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How to Build a Case Study Inspired Bed

I had no prior experience in building furniture. I had my husband help me build this bed and it took us two days to build it, excluding the drying time for the stain. The bed is a queen size measuring 64” W x 82” L. It is pretty sturdy and has no problem (so far) supporting two adults, two dogs, and two cats at the same time (total weight of 400 pounds). It cost us about $350 (as of August, 2009) to build this bed.

Some people had asked me to post more detailed instructions, so here it is – I did my best. This is not a carpentry blog, so please forgive me if the instructions are somewhat vague…

Caution before you tackle this project:

  • If you have a question, please feel free to contact me. However, I am not a professional furniture builder – I may not be able to answer questions that are too technical.
  • I am not sure how strong this bed will be in the long run.
  • If you don’t have basic carpentry skills, find someone who does to help you.
  • I cannot be responsible if the bed doesn’t turn out right for you. If you have a doubt about my measurements, I recommend you make your cuts a few inches longer.


1. Build a support (bottom) frame – this part will not show once the bed is complete

a. Lay four (4) 2 x 6 pieces flat and attach (screw) them together with wood glue and four (4) metal braces.

b. Attach (screw) three (3) 2 x 4 pieces inside of the 2 x 6 frame with wood glue and five (5) metal braces for additional support.

c. Attach all eight (8) legs.

d. Attache two (2) L-shaped metal braces for a headboard. Attach while the bottom frame is still upside down. You will need to prop the bottom frame up to do this. Leave an enough space for the headboard to slide in (between the support frame and corner of the braces).

e. Flip the bottom frame once the glue is dry.

2. Attach (glue and screw) the top frame to the support (bottom) frame – the top frame is the visible part of the bed. The side and foot pieces overhangs by 3″ – be sure to screw where the mattress covers the screw holes. Use clamps!

3. Attach (glue and screw) slats to the support (bottom) frame.

4. Fill the screw holes with wood filler, sand and stain the top frame. Follow manufacturer’s instruction.

5. Headboard

a. I used iron-on oak veneer edge banding for edges. I then sanded and stained before attaching it to the body.

b. Attach the headboard. Be sure to use the short screws for the upper part of the L-shaped braces (so they don’t go through to the other side). Screw (with longer screws) into the support (bottom) frame as well.

6. Finished product.

Material List:
This material list is to make a queen size bed that measures 64” W x 82” L. You may need to make adjustments according to your needs and the size of your mattress.

You should be able to obtain all the materials locally except the hairpin legs. You will need to order the legs from hairpinlegs.com. These legs are made to order, so I recommend ordering them ahead of a time.

You will need a lot of different kind/size screws. I cannot remember exactly what kind/size of screws I used. All I can say is that you would want to use the strongest/longest screws possible for maximum support. If you are not sure what kind/size of screws you need, please consult with a store associate (good luck!) where you are purchasing your materials.

For the Support (bottom) Frame:
The support (bottom) frames measures 58” W x 79” L. The top frame will over hang the bottom frame by 3” on each side and foot of the bed.

* 2 – 79” 2 x 6
* 2 – 47” 2 x 6
* 1 – 68” 2 x 4
* 2 – 22″ 2 x 4 (21.75″ to be exact – I made a mistake cutting mine a little too short, so I listed as 22″)
* 9 – 10” metal braces
* Screws to attach the metal braces
* 6 to 8 – 8” Hairpin legs (only four legs are visible from outside – I used four hairpin legs and four wooden legs, but I recommend using the same type of legs because it can be hard to match the height of the two different kind of legs)
* Screws to attach the hairpin legs
* 2 – 10” L-shaped metal braces to attach a headboard
* Screws to attach the L-shaped braces to the support frame

L Shape Brace

For the Top Frame:
* 1 – 64” 1 x 6 red oak board
* 2 – 76 ½” 1 x 6 red oak board
* 1 – 53” 1 X 3 red oak board
* Screws

For the Slats:
* 11 – 52.5” 1 x 4 (you may need more/less 1 x 4s depending on your spacing between slats)
* Screws

For the Headboard:
* 1 – 22” x 64” Furniture grade oak plywood – I cut a notch on each side (bottom)
* Screws to attach the headboard to the L-shaped metal braces which are already attached to the support frame
* Iron-on oak veneer edge banding

*Wood glue
*Tape measure
*Carpenter’s square
*Sanding block or paper (150 grit)
*Wood filler
*Safety glasses
*Wood stain of your choice and tools recommended for applying the stain

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27 responses so far

27 Responses to “How to Build a Case Study Inspired Bed”

  1. Candison 14 Jun 2010 at 10:10 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for posting these detailed instructions. I made my own bed this weekend after lusting after a platform bed for years. Your directions were perfect and my bed looks great!

