Building a solid wooden, ‘Low Profile Bed Frame’ is a fantastic weekend project. Complete with a solid wooden built in headboard for that minimalist look. In this post I’m going to show you how to build this awesome bed frame from scratch with completely free plans.
I am not a carpenter. But I love working with wood. And this project was no exception. You really don’t need any specialist tools or knowledge for this project. And if you already have special tools – great! And special knowledge…even better!
Lets start with the design. I designed this low profile bed frame around a king sized mattress. However, you can tweak the design for any sized mattress you need. The entire frame is design to sit under the mattress leaving maximum room around the bed. This is very similar to a Scandinavian or Japanese style frame.
The headboard is integrated into the frame which helps to keep that low profile or minimalist look. I used a few strips of pine wood to create the headboard and attached these using some hardwood dowels. However, if the wooden headboard isn’t for you, it would be very easy to attach a shop bought one.
Even though the bed frame was a low profile design, I still wanted to hind a load of my stuff under the bed! So, the height has been specifically design to fit most under bed boxes by having a gap of 250mm.
I used the fantastic Fusion 360 to quickly draw up this project. The below .pdf is a basic drawing showing the major sizes/dimensions, the timber you’ll need and how everything fits together. Enjoy!
What you’ll need
Because you are custom building your bed frame, you can use a very wide range of sized materials. So if you can’t get hold of exactly what I used below, don’t worry! Anything in a similar size will work. Basically, you need 3 types of timber: 1) thick square for the legs 2)thick lengths for the frame 3) and wide planks for the slats. Here’s what I used:
- Legs 69x70x2400mm [qty1]
- Frame 44x94x2400mm [qty3]
- Slats 18x300x2000mm [qty12]
- Long screws 4x70mm
- Short screws 4x30mm
- Optional: 10mm wooden dowels
- Wood glue
- M12x120 [qty4]
- M12 Nuts [qty4]
- M12 Washers [qty8]
- 12mm drill bit
- Optional: 10mm drill bit
- Long 3mm drill bit
- Router (or wood chisel)
Cutting the Frame
Lets make a nice and easy start. Take one of the three frame pieces and cut it in half. These two pieces should measure 1200mm which is the width between the legs.
Optional: Next, take the two remaining timbers from the frame and cut a decorative angle on one end of each. This is completely optional. It is just so the frame isn’t so obvious at the foot of the bed.
And that’s it…step 1 complete! You should have a basic frame which looks like the below:
Cutting the Legs
Next, take the thick square piece of timber you have for the legs. Cut two lengths of 300mm for the short legs. With the remaining 1800mm length, cut this in half with a long steep angled cut. Ideally you want the angle cut start and finish 500mm from the end of the timber.
To make sure the two cuts were flat and the same on each leg, I clamped the two legs together and sanded them as a pair:
Notching the Legs
Ok, so this is the most complex bit… and it really isn’t that hard! Now we are are going to use our router to make some slots for the frame to fit into. If you don’t have a router, you can use a saw, hammer and chisel. Next Level Carpentry has a really nice video on how to notch wood here.
For the short 300mm legs, you want the notch to sit at the end of the leg. The depth wants to be approximately half the thickness of the leg – so 35mm. The width of the notch wants to match the width of your frame timber – so 94mm in my case.
Once you have done the short legs, you can move onto the long legs. You can use the short legs as a guide to work out where your notches need to go. The only thing you need to watch out for: the two long legs should be mirror images of each other. So the notches need to be on opposite sides.
Short Leg Assembly
Take the two short legs and one of the 1200mm frame parts. We are going to attach these together using some wood glue and screws. Lay out the legs on a flat surface and place the frame timber on top. Align the notched surface with the end of the frame timber. Square up the legs to the frame timber a best as you can.
Once you have everything in place, drill two pilot 3mm holes though the frame timber and into the leg.
Now this bit is optional. I didn’t want any screw heads showing on the legs so I countersunk the screws using a 10mm drill bit (15mm deep is plenty). This allows me to install a wooden dowel over the screw head to hide it.
Apply a little glue between the frame timber and the leg. Then use some of the long 4x70mm screws and secure the legs to the frame. If you are using dowels to hide the screws, knock them in and cut/sand them flush. Clamp everything up and wait for the glue to dry.
Long Leg Assembly
This is exactly the same as the previous step. In fact, it should even be a little easier assuming you have your notches nice and square! So I’ll just leave you with a few photos for this step.
Bolting it togeather
Time to find yourself some space because we are going to assemble the bed frame. Take your two leg assemblies and the two remaining frame timbers. Using some clamps, assemble the frame as in the photos below. The short leg assembly position isn’t critical. But, try to position it just below where you would be sitting at the end of the bed.
Next we are going to bolt the frame to the leg assemblies. Why bolts you ask? Well, among over reasons, we need to be able to assemble / disassemble the bed to get it into a bedroom!
Drill a pilot hole through the frame and leg assemblies. Then open out the holes to 12mm for your bolts to go through. Secure everything using the bolts, some large washers and nyloc nuts.
Slats and Headboard
Great, we are almost there. Last step is attaching the slats. But first we need to cut them all down to length. In my case, I was making a king size bed which is 1500mm wide.
Optional Step: I took two of the slats and added some big radii to the top corners. One of these slats sits at the top of the headboard and one sits at the foot of the bed.
With all of the slats cut to length, it is just a case of evenly spacing them across the bed frame and screwing them down. I was tempted to hide all the screws using dowels like I did on the frame. However, since most of them would always be covered by the mattress, I just countersunk them instead. For the ones on the head board which were visible, I decided to use the dowels.
You’ve probably noticed in some of the photos some varnish and paint have magically appeared! Well, yes, once I had completed the assembly stage, I completely stripped everything down for a good sand. I also sanded off the edges of the feet at this stage.
Then I used a water based white wash on the frame meaning the wood grain was still visible. All of the slats and head board got three coats of clear varnish finished off with good polish.
Once everything was dry is was just a case of assembling it back together. Note that once the slats have been screwed down, there shouldn’t be any reason to ever take them off again. I also added some covers to the bolt heads and threads.
Need to disassembly the bed – no problem! Simply unbolt the four M12 bolts….and that’s it!
So there we have it: How to build a ‘Low Profile Bed Frame’. Let me know if you build this one – I would love to see some photos. If you have any questions, comments or improvements I could have made, drop them below or get in touch via the contact page.