Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Our New Upcycled Guest Bed -- Completely Free and Very Easy!

When we were first married we lived in a two bedroom apartment, one room for us and one for guests. Then we had our first child and while he started off in our room, by a certain point he ended up getting the second bedroom, and we lost our guest bedroom.
When we moved to our smaller apartment nearly 6 years ago, we still had two bedrooms, but one was teeny tiny, and it got filled with two children, my two boys, while my daughters slept in our room.
I enjoy having guests, and one of the hardest things for me about our extra small space was our inability to host anyone - at first we didn't even have a couch in our very small living room/dining room/kitchen.
We managed to find a couch that fit our extra small dimensions and bought an Ikea Solsta couch that opened up into a bed! We could have guests at last, even if it meant them sleeping in our living room. Only the bed that opened up was extremely uncomfortable- two thirds of it was padded but the last third was just wood covered in fabric, not something I'd offer to a guest. We had children over (nephew and niece) who were short enough to fit on the soft 2/3 of the couch bed, but no sleep over adult guests.

One of the things that excited me most about our new and much more spacious house was that it had three bedrooms, one which became my office, but also is intended to double as a guest room. However. while I wanted a guest room for so long, with so many expenses involved in moving and setting up a bigger household and all the new furniture we needed, a guest bedroom just wasn't a priority from a financial perspective. And so, despite our larger home, we still didn't have accommodations for guests.
We do have a spare mattress that was fitting under the triple bunk bed in my kids room, for when my daughters want to sleep in separate beds, and when my little sister Lizzy asked to spend the weekend, I set up that mattress in the guest bedroom, which was OK to sleep on, but honestly, wasn't the nicest accommodations so I wouldn't feel comfortable inviting anyone else to sleep over with the room looking like that.

The other day my husband came home from work with a bedding set with which he was gifted by a coworker, who received it but didn't like it. While pretty, it wasn't what I wanted in my bedroom, as it didn't suit the color scheme there, and wasn't suitable for my kids bedroom since it was just for one bed and my kids have matching bedding. So I put it aside, thinking it to just be unusable clutter for which I had no need or desire.

Yesterday when I was taking a walk I noticed this gorgeous headboard next to the dumpster and upon taking a closer look, saw a matching footboard. My husband, currently on spring break from work, told me that he planned on using some of his free time to catch up on projects he'd been intending to do around the house. Mike mentioned wanting to build a bed in the guest room from scrap wood. When I saw those headboard and footboards I was in love. I knew they'd be the perfect way to make our guest room bed, without needing to do too much work. The headboard and footboard were nice thick, high quality wood, and I didn't see any discernible reason as to why it was being tossed. I called up my husband who then came to help me carry them home; Today, we used them to build our new bed.

Sitting in our yard was a large piece of wood that in its past incarnation was the base of a bed that had broken; we took that bed apart to use its components in various projects. This piece of wood was a large rectangle of plywood with a frame and supports pieces made of thicker wooden beams. It is one solid and strong piece, and I'm glad my husband discouraged me from using it from a variety of other projects, since he had planned on using it to build our guest room bed.

The combination of a sturdy base and a strong, beautiful matching headboard and footboard seemed perfect, and the best and easiest way to make a durable, aesthetic bed, without needing to expend a lot of time or effort. And of course, it was basically free. The end results were even better than I could have imagined, and the total time spent was negligible. Actual work on the bed was under 45 minutes. (We made a mistake and fixing the mistake tacked on an additional 28 minutes of work, so the total time on this project was under an hour and fifteen minutes.)

To make the bed was very simple. We screwed strong large metal L shaped braces to both sides of the headboard, and both sides of the footboard, which we'd use to attach the base board. This is where we made the mistake- we accidentally attached them a few inches too high the first time, so after connecting the entire bed, had to take it apart and reattach it lower.

Each of these braces cost about $2, so this whole bed would have cost us $8 in supplies, however we had those braces at home already, so no money was actually spent on this project.

We used a lot of screws to attach the braces to both the headboard and footboard and the plywood base. The hardest part about this probably was the fact that Mike needed to get down on the floor to do this....

Once attached in all four corners, we decided to give the bed a little extra support. We took a 2x4 wooden plank that we had leftover in our yard from an old project, cut it to size, and then placed it between the footboard and the headboard on the side of the bed next to the wall. Once screwed into place, the bed became very strong and stable.

We left the outward side of the bed open, because we plan on getting a pop up trundle bed to fit underneath at some point, so that we can host more than one guest in here.

(To give credit where credit is deserved, I didn't do much of the physical work on this bed, other than lugging home the pieces. I did do a little bit of the drilling but most of that was Mike. What I did do was the planning, measuring, marking, and holding things together while my husband drilled and cut.)

Unfortunately, the mattress we have is a little narrower than this bed, so the bed isn't 100% perfect, but we'll be on the lookout for a new mattress and will replace it when we can.

And that bed set that my husband received?
It's the perfect touch for this bed. The blanket is extra big, which means that it drapes down over the side, and hides the fact that the mattress is slightly smaller than the bed.

I love it! The room is now transformed completely. The bed and bedding now are inspiring me to want to decorate this room and make it as perfect of a guest room as I can. I'm really excited!

Have you ever made any furniture on your own? What was it, and how hard was it to make? Are you adept with power tools?
Upcycled anything fun lately? What was it?


  1. What a beautiful bed! Very happy for you.

  2. wow! really pretty! you guys are terrific,working together! lovely room! may your new home continue to be filled with your beautiful ideas that you share with us!

  3. Love it! That bedding is so cool. I would want to hang it as a tapestry. Sadly, I haven't been able to do much of anything do to my right heel hurting me, but I have a week off from work coming soon and I hope to get some painting & yard work done. Bought a little greenhouse from Aldi that I want to use for spinach since I eat that almost daily. Keep up the great work around the house, can't wait to see what you folks do next.


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