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Easy to Build DIY Bed

You will never believe how easy it is to build your own bed with this tutorial.

Since we moved last summer, our mattress has been just laying on the floor. No frame, no rails, no box springs. None of that made the move.

And since I am no longer in my 20s (or gulp, 30s), getting off the floor every morning can get rough. So I partnered with Kreg Tools to build a beautiful new bed frame with their amazing pocket hole jig!

Straight on view of the DIY queen bed frame with a mattress inside and pillows leaning on the headboard.

One of the most used tools in my shop is my Kreg pocket hole jig. And it’s no surprise why because it makes big projects like this queen bed frame build so easy!

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Easy Bed Frame with Headboard & Footboard

You might think big projects are harder. But just cause they are big, doesn’t mean they can’t be easy!

The hardest part of this queen bed frame build was waiting for a second set of hands when I needed help to lift the heavy pieces.

I built our bed in a queen size, but I am sharing plans to build this easy bed frame with a headboard and footboard in all the sizes (twin, full, queen, king, and California king). See details below.

Side view of the black queen bed frame with headboard and footboard made from inexpensive lumber.

The bed is made up of 5 easy to assemble pieces:

  1. Headboard
  2. Footboard
  3. Right rails
  4. Left rails
  5. Center support

The pieces are each assembled separately, then held together with bed rail brackets. There are many different types of bed rail brackets, I chose to use these simple surface mount brackets.

You can use the bed rail brackets for the center support as well, but I used an even cheaper option: 2×4 joist hangers. And they are completely hidden inside the bed frame.

Easy to build DIY bed frame stained black with white bedspread and colorful pillows.

The headboard and footboard are super quick to assemble. No fancy joinery is needed, pocket holes are all you need for strong joints.

Platform Style Bed

Our new mattress is the kind that works best on a platform bed frame, not a traditional bed with a box spring. But I wanted a classic looking bed frame with lots of space below for storage.

In order to make the bed frame look traditional, but hold a modern mattress, I made the rails out of 2×8 boards. Then I set the 2x2s that hold the mattress close to the top.

DIY platform bed that looks like a traditional bed with a slatted headboard sitting next to a nightstand.

This gives the appearance of a traditional frame with a box spring. But instead there is just lots of empty space below the mattress.

If you have a traditional mattress with a box springs, you can still make this super simple DIY bed frame. Just lower the 2×2 close to the bottom of the 2×8 rails.

Now you can fit the box springs inside your new bed frame and top it off with your mattress!

Also, the build plans for this bed can work with either bed slats or plywood. We chose plywood since that is what is recommended for our mattress, but you can easily DIY or buy bed slats if that is what you need.

Close up of the easy to build headboard as part of the queen DIY bed tutorial.

How to Build a Bed

Tools & Materials

Recommended Tools:


Cut List

Specific measurements for each size (including number of boards needed) can be found in the detailed PDF build plans for the easy DIY bed in the following sizes:

  • Twin- 38 1/2″ x 75 1/2″ bed frame for a 38″ x 75″ mattress
  • Full- 54 1/2″ x 75 1/2″ bed frame for a 54″ x 75″ mattress
  • Queen- 60 1/2″ x 80 1/2″ bed frame for a 60″ x 80″ mattress
  • King- 76 1/2″ x 80 1/2″ bed frame for a 76″ x 80″ mattress or two 38″ x 80″ mattresses (twin XL)
  • California King – 72 1/2″ x 84 1/2″ bed frame for a 72″ x 84″ mattress
Button to buy the printable PDF woodworking plans for the DIY bed with headboard build.

Prefer to Watch? Check out the YouTube Video

Queen bed video tutorial thumbnail with play button.

STEP 1- Build the Footboard

Cut the footboard legs and slats according to the build plans.

Set your pocket hole jig to drill holes for 1 1/2″ thick material and then drill 3 pocket holes on each end of the back of the 2×8 board.

Drilling pocket holes in the end of the 2x8 board.

Assemble the footboard by attaching the 2×8 between the 4×4 leg pieces. The top of the 2×8 board should be 1 1/2″ below the top of the legs and the back should be flush with the back of the legs.

