Easy IKEA Platform Bed DIY Tutorial using Kallax Shelves

Try this simple IKEA platform bed DIY hack for a full sized bed, or modify to fit any size bed. The Kallax shelves are cheap and great for additional storage space and a modern aesthetic for kids’ rooms, dorms, or anywhere you need a space-saver bed.

You might also like this entryway built-in IKEA storage hack, this IKEA Kallax flat drawer build or our IKEA Pax closet for our daughters.

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack 01 (9)

When it comes to beds, I will admit I often lean toward making my own DIY platform bed, rather than buying one.  Beds are such an easy thing to make. I feel like they are often a great first time project for getting your DIY hands dirty.

But this particular project – an IKEA hack bed, is the perfect solution if you want to do an easy DIY bed without building everything from scratch (which also means you need fewer tools!).

This platform bed has extra storage on steroids!  So if you have a small bedroom, even though this is a full size bed, you can get a ton of storage with just the bed alone, saving space everywhere else- even if there is limited closet space or limited wall space.

 

Full-Size IKEA Platform Bed DIY Tutorial

This brilliant IKEA hack tutorial shows exactly how I made my full size IKEA platform bed from 3 Kallax units and a bit of extra lumber. (Kallax is the new version of what was formerly the IKEA Expedit shelf.)

 

Need a different size?

Scroll down to see our suggested Kallax layouts for an IKEA hack platform bed in twin, queen, and king sizes.

This post contains affiliate links. Learn more and read our full disclosure policy here.

Materials and Tools:

Lumber

  • 3 – 2″x4″x8″ boards
  • 1 sheet 1/2″ plywood (or 3 1×4 bed slats)
  • 14×8 sheet 1/8″ white tile board (optional, shelf backer)
  • 12′ x 1/2″ quarter round or 1×2 (optional, bed rail)

Other Materials

Tools I used

  • Drill
  • Miter saw
  • Table saw or circular saw or jigsaw (optional, for cutting sheet lumber)
  • Tape measure
  • Router

 

Cut List for Full Size IKEA Platform DIY Bed Frame

These dimensions are what I used for a full-sized IKEA platform bed DIY made from 3 Kallax 4-shelf units. Measure your exact project before cutting, and read the detailed instructions below for measuring for a different size bed.

  • 2″x4″x8″ (actual 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″)
    • cut 2 @ 54 3/4″
    • cut 2 @ 26 1/4″ 
    • cut 2 @  23 5/8″
  • 1/2″ plywood
    • cut 1 @ 54 3/4″x 26 1/4″
    • *if using bed slats instead, cut 9 bed slats @ 26 14/”
  • 1/8″ white tile board
    • cut lengthwise into 3 pieces @ 16″ wide by 8 ft
    • then cut 2 @ 57 1/2″ long
    • and cut 1 @ 26 1/2
  • 12′ x 1/2″ quarter round or 1×2

When attaching things to an IKEA shelf like this (and attaching shelves together), it’s important to remember that most of the center of the piece is hollow or very lightly reinforced — the strength is at the edges. So you’ll need to attach any extra pieces within about an inch of the edges for it to “grab” and stay attached.

 

1: Assemble With Additional Glue

To start your DIY IKEA platform bed, first you are going to spend about an hour with this guy assembling your Kallax shelf units. Follow the instructions with one optional addition: glue.

remodelaholic kallax platform bed (2)

In order to make the shelves more stable I ran a bead of wood glue along each joint, and in the holes for the wooden dowels.

These shelves are pretty simple to assemble so you shouldn’t be too angry once you are finished! You will need to let the glue dry before moving on, so go read a good book. If you want to be economical with your time I guess you could cut some of the other pieces you will need.

Once the glue is dry you will arrange the shelves into a U shape like this.

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack 01 (13)

2: Cut the Backerboards

Depending on if you are using an IKEA unit or a knock off version will depend if you need the backerboard- some brands have a back.

In order to keep stuff from falling back behind the Kallax units, I decided to add a back board to the inner section of the shelves.  I got some inexpensive white tile board at Home Depot — it makes for a great shelf backing.

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack 01 Measuring

Measure the long edge of the shelf and the height of the shelf.  You will use the full measurement to cut the white tile board.  That will become the back wall of the Kallax unit.

Now you will want to measure the short inside edge of the U. That footboard shelf requires a shorter backerboard because the sides of the other shelves serve as a backing. I subtracted 1/2″ to allow for the tile board backer on the other shelves.

For the Kallax shown here, the height is 16″ and the full length of the shelf is 57 1/2″. The length of the footboard shelf only requires 26 1/4″.

Cut the tileboard lengthwise into 16″ wide strips. Then cut 2 down @ 57 1/2″, and one @ 26 1/4″.

