How to Build a Platform Bed Frame

Mark Morris

Building your own home furniture is a great way to save money and decorate your home with custom, one-of-a-kind pieces. In addition, these pieces become conversation starters and, sometimes family heirlooms. Bedroom furniture is typically one of the most expensive purchases in decorating, with beds topping the list.

Platform bed frames offer a sleek and stylish appeal without a lot of work.

By using standard lumber to build your own platform bed, you can create a beautiful designer piece at a fraction of the cost of a store-bought bed.

Frame Building

  1. Measure the length and width of your mattress, then cut two, two-by-fours 3 inches longer than the width of the mattress. Cut three more pieces to the same length as the mattress.

  2. Stand two long and two short pieces on their narrow edges to form a rectangle, so that the shorter pieces overlap the longer pieces at each corner. Apply wood glue to the ends of the long pieces. Drive two 3-inch screws into each joint, using a drill with a screw bit.

  3. Position the fifth two-by-four in the center of the frame, parallel to the length. Fasten it in place with glue and screws, just as you did with the corners.

  4. Measure, mark and cut two one-by-eight boards 1 1/2 inches longer than the outside width of the two-by-four frame. Cut two more one-by-eights to the same length as the two-by-four frame.

  5. Stand the four one-by-eights on edge, with the smaller pieces overlapping the longer pieces. Apply glue to the ends of the long boards and fasten each corner with three 2-inch finish nails, driving through the shorter pieces into the ends of the longer pieces.

  6. Fit the one-by-eight frame around the two-by-four frame so their bottom edges are flush. Drive 2-inch screws through the inside frame and into the outer frame. Use one fastener every 8 to 10 inches around the frame.

Mattress Support

  1. Measure, mark and cut 12 one-by-fours so they fit snugly inside the one-by-eight frame, running perpendicular to the frame's length. These serve as the mattress platform.

  2. Position the 12 mattress platform boards face down and evenly spaced inside the one-by-eight frame, resting on top of the two-by-four frame.

  3. Nail through each support and into the two-by-four frame, using two 2-inch finish nails in each end of each piece.

Legs to Lift It Above the Floor

  1. Measure, mark and cut four pieces from four-by-four lumber, 5 inches long, for legs.

  2. Turn the bed frame over so that the bottom is facing up and fit one leg piece in each corner of the bed, against the inside of the two-by-four frame, so that one square end of the leg rests against the bottom of the mattress supports and 1 1/2 inches protrude on the bottom end, beyond the two-by-four frame.

  3. Drill pilot holes through the outside of the bed frame and into the legs, making four holes for each leg. Drive a 4 1/2-inch finish-head screw through each hole to secure the legs.


Add stain or paint for a finishing touch, or just leave your wood raw for natural beauty.


Always wear safety glasses and hearing protection when working with power tools.