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DIY Adjustable Bed: How to Build a Bed Frame for an Adjustable Bed

By Maurice

DIY Adjustable Bed

Adjustable beds provide excellent benefits for your health and sleep quality. These devices allow you to customize your rest, switching between different positions until you find the best one for you. However, they can be costly and include features that are not always necessary. So, can you build an adjustable bed frame by yourself?

Building a DIY adjustable bed is a challenging process but not impossible. The first thing you need is the right tools and materials. Once you have everything required, you can start crafting the headboard and footboard. Then, you can add the side rails and slats, and finally, the adjustable panel.

In today's guide, we'll take a look at how to build an adjustable bed frame at home. We'll give you all the information needed so that you can efficiently complete this DIY project. You'll also find some valuable resources like material suggestions and recommended tools.

What Do I Need to Build a Bed Frame for an Adjustable Bed?

Building an adjustable bed is not for amateurs and can take three days. So, before starting, you need to ensure you have time available. You can finish this project in a weekend, but you'll have to focus on it with minimal breaks.

Here are the tools and equipment you'll need:

  • Wood filler and glue
  • Pocket jig
  • Woodscrews: ½”, 1”, 1 ½”, 2”, 2 ½” (1.2, 2.5, 3.8, 5, 6.3 cm)
  • 4/6 standard metal hinges
  • Two steel handlebars: 25" long and 15" high (63.5 x 38.1 cm)
  • Circular saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Sheet sander (180-220 sandpaper)
  • Drill with a countersink bit

These are the materials needed to build an adjustable bed:

  • 1 wood boards: 35” long x 31” wide x ½” thick (88.9 x 78.7 x 1.2 cm)
  • 1 wood board: 34” long x 16.7” wide x ¼” thick (86.3 x 42.4 x 0.6 cm)
  • 4 wood strips: 34” long x 1 ½” wide x ¼” thick (86.3 x 3.8 x 0.6 cm)

Note: This project should not cost more than a couple of hundred dollars, depending on the size of the bed you want.

DIY Adjustable Bed - Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that you have all the materials, tools, and equipment, you can start the process of building an adjustable bed.

The following steps and instructions are meant for building a twin-size adjustable bed:

1

Sanding

Sanding is one of the most important steps. If you do not sand your bed right, you risk damaging your mattress. When the mattress is damaged, you'll need to buy a new one, defeating the purpose of saving money by building the bed frame yourself.


There are three wood boards and four wood strips that need to be sanded. So, before thinking about anything else, use the sandpaper or sheet sander to remove any imperfections from the boards' surfaces.

After sanding, you need to clean the panels to remove any residue. Once you've finished cleaning, you can continue with the next steps.


If you need some sanding tips, you can check out this video:

Note: To improve the durability of your DIY adjustable bed frame, we recommend applying wood treatment to the boards and strips. It will keep the frame protected against humidity and other elements.

2

Install the First Set of Hinges

Once your boards are ready, you can proceed to the next step, which is installing the hinges that will connect the headboard and footboard.

So, the first thing you need to do is pick up one of the 35" long (88.9 cm) boards.


Follow the next steps:

  1. 1
    Mark the board 7" (17.7 cm) from the long edge of the board, and make another similar mark on the opposite end.
  2. 2
    Place one hinge on the edge of the board and trace it with a pen so that you can mark where it will go. Do the same on the opposite edge.
  3. 3
    It is time to carve down the area where the hinges will go. You should do it just enough to allow the hinges to flush.
  4. 4
    Now, place the hinges in the carved areas and tighten them. You should use your drill now to create the holes where you'll put the screws to attach the hinges to the boards.
  5. 5
    Once you've created the holes, you can start screwing the hinges.

Note: If your screws are longer than the thickness of your wood board, you need to cut them. It is dangerous to leave screw tips unattended when doing DIY projects.


Once the hinges are done, you can join both 35" (88.9 cm) boards. You only need to screw the second board to the hinges.


Do it carefully and measure correctly so that both boards are placed together with the same dimensions. By the end, both boards should open and close like a book.

3

Second Set of Hinges

You’ll need the second set of hinges to install the brakes for your new adjustable bed. Without these hinges, you won't be able to keep your bed frame in a different position.

Follow the next steps:

  1. 1
    Measure 7" (17.7 cm) from the edge of the board's side and mark there. Do the same from the opposite side of the board. Both marks should be aligned in the middle of the board's total length.
  2. 2
    Place both remaining hinges and trace around them with a pen.
  3. 3
    Carve the area slightly to allow the hinges to sit perfectly without any obstruction.
  4. 4
    Mark the place where each screw hole will go on the board. Then, remove the hinges and start drilling.
  5. 5
    Put the hinges back again and screw them into position.

Note: We recommend not picking the best-looking side of the board to put the stand hinges. If you do, whenever you remove the mattress, you'll be left with the least attractive side.

4

First Part of the Brakes Mechanism

Now that you've installed the brake hinges, you can install the stand board for the brakes mechanism. You'll need the 34" (86.3 cm) long wood board and the recently installed second set of hinges for this part of the process.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. 1
    Align the stand board with the headrest board. Ensure they are as even as possible before proceeding to the next step.
  2. 2
    Place the board close to the hinges and mark the space where they will go. Remember that you should install the brakes to fit the hinges in a closed position and not an open one.
  3. 3
    Using the marks, drill the necessary holes for the screws.
  4. 4
    Place the board in the position you will use it, and screw the hinges.
  5. 5
    Now that the board is attached, you need to test that the mechanism works. There should be no obstructions for the hinges to move correctly.