3: Cut the 2×4 Bed Frame

The most important part of this IKEA platform bed DIY is the bed frame to support the mattress in between the shelves.

Measure the long edge of the shelf and subtract 3″ from the measurement to allow for the width of the 2x4s that will be on the ends. Cut 2 lengths of 2×4 at that length.

My measurement was 54 3/4″, but you know what they say, “Measure twice, cut once!” So be sure to double check the measurement!

Measure the short edge of the U again, and cut 2 lengths of 2×4 at that length. (Mine was 26 1/4″.)

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack 01 (2)

4: Install the Backer Board

Turn the shelves onto their faces, and screw the tile board into place with the white side down, using 1/2″ screws near the edges of the shelf (remember, that’s where the material is!)

I did the two long pieces first, and then slid them back together to form a U, and marked the edges of where the shorter piece would go.

 

5: Attach The 2×4 Bed Frame

I like to make jigs to help keep the project moving quickly, and to save me from measuring so much.  So I used a small scrap of the plywood, and a piece of 2×4 (as you can see below). If you are using 1×4 bed slats, use a scrap of that instead of the plywood.

Nail or screw the two pieces together so that the plywood (or slat) covers about half of the wide side of the 2×4. Now, when you place the jig with the 2×4 on the shelf, and butt your precut pieces of 2×4 flush against the plywood it will leave the right amount of space for your plywood or bed slat. That way the plywood (or bed slat) will be flush with the shelves when it is finished.

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack 01 (5)

Screw the 26 1/4″ 2×4 into place, centered on the footboard shelf, using the jig to leave space for the plywood.  Only put screws along the top 1″ of your 2×4. That way they will be within the wide side pieces of the shelf for strength, and they won’t be exposed.

Then butt the 54 3/4″ 2x4s against the one you just installed, and using the jig for positioning, screw into place. It should look like this.

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack 01 (3)

Next, you’ll make a sort of pocket hole to toenail the 2x4s together using 2 1/2″ screws. “Toenailing” simply means attaching 2 pieces together at a 45-degree angle. Like this.

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack 01 (4)

Toenail with 2 1/2″ screws to attach the other 2×4 @ 26 1/4″ to the ends of the 2x4s.

Next, toenail (with 2 1/2″ screws) to attach the inside bottom edge of the shelf at the end of the bed to the side pieces. Try to keep your holes within 1″ from the edge of the shelf. Remember, the middle of the shelves are hollow, and you will have nothing for the screw to grab on to. I did 3 screws in each of the two end cubbys.

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack 01 (10)

Alternately, you could use L brackets on the backside (the inside of the U) to attach the shelves together at the bottoms to make this IKEA platform bed DIY even easier.

6: Install Center Supports or Bed Slats

If you’re using a plywood bed board, next you’ll install the center supports.

Measure inside the 2x4s and cut 2 – 2×4 pieces at that length for center supports (mine was 23 5/8″). Toenail with 2 1/2″ screws to attach the center supports to the side 2x4s, and

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack 01 (6)

If you prefer to use 1×4 bed slats, measure the full distance between the shelves and cut 9 bed slats to that length (mine is 26 1/4″).

7: Install Plywood Platform or Bed Slats

Now you are ready to cut and install the plywood or bed slats on your IKEA platform bed DIY project — nearly finished!

Cut your plywood to fit within the center space. Mine was 54 3/4″x 26 1/4″. Double check your measurements before cutting so you have a good fit. You want the top of the plywood to line up perfectly with the top of the Kallax shelf units so the mattress will lie flat.

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack 01 (7)

Depending on how much storage you need in your room, this space under the plywood is a great opportunity to store clothes in a size up, or seasonal items.   There is lots of storage potential there.  As long as the 2×4 frame is secure, that will hold the bed together and plywood can just sit in the recessed opening with no additional screws or nails.

Tip:  If you take a 1″ drill bit and drill a couple holes into the plywood, that will give you an easy handle to lift the sheet to store long term items in that center space.

Optionally, you can use 2″ screws to screw the plywood down to the 2x4s around the outside.

For bed slats, you can create your own bed slat roll by attaching the slats together using 1″ webbing material, or you can just place the slats evenly along the length of the gap and screw them into the 2×4 with 2″ screws. (Slats should be 2-4″ apart.)

If you use the webbing to make bed slats, you’ll still want to attach the first and last bed slat using screws to ensure that the slats don’t shift and fall off the 2×4 support.

 

8: Trim the Edge

I wanted to make sure the mattress wouldn’t slide around on this IKEA platform bed DIY, so I made a sort of bed rail to hold the mattress in place (since the bed frame is a few inches wider than the mattress).

