How to Build a Super-Spacious Storage Bed

Updated: Feb. 15, 2024

Turn that wasted space under your bed into easy-access storage.

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My growing family is quickly outgrowing our small home. Toys are overtaking the living room, and closets are more than full. My wife and I needed a new place to put stuff without adding any more space.

Our bed was the answer. It was already sitting there taking up space — why not take advantage of it for storage? So I built a few simple boxes and drawers and assembled them to make a cool platform bed frame. Here’s how I did it.

Tools Required

  • Basic hand tools
  • table saw
  • jigsaw
  • circular saw
  • drill
  • 18-gauge brad nailer

Materials Required

  • 3/4" x 4' x 8' MDO
  • 1/2" x 4' x 8' MDO
  • 1-1/2" x 4' x 8' rigid foam
  • 1-1/16" x 72" piano hinge
  • 3/4" wood screws
  • 1" wood screws
  • 1-1/4" wood screws
  • 2" wood screws
  • 18-ga Brad nails
  • Wood glue
  • Wood filler

It’s Like Adding More Closet Space!

Fh21mar 608 52 107Family Handyman

A typical linen closet offers about 50 cu. ft. of storage. By enlarging the footprint of this queen-size storage bed by six inches on each side and 16 inches at the foot, I added the equivalent of almost half a linen closet in previously wasted space.

Fh21mar 608 52 CutmatlistsFamily Handyman

Fh21mar 608 52 Ta01Family Handyman

Drawer design Fh21mar 608 52 Ta02Family Handyman

Project step-by-step (17)

Step 1

Slice Up the Plywood

Large sheets of plywood are difficult to cut on the table saw, and making crosscuts is unsafe.

  • Set the sheet of plywood on a piece of rigid foam and make the cuts on the floor.
  • The foam won’t dull the blade, your parts won’t crash to the floor, and you won’t need sawhorses.

Slice Up the Plywood Fh21mar 608 52 002Family Handyman

Step 2

Assemble the Bench and Boxes

  • Glue and nail the sides to the bottom.
  • Then fasten the back to the sides and bottom with glue and brad nails.
  • Attach the extra divider in the storage bench the same way to support the lid.

Pro tip: Keep the tops off until the insides are painted.

Assemble the Bench and Boxes Fh21mar 608 52 006Family Handyman

Step 3

Painted Project? Use MDO

Medium-density overlay (MDO) is just like regular plywood, but has a smooth layer of resin on the faces that’s perfect for painting. Also called “sign board,” it’s available at home centers for about $60 for a 3/4-in., 4 x 8-ft. sheet.

Painted Project? Use MDO Fh21mar 608 52 052bFamily Handyman

Step 4

Paint the Inside

  • Apply a coat of primer and one or two coats of latex paint.
  • Use a brush on the corners and roll the flat areas.
  • When the paint has dried, fasten the tops to the drawer boxes with glue and brad nails.

Paint the inside Fh21mar 608 52 009Family Handyman

Step 5

Fasten the Hinge, Install the Lid

  • Stack the lift lid (part B) and the fixed top (part C).
  • Flush up one of the long edges and shim the edges apart about 1/8-in.
  • Center the piano hinge between the two parts, then pre-drill and screw it to both edges.

Fasten the Hinge, Install the Lid Fh21mar 608 52 010Family Handyman

Step 6

Install the Lid Stay

The soft-close lid stays hold the lid up while you grab pillows and blankets from inside and keep it from slamming when you close it.

  • Attach the pivot bracket to the side, then open the lid and extend the arm.
  • Fasten the arm bracket where the arm lands on the lid.
  • Repeat this on the opposite side.

Install the Lid Stay Fh21mar 608 52 038Family Handyman

Step 7

Build Toe-Kicks

  • The toe-kicks raise the boxes off the floor and keep you from stubbing your toes as you get into bed. Simply glue and screw the ends to the sides.
  • Attach three blocks flush to the top of the toe-kicks, one at each end and a third centered 17 inches from the front.

Build Toe-Kicks Fh21mar 608 52 017Family Handyman

Step 8

Build the Drawers

  • Cut the bottoms of the drawers to size from 1/2-in. plywood
  • Fasten the drawer backs through the bottoms with glue and brad nails.
  • Then fasten the sides the same way.

Build the Drawers Fh21mar 608 52 018Family Handyman

Step 9

Cut Drawer Pulls

Instead of cabinet hardware, I cut out a handle for each drawer.

  • Find the center of each drawer and measure a six-inch opening.
  • I traced the shape and cut it out with a jigsaw.
  • Then I attached the face to the drawer.

Cut Drawer Pulls Fh21mar 608 52 025Family Handyman

Step 10

Fill the Edges

  • To prep the plywood edges for paint, apply a sand-able filler with a putty knife.
  • Let it dry, sand it down, then prime and paint all the parts.

Fill the Edges Fh21mar 608 52 032Family Handyman

Step 11

Attach the runners

  • Drill pilot holes in the aluminum angle every 12 inches.
  • At each hole, bore a countersink so the screw heads won’t protrude.
  • Screw the angle to the inside of the toe-kick.

Attach the runners Fh21mar 608 52 028Family Handyman

Step 12

Attach the Toe-Kicks

  • Flip the drawer boxes upside down and center the toe-kicks, which should overhang the front by 17 inches.
  • Screw the toe-kicks to the bottoms of the boxes with 2-in. screws through the blocks.

Attach the Toe-Kicks Fh21mar 608 52 042Family Handyman

Step 13

Assemble the Bed

  • Flip the boxes upright and space them apart.
  • Place the storage bench on top of the overhanging toe-kicks, then line up the sides of the bench with the drawer boxes.
  • Screw them together from the inside with 1-in. screws and into the blocks in the toe-kicks with 2-in. screws.
  • Then connect the back of the toe-kicks with the stretcher (part M).

Assemble the bed Fh21mar 608 52 044Family Handyman

Step 14

Fasten Slats

  • Position the cleats on the inside of the bed assembly 3/4-in. below the top of the boxes and use 1-1/4-in. screws to fasten them.
  • Cut slats from standard 1×4 boards to fit between the side boxes and fasten them to the cleats with two screws on each side.

Pro tip: Use one of the slats as a spacer to position them evenly.

You could use a sheet of plywood instead of slats, but I found the standard pine boards or furring strips to be much cheaper. Once the slats are on, the bed is ready for your mattress!

Fasten Slats Fh21mar 608 52 052Family Handyman

You could end the project here with just the platform bed. If you would like to add a matching headboard and nightstands, continue to the following steps.

Step 15

Sleek & Simple Headboard

headboard and nightstand combination Fh21mar 608 52 103 HbFamily Handyman

I designed this headboard and nightstand combination to match my storage bed, but it would work well with other beds too. All you need is one sheet of plywood and a few hours to put it together.

Headboard design art Fh21mar 608 52 TahbFamily Handyman

Headboard Materials list Fh21mar 608 52 Matlist HbFamily Handyman

Step 16

Screw Planks to the wall

  • Fill the edges and paint three 8-ft. lengths of plywood cut at 8-1/2-in. wide.
  • Center the first strip three inches above the bed and attach it to studs with trim screws.
  • Use a few one-inch spacer blocks to evenly space the next two strips above the bed.

Screw planks to the wall Fh21mar 608 52 053Family Handyman

Step 17

Hang the Nightstands

Hang the nightstands Fh21mar 608 52 062Family Handyman