How to build a taller base for my platform bed?

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Forum topic by ckin522 posted 10-24-2015 07:58 PM 1185 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 940 days

10-24-2015 07:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bed platform bed matte black corner joint

I’m somewhat of a novice at woodworking projects, but hopefully this is something I can manage. I’m also quite limited on power tools (I only have a 7”circular saw, drill, and belt sander). I’d appreciate any advice from all the more experienced folks around here.

I recently found a used platform bed where the mattress frame hinges up on hydraulics to allow storage inside, and everything works great. The only problem… the whole bed feels really really low to the ground. By design, it sits fully on the ground (no legs). The sideboards are ~10” tall, and the metal mattress frame ends up holding the bottom of the mattress only ~8” from the floor. I’d like to raise the whole entire bed about 5”-6”.

I stumbled on a great design that I like (see it here), and would like to build and add a similar underneath/lower base to my bed to raise it higher.

You can see the photos of what I have now.

The “wood” is actually 1.5” wide particle board with a layer of veneer (or malamine, or something??), but it’s very heavy. There’s also a pretty heavy, upholstered headboard with long protruding bolts that slide into the open ends of the upper wood base, plus there are also two “floor” panels that sit inside making a base for the inner storage area.

So, my many questions…

What’s the best way to support the current “outer”/upper frame above the new “inner”/lower frame that I’d have to build? I was thinking screwing a few wide, flat 90deg brackets into the new base, so that the upper frame sits on the metal, and is screwed into it to hold it stable. (see my sketch) All the weight would be on the brackets (perhaps ~500-600lbs all total, with 2 people + bed).

Would this bracket system support it well enough? What would be the best dimension brackets? And where would I look for such brackets? (I have no metalworking tools at all to cut or shape them)

Should the outer edge of the wood of the lower platform overlap any with the inner edge of the upper?

What material should I make the lower frame out of? I’d probably need boards of ~1.5” x ~6”. I plan on making a black finish, so the wood tone isn’t important.

Also, the upper frame is joined at 45 deg on the corners (with no screw or nail holes visible outside). I would like to do the same on the new lower frame, but I have no idea how to join the two corners like that without visible screws? I’m also not sure how to make exact 45 deg cuts on the ends?

I edited a photo to show the colors and look of the hopeful end product.

I would like to make a smooth black matte finish on the lower frame. How could I achieve that kind of smooth finished look? Everything I’ve painted/varnished before always ends up at least a little streaky or with brush stroke lines.

Thanks for any help and advice!

7 replies so far

View jerryminer's profile


923 posts in 1436 days

#1 posted 10-25-2015 12:03 AM

I would suggest “reversing” the brackets and using simple angle-iron (available at any decent hardware store, or from cutting up an old bed frame, or from a metal supplier):

If you are painting the base, go ahead and use screws to fasten the corners, then fill, sand, and paint.

For a smooth finish: spray, or work on your brushing technique (and learn to “tip-off” your final strokes)

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View ckin522's profile


4 posts in 940 days

#2 posted 10-25-2015 03:35 AM

The angle iron like that might look cleaner I think, but do you think that particle board would be durable enough to hold all of the weight of the bed + people only by the shear force on the screws? I was thinking the upper frame would need some more solid support underneath. Or would this version require that the boards of the upper and lower frame overlap maybe 1/4”. I would like to maximize the available overhang, just for aesthetics.

Good point with the painting… since there’s no wood finish to match up, I could just fill in any resulting screw depressions and paint over the whole thing anyway.

View jerryminer's profile


923 posts in 1436 days

#3 posted 10-25-2015 06:22 PM

I missed the fact that your bed is made of particle board, but consider this: the weight of the mattress and people is carried right now by the screws that hold the hardware to the particle board, right? Similar screw connections should also work at the lower connection.

But I appreciate your hesitation. You could substitute a T-bar for the angle iron, and/or set the upper frame partially onto the lower frame, if it makes you more comfortable

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View ckin522's profile


4 posts in 940 days

#4 posted 10-29-2015 07:13 PM

I went to the store the other day to look for materials, and now thought of 3 variations of how to attach the frames. What I have now… the upper bedframe is particle board, 1.5” thick, and for the lower frame I found nice pine boards with a very smooth finish in 5/4×6. I was a bit tough to find suitable brackets, but I found some good framing (construction) angle brackets, if I should go the bracket route. I didn’t buy anything yet though. The photo shows 3 possible ideas:

One new idea would be to take a 2×2, and screw/glue it to the inside of the upper frame, so that the 2×2 would provide the surface that would sit on the lower frame, and add a couple screws into through it into the lower frame to secure it once laid down in position . The other two ideas would involve brackets, as described in the posts above.

Could you please share your thoughts of what you think would be most structurally sound and lasting? Thanks.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5654 posts in 2808 days

#5 posted 10-29-2015 08:30 PM

Or you could just put it on short legs. Perhaps get a hemlock newel post and make four legs from it?
Wouldn’t look so nice if you actually want to store items underneath though.
Here are two storage bed blogs that may give you some ideas…

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View ckin522's profile


4 posts in 940 days

#6 posted 10-29-2015 09:15 PM

Yeah, adding short legs was one of my first thoughts too, but I want to get at least 5” of lift on the current frame, while also adding storage depth. Plus, I imagine that adding support/legs only on the corners, leaving a large unsupported span of particle board that was intended to sit on the ground for its full length, wouldn’t be the best structurally. So I think I have to stick with a base that’s fully on the floor.

View HokieKen's profile


4970 posts in 1133 days

#7 posted 10-30-2015 08:43 PM

I wouldn’t let the weight rest ultimately on screws in the particle board. I’d lean toward the middle concept above so the weight is held by the brackets, not by the screws. Make sure the brackets you use are rated for the load they’ll be carrying. If you can do that with a little overlap, even better. It’ll reduce the moment the particle board frame exerts on the screws in the new boards and distribute the load on the particle board over a greater area. Though, with proper screw selection, there’s little concern with them pulling out of pine under that moderate load. Also use brackets as long as possible to distribute the weight over the particle board as much as possible.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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