Building a farmhouse bed from scratch

Click here to see the finished product post!

I am 23 weeks pregnant with our baby girl, meaning sleeping is becoming increasingly more uncomfortable to say the least.

Add in two dogs who insist on sleeping in bed with us (the beagle actually sleeps under the covers. Have mercy.), and there is no more room for a bigger belly and more pillows to support me.

Therefore, after lots of discussion, my husband and I decided to upgrade our queen to a king sized bed. We shopped around and did our research and we landed on a Sleep Number iLE, which was on super sale… although still overpriced. But, I digress.

The mattress gets delivered this week and we didn’t order a box spring, so we needed a bed ASAP!

We shopped around at four furniture store showrooms plus several online stores, and the prices for a king platform bed was just stupid after we just spent so much on a mattress.

My husband is super duper handy, and he offered (well, more like I begged) to build us a farmhouse bed based on my obsession with the Ana White online plans. We read through all of the comments and users’ submissions (there are a ton), learning different ways to tweak the plans. Afterwards we felt we were pretty prepared to tackle it. AKA he was pretty prepared to tackle it because I just did the painting and moral supporting. Just being honest.


For reference, the beds we were looking at ranged from $800 for particle board beds, to $2,000+ for ‘solid wood’ beds. Of course there were a lot more expensive beds available, but not in our price range.

We purchased all of the materials for our bed for about $200. Quite a bit of savings AND it’s completely solid wood and made with love. Can’t beat it, people. The total time it took to build was about 15-20 hours.

We switched up the Ana White plans quite a bit because she built hers backwards – meaning she used the width as her length and vice versa.

Shopping list

For the headboard and footboard: 
5 – 1x8x8
2 – 4x4x8 posts
2 – 1x3x8
8 – 1x4x8
2 – 2x4x8
2 – 2x6x8

2 inch screws
3 inch screws
4 inch screws
Wood glue
Wood filler
120 grit sandpaper
Nail gun + nails (recommended)
Paint primer (we used white Zinsser primer)
Paint of your choice (we used a white semi-gloss)

Paint brush/ paint rollers

For the side rails:
2 – 2x10x8 (or however wide you’d like)

For the frame:
6 – 2×6 for joists
12 – Joist hangers
2 – 2″ plywood slabs

The building process

Please excuse my crappy iPhone photos and super messy & dirty basement/garage/bedroom. Haha!

But really, sorry. 


We pretty much followed the Ana White instructions or the headboard and footboard construction, size wise… but tweaked the width to our bed (again, she based her sizing on the bed laying sideways).

We used a nail gun and wood glue between pieces to make sure they will hold up well, but if you just use a drill or nails then you should be fine, too. It will just take a lot longer. We also used a huge saw to help cut all the boards to the correct length, so my husband breezed through the assembly of the head and footboard in about two hours or so.

nail gun wood glue


finished raw headboard

Fill in any gaps or holes with wood filler and sand.

wood filler on footboard

We then moved all the pieces to the garage and sanded the rough edges that we thought needed it.

Then it’s time to prime that sucker! Be smarter than I was… Use a roller. I painted everything with the primer using a brush and it took forever/broke my hand. I used a small roller for the paint and a brush for the tight spots and it turned out great. One coat of primer and two thin coats of paint worked perfectly for us!

We used a white semi-gloss paint because it really brightens up a space – I hate dark wood. But it would look pretty in many different finishes or colors!

prime wood

paint footboardpaint

I love that you can see the panels! Yay farmhouse-esque.

We thought about distressing the wood with a sanding block, but once we started it on the headboard I didn’t like the way it was looking. So we are leaving it as-is and I love it!


This is the hard part… Not only are these pieces SUPER heavy, but it can be tedious. It took about three hours to assemble once we had all the pieces in our bedroom. We used joists and joist hangers so it can be disassembled and reassembled if we need to (dear God, I hope we won’t need to for a LOOOONGGG time).

The below photo is my husband attaching the side rails to the footboard. He used a ton of screws for this to make sure it was secure, but there was a bit of a gap between the top wood pile and the footboard, so we used some small pieces of wood for extra support. You’ll see in the photo 2 down…

attach rails

Footboard with support

^ See, support. He jammed those suckers in there with a hammer and then screwed them in. Careful not to use too long of screws so you won’t hurt your beautiful footboard!

We will be patching and painting all the huge screw holes that you can see in the coming days.

Then, attach to headboard. This took both of us to make sure it was aligned correctly and nice and tight.

attach frame to headboard

frame attached

You can leave it like this if you are using your own frame and boxspring if you want. If not, like us, you’ll need to add support and a platform for your mattress.

Attach all the joist hangers… like so… on both sides. Then, add the joists.

bed frame with joist holders

Joists 2Joists

There shouldn’t be any holes on the outer panels from your joists. It should appear seamless on the outside.

Then you’ll need to add the platform! We used plywood, which was a little more expensive and heavy, but we wanted it to last… Cut it to the size as needed and screw a bazillion screws into the joists.


Ta-da!!!! You are done. Go get a glass of wine or five and celebrate.

Or, if you are pregnant, go take a nice sip of H2O…

I will post pretty, finished photos (with good lighting) of the bed & bedroom once our mattress arrives.

Good luck and I hope this helps you out. Again, for exact cutting sizes, refer to Ana White’s tutorial. Lay it all out on paper before you go shopping and start building so you don’t end up with the wrong sized bed!

If you’re willing to tackle this project, you’ll save a whole bunch of money and have a beautiful product at the end.

Here is an awkward photo of our queen-sized mattress on this huge bed…

queen bed

See ya next time!



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