Easy IKEA Platform Bed DIY Tutorial using Kallax Shelves

CEO Khai Intela
Looking for a simple and affordable DIY project to upgrade your bedroom? Look no further! This easy IKEA platform bed DIY hack is the perfect solution. Not only does it provide a modern aesthetic, but...

Looking for a simple and affordable DIY project to upgrade your bedroom? Look no further! This easy IKEA platform bed DIY hack is the perfect solution. Not only does it provide a modern aesthetic, but it also offers additional storage space, making it ideal for kids' rooms, dorms, or any small bedroom.

Why DIY?

Making your own platform bed is a great way to unleash your creativity and save money. Plus, it's a fantastic beginner project that will get you hands-on with DIY. And with this IKEA hack bed, you don't have to start from scratch, which means you'll need fewer tools!

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack

Full-Size IKEA Platform Bed DIY Tutorial

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to create a full-sized platform bed using 3 Kallax units and a bit of extra lumber. But don't worry if you need a different size bed – I've got you covered with our suggested Kallax layouts for twin, queen, and king sizes.

Materials and Tools:


  • 3 - 2"x4"x8" boards
  • 1 sheet 1/2" plywood (or 3 1x4 bed slats)
  • 1 - 4x8 sheet 1/8" white tile board (optional, shelf backer)
  • 12' x 1/2" quarter round or 1x2 (optional, bed rail)

Other Materials

  • 3 - IKEA Kallax 4-shelf units
  • 2 1/2" screws
  • 1/2" screws
  • White spray paint

Tools I used

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

Let's get started!

Cut List for Full Size IKEA Platform DIY Bed Frame

These dimensions are based on a full-sized IKEA platform bed DIY made from 3 Kallax 4-shelf units. Remember to measure your exact project before cutting and read the detailed instructions below for different bed sizes.

  • 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 1/4"
  • 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 1x2

When attaching extra pieces to the Kallax shelves or joining shelves together, it's important to remember that most of the center of the piece is hollow. The strength lies at the edges, so make sure to attach any additional pieces within about an inch of the edges to ensure they stay secure.

1: Assemble With Additional Glue

Start by assembling your Kallax shelf units. Follow the instructions provided, but here's a helpful tip: add a small amount of wood glue along each joint and in the holes for the wooden dowels. This will make the shelves more stable. Once assembled, let the glue dry before moving on.

Arrange the shelves into a U shape.

2: Cut the Backerboards

To prevent items from falling behind the Kallax units, add a backboard to the inner section of the shelves. Cut white tile board to the appropriate lengths. Measure the long edge of the shelf and the height of the shelf to determine the size of the backboard. Cut the tile board accordingly.

Measure the short inside edge of the U shape and subtract 1/2" to account for the tile board backer on the other shelves. Cut a shorter backerboard for the footboard shelf. For example, if the height is 16" and the length of the shelf is 57 1/2", the footboard shelf would require a length of 26 1/4".

3: Cut the 2x4 Bed Frame

The bed frame is the most crucial part of this project. Measure the long edge of the shelf and cut two lengths of 2x4 at that measurement. Repeat this process for the short edge of the U shape. These 2x4 pieces will serve as the bed frame to support the mattress between the shelves.

4: Install the Backer Board

Turn the shelves onto their faces and screw the tile board into place, ensuring the white side is facing down. Use 1/2" screws near the edges of the shelf, where the material is strongest. Install the two long pieces first, then slide them back together to form a U. Mark the edges where the shorter piece will go.

5: Attach the 2x4 Bed Frame

Create a jig using a small scrap of plywood and a piece of 2x4. This will help position the 2x4 correctly on the shelf. Nail or screw the two pieces together so that the plywood covers about half of the wide side of the 2x4. When you place the jig with the 2x4 on the shelf, the precut pieces of 2x4 can be butted flush against the plywood, leaving the right amount of space for the plywood or bed slat. Screw the 26 1/4" 2x4 into place, centered on the footboard shelf, using the jig to guide the positioning. Then butt the 54 3/4" 2x4s against the installed piece and screw them into place.

Next, toenail the 2x4s together using 2 1/2" screws. This means attaching the two pieces at a 45-degree angle to ensure stability. Toenail the other 2x4 @ 26 1/4" to the ends of the 2x4s. Finally, toenail the inside bottom edge of the shelf at the end of the bed to the side pieces using 2 1/2" screws. Be sure to keep the screws within 1" from the edge of the shelf for maximum strength.

