DIY: 6 Drawer Farm House Platform Bed
When I was a kid I had built furniture in high school shop class for my parents home. I had a knack for it and spent a short stint as a cabinet builder (mostly carcass construction mixed in with some leg and rail).
Over the years I had bought home furniture that was expensive and not as well-built as the custom stuff I had built years earlier. This got me to thinking about building my stuff to suit my space’s needs, my own personal design preferences but mostly for durability and cost savings.
A few times I sold the furniture that I purchased because I didn’t want to move it (it always seemed to get damaged, was a pain in the ass and expensive – i was lucky enough most of the time to have my employer foot the bill but still, it isn’t easy to move furniture) on Craigslist or in the local paper before the advent of the internet. The shocking part was the difference of price \ cost from what I paid for the stuff and what its value was, even if in perfect condition immediately after I purchased it.
I had folks of all walks of life that came to check the stuff out but the overwhelming majority were smart people who realized the savings of buying almost new furnishings from the public. They were like hawks and many of them drove some expensive vehicles. I asked a few where they got most of their good deals and the answers were always from divorces, overseas transfers, military tours \ relocation or those who just didn’t want to deal with moving the stuff.
These experiences led be to start thinking about high quality design that appealed to my eye, allowing for easy dis-assembly without damage. I also prefer over engineered heavy-duty stuff that you can park a car on. Once I build it, I don’t want it to break.
Why not 2×4″ furniture? It is already pre-cut, easy to find, cheap and solid. You can have it delivered, if you buy enough at a time for little or no cost or rent a Lowe’s \ Home Depot truck for $30 a trip.
You are probably thinking that 2×4’s are ugly. I concede that they are but only in the rough. There are a few grades that you can buy but my idea is to use square pieces of low quality (load bearing – NOT Trim) that can’t be seen or will be painted to cover up the grain.
I like that modern clean look now as I have aged. I was a fan of wood grain before and still am of some hardwoods which could also be used as trim to cover the framework of the 2×4’s that bear the weight of the design.
The other advantage of buying pre-cut lumber is that it also fits into the hanger brackets (for decking) designed for it. The brackets are easily installed or disassembled. There are all types of hardware that you can use for solid joinery that can be concealed within a well thought out design.
My bed design that you see here is designed to sit high, provide a ton of storage space (eliminating the need for a dresser) sans box springs. Yep, that’s right – you can forego the cost of a cheaply built but expensive box spring set. It all sits on 1″ cheap slats.
This bed will not move or make any noise or break. Six (6) 40 x 20″ drawers can hold a bunch of stuff. I intend to put dividers in two of the drawers for small items and possibly divide the other 4 drawers in half to aid organization of socks etc. of modular design that can be shifted around.
Since my design incorporates only 7-3/4″ deep drawers, I would be better off in the long run with a full 36″ drawer slide set (heavy-duty) that are expensive but are on bearings and will never be anywhere near their max load in this application. They simply will last forever. You could go with cheaper 24″ slides if you built the bed a few inches taller to aid in access of the rear of the drawer where 16″ will be under the bed when the drawer is all the way out. The slides on the left are 500lb capacity zinc plated 36″ full travel with soft stop. The downside is that they cost $100 a set.
This equates to 33 sq ft of drawer space that you could store gold bars in without issue, the equivalent of a deep 12 door dresser. This bed design would not allow for bed side stands or furniture within 3′ of the sides of the bed (or swinging bedroom doors etc).
There are cheaper slides as well that are as long but they are not as strong, quiet or solid as something like this would be. These slides eliminate slamming doors. The drawer fronts would double as the side trim and as the handle of the
drawer itself since I would cut the drawer face short so that it could be grabbed without the need for handle hardware. This would leave a 4″ gap from the floor down the length of both sides of the bed. The heavy-duty slides would make it easy to open and close the drawers although they handle would be close to the ground requiring you to get close to the bed to open the drawers. An older person may not like bending down or getting on your knees. I think it best to install this bed on a carpeted floor.
I used Google Sketch Up (Free 3 D modeling software) to layout this design. You can see my shipping container home design by clicking HERE. This bed is incorporated into the floor layout on the Shipping Container design page.
Lastly, You might notice that the frame o the bed is joined at 90 degree angles without any visible screws. The hallmark of well thought out wood furniture design is the absence of screw heads
or fastener holes. There are a many ways to design around or hide these unsightly but required holes. You can use complicated joinery, plug the holes with wood plugs that are glued and sanded (pain in the ass) or add more expensive wood. It is my opinion that the joint needs to be solid, easy to take apart, cannot be visible on the exterior of the furniture piece and easy to do.
Enter, the Kreg Jig. The maser Set costs on $150.00 and can be used over and over to make pocket holes. All of the joints with the exception of the headboard dado groove (that holds the headboard in place) and the deck hanger brackets would be assembled with this easy to use jig. All you need a drill and something to clamp the jig to (not necessary but easier).
The estimated cost of this bed would be $950.00 because of the jig and the drawer slides. It does offset the need for a matching dresser and box springs and you will be left with the jig to assemble the rest of your home furniture.
I intend to build concrete counter tops and some other furniture (butlers pantry, coffee and end tables etc. ) with concrete via the Kreg Jig. The cost of all of this furniture would be very minimal. Concrete and 2×4’s are cheap, solid and easy to make square without the need for a ripping table or mitre saw. A handheld radial arm saw would be useful to tweak the design to your needs.