Note: Be careful during this step. If you misplace the hinges or board, you'd need to start all over again.

5

Create the Brakes

You need the four wood strips of 34" (86.3 cm) length for the next step. These strips will be placed on the wood board that doesn't have the brake hinges.


The idea is that the strips will work as brakes whenever you switch positions because the two boards will open and close as if they were a book.


We won't be adding a zero-gravity mechanism in this particular project, so you'll only need brakes on one side of the adjustable frame.

Here's what you need to do:

  1. 1
    Ensure the wood strips are entirely sanded and treated.
  2. 2
    Pick up one of the strips, and apply wood glue to one side.
  3. 3
    Place the glued side of the strip on the edge of the board.
  4. 4
    Nail down the glued strip to ensure it won't move when using the mechanism. We recommend nailing it at least six times across its length.
  5. 5
    If the nails are too long, cut them down.
  6. 6
    After nailing the first strip, you can continue with the other ones. It is the same process for the other three. You only need to measure around 2 ½" (6.3 cm) between each strip.  
  7. 7
    Once you've finished, you can test your new adjustable bed mechanism.

You can leave the project that way, but we recommend one more step before finishing your new adjustable bed frame.

6

Install the Handles

Commercial adjustable beds have electronic mechanisms that lift the bed. You only need to trigger the bed with a button on the remote control. However, your DIY frame will not have the same capacity, making it difficult to use unless you add a couple of handlebars.


The idea of adding handlebars is to make switching positions more accessible. With this design, you can raise the headrest without moving the entire bed to do it.


Here's what you need to do:

  1. 1
    Grab two steel handlebars.
  2. 2
    Measure around 7" (17.7 cm) from the side edges of the board that will be facing up.
  3. 3
    Now, mark the area and place the handlebars there. You'll need to mark again the place where the screws will go.
  4. 4
    Screw the handlebars into the board.
  5. 5
    Now, taste to see if the handlebars can withstand the weight of lifting the frame with the mattress on it.

The handlebars need to be easy to access, so place them at the edge of the board. That way, you can easily trigger the mechanism by just lifting the handlebars.


Note: This project covers how to build a basic adjustable with a low budget. However, there are other ways to make the bed provide better customization.


Some DIY adjustable bed projects even let you create zero-gravity and anti-snore positions. Although, they also tend to be more expensive and require more time and effort.

DIY Adjustable Bed Frame Plans - Best Plans on the Internet

Finding the plans for an adjustable bed frame is a challenging task. If you want detailed plans, you will need to join some woodworking or engineering forums on the Internet. You can join platforms like Quora, Reddit, or Discord.

Through these platforms, you'll be able to connect with DIY enthusiasts like you and share plans for other projects in exchange for adjustable bed frame plans.

Best Videos on DIY Adjustable Beds

If you need a more visual guide on how to build an adjustable bed frame, you can check out the following videos:

Note: Remember that you need to adjust the measurements of your own project depending on the bed size you want.

DIY Headboard for Adjustable Bed - How to Build Your Own Adjustable Bed Headboard

Almost any type of headboard can work with an adjustable bed as long as it has headboard brackets. You can build a regular DIY headboard for your bed, and at the end, add the brackets so that you can attach the adjustable frame to it.

Here's what you need:

  • 3 furring strip boards: 1” x 2” x 8” (2.5 x 5 x 20.3 cm)
  • 9 furring strip boards: 1” x 4” x 8” (2.5 x 10 x 20.3 cm)
  • Headboard brackets
  • Wood glue
  • Screws
  • Sandpaper

These are the steps you have to follow:

  1. 1
    Sand the boards and treat them carefully to ensure their longevity.
  2. 2
    Place the nine boards beside one another in the way you'd like to display them.
  3. 3
    Glue the sides of the boards together. You'll need to keep the boards together while the glue dries.
  4. 4
    Add wood filler if there are any gaps noticeable. Remember that you want the best-looking side of the boards to be displayed as your headboard.
  5. 5
    Now, use the three remaining boards to create the headboard design. Place each board on the edges of the glued nine boards. These parts should be placed on the side of the board that faces towards the bed.
  6. 6
    Glue the boards together and screw them in for better resistance.
  7. 7
    Once you are done, you can paint the headboard or leave it the way it is for a more rustic style.
  8. 8
    Add the brackets that will attach to the adjustable bed frame.

Building your own headboard for an adjustable bed should be too challenging. However, if you need a more visual guide, you can check out this headboard DIY tutorial:

Conclusion

Adjustable beds are beneficial for a wide variety of reasons. However, they are also costly compared to regular beds. So, if you want to enjoy the benefits without spending too much, you can build your own.

Building an adjustable bed is a medium-level DIY project, and you should not try it without previous experience. It requires the use of jigsaws and other dangerous tools, so be careful, especially if you are new to this kind of project.

Overall, building your own adjustable bed shouldn't cost more than a couple of hundred dollars, depending on the level of customization you want. The cost will also vary if you want a queen or king-size model.


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