How to Make a Platform Bed Out of Recycled Material

Instead of buying a new platform bed, make your own by repurposing materials such as sturdy old bookcases or wooden wine cases.

Making your own platform bed is the ideal way to upcycle old materials into new, useful furnishings. Sturdy structures such as wooden crates and bookcases form the base for the bed; dress up the look with paints, if you like; or leave the original materials as-is to show off their origins.

Create With Crates

Sturdy wooden wine crates -- all the same size -- serve as a functional base for your platform bed with plenty of mattress support. Measure your mattress; then measure each crate to determine how many rows and columns of crates you'll need to support the mattress, allowing a little wood to show on the sides. Arrange the crates so their company logos face outward to show off their wine labels, or set them on their sides with every other crate offering an open space around the perimeter of the bed -- perfect for stashing slippers or reading materials. Build the bed by attaching the crates to one another with screws so they don't slide apart. Sand the top of the platform smooth and add several coats of polyurethane, if desired.

Case Base

Repurpose several bookcases or sturdy wooden shelf units into a platform bed of your own design. Flip matching bookcases side by side so the backs face up. Cut a piece of thick plywood to span the backs of the bookcases if the backs are not sturdy enough to support a mattress; if the bookcase backs are made of thick wood, you won't need the plywood. Attach the bookcases together with screws; then paint or varnish them to suit the room's decor. Use a series of short shelving units, such as those designed to hold shoes, to form a platform bed base with plenty of cubbyhole space around it. Select shelf units made of wood rather than fiberboard for strength. Connect the units together with screws once you're pleased with the layout.

From Barn to Base

Transform an old sliding barn door into a rustic platform bed with minimal construction required. Select a door large enough and sturdy enough to hold the mattress, followed by a frame of thick boards to support the door from beneath, built as high as you'd like the bed base to rest. Build the frame so it rests 10 inches or so inside the perimeter of the door for a "floating" bed effect. Sand away flaking paint and wipe the door clean; then repaint it or seal with polyurethane or wax to keep the paint, new or old, in place. Connect the frame you built to the door with L brackets or screws. Decorative, solid wood entry doors may be used in place of barn doors; visit a few salvage yards to find the perfect door.

Things You Will Need

  • 2 to 8 wooden pallets
  • Electric sander
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • 2 pieces of 2-by-4-inch lumber, 6 feet long
  • 2 1/2-inch wood screws
  • 1 1/2-inch wood screws
  • Electric screwdriver
  • 6 Metal casters

About the Author

Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies.