How to Make a Bed in a Closet

Following the post-WWII building boom, many Americans aspired to super-sized residences -- more bedrooms, bigger kitchens, huge basements.
Clean out and measure the space to determine the optimal bed size.Clean out and measure the space to determine the optimal bed size.
Matters have changed radically over time and these days, “small and simple” is a trend many have adopted. Creativity is key to renovating and decorating rooms that belie their size, which is the reason trompe l’oeil art and multipurpose furnishings have become so popular. Homeowners no longer see the idea of making a bed in a closet as a weird suggestion. These days, it’s just another novel way to artfully use space.

Step 1

Remove the closet door or doors. Clean out and repaint the interior of your closet after removing the clothing rack and/or built-in storage units occupying the space. You can remove sliding door tracks if you’re an aesthetics purist and don’t like the look of those metal channels.

Step 2

Measure the closet interior and the width of the door opening to determine the maximum size of mattress you can squeeze into your closet space and still move around. Standard single mattresses measure 39 by 75 inches while doubles measure about 53 by 75 inches. The size of your door opening may be the ultimate determinate; a standard closet door usually measures 28 by 72 inches, but if you can't squeeze the mattress through the opening, you may need to compromise.

Step 3

Create a faux headboard using the back wall of the closet as your canvas. Paint a mural, wallpaper either the entire back wall or a section that runs around 30 inches from the floor, install a section of wainscoting to fashion an attractive faux headboard or, if room allows, mount a prefabricated headboard on the wall using a drill, anchors and bolts.

Step 4

Disguise the light bulb hanging from the ceiling before you install your bed while there’s still room to move around; it’s now your chandelier, so the least you can do is put a nice shade over the bulb or replace the fixture with one that’s a little more attractive. If your ceiling fixture is triggered by a string or chain, replace it with a long length of ribbon and a decorative pull so you can turn the light on and off from your closet bed.

Step 5

Assemble a metal bed frame if you want the most amount of bed height in the closet, but you can save the cash and put a box spring and mattress on the floor to get adequate back support. Assemble the bed frame inside the closet if you’re installing a single bed along the back wall or construct it outside the closet and slide it into position so the pillow area abuts the wall. Slide a box spring and mattress atop the frame or floor.

Step 6

Add a small cubbyhole unit in your closet bedroom if space allows. Fill the shelves with bedside reading, a tray for stashing your cell phone and other electronic devices and place a bedside jar of scent diffuser beside the bed so it fills your closet chamber with lavender or another scent that sends you off to sleep. No candles, please. Save those for entertaining outside your closet bedroom.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Carpentry tools
  • Paint
  • Box spring
  • Mattress
  • Ceiling fixture
  • Ribbon
  • Cubby unit
  • Bed frame (optional)
  • Headboard (optional)
  • Anchors/bolts (optional)

About the Author

Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.