Here's what our bed looked like before:
For warranty purposes, we had to keep our mattress and box springs on an ugly, utilitarian metal bed frame and this bed skirt was the best way to hide it. I liked the look, but Szuka got into this habit of snuggling up against it, which created a permanent dent where she pressed on the fabric. I was also worried that our bedroom was going to smell like a dog's butt, so I started washing the bed skirt more, and of course it shrank, so I cut it and pinned it in place to fake the length but then the safety pins would open up and slide around.
I was 100% done with this bed skirt and the warranty on our mattress had long expired anyway, so I started sketching plans for a modern bed frame. I envisioned walnut plywood (to tie in the bedside boxes we made, as well as the walnut throughout the house, like our DIY walnut desk and floating walnut bathroom vanity). I decided that welded metal legs, in the same size square metal tubing as the frame of our headboard, would make the headboard, bed frame and nightstands look really cohesive.
It was a surprisingly easy project - it's basically a walnut veneered plywood box with some metal legs that Handy Hubby welded in an afternoon! Here's how we made it, and what supplies we used.
- 4.5" Angle Grinder
- Grinding Disk
- Flapper Disk
- Cutting Disk
- Square Metal Tubing (we used 1.5")
- Welding Magnets
- Stell Drill Bit
- Flux Core Wire Feed Welder
- Rust-Oleum Spray Paint Flat Black
- Walnut Veneer Plywood (we used 3/4")
- Walnut Edge Band
- Edge Band Trimmer
- Old Iron
- Danish Oil
- Wood Glue
- Air Nailer + Nails
As always, we began with a sketch of our design and made a materials list and cut list. We measured the exact size of our box springs when they're pushed together and, allowing for the thickness of the material and a teeny tiny extra allowance so we can easily slip the box springs into (and out of) the frame, cut the plywood pieces to fit the box springs exactly. The legs were designed so that they run the width of the bed, so those cuts corresponded to the plywood box we built. The height was chosen so that the overall height of the bed would still be a comfortable reach to the nightstand. If you make a plywood frame for your bed, the measurements will be different, which is why I'm not including our cut list.
How to Make Welded Furniture Legs:
We needed six pieces the width of the bed and six pieces for uprights. Local metal places sold the square metal tubing by the foot, but we asked them to cut lengths that could fit in our truck and made the rest of the cuts at home. Hubby marked off the lengths we needed and used a 4.5" angle grinder to cut the pieces at 45 degree angles, one at a time.
For each of the three legs, we needed two lengths the width of the bed and two lengths the height we wanted the bed frame. My idea was that the elongated rectangle shape would mimic the design of the headboard, while offering a nice stable support for the bed.
After the pieces were cut, Hubby worked on each of the three legs individually, assembling them and holding each rectangular leg together with welding magnets, checking that they're square, and tack welding them together with our wire feed welder.
Then he welded the four pieces together to make the rectangular legs I designed. He used the same 4.5" angle grinder, this time with a grinding disk, to clean up the welded area to make it less rough. He then used a flapper disk on the grinder to smooth out the welded joints even more and prepare them for painting.
Below you can see the cut pieces vs. one finished leg:
No photographed: we attached the legs to the walnut box using screws, so we had to pre-drill holes through the legs. Using a step drill, Hubby drilled out holes in both walls of the upper bar of the leg (the square metal tubing is hollow inside). The hole next to the bottom of the bed frame is where the screw gets tightened. There is a larger hole drilled on the other wall of the same tube to allow a screwdriver in to tighten the screw.
Once the welded legs were complete, we brought them to Hubby's Dad's workshop - with its glorious spray painting booth - so I could paint them the same matte black we used to paint the headboard and side tables. Spraying on the paint ensured a nice, smooth finish.
How to Build a Plywood Bed Frame
With the legs done, we tackled the plywood box - with one small mistake! After sketching the design and making our cut list, we headed to a local supplier to buy the materials. We originally planned to use inexpensive plywood and apply walnut veneer to only the sides but we were talked out of applying veneer. We decided to go with walnut veneered plywood instead, but we had to race to another place with minutes to spare before they closed and we mistakenly bought walnut veneered ply for the whole project, adding to the cost. We forgot that we wanted to use inexpensive ply on the bottom, which you can't see anyway.