  2. adminon 15 Jun 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Good to know my directions worked! Thank you!

  3. rachel nyssenon 26 Oct 2010 at 3:13 pm

    thank you so much for posting this!
    the power of google is amazing 🙂
    it is truly serendipitous (?) that i have stumbled across this just now. we have been so disappointed with the wood platform bed we just bought (rather impulsively, out of necessity) (quickly realized it is a shin buster and a toe-cruncher and not tall enough for storage underneath.) –that we are returning it and have been scouring the internet for something else. we could not find anything that we wanted and my husband decided we should just make our own. we put together a design taken from things that we did like: a flat top and legs that were set farther in from the corners. we love modern furniture but cannot afford it, so what a wonderful discovery in your instructions! i am so excited for us to make our own bed now and return the ugly beast that sits in our room.
    three cheers to you for doing this in the first place 🙂

  4. Justinon 23 Apr 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I’m building this along with the atomic nightstands (because I have no creativity, or because you found an idea too perfect to pass up) and wanted to say thank you for the detailed instructions. Bought all of the supplies today and buying the wood tonight. ROCK!

  5. adminon 23 Apr 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I am glad you liked my bed and nightstands. Good luck on your projects 🙂

  6. Jakeon 29 Apr 2011 at 11:37 am

    Just wondering how your bed is holding up. It looks like a lot of the weight/pressure is supported by the metal braces, so I was wondering if you’ve experienced any sturdiness problems… I really like the look of it.

  7. adminon 30 Apr 2011 at 6:14 pm

    The bed is holding up well. No problem so far 🙂

  8. Cristinaon 26 Jul 2011 at 7:51 pm

    How tall are the hairpin legs?

  9. adminon 27 Jul 2011 at 9:23 pm

    The hairpin legs are 8 inches tall.

  10. Francison 22 May 2012 at 10:19 am

    Hi, can you tell me where you sourced the brackets holding the 2×2 posts holding up the interior part of the bed? I can’t find them anywhere!

  11. adminon 23 May 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I bought everything at LOWE’s except the hairpin legs. If you are not in the U.S., your best bet is to visit your local hardware store.

  12. Lisaon 18 Aug 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Hi, I loved the look and just started this bed, although I should point out that the measurements above are off. I unfortunately did not do the math before I made all the cuts and started building, but the 47″ 2x6s on the bottom should in fact be 49″ or else you don’t end up with a 64″ wide frame. (In other words, if the bottom frame is supposed to be 58″ (as you say) and the top frame is supposed to overhang by 2 inches on either side, you only get to 62″ . . . ). I will probably be able to salvage the one I started, since the asymmetry will not be visible and I will just cross my fingers that the one 1×6 that will only lap the 2×4 by 1.5″ or so won’t crack. I’m going to upholster it so I don’t think it will. Thanks for the plans though, I haven’t been able to find anything as usable/doable online. . .

  13. Markon 16 Sep 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I agree the measurements are definitely way off. The top 1×3 measures 52.5 wide + 12(6 inch board x 2)=64.5
    The frame is 58 + 4(2 inch overhang both ends) =62
    Even the simple 2×4 math is off 49 the 2×6 width does not match the 2 x 22 inch 2×4 pieces. They should be 21.75×2 (not 22)+ 3.5(2×4 in the middle width)=47
    Therefore the top frame is way off.

  14. adminon 16 Sep 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Lisa – I am sorry for the inconvinience. In fact, the overhang should be 3″, not 2″ – that’s my mistake. The 2×6 piece for the bottom frame is indeed 47″ to make up the final 58″ frame (47″+5.5″+5.5″=58″), because two side pieces are actually 5.5″ wide, not 6″ (the width of the 2×6 is not really 6″, but 5.5″). Adding 3″ (once again, not 2″) overhang on each side, the top frame measures 64″ (58″+3″+3″=64″).

  15. adminon 16 Sep 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Mark – this plan was written by a super novice DIYer, so comments like this are greatly appreciated.

