DIY Bed Frame with Storage Down Under

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Don’t get all Mad Max when you can’t find a place to put all of your stuff in the bedroom. Just go down under like a Qanta’s flight and build this easy and affordable under-bed cubby storage frame that is sure to make any kangaroo jealous. Best of all, it’s easy to build in a weekend and works great for any bed and bedroom. So put down that didgeridoo, head to your workshop “outback” and build your own under-bed storage with this DIY Bed Frame while I think of more Australia puns. Good on you mates!

A few nights ago, I was enjoying a peaceful sleep and having a stellar dream about joining the circus and marrying the contortionist, when all of a sudden, the bottom half of the bed collapsed. Needless to say, my dream-marriage was instantly annulled and I ended up on the ground, shuffling around in the dark, trying to find something to prop up my bed with.

Now, I know what you’re thinking about the bed frame – but it didn’t break because of one those wild Home Fixated parties again – it actually broke because it was a piece of crap. It had been in my room for some time now and was on its last legs, pun intended, so it was no surprise to me that it broke in the middle of the night with no warning. It was in the middle of the night that I hatched my plan to go the DIY route and build my own bed frame complete with cubby hole storage.

DIY Bed Frame Materials

Pickling 1x10's and 1x12's
Pickling 1×10’s and 1×12’s

I was fortunate enough to have some extra 1×12 that I used for the back of the frame. I also had a few 1×10’s that I used for the top and bottom of the frame and a few spare 2×4’s for lateral support under the box spring. You could use ¾-inch MDF board in lieu of 1×12/1×10 if you’re going to paint the frame and you’re looking to save a few bucks on materials. For my frame, I cut the materials to length, and then pickled the pine 1×10’s and 1×12’s on one side. I used satin polyurethane to cover the pickled finish and protect it from wear and tear. But more about that in another article.

The Two Sides

Here you can see the 1x10 going on top of the 1x12 to make the cubby. I used an end and center piece to hold it together while I nailed it.
Here you can see the 1×10 going on top of the 1×12 to make the cubby. I used an end and center piece to hold it together while I nailed it.

The entire bed frame is designed so that each side (with the exception of the head of the bed) has an open cubby and the frame supports the edge of the box frame and mattress. The two long sides of the bed frame were the first part I put together and I had pre-measured and pre-cut the materials according to the length of my mattress.

No splitting, lots of drilling--don't forget the glue!
No splitting, lots of drilling – don’t forget the glue!

I used some 6d bright finish nails and wood glue to secure the two edges of the 1×10 and 1×12 together. I drilled pilot holes so I didn’t split the wood, but you could easily use a nail gun for this project and skip all of the pre-drilling and nail setting. But since my material was made from some pretty stringy pine, I figured my nail gun would be popping nails out on all the knots in the wood, so I went with the old tried and true hammer.

Once I had the two 1×10’s nailed to the top and bottom, I installed my dividers. I used some leftover pieces of 1×10 that I cut to 9-1/4 –inches and ripped to 8-1/4 –inches. This left the dividers tight between the 1×10’s for supporting the box spring and mattress sufficiently, yet recessed them into the cubby hole slightly so I didn’t stub my toes on them in the dark. Speaking of which, you may want to slightly undersize the base for your mattress to minimize unwanted toe-to-frame contact. After I put one on each end of the boards, I found the center and installed another divider as well.

End Cubby

I'm attaching four 15-inch doors in the future across the end cubby end. otherwise, just 45 each end for a neater look
In the near future, I’m attaching four 15-inch doors across the cubby-end. Don’t want doors? Just cut a 45 degree angle on each end for a neater look.

This part of the project was a no brainer for me, but if you’re not worried about putting doors at the end of the bed, then you may want to 45 each end of the bed frame so you end up with a nicer finish on the corners. However, since I’m mounting doors and hardware on the edge of the 1×12, I opted to follow through with my 1×12/1×10 side pieces all the way to the foot of the bed.

I measured the foot of my bed, subtracted the two side pieces to find the width of my end cubby. I built the end cubby the same way I did the other two side cubbies – by sandwiching the 1×10’s around the 1×12 and installing three dividers for support.


Turn your 2x4's on end if you're really going to be rocking the bedroom
Turn your 2×4’s on end if you’re really going to be rockin’ the bedroom

After I nailed the end cubby together, I installed it in between the two side cubbies and toe-nailed it together. Since there’s a big open space in the middle of the bed frame that needs some support to hold the weight of the box spring and mattress, I nailed two 2×4’s on their side across the head and middle of the bed frames. I cut four 10-inch 2×4 blocks for support under the longer 2×4’s and attached them to the inside of the frame so that the nails went into the edges of the 1×10’s and not into the face.

cubby bed final
The finished result with lots of new storage

This added much needed support for the bed and it helped keep the frame nice and square. After a quick clean up, the box spring and mattress were ready to go and I was ready for a good night’s sleep.

Photo of author

About Eric

Since Eric built his first skateboard ramp in his parents driveway; he’s breathed, slept and eaten DIY construction. As a second generation master carpenter who runs two Florida-based construction firms, Eric’s had the chance to work on everything from Mcmansions to your local mall to the cat lady’s bathroom. So when it comes to dealing with construction s@#t; he’s the man—literally. There isn’t a tool or construction material that Eric hasn’t used and abused, and if there is; it’s rocking in a dark corner nervously waiting for him to show up for work.

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3 thoughts on “DIY Bed Frame with Storage Down Under”

  1. I need to make something like this since our bedroom is full of stuff. Another one for my son’s bed would be good too. Thanks for the idea, I’ll have to see what I have as far as 1×10, 1×12 already.

  2. Great Project, it would be good to raise the cubbies a few inches off the floor for the sake of cleaning and stopping dust balls from getting into the cubbies.


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