Other than making that one costly error, building the box that our box springs now sit in was simple.
We took our walnut ply out to Hubby's Dad's shop and cut out the pieces on his table saw. Hubby and his Dad cut two pieces for the bottom and four pieces for the sides. Easy peasy - although handling the sheets was often a two-person job.
We assembled the bed frame in the room, because it's so large. After laying down a protective sheet of plastic, we started with the bottom. Because we have a king-sized bed, the bottom of our bed frame is comprised of two pieces of plywood glued together. We placed them on the floor, with the bottom facing up, and applied glue to the edges of the plywood, sticking them together. Then we glued and nailed some cross pieces in for added support:
The completed legs were then fixed in place with wood screws through the pre-drilled holes I mentioned earlier (I think this was Szuka's protest against the new bed):
Then we flipped the bed right side up (wow, is it heavy!) and the side pieces were glued and air nailed into place. We left everything alone overnight for the glue to dry.
With the bed constructed, we finished the exposed edges with walnut edge banding to create the illusion of solid walnut. This post has great tips for applying pre-glued edge banding (it's really easy).
After that, all that was left to do was give the bed a few coats of Danish Oil and wait patiently for it to cure so we could move our mattress and box spring back into place. You can see we evenly spaced the legs, and they're inset from the ends so that the leg by our feet is not flush with the end of the bed. We did this so that when we walk around the bed, we won't stub our toes on the metal.
And, voila! A beautiful new bed frame in walnut, with welded legs to match our headboard:
We've been using the new bed for about a month and I LOVE it! It's so much easier to clean under the bed, plus there's no longer a bedskirt kicking around, picking up dust and doggy butt prints. I was worried that replacing a light bed skirt with a darker wood bed frame would make the room feel darker/heavier/smaller but it's had the opposite effect: the room feels larger and airier. Happily, Szuka doesn't seem troubled by the change after all, because she still lies beside the bed some nights even though she can't really lean against anything.
You might have noticed that I finally decided on a new duvet cover and shams (after using the other pin-tucked set for over five years). I actually short-listed quite a few, including the Belgian Flax Linen set in Teal, the Cotton Cashmere in Heather Gray, the Ripple Texture in Stone White, the Organic Cotton Braided Matelasse in Stone White, the Organic Cotton Smocked Pleated in White, and the Organic Cotton Shadow Diamond Matellase in Stone White. I contemplated so many different colors and patterns, but ultimately I decided that I really like white bedding. It helps make the bedroom seem larger and also helps to create a calming atmosphere. Because I tend to forget the bedding in the dryer on laundry day, I also love a duvet cover with some texture to hide any wrinkles - that's my housekeeping hack for the week!
I spent weeks shopping, but eventually I chose the Organic Cotton Brighton Matelasse in Stone White with matching Euro shams, from West Elm (it also comes in Platinum, a soft grey, and Slate, a rich charcoal hue). I liked how long our last West Elm duvet cover lasted, plus I had purchased the Euro pillow inserts from West Elm so I knew that most of their duvet covers would have that particular size of shame as an option. I am totally smitten with the texture of this duvet cover, which has a really beautiful, organic quality to it.
To keep warm on blustery winter nights, I also splurged on a king-sized blanket (finally). Hubby and I both kept going back to the Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool Blanket in Shale, which is the perfect grey/blue hue and a timeless design (it's available in Queen and Twin sizes as well). This blanket adds a really breathable layer of warmth and on those frigid nights when we need it, neither of us has woken up overheated or feel suffocated, despite the substantial weight of the wool. Plus it's made in the USA!
Just to shake things up a tiny bit more, I added a bright blue Hungarian embroidered pillow from my Grandparents - which pulls out that same cobalt blue from my mid-century posters. I pull all of my bedroom decor colors - teal, green, blue, brown, and grey - from the mid-century posters hanging above the dresser, and that helps the room feel cohesive. The fashion theme has also inspired my love of textures over patterns, and I really enjoy how the matelasse, tweed, silk, and wool add interest to the room.
Starting the year with new bedding and a new bed feels amazing - now I just need to save up some cash to replace our 10 year old duvet and mattress...
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