One easy way to build a stylish upcycled DIY platform bed frame

I have owned a West Elm “Narrow-Leg” bed frame in chocolate brown for maybe 12 or 13 years. It’s sorta dated and no longer available. It worked well enough for me in various spaces but at some point I started wanting a change.

West Elm's Narrow-Leg Wood Bed Frame
West Elm’s Narrow-Leg Wood Bed Frame, photo by West Elm

I was tired of the dark chocolate brown veneer and wanted a lighter wood with more of a lower, chunkier, platform profile rather than the frame’s more formal design.

Chicago alleys are full of furniture ready for garbage pick-up and I really didn’t want to throw more furniture into the landfill — that felt wasteful and irresponsible. I considered trying to give the frame away by posting it on Craigslist or Freecycle. My experiences with these services have been mixed and more often than not giving things away ends up being a bit of a headache. The frame, a mix of solid wood and veneered MDF, was a bit dinged up — another hurdle to giving it away.

While I pondered what to do I started looking around at DIY platform bed plans and forming ideas about the platform design I really wanted. Somewhere in all of this I came up with the idea to reuse my current frame by wrapping it with white oak boards.

Platform bed build animation
Platform bed build animation

Yes it’s a little crazy. Or is it? My frame was a bit beat up but perfectly functional. Figuring out a way to re-use it guaranteed it stayed out of the landfill, and I didn’t have to hassle with trying to re-home it. I had some white oak pieces left over from another project that could be put to use. And the super simple plan I had in mind for my platform allowed for abandoning ship and easily pivoting to a full-on platform build out with the addition of a few more pieces of lumber.

Before and after - side and front
Before and after – side and front

While there are some reasons to not go with this “wrapper” approach, in the end this platform frame has worked just fine for us. It solved our main problem which was really about interior design and let us change things up quickly and surprisingly easily. Here’s what I did.

A rough guide

The schematics and photos below will hopefully make putting all of this together pretty clear. I’m not including lengths because my old frame, which held a queen-sized mattress, will almost certainly have different dimensions than yours. Rather than a down-to-an-1/8″ plan, this is a rough guide that should be easy to adapt for your particular frame.

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Parts and materials

  • Oak boards – I grabbed the 1×2″, 1×4″ and 1×8″ boards that I needed at Home Depot
  • Miter saw or circular saw – I like how the end grain looks stacked together at the front ends of this frame. If you want something different you could easily incorporate angle cuts. I made all of the straight cuts I needed on my 10″ chop saw.
  • Kreg K4 Jig – Any pockethole jig will work. I use the Kreg K4 Pocket Hole Jig System. If you don’t have a pockethole jig I recommend this one.
  • 1-1/4″ Kreg screws for the oak boards I chose I used Kreg screws made for hardwood.
  • Your preferred finish –  I used my favorite finish, Deft Interior Waterborne Clear Wood Finish Satin. This stuff looks and feels so nice.

Assembly

My “wrapper” idea required covering three sides of the old frame with oak boards. I didn’t need to do anything to wrap the back of the old frame since the bed backs up against a wall. I did build a headboard and that is incorporated into the frame. This whole thing went together rather quickly with my trusty Kreg K4 Jig.

Front: A 1×8″ board and a 1×2″ board attached with pocket hole screws.

Sides: Two 1×8″ boards and two 1×2″ boards attached with pocket hole screws.

Legs: a 1×4″ board cut into 6 square pieces — 2 squares per leg at the front of the bed, and just 1 square per leg installed on the side at the back of the bed (I didn’t need to wrap the back legs in oak since the bed backed up against a wall. Just one square on the side was needed to hold up the side board).

Headboard: Five 1×4″ boards for the vertical and horizontal pieces.

Front

 

 

Sides

 

Headboard

 

 

And that’s a wrap!

Hoping this is interesting and maybe inspiring. I have some pros and cons to share about this approach and can put those thoughts in a separate blog post. Please post a comment and let me know if that would be useful!

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