Designing Custom Wall Beds from Scratch

wall bed in open living space
What You'll Need
2 free standing book shelf units
A mattress
A measuring tape
A pencil
An electric hand saw
1 inch plywood
½ inch plywood
4 L brackets
Wood glue
A hammer
A drop cloth
A piano hinge
2 eye rings
2 hooks
Wood trim
Protective eyewear

Custom wall beds can be made at home. These beds fit between two, free standing, bookshelves, or any other vertical space, and are sometimes finished with wood trim. The result is a beautiful, customized, homemade piece of furniture that you will be proud to display.

Step 1 – Safety

Put on protective eyewear when working with any power tools.

Step 2 – Selecting the Location

Decide which wall you want to use for your wall bed. Be sure there are no electrical outlets in this area. Measure the wall to be sure it has enough room for the mattress and bookshelves. The shelving units will support the bed on either side

Step 3 – Determining Mattress Measurements

Measure the dimensions of the mattress you will use. You will need the length, width and depth measurements

Step 4 – Cutting the Mattress Box Pieces

Outline the shape of the length and depth mattress dimensions onto a piece of plywood that is one inch thick. Cut the rectangular shapes out. Do the same with a rectangular shapes of the width and the depth of the mattress. Smooth all of the edges with sandpaper.

Step 5 – Forming the Mattress Box

Make a box for the mattress by gluing and nailing the four pieces together. Attach one L bracket at each of the corners.

Step 6 – Cutting the Mattress Box Cover

Use the tape measure and find the measurements of the length and width of the mattress box. Draw out a rectangular shape with these dimensions onto a piece of plywood that is a half inch thick. Cut the shape out of the plywood. Sand all of the edges.

Step 7 – Securing the Mattress Box Cover

Position the rectangular piece onto the top of the mattress box to be sure it fits properly. Remove the board and apply wood glue to the edges of the mattress box. Place the rectangular piece back onto the box. Remove any excess glue. Nail the board to the box at each of the corners. Continue securing the board by inserting nails every six inches around the perimeter.

Step 8 – Selecting Bookshelves

Visit your local department or furniture store and check out their bookshelves. Select two matching shelves that are reasonably priced and will work well with the décor in the room. The shelving units will be placed at either end of the bed box. The height of the shelving units should match the height or be taller than the length of the bed box you have built.

Step 9 – Positioning the Bookshelves

Use a stud finder to locate the studs along the wall where you will be placing the wall bed. There should be enough room between the two shelving units to fit the bed box. Use three inch screws to secure each of the shelves to the wall where the studs can be used for support.

Step 10 – Building the Ledger Board

Use a piece of 2x8 inch lumber to create a ledger board. It should be as long as the distance between the bookshelves. At a height equal to the height of the bed box, secure the ledger board to the wall studs using three inch lag bolts.

Step 11 – Attaching the Piano Hinge

Secure the bed box to the piano hinge. One side should be attached to the upper face of the bed box. The other side of the hinge should be attached to the ledger board.

Step 12 – Folding Up the Bed Box

Fold the box up between the shelving units. Secure an eye hole on both sides of the bottom of the box. Secure the hooks so that they are level with the holes. The hooks will hold the bed closed until you need it to be opened to use. The bed will sit at floor level.

Step 13 – Finishing the Wall Bed

Choose a molding that will work well with your room and adhere it to the bed box and shelving units to make them seem like one piece of furniture. Paint the frame and the shelves.