Secure with wood glue and 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws.

Attaching the legs to either side of the 2x8 board for the footboard.

Last, attach the 2×6 board to the top of the legs so the back is flush with the back of the legs and there is a 1 1/2″ overhang on either side. Secure with lots of wood glue and 2 1/2″ nails.

Nailing the board on the top of the footboard with a nail gun.

You can fill the pocket holes on the footboard if you want, but they will be well hidden by your mattress once assembled.

STEP 2- Build the Headboard

Cut the headboard legs and slats according to the cut list in the plans.

Set your pocket hole jig to drill pocket holes for 1 1/2″ thick material and then drill 3 pocket holes on each end of the back of the 2×8 boards.

Close up of drilling pocket holes in the 2x8 boards with the Kreg K5 pocket hole system.

Attach the 2×8 boards to one side of the 4×4 leg first. Start with the board on the top. Space it 1 1/2″ below the top of the 4×4 leg and set it back 1/2″ from the front.

I used a couple scraps of 1/2″ plywood to easily set the board back on the leg.

Attaching the top 2x8 board for the headboard with pocket holes.

Space each additional 2×8 board 1 1/2″ below the one above it. Secure with wood glue and 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws.

I used a scrap of 2×4 as a spacer between my boards.

Attaching the 2x8 boards to the 4x4 legs with pocket holes using a 2x4 block as a spacer.

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The bottom board should be flush with the front of the legs. This is the back where the mattress sits so you don’t want it set back.

Attaching the bottom 2x8 board so it is flush with the front of the leg board.

Then secure all the boards to the second leg. Make sure to space them all out as you secure the boards with wood glue and 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws.

Attaching the second leg to the headboard with pocket holes.

Once you secure the first 2×8 board to the second leg, the other boards will be snug. If you need to adjust your spacing on the unattached boards, use a clamp to move them.

Using a clamp to properly position the 2x8 boards before attaching them to the leg.

Secure all the boards to the second leg with the same spacing as the first.

Finish the headboard off by attaching the 2×6 board to the top of the legs so the back is flush with the back of the legs and there is a 1 1/2″ overhang on either side. Secure with lots of wood glue and 2 1/2″ nails.

Lining up the top of the headboard before attaching it.

If desired, use a router to round over the edges of the top of the headboard and footboard.

Routing the top edges of the headboard with a round over using a palm router.

STEP 3- Build the Rails

Cut two rail pieces from the 2×8 boards and two rail support pieces from the 2×2 boards.

For the rails, set your 2×2 board down 2″ from the top if you are not using a box spring. This will create a platform like bed, but will look like you have a traditional box spring underneath.

If you want to use a box spring, you can adjust the 2×2″ board down to accommodate the extra height.

To attach the 2×2 boards, first measure and mark your placement. Set the 2×2 boards in 1″ from each end. Add a nice layer of wood glue and secure with 2 1/2″ nails.

Attaching the 2x2 board to the rails with wood glue and a nail gun.

Finish attaching it with 2 1/2″ screws (I used pocket hole screws since they are self tapping and won’t split the wood without pre-drilling). Add screws every 7-8″ along the side.

Repeat for the other rail and you are all done!

Securing the 2x2 board to the bed rails with 2 1/2" screws.

STEP 4- Build the Center Support

Cut the center rail and center leg piece from the 2×4 board (adjust the shorter board if you lowered the 2×2 board on the rails for a box spring) according to the PDF plans.

Drill 2 pocket holes set for 1 1/2″ thick material in one end of the smaller 2×4 board (center leg). Then drill one pocket hole in the same end of the board but the center of the opposite side. Now you have 3 pocket holes in the top of the center leg.

Adding pocket holes to the 2x4 center leg with the Kreg jig.

Attach the leg to the center of the 2×4 board with three 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws and wood glue. Use a face clamp to hold the leg flush with the center support.

Attaching the center leg to the center support with pocket hole screws.

STEP 5- Finish the Pieces

Now it’s time to sand and finish all your pieces.

If you are using construction lumber like I did, start sanding with 100-150 grit sandpaper to smooth the rougher boards. Then finish with 220 grit sandpaper.

