Essential Drawer Bed or Daybed

bed with drawers diy plans
Difficulty
Intermediate
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Easy to build bed with drawers using basic tools and materials.  Free step by step plans with diagrams, video tutorial, shopping and cut list from Ana-White.com

Want to add some more storage to a bedroom, without taking up any more space?  Have you considered a bed with drawers or a captain's bed?  

Storage beds can be expensive to buy - especially a quality one that is sturdy and can be moved.

The good news is with just a few basic tools and some lumber, you can build this diy drawer bed!

bed with drawers free plans

Video Tutorial for Building a Drawer Bed

The steps for building this bed are pretty simple - build two 2x4 frames, add the ends, then the drawers and slat system.  Watch me create this bed in this video:

Easy Flip Down Storage Option

Are you interested in just the flip down version? 

diy storage bed

Those plans are here and are much easier.  And you can always add drawers later, like I did!

Can I add a Different Headboard or Footboard?

Yes!  Just build, and attach the headboard and footboard afterwards.  You could even leave the ends open (use 1x3s or 1x4s instead of the 1x8s on the ends) to save some money.

Can I Make this a Twin XL Storage Bed?

Yes! The twin XL modification is easy.  Just add 5" to the overall length.

twin xl storage bed

Can I Make this a King?

Yes!  A standard king is just two twin XL beds but together.  Only build drawers for the two outsides (and you can make the drawers deeper for more storage.

standard king captains bed

The king is the best bang for your buck if you are wanting to build a bigger bed, and the twin XL option makes them always valuable for kids rooms too.

What About a Full or Queen?

Yes, you can do this, I would recommend the two bed method like the standard king, so you can move the beds into the room and the center is supported.  

Dimensions
twin storage bed dimensions
Standard twin size, dimensions shown in diagram

Preparation

Shopping List
  • 5 - 2x4 @ 8 feet long
  • 3 - 1x4 @ 8 feet long
  • 3 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
  • 5 - 1x8 @ 6 feet long
  • 1 - 1x12 @ 6 feet long 
  • 2 - 18" full extension drawer slides
  • 1/2 sheet of 1/4" thick plywood or underlayment for drawer bottoms
  • 2 handles or knobs
  • (24) 2-1/2" long self tapping star bit screws (can also be 2-3/4" length
  • (72) 1-1/2" long self tapping star bit screws (can also be 1-5/8" or 1-3/4" length)
  • 5/8" brad nails
  • 1-1/4" brad nails
  • wood glue

For drawers on both sides (4 total), you'll also need

  • 2 more 18" full extension drawer slides
  • 9 more feet of 1x8 boards
  • 1 more 1x12 @ 6 feet long
  • 1/2 sheet of 1/4" thick plywood or underlayment
  • 2 more handles or knobs

Cut List

Bed Frame

  • 4 - 2x4 @ 73-1/2" - 2x4 frame top and bottom
  • 6 - 2x4 @ 11-1/2" - 2x4 frame verticals
  • 2 - 1x2 @ 73-1/2" - cleats
  • 9 - 1x4 @ 31" - slats
  • 3 - 2x4 @ 13-3/4" - center leg and drawer slide furring 

Footboard/Headboard 

  • 4 - 1x2 @ 14-1/2"
  • 4 - 1x8 @ 35"

Drawers (for two drawers daybed style, double the cut list for four drawers, drawers on both sides of bed)

  • 4 - 1x8 @ 17-3/4" - drawer sides
  • 4 - 1x8 @ about 32" - drawer front and back, measure and cut to fit
  • 2 - 1/4" plywood @ 17-3/4" x 33-1/2" - drawer bottoms
  • 2 - 1x12 @ 34-1/2" - drawer faces
Cutting Instructions

Precise cuts are necessary for drawers to slide smoothly.  Use a compound miter saw or chop saw.

Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Drill
Circular Saw
Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander

Instructions

Step 1

Build two of the 2x4 frames, identical, using the longer screws and glue.

Adjust the frames for square before glue dries (see next step).

Step 2

Adjust the frames for square, and then secure with glue and screws the inside cleat.  This cleat will hold the mattress slats later on and also keeps the 2x4 frames square.

Step 3

Attach the 1x2s to the outside edges of the frames with 1-1/4" brad nails and glue.

Then add the 1x8 pieces, I recommend screws and glue.

You can use other materials for the headboard/footboards if you are wanting to burn up scraps.

The headboard can also not be completely filled in if against the wall and you are wanting to buy less 1x8s - you could use a 1x3 or 1x4 at the top and bottom as done in the video.

Step 4

Adjust the bed for square as shown, until the two diagonals match.

Secure the slats on the ends as shown with screws and glue.

Double check the diagonals for square before glue dries.

Step 5

Attach the 2x4 blocking inside the bed for the drawer slides.  The center leg does not get attached at this step.

Step 6

Draw a line horizontal as shown, on the vertical 2x4s.

Draw a line inset 1" from the front of the 2x4s.

Separate out the drawer slides into the cabinet member and the drawer member.

Attach the drawer slide cabinet member to the 2x4s, with the screws centered on the line.

TIP: I like to use the holes with the vertical adjustment so I have the ability to adjust the slide up or down even after starting my screws.

Step 7

Mark the wood drawer sides 4-1/2" up from the bottom and draw a line parallel to the bottom edge.

Attach the drawer slides with the screws on this line. 

The front edge of the drawer member should be flush to the front edge of the wood drawer side.

Remember to attach the drawer slide on the other side in mirror.

Install all drawer sides into the drawer slides.

Step 8

Measure and cut the fronts and back for the drawers.  Attach with shorter screws from the outsides.

Test the drawers.

Step 9

Measure and cut plywood for the bottom of the drawers.

Attach with glue and 5/8" brad nails.

Test the drawers before the glue dries.  Refit if necessary - the drawers should slide very smoothly.

Step 10

Insert drawers into bed and place faces on top.

With an even 1/8" gap on all sides, tack drawer face to drawer box with 1-1/4" brad nails.

Open the drawer and further attach with the shorter screws (6 per drawer) from the insides.

Step 11

Lay the remaining slats inside the bed.  Attach the center slat with screws.

Test the drawers to make sure they are still sliding.  When satisfied, screw the center slat to the center leg.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all nail or screw holes with wood filler. Let dry and sand smooth. If needed, add a second coat of wood filler and repeat.

Vacuum the sawdust and wipe clean with a just damp cloth.

Prime and paint, or stain and finish with a clear coat.
Finish Used
I used a semigloss from Sherwinn Williams - the color is Repose Gray. Ask for a paint suitable for trim, doors or cabinets.