How to Build a Modern Platform Bed

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About: I am a self taught woodworker, and I learned everything I know from watching YouTube videos. I enjoy it so much I started my own channel. Go check out Jonny Builds and please subscribe! I make a wide range o...

Intro: How to Build a Modern Platform Bed

**Disclaimer**

Many folks are worried about the lack of a round-over on the platform. The thought is this bed will destroy your shins. I've used this bed and the almost identical previous version for about the last 1 1/2 years. I have never once hit my shins on the edge. I prefer the crisp clean lines of the platform, but if you decide to build it with a round-over that is okay too. Thanks for checking it out!

Today I'll walk you through how to build this modern/minimalist style platform bed with a built in LED light in the headboard. The whole bed was built using easy to source materials from Home Depot or Lowes, and the LED light kit I got from Amazon. I'll walk you through how to a build a queen, but this can easily be scaled up or down to a full or king. The YouTube video above offers step by step instructions and further details. Check it out, and subscribe to my YouTube Channel to stay up to date with what I am building next. Thanks, and lets get started!

Materials:

(3) 8 foot long pine 2x10's

(17) 8 foot long pine 2x4's

(1) 4’x’8 sheet of furniture grade plywood

(1) 2'x4' sheet of acrylic

LED light strip

White spray paint

Watco Dark Walnut danish oil

Tools:

At least the following:

Table Saw

Circular saw

Miter Saw

Drills

Kreg Jig

Step 1: Making the Platform Frame

  1. Rip both of the rounded edges off the 2x10's on the table saw. I ripped mine to 81/4 inches wide, and this seems to be a really good width for the platform that goes all the way around the bed.
  2. Rip the rounded edges off of 5 of the 2x4's to a finished width of 3 inches.
  3. Rip one of the 3 inch wide 2x4's in half. This piece will be used for the top stretcher that connects the 2x10 frame.
  4. Cut the 2x10's & top stretcher to length on the miter saw. The side platform planks are both 80 1/2 inches long. The footer platform plank & top stretcher are both 60 1/2 inches long.
  5. I used my planer next to smooth all the boards and dimension them to an even thickness. This step can be skipped if you don't have a planer.
  6. Add 5 pocket holes evenly spaced to the underside ends of the lower platform stretcher. Add 1 pocket hole to the under side ends of the skinny top stretcher.
  7. Clamp the lower platform stretcher top side down to a flat surface perpendicular to the joiner side platform plank. Use a square the ensure everything is at 90 degrees, and attach using 5 pocket hole screws. Repeat this step for the opposite side.
  8. Attach the skinny top stretcher in the same manner with 1 pocket screw on either side. At this point will likely be able to spin around a little, but don't worry, it will get rigid once you add the 2x4 support structure.
  9. Plane the (4) 2x4's ripped down to 3 inches to an even thickness, and hit them with an orbital sander before attaching. It'll be much more difficult to sand everything later when its attached.
  10. Instead of cutting these boards to the exact same lengths as the 2x10's they attach to, I prefer to cut each one individually as I work my way around the frame. Being construction grade lumber these boards have a tendency to cup, twist, and bow, so the sizes are always just a tad off. Lay the first 2x4 along the inside of the side platform 2x10 piece with the 1 1/2 inch face facing down. Clamp in place. (See photo for correct placement)
  11. Place the joining 2x4 perpendicular to the first board and mark the outside edge on the first board. This will show you exactly how long to cut this piece.
  12. Make the cut on the miter saw and reclamp to the underside of the platform. Work your way around the platform until you have marked and cut all 4 sides.
  13. Add pocket holes to the 2x4's spaced about every 8 inches along the length, and two holes on the joining ends of the top and bottom stretchers.
  14. Attach the 2x4's with pocket screws.
  15. The frame structure is now complete. It should be straight and rigid now. Flip the whole platform right side up, and sand all the joints flush. Sand the entire platform to 220 grit.

Step 2: Making the Headboard

I made my headboard from 3/4 inch Sande plywood I got at Home Depot. Any furniture grade plywood of your liking will do, but just ensure you stay away from the non furniture grade stuff. Spend $10- $20 more to not have harmful chemicals from the adhesives off-gassing into your home.

  1. Cut the headboard to 75 1/4" x 34 1/2".
  2. On the bottom ends cut out a 3" x 6" notch to match the shape of the platform where it will join.
  3. Cut a 3/4" rabbet out on the length of the short end of each headboard frame piece. This will allow the frame to sit flush.
  4. Cut a 3/4" channel in the middle of the length of the top headboard frame piece. This is the channel the the LED lights will be housed in.
  5. I used a slot cutting bit on my router table to cut a slot about 1/8" up from the lip of the channel. This slot needs to match the thickness of the acrylic sheet with room for the strips to slide in without trouble.
  6. The cheapest option was to use a smaller sheet of acrylic and cut 4 strips that would span the length of the light channel. A large sheet of acrylic can run you over $100, but you would get a continuous strip to fit in the channel.
  7. Add a light coat of white spray paint to one side of the acrylic strips. This will diffuse the light just enough so the individual lights will not be visible.
  8. Peel off the adhesive backing and stick the lights inside the channel. Run a strip along both inside edges, and press firmly.
  9. You'll need to make some sort of end cap to close off the channel. See photos for how I made mine.
  10. Drill a hole big enough for the light cord to pass through.
  11. Now its time to install the headboard frame. Measure how long each piece needs to be, and cut to fit on the miter saw. Attach to headboard with wood glue, and brad nails.