I cut 2 pieces of quarter round, and routed out about 1/8″ where it would go across the raised edges of the shelves.

I think a 1×2 would also look really nice as an option.

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack 01 (8)

To install this bed “rail” for the mattress:

  1. Measure 27″ (half the width of the mattress) from the center of the bed frame, put the quarter round into place, and measure from the outside edge to the quarter round.
  2. Use that measurement to make a jig out of scrap wood. This will keep the quarter round the same distance from the edge as you screw it into place.
  3. I predrilled a small hole every 6″ at @ a 45 degree angle to help guide the screw, and sprayed the quarter round with white spray paint before I installed it.
  4. Then using 1/2″ screws, and your jig, install the quarter round on both sides.
Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack 01 (12)

The end result on this IKEA hack platform bed is the perfect custom platform bed for a mattress — no need for a box spring!

I found that the bed was a little too high with the box springs, but the mattress right on the bed frame is the perfect height for my kids and for adults.

Or, if you need even more storage space, you can use the 2×4 Kallax shelves to make a raised loft bed!

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack 01 (9)

IKEA Kallax Platform Bed FAQs

Can I just put a piece of plywood or bed slats on top of the shelves to make the platform bed?

Yes! A piece of plywood cut to size (or some bed slats) can be attached right to the top of the Kallax shelves. That’s makes it super cheap, quick, and easy to make your own IKEA platform bed DIY in just a few hours.

You’ll want to be sure that the Kallax shelves are secured well to each other and/or the bed platform/slats to ensure a safe and stable platform bed base.

You may be able to see the plywood or slats under the mattress with this method.

You can also try this IKEA platform bed DIY hack from Create by OBI — build a simple box frame to put on top of the shelves. This way, the shelves act as legs for the bed and allow for gaps between shelves to fit the edges of the shelves to side of the bed. (Again, be sure that the shelves are secured to the box frame / wall for stability.)Diy Ikea Platform Bed On Top Of Kallax Shelves, Create By Obi

Or you can save on shelves and attach the box frame to the wall, like shown by Pinterest user riese2509. This frame sits on top of the shelves on 2 sides, with supports in the center and the opposite sides(s) of the bed frame attached directly to the wall studs.

 

Kallax Ikea Platform Bed DIY Pinterest Riese2509

How to Build this IKEA Platform Bed DIY for Any Size Mattress

Using the tutorial above, you can make your own platform bed in any size! We did the quick math and drew up some ideas for different sizes of DIY IKEA platform beds.

These different Kallax configurations show how to make your own cheap platform storage bed from cube shelves.

*These diagrams are shown with standard mattress sizes — check your specific mattress dimensions since mattresses may vary by a few inches.

Get the Right size

 

IKEA Kallax Dimensions

  • 1×4 cube shelf: 57 7/8″ L x 16 1/2 ” H x 15 3/8 ” D
  • 1×3 cube shelf: 43 7/8″ L x 16 3/8″ H x 15 3/8″ D (not available in the US)*
  • 1×2 cube shelf: 30 3/8 ” L x 16 1/8 ” H x 15 3/8″ D
  • 1×1 cube shelf: 16 1/2″ L x 16 1/8″ H x 15 3/8 ” D

Shop all Kallax shelves

*Since the 1×3 Kallax shelf is only available in Europe, we didn’t use it in our configurations for standard American bed sizes.

Follow the DIY instructions above to attach the shelves together (add scrap wood for the gaps) and add the plywood mattress support, or to create a box frame / slat base to hold the cube shelves secure.

 

Twin IKEA Hack Platform Bed Layout

Standard Twin Mattress Size: 38″ x 75″

TWIN BED
Diy IKEA Kallax Platform Bed Configurations Twin Mattress
  • 2 – 1×4 Kallax
  • 1 – 1×2 Kallax
TWIN bed with reversible nightstand
Diy IKEA Kallax Platform Bed Configurations Twin Mattress With Nightstand
  • 2 – 1×4 Kallax
  • 1 – 1×2 Kallax
  • 1 – 1×1 Kallax

Build it from scratch! DIY Built-in Bed Nook with Drawers or Twin DIY Daybed with Storage Cubbies

 

Twin XL IKEA Hack Platform Bed Layout

Standard Twin XL Mattress Size: 38″ x 80″

TWIN XL BED
Diy IKEA Kallax Platform Bed Configurations Twin Xl Mattress
  • 2 – 1×4 Kallax
  • 1 – 1×2 Kallax
TWIN XL bed with reversible nightstand
Diy IKEA Kallax Platform Bed Configurations Twin Xl Mattress With Nightstand
  • 2 – 1×4 Kallax
  • 1 – 1×2 Kallax
  • 1 – 1×1 Kallax

