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Simple Bed Hack


We’re back to our regular routine after a fun Labor Day! While I was not laboring away at any projects yesterday (and I hope you weren’t, either), I wanted to share a recent project we finished with a simple solution to a common secondhand furniture problem.

But first, a confession:

I had WAY more photos to show of this project, I’m absolutely certain, but I must have deleted them because I cannot find them anywhere. So you’re going to have to use your imagination.

Picture it. A thrift store. Loads of old furniture piled up outside on the front lawn. Bins of $1 jeans and luggage and SO MANY sets of golf clubs. Off to the side are two headboard and footboard sets. I’ve been wanting to find a set for BB’s room for several months. Ever since BG moved to a Big Girl bed (which is an antique full-sized bed that’s been in Husband’s family for years and years), BB has been a little envious. It might be the size of the bed, but it also might be the fact that she has an actual piece of furniture for a bed and not just a twin mattress and box springs on top of a metal frame. (But don’t feel bad for him – for well over a year, his was the only room that had been repainted in our whole house. Give and take here, people.)

So I checked out both of the headboards and decided on simple ones with turned finials, painted that deep forest green that was popular in the late 80s/early 90s. Before checking out, I didn’t think about the fact that they were missing the side rails, two pieces vital to assembling a bed. At $10, they were a bargain, and I was sure it would be easy to paint the headboard and footboard and add them to BB’s room.  (I also picked up a great vintage desk for his room for $10 at the same thrift store. You should have seen how creative I got trying to get all of these pieces into the back of my little Honda CR-V – folding down the back seats, taking out car seats, removing the desk drawers. But the furniture and I all made it home safe and sound. Aside from that one time I slammed on the brakes and one of the drawers fell out and it sounded like a bomb went off and my heart stopped beating for approximately 4 seconds.)

thrift store headboard

Oh, hey! I just found this one photo of the bed on my phone. Behind it to the left is the desk I also ended up buying. I know it looks weird – I think it had been stripped and sanded but never refinished. Even though it’s old, it’s very sturdy, and I knew a coat of paint would transform it. I snapped this picture, thinking I would text it to Husband to get his opinion before I purchased. (I didn’t.)

Now, Husband is not always super excited when new furniture shows up unexpectedly at our house. (Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit C. Let’s just stop there for the sake of time.) But this time, he and BB got to work right away painting all of the new furniture. I DIDN’T EVEN ASK THEM TO! (I know there were pictures of this. I wanted to document my gratitude.) And I was sure it would only be a matter of hours before we could attach the headboard and footboard to BB’s bed frame. So easy.


That doesn’t really work at all. Especially when the mattress just hangs off of the end of the metal bed frame (like this one) – no way to attach the footobard.

So it was time to get creative.


We headed to the hardware store to pick up two 1x6s to make our own side rails. We didn’t really even pay much attention to the wood, although looking at photos now, I would have been more careful about knot holes. But no big deal.


We used these brackets to attach the boards to each side of the headboard and footboard.

Note: Make sure you measure the width of the headboard post to make sure you get brackets that don’t hang over the edge when they are attached. And make sure you use screws that aren’t longer than the thickness of the board or they will stick out on the outside of the bed.

Not that we did that the first time. Nope. We are so careful when we plan these things out. Always.


Four correct brackets later, and we have a bed frame. As in, it literally frames out the freestanding bed. We just lift it up on one side and slide the metal bed frame with mattress and box springs under it. It is not attached to the bed in any way, but it fits pretty snuggly and doesn’t really move around much.

Originally, we didn’t paint the wood on the side because we thought it wouldn’t show if we put the bedskirt over it.


But after a few weeks of seeing the wood rails peeking out at the top of the bed, I went back and painted them. And I liked how it looked so much, I tucked the bedskirt underneath and left the wood showing.



You can see my “Sunshine” canvas peeking out in the corner of the picture above, as well as a Monterey picture BB picked up at a rummage sale a couple of years ago. (Like mama, like son, I suppose.)


(See more of that giant Tennessee Football sign here.)


And here’s the desk Husband and BB painted. We used Clark+Kensington’s Smokey Eyes for both the bed and the desk. (It was leftover from painting our den, and it was a perfect complement to his orange walls.)


I spent the better part of a Saturday looking for just the right drawer pulls to replace these, but I ended up keeping the originals.


They appear to have been painted multiple times (I see black, cream, and a minty green), but I like how they look against the gray.

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one, too.



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