Step 3: Making the Legs (Or Just Buy 6" Bed Legs)

You can either buy some legs, or make your own. This is my second time to build this style of bed, and the first time I used 6" hairpin legs. They looked really good, but this time I decided to make my own from douglas fir 4x4 I had left over.

  1. Rip the 4x4 down to 3x3 on the table saw.
  2. Using a tapering jig cut your desired taper on all four sides. I went with a very subtle taper, and I really like how it came out.
  3. Attach a 5"x5" piece of 1x pine to the top with wood screws. This will allow you to attach the feet to the bed.
  4. Apply a dark walnut danish oil finish.
  5. Attach rubber feet to the bottom of all 4 legs.

Step 4: Apply Finish & Assemble Everything

  1. I made corner brackets to add stability, and more leg attachment surface area by cutting down leftover 2x4 off cuts with 45 degree miters on each end. Attach to the corners with wood screws.
  2. I ripped a 2x4 in half, and these two halves will serve as the cleats upon which the support slats will sit to hold up the mattress.
  3. Cut the cleats to size and attach flush with the bottom of the bed frame on either side. Use plenty of screws since this is holding up the mattress and whoever is on it.
  4. Apply danish oil finish to the entire bed.
  5. Attach the legs to the four corners of the underside of the frame with wood screws.
  6. Mount the headboard to the frame by matching the slots you cut out earlier with the platform. The headboard should should rest on the platform, and the plywood should butt up against the backside. Attach with two screws on either end of the platform, and add 6 more screws along the bottom of the backside as shown.
  7. Use 2x4's as slats, and cut them to fit between the cleats. Use at least 9 2x4's and space them evenly. I used a spacer block I cut to acheive even spacing. Attach slats with 1 screw on either side.
  8. Optional you can cut a few pieces of 1/8" plywood to sit on top of the slats. This will give a more finished look.
  9. Add a mattress and you're done!

Thanks for checking out this build, and make sure to post a picture if you build this bed. Also watch my YouTube video for more details, and please subscribe. Thanks!

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    14 Discussions

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    Bothan

    7 months ago on Step 4

    One piece of advice: Round off the corners at the foot of the frame. Your shins will thank you. :)

    1 reply
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    Jonny BuildsBothan

    Reply 6 months ago

    1 1/2 years of using this bed and the almost identical previous version with zero shin injuries. Thanks for checking it out!

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    pgs070947

    6 months ago

    Looks nice.

    Dropping the mattress into the frame stops it sliding down the bed as you lean back against the headboard.

    The "shelf" provides somewhere to tie the shoe laces or store all those little nick nacks.

    1 reply
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    Jonny Buildspgs070947

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thanks! The ledge also becomes a great place to set your laptop for Netflix viewing.

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    BeachsideHank

    6 months ago

    By all means do use either full ply sheets or overlay the slats, mattress sellers will use beds made with only slats as a warranty avoidance excuse, claiming the mattress was not properly supported.

    1 reply
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    nex_otaku

    6 months ago

    Nice bed.

    There may be a weak point though, the way you attach legs. After heavily using this bed, for example after first year, wouldn't legs come all squeaky and noisy?

    1 reply
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    Jonny Buildsnex_otaku

    Reply 6 months ago

    The legs are holding up nicely so far. I don't see that being an issue.

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    GaryO32

    6 months ago

    Great bed.... But you made one mistake, you showed it to people who will always know more than you do... If you had wanted to corners round I am sure you would have rounded them... Keep up the great work...

    1 reply
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    Jonny BuildsGaryO32

    Reply 6 months ago

    Haha, thanks Gary! I've now built and used two of these for the last 1 1/2 year without a single shin injury. I really like the sharp clean lines. I say if someone wants to build it and add a round-over, go for it!

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    deluges

    6 months ago

    Very nice build, I love how it looks! My shins are a bit afraid but I'm sure that Pavlov will help to learn to be careful fast enough...

    1 reply
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    Jonny Buildsdeluges

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thanks, and spot on with the learning to be careful. 1 1/2 years of having this bed and the previous version in my room. I've never hit my shins.

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    thepoisonivy

    6 months ago

    Soo beautiful! Such a nice build but alas...I am plagued by visions of gouged and bloody shins.

    1 reply
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    Jonny Buildsthepoisonivy

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thanks for checking it out! Many folks seem to be worried about injured shins, but I've used this bed and the version before it that was almost identical for about 1 1/2 years. I've never hit my shins.