Thursday, September 9, 2010

Making the Bed

Hosting guests really inspires me to make the changes around my house that I'm constantly dreaming and talking about. With our baseball-tour guests anticipated, I used the weekend before their visit to materialize some of those changes. What did I do? I made the bed...except these changes involve more than simply a new set of sheets.

Inspired by Daniel over at Manhattan Nest, specifically this awesome project, I set out to make myself an upholstered bed. I followed Daniel's directions as closely as I could, which meant first to purchase the Ikea Fjellse bed:

Its $49 price-point didn't hurt my wallet even if the bed, in its original state, hurt my eyes. Pretty craptastic, isn't it?

I wanted a neutral gray canvas duck fabric for the upholstery and, after a few unsuccessful trips to Joann Fabrics, I found just what I needed at $7.99/yard (those 40% discount coupons didn't hurt!). With a few items from Home Depot in hand, namely .5" plywood cut to extend about 10" higher than the Fjellse's original headboard, I was ready to begin.

So, here's what I did:

Step 1: Build the bed! Actually, this was probably one of the simpler steps. Knowing only the clean-lined tapered legs would show after I was finished, I stained them in Minwax "English Chestnut," my stain of choice around this apartment. This matches our desk in the room and works to tie together disparate furniture cohesively.

Step 2: With stain dry, begin to cut and wrap batting around the footboard and siderails of the bed. I used a manual staplegun and the work moved pretty quickly. Be sure to pull your batting taut, as it serves as the basis for the smooth look you will need with the upholstery that will ultimately cover the bed.

Step 3: Secure the .5"-thick plywood to the diminutive headboard of the bed. This adds the substantial look to the bed that I was after. Continue covering the headboard with batting, with at least 3" extra to carry around to the backside of the headboard.

Step 4: With my fabric choice of cotton duck, there was a bit of prep work involved prior to stapling the fabric on. Carefully measure the large fabric strips needed for each of the four pieces: 1 piece for the footboard, 2 equal pieces for the siderails, and 1 large piece for the headboard. Remember to add at least an extra 6 inches to the width of the siderail (3 extra inches to wrap the top and bottom of the fabric to your siderail) and an extra few inches to the length, just to be safe.

Slow and steady wins the race with this step. Be mindful to keep your fabric straight and taut as you move along stapling. With a light colored fabric like gray cotton duck, this was especially important. Darker fabric will likely hide a multitude of sins.

All in all, the process was quick.
Check back with me tomorrow for a breakdown of costs and the "big reveal"!


  1. This is such a cool idea! I can't wait to see it all made up!

  2. Good job! Can't wait to see the reveal!

  3. Great job, you can have a second occupation!

  4. Thanks, everyone. Mom, I think Adam would take the ring back if he had to go through another visit to Joann Fabrics. I think I pushed him to the brink...


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