Add stain or paint to all your pieces. If you use wood stain, you will also need to seal the wood with 2 or more coats of sealer to prevent the stain from rubbing off on your bedding.

Staining the headboard with True Black wood stain.

I used True Black wood stain from Minwax and then finished with 3 coats of Clear Satin polyurethane. The finish turned out amazing and makes the inexpensive lumber look rich!

STEP 6- Assemble the Finished Bed

Once all the pieces are finished and dry, it’s time to put it all together. Use bed rail brackets to secure the rails to the headboard and footboard.

I set my brackets down 1″ from the top of the rails. Use 1 1/4″ long wood screws to attach the brackets to the rails.

Attaching the bed rail brackets to the rails and headboard.

For the brackets on the leg posts, attach them so the inside edge of the rails is set 1″ back from the center of the leg. This will leave you with a 61″ opening in between the rails to accommodate a queen mattress.

Then slide the brails into the brackets to secure.

Close up picture of the bed rails attached with the bed rail brackets.

Next add the center support. Center the 2×4 on the 2×8 in the headboard and footboard. The top of the 2×4 should be 2″ down from the top of the 2×8 (same height as the top of the 2×2 boards on the rails).

Attach the joist hangers so they cradle the 2×4 board. Secure to the board with a screw also.

Adding the center support to the headboard with a joist hanger.

Now your bed frame is all finished! All that is left is to add your plywood or bed slats. If using plywood, cut 2 pieces 60 1/2″ x 39 1/2″ and lay them in the bed frame, resting on the 2×2 ledges.

If using bed slats, purchase or make your own bed slats. You can cut 1×4 boards 60 1/2″ long and attach them to the 2×2 ledges so they are no more than 3″ apart.

Don’t forget to grab the printable PDF plans here!

Premium plans include:

  • Recommended Tools
  • Materials list
  • Detailed cut list
  • Plywood cut diagrams
  • Step-by-step instructions with 3D renderings
  • Helpful resources
  • BONUS: 3D SketchUp file

Then top it all off with your favorite mattress and you are ready to climb into bed. You deserve it!

DIY Queen bed frame made from construction lumber and stained black dressed with white linens and colorful throw pillows.

And I cannot wait to get out of a bed that is no longer just a mattress on the floor. Who would have thought something so simple would bring me such joy in my 40s 😉

If I would have known how quick and easy it was going to be to build one, I would have done it months ago. Now that you know, there are no more excuses!

Close up view of the black stained headboard with pillows moved back from the headboard.

Happy Building!

-Kati with picture of blog author Kati

Thank you to Kreg Tools for sponsoring this post. I only recommend products that I use and love and all opinions are 100% my own. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

DIY bed frame stained black and assembled in a bedroom with bedding with text overlay: Easy DIY Bed Frame.


Sunday 31st of January 2021

How would you modify this plan to only use a mattress (no boxspring)?


Thursday 11th of February 2021

The plan does only use a mattress. If you want a box spring you need to modify.


Wednesday 27th of January 2021

I made this bed for my daughter and she loves it. It was easy to make and put together. Thank you for such an easy plan that also looks great!


Thursday 11th of February 2021

Thanks Lisa! It really is an easy build, even though it is so big.

Carla from Kansas

Tuesday 8th of December 2020

I love this bed but would like a taller headboard. I'm really new at woodworking so not sure exactly how to do that. I think I just need to use longer posts and add more boards as necessary. Do you think that would work?


Wednesday 16th of December 2020

It would be really easy to make it taller! Each 2x8 is 7 1/4" wide and there is a 1 1/2" gap between the boards. So you can add 1 board and increase the legs by 8 3/4". If you want to add 2, just increase it by double that, 3- triple, etc. And the same works for the footboard!

Sarah in Georgia

Tuesday 8th of December 2020

Beautiful bed! I'm so happy for you. Do you have plans for under the bed? Or are you planning on leaving it open? I'm a sucker for any place that I can use more storage.


Wednesday 16th of December 2020

I definitely plan on using the space under the bed for storage! Especially since our new home is lacking in it. I have some ideas, but haven't got a chance to work on them just yet.

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