In the Frame: Working With Wooden Bed Frames

wooden bed

When you decide to buy a new bed, you’ll face the inevitable question: do you buy one that has a wooden frame or a metal one? If you decide to go with a wooden one, your next statement might even be ‘Hey… this is wood. Perhaps I could make one!’

This post is all about wooden bed frames and working with wood. Read on and find out why you might prefer a wooden bed frame and how you can put the frame together if you decide to take on the task yourself.

The good in wood (or why you might choose a wooden bed frame)

You want your home to be as cosy as can be, especially your bedroom, in which case you might prefer a wooden frame. There’s a warmth about wood that you don’t get with metal, which is cold to the touch in winter.

If you’re not so much a fan of the contemporary, wood is the material for you. It has a more traditional feel that you miss out on with metal and which works well in cottages and rustic-style homes. There’s something endearing about wood, too. The imperfections of the material can work in favour of the frame. 

That’s not to say you should confine wood to a more traditional domain. Lighter woods, such as blonde oak and pine, combine wonderfully well with other woods that are already part of a more modern style of home. 

Wood’s other star quality is that it’s easy to clean. Grab a tin of polish and a duster and you’re good to start cleaning. Run the duster across the frame and you’ve finished the job in just a few minutes. You don’t have to worry about rust, either, or much about snagging yourself on sharp edges. 

best wood

What’s the best wood when it comes to bed frames?

Wood is versatile and strong, which makes it ideal for making a bed. You can opt for a simple design when making your bed or you can show some flair and customize the frame. You can also finish off the wood with some varnish, which protects the frame and gives it that extra glaze.

When it comes to making a wooden bed frame, hardwood is better because it’s more durable. Mahogany is the wood par excellence in this regard. It is superb to work with and it doesn’t warp. The only trouble is, it’s tan to reddish wood and, like other woods, will darken over time, which can make the room feel smaller. Since mahogany is also expensive, you should have good carpentry skills. If you don’t and keep messing up, you could put yourself seriously out of pocket by replacing the wood constantly.

Oak is another good wood for making a bed. Like mahogany, it’s a durable hardwood and has a lovely open grain. You can purchase wood in two shades: white oak, which, is greyish-brown in color, or red oak, which, as you’d imagine, has more of a red tinge to it.

You may also wish to try pine. It’s a softwood and is more lightweight, but it blends well with other woods and could be the wood for you if you’re looking to mix things up a bit. Pine also stains well. Note that it’s not as durable, though.

bed frame

Building a wooden bed

It’s not as hard as you might think to build a bed, but you should set aside a reasonable number of hours for the endeavor… somewhere between two and four, let’s say. Apart from the obvious material, you’ll need some bed rail hangers and some wood screws to build a standard queen bed (60” x 80”). Once you’ve bought and collected your materials together, it’s time to make a start!

  • Mount the bed rail hangers

The bed rail hangers are important because they help you to form a strong connection between all the bed rails in the frame. You should secure these to the end of the side rail and the head post. Keep the hangers consistent all the way around the bed. If you don’t have access to bed rail hangers, use lag bolts, which are equally as strong and reliable.

  • Add the support rails

The support rails are next. Attach these to the side rails. For maximum weight support, space the screws about 12 inches apart.

  • Make the support blocks

Cut a groove into the support blocks and support beam. The groove should be in the center of the block and should be a slot of 1.5 x 3.5 inches. The wider part of this measurement should follow the wider part of the frame.

  • Attach the support blocks

Take the support blocks and attach them, starting at the center and spreading them out evenly, to the headrail and the foot rail. Use screws to do this.

  • Connect all the rails

Take the bed rail hangers and use them to connect each rail to the post.

  • Insert the support beams

Place the support beams between the support blocks and then place a plywood base on top of them. This should fit inside the bed frame. It is then ready for you to place your mattress on the top. 

You see? Not as hard as you might think, so if you’re feeling up to the task of putting a wooden bed frame together, that’s how you do it. If not, you could always invest in one online and have the retailer deliver it to your home. There are plenty of elegant wooden bed frames out there, allowing you to choose the one you like the most and then enjoy all the advantages that they offer. To build or not to build… that is the question, but it’s only one you can answer. What will you decide?


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