HELLO! I am SO EXCITED to share this post with you all today! Let me start from the beginning. When we decided this was the year to remodel our master bathroom, I knew it was time for some changes in the bedroom too. If you have been following along our journey, you know we now have new woods floors and a sweet shiplap accent wall. But if you saw my mood board for this room, you know the original inspiration for this room came from a high end upholstered bed from Bassett Furniture. I completely fell in love with it! But with a price tag of roughly $3k, this was just not in the budget. So what’s a girl to do? Well make her own of course! Some call me crazy, I like to think of it as dedicated 🙂

So how do you make an upholstered bed? I will teach you and believe me when I tell you, it wasn’t that hard! I have made many upholstered headboards in my day, like the original headboard in the master bedroom and the one in the blue room, but never a whole bed. Hence, I did a lot of research on the topic. There are tons of opinions and plans out there, but I made my own based on what we wanted.

There are several things I considered before deciding on an exact plan. Originally, I thought I wanted a tufted headboard, but after we installed the shiplap wall I felt the two would compete visually and look too busy. So I chose a simple rectangle instead.

The second item was the distance between the side rails and the floor. Do you store stuff under your bed? We do! And these items used to be hidden under our bed skirt that touched the floor. But with an upholstered bed there would no longer be a bed skirt to hide all our junk. People think our house is clean, but don’t open any closets or look under the beds, haha! It’s all an illusion 🙂 Anyway, the higher we made the bed’s side rails, the more crap you would see under the bed. Because of this, we chose to make it about 4 inches off the ground. And conveniently, this is the height of the furniture feet I wanted to use, but we will get to that. With 4 inches of clearance, we could still stash some items under the bed but it wouldn’t all be hanging out for everyone to see.

The final item to debate was the overall height of the bed. Our mattress is mega huge! And by that I mean thick. It’s 15 inches thick and we use a 3 inch topper on it, for an overall height of 18 inches with no box springs! For reference, most mattresses these days are around 10 inches. So we have a lot of extra height. Because of that, we wanted a platform bed to eliminate our box springs. Previously, our bed was about 31 inches tall between the mattress, box springs, and bed frame and we wanted to lower that a little.

With all these decisions settled, we got to constructing!

Step 1: Measure your mattress. You want the frame to be just a little larger than the mattress so it fits in snug. Ours was 76′ x 80′

Step 2: Go to hardware store and buy materials. These are the items we used. Please note, we already have all of the tools we needed.

10 – 2x4s
1 – sheet of 3/4′ plywood (this is for the side rails and we had Home Depot cut this into 6′ strips for us)
1 – sheet of 1/2 inch plywood (we already had this)
20 – 1x3s
4 -furniture leg brackets
4 – furniture legs
1- box of 2′ inch wood screws
4 – clamps (4 inch is what we used)
1 – nail gun (you could hand nail these, but a nail gun is WAY faster and we have one)
1 – staple gun
1 – drill & drill bits
1 – impact driver
1 – miter saw or circular saw (you could have the hardware store make these cuts for you though)

Step 3: Select and purchase your fabric. I chose to upholster the bed in a rich micro suede called Wine which is totally appropriate because we love wine! This fabric was originally $19.99 at Joann’s, but I waited for it to go on sale for 50% off + an additional 20% off with coupon. So it ended up being only $7.99 a yard! I bought 7 yards. For the padding, I have an inexpensive trick that is so much cheaper than buying foam and batting at the fabric store. Do you remember those foam egg crates you had on your mattress in college? Well you can buy those at Wal-Mart for less than $20! And if you put the pointy side down, you can’t even tell!

Once we purchased all the materials, we went home and started construction. I should note, we had to build this in place as it would not fit through our stairwell. So depending on the layout of your home and size of your bed, you may have to do the same thing.

Step 4: Cut your 2x4s to appropriate length for your bed to make the frame. We cut two 2x4s to 81′ for the sides and two 2x4s to 73′ for the top and bottom. Attach all four pieces with 2′ screws in a square with the longer pieces of wood on the outsideThen we cut three additional 2x4s for the center supports and spaced them out 17.25 inches apart. Note: to get a tight fit for the center supports, we built the square frame first and then came back and added the center supports. If you measure and cut correctly, you will have to tap these in with a hammer, kind of like framing a wall.We attached all of these 2x4s with 2′ screws. 

Step 5: Add the horizontal slats that will support the mattress. For this we used 20 1x3s cut to 76′ long. I know 20 seems like a lot, however, you have to remember we are giving up our box springs which is normally the entire support for your mattress. We contemplated using solid sheets of plywood but decided against it for two reasons. A) I read mattresses need to be able to breathe or be ventilated. Who knows if that’s actually true, but it made sense. B) We don’t have a truck. So transporting several full sheets of plywood would have been a challenge. Really, this is what sealed the deal for us. We could easily get 1x3s into our SUV but not full sheets of plywood.

