If you don't have the space for a guest room, a little DIY ingenuity can go a long way to creating space for a guest bed. Makers focused on small living and homeowners working on a budget have come up with some amazing ideas for building a bed frame that can fit into a chest-sized box or fold up into a wall like a Murphy bed. Brilliant designers construct bed platforms out of plywood, cardboard and even PVC tubing — building furniture that's both economical and portable. One of these bed frames or platforms combined with an air mattress will make welcoming friends a lot easier. Check out some of our favorite ideas for compact handmade beds.
Roll Out Bed
For anyone who wants to see their relatives ooh and ahh, this bedframe just about guarantees a few. At Tiny Revolution, Andrew and Crystal Odom write about the ingenious solutions they create for living in a trailer-sized home. One of them is a bedframe that rolls out from a drawer-like compartment. Watch the video below for details about how Andrew made it and you can also find the link to download the plans.
Andrew explains how the roll out bed is constructed and unfolded. For the plans (which cost about $3), download them here.
Cardboard Bed (with or without Storage)
Have a little space to spare and easy access to cardboard boxes? This bed platform, which looks worthy of IKEA, was fabricated out of sheets of cardboard. While there aren't any easily found plans to download, the nice thing about working with cardboard and packing tape is that a making a mistake doesn't cost much. Plus you can customize this idea to fit a single, double, or even king-size mattress. The storage shelves are optional, but they do create some nice privacy.
Bed in a Wooden Chest
This bedframe, built out of pine and birch plywood, has a distinct purpose. Its creator, Robert MacPherson, is a medieval re-enactor who needed a portable bedframe to set up for camping (or the equivalent of medieval glamping) during festivals. Woodworkers who appreciate a good puzzle will undoubtedly be intrigued and inspired. MacPherson realizes that the construction isn't exactly appropriate to the Middle Ages since he used screws, and describes the idea as a type of medieval steampunk.
For anyone who wants to construct a light, cost-efficient and sturdy bedframe, PVC tubing can be a smart choice. Frugal Home DIY explains how to build the support with tubes, elbows, end caps and some glue. While it isn't easily made smaller, the lightweight frame makes it easy to store and relocate.
Horizontal Murphy Bed
Most Murphy beds flip up vertically into a cabinet or the wall. Rockler Woodworking sells a kit for building a horizontal Murphy bed that folds out of a piece of furniture very similar to a credenza. In the above video, Laney Shaughnessy describes how he used Rockler's Side Mount Murphy Bed Hardware kit to build the piece, including tips for making it easy.
Foldaway Bunk Beds
Be warned: If you show this video to any kids you may be stuck trying to make good on a promise to build bunk beds that fold up flat like an ironing board. In the video above, Oliver Bucklin of WuTeeVee demonstrates how his two-tiered platform works, but doesn't explain how he made it. Pre-made Murphy bunk beds can be bought, but once those little ones see this custom-made bunk bed (with attached white board) nothing else will do.
Special thanks to 3Beds, which reviews air mattresses, for helping support CraftFoxes' article on DIY hideaway beds.