6: Install Center Supports or Bed Slats

If you're using plywood as the bed board, install center supports by measuring inside the 2x4s and cutting two 2x4 pieces at that length (e.g., 23 5/8"). Attach the center supports to the side 2x4s using 2 1/2" screws.

Alternatively, if you prefer using bed slats, cut them to fit the full distance between the shelves (e.g., 26 1/4").

7: Install Plywood Platform or Bed Slats

Cut your plywood to fit within the center space. Double-check your measurements before cutting to ensure a perfect fit. The top of the plywood should line up perfectly with the top of the Kallax shelf units. Depending on your storage needs, this space under the plywood offers great potential for storing clothes or seasonal items. Place the plywood in the recessed opening without additional screws or nails. Optionally, you can use 2" screws to secure the plywood to the 2x4s around the outside. For bed slats, screw them evenly along the length of the gap, 2-4" apart. Be sure to attach the first and last bed slat with screws to prevent them from shifting.

8: Trim the Edge

To prevent the mattress from sliding, create a bed rail using quarter round or 1x2 pieces. Route out a section to fit across the raised edges of the shelves. Install the quarter round on both sides using a jig to maintain proper positioning.

And voila! Your IKEA platform bed DIY is complete. Now you have a custom platform bed that doesn't require a box spring, providing a sleek and practical solution for your bedroom.

Ikea Platform Bed DIY Kallax Hack

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?

Absolutely! You can attach a piece of plywood or bed slats directly to the top of the Kallax shelves. However, make sure the shelves are securely attached to each other and/or the bed platform/slats to ensure a safe and stable base for your mattress. Keep in mind that you may see the plywood or slats underneath the mattress with this method. Alternatively, you can build a simple box frame to place on top of the shelves, allowing for gaps between the shelves to fit the edges of the bed. Another option is attaching the box frame directly to the wall, with the sides of the bed frame attached to the wall studs.

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

Using the instructions provided, you can adapt this DIY to create a platform bed in any size. We've included diagrams for different mattress sizes, so you can easily customize the project to suit your needs. Follow the DIY instructions to attach the shelves together and add the plywood mattress support or create a box frame/slat base to secure the cube shelves.

Ways to Make This IKEA Platform Bed DIY Hack Even Better

Add Drawers

If you need extra storage, consider adding drawer units to the end of the bed. These drawers are perfect for storing small clothing items, toys, and other treasures, keeping your bedroom organized and clutter-free.

Make it a Loft Bed

Take this IKEA platform bed DIY to the next level by using two Kallax shelves to create a loft bed. For easy access, use a 1x1 Kallax with a wine grid insert as a step stool.

Add a Built-In Headboard

Attach a headboard frame directly to the Kallax platform bed base. This will enhance the overall look of the bed and provide additional support for your mattress. Consider using 1x2s as bed rails to keep the mattress in place.

Add a Canopy

Bring a touch of glamour to your DIY platform bed by adding a canopy. Check out our list of 25 DIY bed canopy ideas for inspiration.

Add Toy Storage Bins

If you have children, utilize toy storage bins to keep their room organized. Incorporate Trofast toy bins or other storage containers under the bed for easy access to their toys and a cleaner room.

Make Room for Horses

For a playful twist, transform the platform bed into a horse stall bed. This creative idea will surely delight your horse-loving child.

Add Underbed Lighting

Enhance the ambiance of your bedroom by installing LED light strips along the edges of the Kallax shelves. Consider using multicolored lights for a fun and vibrant kids' room.

Remember, if there is more than a 15" gap between the shelves, you should add additional vertical supports beneath the plywood or slats for stability. 2x4 legs or another Kallax unit can serve as vertical support.

So, what do you think of all the ways you can build an easy IKEA platform bed DIY? This project is not only fun but also adds a unique touch to your home. Let your creativity shine and enjoy the benefits of a custom-made platform bed!

Storage Platform Beds to Buy Instead of DIY

If you prefer a ready-to-go platform bed with storage, here are some excellent options that feature accessible storage baskets or built-in drawers.

More IKEA Hacks and Projects You'll Love

Looking for more DIY inspiration? Check out these articles for additional IKEA hacks and projects:

  • 25 Easy Hacks for IKEA Dressers
  • 30 IKEA Hacks for the Perfect Organized Playroom
  • 55 Modern Headboards to Build or Buy
  • Buy or DIY: Kids' House Beds

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