Once all 20 were cut, we spaced them out with a 2×4 on end to make sure we had equal spacing.Then we attached them to the center supports with our nail gun. You could do this by hand with nails and a hammer, but I can honestly say nailing these in with the gun was the fastest part of the project. We were done in less than 10 minutes!Because we constructed this over two separate weekends, we tested the frame out with the mattress to make sure it would hold before we added all the pretty parts. I called it camping 🙂 And if you know me, this is about as close to camping as I get 🙂

Step 6: Prep the bed legs. Before beginning the upholstery, stain or paint your legs for the bed so they are dry by the time you are ready to assemble. We used 12 leg supports in total. Four furniture legs and one 2×4 cut into 12 pieces. I stained the entire 2×4 before cutting (see below for placement). I chose to stain the legs a dark Kona stain we already had to match our bedroom furniture.

Step 7: Prepping the parts to be upholstered. For this we used two different sheets of plywood. One for the side rails and one for the headboard portion. As we discussed in the last step, we don’t have a large enough vehicle to transport full sheets of plywood, so we had Home Depot cut three 6′ strips from a sheet of 3/4′ plywood for the side rails (one for each side and one for the end of the bed). We chose to cut them to length at home to ensure we measured correctly. For the headboard portion, I recycled the old headboard I previously made. This piece was 1/2′ plywood cut to 45’h x 76’w. For the headboard portion, I also attached 2x4s to the back side of the plywood to allow a more luxurious thickness when upholstered.

Step 8: Upholster the headboard. To upholster the headboard, you need to attach the foam first by stapling it to the plywood. I recycled the foam from my old headboard which was two pieces. To prevent seeing the “seam” between the two pieces of foam, I covered it with a white sheet before stapling to the plywood. Then, I laid my upholstery fabric out on the floor with the pretty side facing the ground. I allowed for several extra inches on all sides to allow me to staple the fabric to the plywood, around the 2x4s. Because most fabric doesn’t exceed 58′ in width, and my bed is 76 inches wide, I had to use the width of the fabric for the vertical part of the headboard and the length to cover the width (which is why I bought 7 yards).
The corners are the most difficult part of this process. I am not going to lie, I have no magic trick for the corners, I just mess with the fabric until I like the way they look from the front.

Step 9: Upholster the side rails. Once the headboard was upholstered, I moved onto the rails. First, I attached all of my foam to each of the three pieces we cut to length. Then I moved onto the fabric. I approached this similarly to the headboard, but since my rails are only 6 inches wide, I laid all of them out on the fabric before cutting to ensure I would have enough fabric for all of them. Once I spaced them out evenly, I used a piece of chalk and a yard stick to make a line to cut on.When I got to the ends of the side rails I was careful not to overlap my fabric and foam too much because this would complicate assembly. I treated the ends like I was wrapping a present.

Step 10: Add mounting piece to headboard. This part was a little bit of of a curve ball for me. We needed a way to mount the headboard portion to the frame so I decided to add another piece of wood to the bottom of the side 2x4s I attached to the headboard. I didn’t want this piece to add any additional depth, so I stacked it at the bottom of the two side pieces and attached it with metal brackets. This piece of wood will not be seen at all and I did not bother upholstering it.

Step 11: Attach the side panels to the platform frame. To do this, we placed our mattress in the center of the room and placed the platform on top of it with the slats face down. We did this to have access to the underside supports and to elevate the frame so there would be no pressure applied to the sides as we attached the side panels. To attach the side panels to the wood platform we set each panel in place and used our 4 inch clamps to keep it from shifting. Then we pre-drilled holes into the wood frame, from the inside, through the side panel, to keep the wood from splitting. Next, we used 2′ screws to attach each side panel to the wood platform. We used between 6-8 screws per side to attach the panels. NOTE: Make sure your screws are not longer than the wood they need to go through or they will poke through your upholstery.

Step 12: Attach the feet. In each of the four corners of the frame we used furniture feet which we attached with these brackets. Again, we pre-drilled these holes prior to attaching the screws. Once the brackets are attached, the feet just screw in. 

For the center of the platform we knew we needed additional support, but the furniture legs can add up at $7 each, so we saved a little money and used a stained 2×4 cut to length for six additional legs. These are not seen unless you are lying on the floor, so staining them to match was a good compromise for me. We attached these to the center supports of the platform with 2′ screws.

Once all the feet are secure on the platform frame, flip the frame over.

Step 13: Attach the headboard to the platform frame. To attach the headboard we used some scrap wood to prop up the headboard to the correct height. We positioned ours so the bottom piece of wood between the headboard 2x4s was inline with the height of the side rails. This ensures there is a lip on all sides so the mattress will sit inside and not shift off. Once this was positioned where we wanted it, we pre-drilled our screw holes again to prevent splitting. Then we attached the headboard to the platform frame with 2′ screws. Since this is a king, we decided the headboard also needed some additional support on the back and attached two additional 2×4 stained legs.

Step 14: Put mattress on the bed and pour yourself a glass of wine, you have a new bed!

Step 15: Make bed and admire! Seriously though, I love the way this bed turned out! And even more, I love the price tag! The original inspiration bed had a hefty price tag at close to $3k! We made this one for less than $300! The wood and construction supplies came in at about $200 and the fabric was $60 for 7 yards on sale. So, are you going to make one of your own? If you enjoyed this tutorial, please save it on Pinterest! Have you checked out my Instagram yet? Follow me and get sneak peeks before I post on the blog!

6 comments on “DIY Designer Upholstered Bed”

Leave a Reply