Don’t love your existing bed frame? Find a steal on Facebook marketplace or a thrift store? Or perhaps a family member passed down their bunk beds but it’s not quite your style? If the frame is a basic wood platform bed with a flat surface, then you can elevate the look using this simple and affordable DIY hack.
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This project is also great for shared spaces – which our daughters are familiar with, since they have always shared a bedroom. You may remember their previous bedroom or playroom when we lived in Georgia, pictured below.
When we moved back to Florida in 2021, life was chaotic, so we just purchased two IKEA Mydal wooden bunk beds and called it a day. It was like that for two years until we finally started working on their beachy tween bedroom.
The bunk beds served their purpose, but the girls were ready for a change. So instead of buying new beds or having to disassemble the bunk beds, I decided to hack (literally) the IKEA bunk beds in half to create four separate beds.
Now, you only need ONE bunk bed to create the look of our room, which would create two beds on the ends and then you’d build the horizontal “daybed” frame in the middle. We just happened to have two sets so we made it easy by using both of the bottom bunk beds, BUT if you only have one bunk bed, the goal is to make both beds look the same.
For example, see the figure below for the IKEA Mydal bed. Those red lines are where you would make your cuts and the X’s are portions you would remove.
In the end, you want two basic platform style bed frames like below.
Here’s what you need for this DIY beadboard bed frame project:
4′ x 8′ beadboard paneling for accent wall and bed frame
1″ x 2″ pre-primed wood trim for capping off the headboard & footboard and accent wall trim
2″ x 4″ boards for building the middle bed frame
Paint Sprayer or Brush/Roller
Sandpaper, Tape Measure, Level, Paint (The color I used is Boothbay Gray by Benjamin Moore)
Optional: Inside corner and outside corner trim
Here’s how we hacked our bunk beds into three separate beadboard bed frames:
The first thing we did was used our circular saw to cut the top bunk bed away from the bottom, trying to keep the cut as flush as possible with the top rail on the bottom bunk.
There were 4 cuts made to the 4 bed posts.
Remember, we had TWO bunk beds – so we just used both bottom bunks for our project but if you only have one set, you will need to keep some of the length of the posts from the top bunk to create the legs to match the bottom bunk.
Anyway, with the beds separated, we cut the remaining “legs” off of the top bunk so that the entire bed frame rested on the ground, which made the perfect toddler floor beds that we sold the next day.
At this point we have two twin platform style beds so we took measurements of the insides and ends/footboard to make our beadboard panel cuts. Due to the size of the girls shared room, we did not attach beadboard to the outsides of the beds because they butt up to the wall, however if you have a bigger room, you may want to wrap all sides.
Next, I worked on the accent wall which doubles as a headboard – it runs the length of the room across all three beds. I thought about adding it along the side walls, too, but I ran out of paneling and thought it looked good as-is.
With all of the panel cuts made, I used my Graco paint sprayer & painted everything in the color is Boothbay Gray by Benjamin Moore. It’s as gorgeous in person as I hoped it would be.
Using my level brad nailer, I first attached the 1″ x 2″ trim across the length of the wall then went back and added the beadboard panel. Then I caulked and painted any seams or gaps. Tip: Use painter’s tape to hold things in place when you don’t have a second set of hands. Sometimes walls and windows aren’t square so I like to visualize things before nailing.
Now onto the beds… in order for the beadboard to hold up to any kicking or rough housing, we needed to add 2x4s to the bed frames along the floor to give the beadboard panel something strong to attach to, otherwise, it would likely snap off since it’s made of pressed wood.
Note that the screwheads used to assemble the IKEA bed stick out from the wood so we removed them from the footboard and added wood screws in their place (1 5/8″) above and below the old holes so that the beadboard would rest flush against it – hence the multiple holes visible in the photos below.
We added a drawer for additional storage under the bed, so we used a jigsaw to cut out the drawer face in the footboard.
For a finished look, I added 1×2 trim to cap off the tops of the headboard and footboard. Don’t forget to sand the corners so there are no sharp endges.
With the two end beds wrapped, it was time to build the middle horizontal bed. To do this, we just built a frame out of 2x4s and attached it directly to the existing beds using deckmate wood screws (2 1/2″). Pre-drill your hole so you don’t split the wood.
Using a Kreg-jig, we added vertical supports with pocket holes & screws for a stronger build.
For the middle bed, I left a little bit of a the 2×4 exposed at the top and just lightly sanded, caulked & painted it. The 2×4 has a curved edge so it’s not sharp for my daughter getting in and out of bed.
You could always cap it off with a trim piece like I did the headboard and footboard, but since this is the long side of the bed for getting in and out, it’s easier to change out the sheets and move the mattresses without anything here.
Also important to mention, we had 4 twin mattresses from the two bunk beds so instead of adding slats for a permanent bed frame, we just used the 4th mattress to place underneath the middle bed which raised the height of the bed altogether. Bonus: when the girls have sleepovers, we have a spare mattress tucked away for guests to use.
I don’t know how long our girls will share a room, they are now 8, 9 and 12 years old, but I sure will hold on to these moments for as long as I can.
Something I still need to do is add inside and outside corner trim where the beadboard meets for a more polished look.
But here it is for now! What do you think? Would you try this? It’s a simple and affordable way to upgrade your bed.
Fandelier Light Fixture | Palm Wallpaper | Sunburst Curtain Rod | Washable Rug | Linen Curtains | Artwork | Sconces | Shell Pillow | Multicolored Lumbar Pillow | Angled Stripe Pillow | Hello Sunshine Pillow originally from Target, discontinued, same with all 4 peach pillows.