Full IKEA Hack Platform Bed Layout

Standard Full Mattress Size: 53″ x 75″

FULL BED
Diy IKEA Kallax Platform Bed Configurations Full Mattress
FULL bed with nightstands
Diy IKEA Kallax Platform Bed Configurations Full Mattress With Nightstands
  • 2 – 1×4 Kallax
  • 2 – 1×2 Kallax
  • 1 – 1×1 Kallax

Queen IKEA Hack Platform Bed Layout

Standard Queen Mattress Size: 60″ x 80″

QUEEN BED
Diy IKEA Kallax Platform Bed Configurations Queen Mattress
queen bed with nightstands
Diy IKEA Kallax Platform Bed Configurations Queen Mattress With Nightstands
  • 2 – 1×4 Kallax
  • 3 – 1×2 Kallax

King IKEA Hack Platform Bed Layout

Standard Queen Mattress Size: 60″ x 80″

king BED
Diy IKEA Kallax Platform Bed Configurations King Mattress
  • 3 – 1×4 Kallax
  • 1 – 1×1 Kallax
king bed with nightstands
Diy IKEA Kallax Platform Bed Configurations King Mattress With Nightstands
  • 2 – 1×4 Kallax
  • 3 – 1×2 Kallax

Ways to Make This IKEA Platform Bed DIY Hack Even Better

Add Drawers

If you have seen our Entryway storage hack of an Ikea Kallax you will have seen how nice the IKEA products for Kallax are (particularly the drawers).  If this room is a small space and you need a lot of storage, I would suggest adding 4 drawer units at the end of the bed. Adding the drawers will give you plenty of storage for most small children’s clothing items or toys.

Kallax Insert With Drawers White 0251919 PE390727 S4

Now, the drawers are small, so they would work best for small articles of clothing like undies, socks, tank tops, shorts. But these Kallax drawers also are great for storing small collections of toys too,  and keeping them organized and out of sight. Legos, figures, art supplies, and all those other “treasures”.

Make it a Loft Bed

Take this IKEA platform bed DIY to greater heights! Use 2x Kallax shelves instead of 1x shelves to create a loft bed like this one by redditor Gasher7.

DIY Ikea Platform Bed Loft With Kallax Shelves Via Reddit
DIY IKEA platform loft bed by Gasher7

Super smart tip: Use a 1×1 Kallax (with a wine grid insert for stability) as a step stool to get into the bed!

Add a Built-In Headboard

While you’re attaching shelves together and adding lumber supports, why not attach a headboard frame right to the Kallax platform bed base? Pinterest user charlenebaines shared photos of her double Kallax bed and headboard here.

DIY Ikea Platform Bed Kallax Double Bed DIY By Charlenebaines
Double IKEA platform bed DIY by charlenebaines

You can also see how she used 1x2s as bed rails to keep the mattress in place, and how her bed slats are attached to the supports differently for this version of an IKEA platform bed DIY.

Add a Canopy

Whether for yourself or a kids’ room, a bed canopy makes any bed a little more glamorous and beautiful. Try one of these 25 DIY bed canopies.

Add Toy Storage Bins

Our friend Corey from Hey There Home made this brilliant storage platform bed from another IKEA favorite — the Trofast toy bins! See how she built it — and just look at all that organized toy storage under the bed!

Ikea Platform Bed With Trofast Toy Storage By Hey There Home
IKEA platform bed DIY with Trofast toy storage by Hey There Home

Make Room for Horses

If your child is a lover of horses, you could easily convert this bed into a horse stall bed like this one by R and B Door Company (or reach out to them to make one!).

Horse Stable Bed Idea For Little Girls4

Add Underbed Lighting

Add LED light strips to the edge of the Kallax shelves (multicolor for a kids’ room!) like this IKEA platform bed DIY by Pinterest user Nicola Brewster — and maybe that will help keep the room clean!

Ikea Kallax Platform Bed With Underbed Lighting Pinterest Nicola Brewster
IKEA Kallax DIY platform bed with Brimnes headboard, by Nicola Brewster

You’ll also need to add more vertical supports beneath the plywood or slats if there is more than about a 15″ gap between the shelves. 2×4 legs or another Kallax unit are a good option for vertical support.

So what do you think of all the ways you can build an easy IKEA platform bed DIY? This is such a fun way to build something we know you will love for years to come in your home.

Storage Platform Beds to Buy Instead of DIY

If you’re looking to get a platform bed with storage that’s ready to go right out of the box, here are some great options featuring accessible storage baskets or built-in drawers.

More IKEA hacks and projects you’ll like

Pin to share and save!

Tutorial DIY IKEA Platform Bed With Storage Shelves, Remodelaholic

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