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How to Assemble a Sleigh Bed

Kathy Adams

A sleigh bed takes center stage as a focal point for the bedroom with its classic tall headboard and matching, shorter foot board. The entire bed structure is a bit on the large side, so a new sleigh bed requires assembly.

Choose the location for your sleigh bed before assembly for best results.

While the specifics may vary from brand to brand or style to style, the basic setup method remains the same for many sleigh beds. Perform the assembly where you want the bed to stay, because moving it after putting it together is a bit more difficult and may loosen the headboard or foot board.

  1. Clear the space designated for the bed, moving furniture or obstructions for several feet surrounding the space. This way you have unobstructed access to all areas around the bed as you work.

  2. Lean the headboard against at wall with its front facing forward. Set the side rails at each side and rest the footboard at the end of the side rails, opposite the headboard. If the footboard is curved, make sure the curve faces outward.

  3. Separate and count all the hardware included with the bed, such as nuts and bolts, to make sure all pieces are present. An instruction sheet should indicate the types and quantities of each part. If pieces are missing, contact the retailer to acquire the pieces you need to complete the job.

  4. Insert threaded rods into the posts or legs on each side of the headboard so the rods protrude toward the side rails. In some cases, the hardware may include bolts instead. Insert bolts through the back of the headboard posts so the open end protrudes toward the side rails.

  5. Push the headboard-facing end of one side rail over the threaded rod or bolt on its respective side. Slide a washer and nut over the rod or bolt, or just a nut if there is no washer. Tighten the nut partially, using an adjustable wrench, until the side rail snugs up against the headboard post. Repeat the process with the other side rail.

  6. Insert threaded rods or bolts into the posts on each side of the footboard. Slide the end of each side rail over the threaded rod or bolt, and then place a nut over each rod or bolt. Tighten the nuts with an adjustable wrench.

  7. Attach the short support posts to the boards designed to span between the side rails; these hold up the box spring. The support posts attach perpendicular to the longer board that goes across the center, with one screw each. Insert the screw and tighten with a Philips screwdriver. Repeat the process with the several remaining boards.

  8. Set the assembled boards inside the bed frame with the short posts pointing downward, like extra legs for the bed. Align the holes in each board end with holes in the bottom lip of the side rails. Insert a screw in each hole and tighten it down completely with a screwdriver. Double check each board by grabbing it to ensure it's tightly secured.

  9. Set the box spring atop the bed supports, ensuring it is centered within the rails. Set the mattress on top of the box spring.


Some beds include the wrench you need for assembly. Save the tool and any spare parts in a zippered bag, along with assembly instructions and warranty information, for future use. Some sleigh bed models feature a hook-type assembly instead of rods or bolts. The hooks are already attached to side rails and link into place in slots within the headboard and foot board posts.