The difference between a wood futon frame and a wood bed frame is support. Standard box springs have a rigid internal structure that allows you to set them on rails. A futon has no internal rigidity, meaning it will fold and fall between rails on a standard bed frame. A futon mattress requires a platform bed frame. The good news is that platform beds are actually easier to build than rail-type frames. You can use a simple box frame as-is, or use it as a base to which you can add extra components like a headboard.
Things You'll Need
- 2 wooden beams, 2 inches by 8 inches by 75 inches
- 2 wooden beams, 2 inches by 8 inches by 47 inches
- 1 plywood sheet, 1/2 inch by 75 inches by 50 inches
- Power saw
- Power drill
- Wood screws, 4 inches long
- Wood screws, 2 inches long
Buy your lumber at your local yard or home improvement center. Plywood and pine are cheap and durable, but you can upgrade to more expensive woods that suit your taste.
Cut the lumber to the needed dimensions. These specs are for a full-size futon mattress. You can use them for other sizes of futon, but will need to adjust the lumber dimensions to suit.
Sand one face of each piece of lumber. If you want to paint or stain your frame, do it at this point.
Set one long beam and one short beam together in an L-shape. The end of the 50-inch beam should rest against the inside face of the 75-inch beam. Arrange them so the sanded faces of both beams are on the outside face of the L. Attach them with three of the four-inch wood screws. Set one screw in the center, and one each two inches from the end of the beams.
Repeat step three with the remaining beams.
Arrange the two L-shapes into a rectangle measuring 50 inches by 75 inches. Attach the two loose corners the same way to screwed together the L-shapes.
Lay the plywood sheet on top of the rectangular frame. It should fit so that its outer edges align with the outer edges of the frame. If it overlaps, trim it with your power saw.
Screw the sheet into place with one two-inch wood screw at each corner. Though it's not strictly necessary, you could reinforce the connection with a screw at the center point of each edge of the bed.
Tips & Warnings
- In humid climates, the lack of air flow in a platform bed means a risk of mold or mildew beneath your futon mattress. You can minimize this risk by drilling several holes in the plywood sheet using an auger bit.