    The width of a 1×6 board is actually 5.5″ wide, not 6″. I corrected 52.5″ wide to 53″. (53″+5.5″+5.5″=64″)

    “Even the simple 2×4 math is off 49 the 2×6 width does not match the 2 x 22 inch 2×4 pieces. They should be 21.75×2 (not 22)+ 3.5(2×4 in the middle width)=47”
    I put 22″ (just 1/4″ extra), because when I cut mine for 21.75″, it ended up just a little too short. I think I had the saw blade on the wrong side of my pencil mark. I’m a novice in using power tools. Anyways, I thought I’d leave it 22″ just in case something like that happens to other people. They can always trim it down if it’s a little too long.

  16. Markon 17 Sep 2012 at 7:22 am

    Thanks so much I really do appreciate your response and these plans in the first place without them we would never have our new bed! The 2″ overhang was really messing me up.

  17. kton 27 May 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Love this! I have been scouring the web trying to find something like this to be able to use in our spare bedroom/sewing room. 350 days out of the year we don’t need the bed but for the roughly two weeks people come visit, it’s nice to have. We’re looking at modifying it some and using it as a Murphy bed or at least one that we can attach to the wall minus the mattress. Our goal is to build the platform and then use an air mattress so that it will sit more flush against the wall. I think the thing that sold us was the hairpin legs! Thank you!

    PS….if you have any thoughts on the murphy-ness of a platform like this, we’d love them!


  18. Chrison 10 Jun 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Hey, guys. This bed looks like it came out pretty great. I’m thinking about building one, but I wanted to ask how it’s held up so far?

  19. Jeffon 25 Jul 2013 at 11:17 pm

    I’m thinking I might tackle this project but instead of a Queen size I’d like to build an Eastern King. By chance, do you know how I should modify the dimensions all around? Thank you!

  20. Ericon 08 Sep 2013 at 10:59 am

    Hey what did you put on your hairpin legs to stop them from damaging your floor?

  21. Ericon 08 Sep 2013 at 11:11 am

    Also if I were to use the hairpin legs instead of the wood on the middle legs would I need to use all 2×6’s to accomodate the mounting bracket of the hairpin leg?

  22. Colinon 27 May 2014 at 1:19 pm


    This is exactly the type of homemade frame I am looking to use for my son and dog. I will make adjustments for a Twin mattress but my question is more about attaching the top frame to the bottom support frame. Is there a description of how the top frame should be constructed or am I just not seeing it?

  23. Anneon 26 May 2015 at 10:44 pm

    I am curious why did you choose to use 2×6? and use a metal repair brace rather than dowels. How did you hold the top together.. more braces?
    I used your plans but dropped the bottom to 1×6 and used dowels, glue and no braces.
    and tapered legs that copy the dwr dot com case study bed.
    1×6 seem a lot of overkill.. must be very heavy to move? thanks..

    I agree with Colin there were no photos of the way you screwed and glued top to bottom.. thanks.. anne

  24. Georgeon 29 May 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Thanks for the instructions! Ive been looking for one for a bed like this for a while! Did you use a kregg jigg in addition to the metal braces to screw the flat frames together?


  25. Tabithaon 20 Nov 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Can someone post that corrected measurements?
    This is getting too confusing because I can’t tell what the true measurements are from the comments. I would really like to build this.

  26. Julieon 16 Feb 2016 at 8:58 am

    I love this bed! I am wondering how the floors beneath the hairpin legs hold up? Do they get scratched or dented at all?

  27. Darylon 29 Apr 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Just a few questions: How about attaching the top frame while the bottom frame is still upside down, that way you screw the top frame on from underneath, and NO SCREW HOLES to fill.
    A carpenter friend thought the design could lead to warpage of the longer 2×6 boards as there was not really much to prevent that other than the top frame. Has anyone had any problem with this??
    I will only be screwing the slats in place (no glue) as I want to save weight while the frame is being taken around several corners and up 2 flights. I will probably screw AND glue the middle slat, positioning it right over the center brace as soon as possible for stabilization. Maybe also the last slat on each end. Then dividing the left over space for slats when the bed is in its final location.
    I will probably be attaching the corners with pocket hole jigs (& glue) rather than steel plates, might add the plates later if any play.

    thanks for this bed–which will provide my grandaughter with sense of accomplishment.

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