Storage / Platform Bed

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I needed more storage in the apartment, because I hate crowded, poorly organized closets. I like to see my clothes and regularly used stuff at once, and find it very frustrating to have stuff piled high. I also liked the idea of a raised bed, thinking that would create some separation between the “bedroom” and “living room” portions of my one room. The sliding doors are another hack-in-progress, more on them later…

bed plan

So I doodled a bit (drawing’s not my strong suit, as evident above!) and came up with something that I liked. Originally I thought to incorporate some kind of a bookshelf to act as a rail so I wouldn’t fall from the bed, but pretty soon I realised this wasn’t going to be necessary. I haven’t fallen from my bed since I was 4 or something… It also looked nicer without the railing.

Bed underlay top structure

Then I sketched it up with the measurements I knew I would work with. I had already decided to build the base out of Ikea kitchen cabinets and doors. I’ve seen a lot of raised beds in Ikea Hackers and elsewhere in the net, and the cabinet versions seemed to end up looking the nicest. They also played together with my new kitchen, helping to make the small space coherent and calm.

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Altogether there’s nine cabinets. Four 80 cm wide ones: 2 in the front and 2 in the back. There’s one 60 cm wide cabinet on the back, since the back wall is 230 cm and 60 cm was the widest that would fit. And then there’s four 40 cm wide cabinets: one in the front and three in the end.

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All of the cabinets rest on a simple wooden footing on the floor, but nothing is attached to the floor or the walls. The weight of the unit with the bed on top is plenty enough to keep it in place. I put loads of big felt pads under the footing to keep it from scratching the floor, in case I want to sell the place later. I’m not sure those are necessary, but they’re there now… I even remembered to paint the lumber footing before laying it on the floor, so I didn’t have to paint it in the spot!

The cabinets are attached to the footing and to the adjacent ones. Then I built the inner structure, adding lumber to hold most of the weight of the bed and to rigidify the part with no cabinets. The big pieces of lumber are on 2 corners of the bed and the cabinets and smaller lumber hold the back side of the bed. I also added 15 mm plywood on top of the cabinets to give them a nice finish and to keep with the theme of the kitchen (and to make the top level, where they’re not visible). Only the parts that are visible form under the mattress are treated – yes, I’m lazy. 🙂

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My bed is a box spring -type bed (the kinda mattress with a built-in wooden frame, they don’t seem to sell the exact same type at least in the States) from Ikea and I attached it to the cabinets and the plywood with L-brackets. That way I didn’t need to build a “roof” to my storage space: the mattress forms the roof. I just made sure to measure the base so that the mattress covers the opening!

A quick search didn’t come up with a tutorial on how to shorten the cabinets for the steps, so I’m thinking of doing one. But since I didn’t take pics the first time I did these, it might be a while…

Basically, I just sawed the sides of one 40 cm wide cabinet into two and drilled new holes to correspond to the required bits to assemble the cabinets. To someone with a bit of DIY experience it was pretty straightforward and easily figurable just by looking at the parts and how they were supposed to fit together. Of course I needed 2 cabinets for the hack (to have enough top and bottom parts), but I didn’t need to use the sides of the other cabinet. I also got around with just 1 door for these shorter ones!

I left the 80 cm wide middle cabinet open (no backing!) to form a doorway into my storage space. To keep it looking uniform I only used the 40 cm wide doors. Most of the plywood is attached with screws from underneath, but the smallest step was so low that it was easier to glue the cover piece on it. Oh, and then I put some thick cardboard covered with DC Fix (a semi-permanent plastic film/tape) over the end piece on top of the steps, to cover the hole there and make it look nice. That’s just attached with double sided tape and seems to be holding up fine.

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And I even have a light under there, to make it easier to rummage for what I need… I think it turned out pretty nifty, and it’s definitely great to have so much storage!  It makes me happy just looking at it – there’s nothing quite like the feeling of a job well done!

Let me know if you find this helpful and please share if you build something similar! I’d love to see your interpretation of the storage bed! 🙂

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Tutorial: pallet sofa part 1

I got a couple of comments and likes to my first post. Whoa – how awesome that someone actually read my blog?! 😀 After I got over my initial surprise, I realized Mckenzie from Why Buy it? DIY it. had a great point. I should definitely do a tutorial on the sofa! I’ll start with the bones and do another tutorial for the cushion.

I’ve had the pallets for a while. They have been a coffee table and a head board at my previous home. I found them from somewhere, sanded the outer surfaces and put a thin coat of Osmo Wax in white on them to keep them from yellowing. It’s not necessary to do anything with the surface if you don’t feel like it, I just thought they were a bit too rough for furniture use as they originally were.

The pallets I have are the EUR kind, which measures 80×120 cm. I wanted the sofa to be max 2 meters in width, so I figured I’d make a J-shaped sofa, since that fit my space best. Word of advice: it’s much easier to sew a cover for a simple rectangular cushion. If you don’t absolutely need a weird shape on the sofa or aren’t comfortable sewing, go simple!

The legs are simple, white square metal legs from Bauhaus. I wanted a comfortable seating height, and since the cushion and pallet add a lot, I went with 20 cm legs.

This is how I layed out the pallets, legs and the steel plates that connect the 2 pallets.

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There’s a long piece of laminated wood that I had sitting around. It’s there to give my sofa structural stability when there’s more people on it. It was creaking before I added that, so I figure it might be a good addition. 🙂

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This is a close-up on the steel plate and also some smaller pieces that I had around. The corner pieces are Ikea kitchen cabinet hanging things, if I’m not mistaken. Ikea parts are versatile… I’m a big fan of IKEA Hackers 😉

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You might need to add some bits and pieces to make the parts fit. I had to put small supports under the beam on the other pallet, so it would support the  top boards. This will totally depend on the type of pallets and other parts that you use, and you’ll most likely just have to figure it out as you go.

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So here we go! This should give a DIY-minded person a pretty good overview of the supporting structure of my sofa, but if you need more instruction or photos, don’t hesitate to ask! I don’t have any official training in carpentry or woodworking – I’ve learned by trial and error, and asking for advice and help when I needed them. 🙂