How to Set Up a Wooden Bed Frame

F.R.R. Mallory

Wooden bed frames are common and fairly easy to set up. The bed frame consists of a headboard and a footboard and two side rails. In addition, the box spring is supported by a series of wood slats. These slats distribute the weight of the bed and bed occupants across the length of the bed.

Wood bed frames can be set up easily.

This type of standard bed does not need to be connected to the wall, and its simple yet sturdy design, makes it easy to move the bed when needed.

  1. Gather all of the pieces of the bed together in the room where the bed will be set up. You should have a headboard, a footboard and two side rails. In addition, you will have several wood slats, and your bed may have decorative post caps or pegs.

  2. Place the headboard against the wall where it will be positioned. You want the headboard to be tilted just enough not to fall over. Arrange your rails on the sides where they belong. Usually the outside of the rail is stained and finished. The inside has a lip along the bottom edge, and the ends have long hooks that point downward. Place the footboard close to the ends of the rails. Lean it on something to keep it upright.

  3. Slide the headboard end of one rail into the headboard. Usually the large hooks on the rail ends slide into notches cut in the post section of the headboard. You will need to lift the rail so that it is perpendicular to the headboard. This is easier if two people work together. Press the rail straight in to the slot, and the hooks in the end should drop down over internal pegs. The rail needs to be straight, perpendicular and level for this to happen.

  4. Slide the other end of the same rail into the corresponding slots in the footboard. Once both the headboard and footboard are standing up and the rail is in position, it should drop down over the internal pegs. You may need to help it a little by tamping the tops of the rails near the head and footboards, using a rubber mallet. Once the rail is installed, do the second rail the same way.

  5. Place one slat 1 foot from the headboard from one side rail to the other. Place a second slat 1 foot from the footboard. Count your remaining slats and evenly space them across the side rails.


Sometimes the receiving ledges that carry the slats come loose. If so, use your screwdriver to tighten the screws.