars.
After some shopping around, we found the Boerum bed frame from West Elm.
We really liked it, but we soon found out that after a mandatory shipping surcharge plus tax and regular shipping, the frame alone would cost almost $650. No, no, no. That was when Brad decided that he could build a wood platform bed himself.
I have to admit it – I was a little skeptical. Brad’s certainly not a construction newbie, but previous to this, the biggest furniture project he’d ever completed was a work bench for the garage. It seemed like a big step from that to an object that would need to hold a mattress, two humans and up to three animals every single night. But he insisted that he could do it, so I decided to have faith in him. Marriage!
We found these two plans on Ana White’s website: an upholstered platform bed and a fancy farmhouse bed. We wanted the general frame of the farmhouse bed, but the chunky legs from the upholstered bed, so Brad combined them to make his own plan.
The inner frame is made from pine 2x4s, which he joined using his new Kreg jig. He loves that thing.
He attached four support legs in the middle of the bed with lag bolts.
While Brad was constructing the frame, I was working on finishing the sides and legs. We got the wood for both from Peach State Lumber in Kennesaw. The sides are cherry and the legs are poplar, which, as it turns out, are both damn near impossible to stain. Now, before the wood nuts come down on me for wanting to stain cherry, hear me out: We wanted a café-colored finish, like the West Elm bed. That’s what matches our bedroom. Brad picked cherry because it had the nicest grain. Can you blame him?! We didn’t know!
After a lot of trial and error, I finally found a combination of products to get a mostly blotch-free finish: 1) One coat of Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner applied with a foam brush. 2) Three coats of Minwax Gel Stain (we used Hickory), applied a few hours after the conditioner, also with a foam brush. 3) Two coats of Minwax Polycrylic, applied with a bristle brush. (You have to make sure the stain is completely dry and cured before you use the polycrylic, since the stain is oil-based and the polycrylic is water-based. I waited three days just to be sure.)
The finishing process was painful. I hate gel stain. I hope to never use it again (except for on the legs of our headboard, which will need to match the bed). But at least when I was done, the legs and sides were basically the same color.
In case anyone’s curious, the sides were made from 1×6 boards, and the legs were made from 4x6s. Brad cut the legs down to 4×4 so they’d be square. The legs are attached to the frame with pocket hole screws (using the Kreg jig), and the sides are attached with a combination of pocket hole screws and finishing nails.
The last – and easiest – step of the bed construction was the creation of the slats, which will hold the mattress in lieu of a box spring. Brad bought 20 1×3 furring strips and cut them down to the right length, then stapled them all to a long nylon strap.
Our mattress salesman suggested putting a piece of plywood under the mattress for optimal support, but Brad read online that you need air flow to avoid mold growth. Gross! So far, the slats are doing just fine.
We did all the cutting and finishing in the weeks before our mattress was delivered, but Brad waited to construct the bed upstairs until the day of our delivery. Once he was done laying the slats across the frame, we were ready to heft the mattress on top.
We jumped on it a few times to test its strength before we put the sheets on. It passed the jump test with flying colors.
And that was it! Our sheets are Palais Royale from Bed Bath and Beyond. They’re super soft, and not too expensive if you have a 20% off coupon. Our duvet cover (which doesn’t have a comforter in it yet) and matching shams are by Bellino Fine Linens. I bought them on Rue La La before we even bought our mattress – impulse buy to the max! The throw pillows are from Ikea and will soon be replaced with some DIY ones, once I can afford a few fabrics from Spoonflower.
We’ve slept so much better in the month since we got our new bed, and I’m so glad we finally went for it. Did I mention how amazing our mattress is?! Gah. It’s seriously insane. Ain’t nothin’ like a quality mattress. It’s like sleeping on a cloud.
We’re working on the headboard separately now. It’ll be attached to the frame with some kind of bolts and will be totally amazing.
Oh, and to compare our bed frame cost to the West Elm one: I think we ended up spending around $200-250 for the lumber and supplies to build ours. Not too shabby compared to $650, eh?
So, would you ever take on a hand-built bed frame, or are we crazy?