Ever shrink a comforter to the point it doesn’t cover much of your bed anymore? I somehow did that. Combine this with our inability to keep a bedskirt on, and we’ve got a fairly unattractive view of our box springs, metal bed frame, and the junk under our bed.
Searching for a solution, I was informed by my husband that he doesn’t like bedskirts anyway. I’ve never liked them either but had been using one because I thought he did. So that was a revelation in our relationship. 🤦♀️ Thinking of alternatives, I remembered how, for our guest room, I’d created a solid frame covered in fabric that wrapped all the way around the bottom of the bed. However, for our bed we needed to still be able to get under it to store stuff. A solid, unmovable frame wouldn’t work.
We did agree that we like simple wooden bed frames, so I began to think of ways I could make some kind of wooden surround that would also let us use the under-bed space for storage. After looking on Pinterest (of course), I saw how a lot of people made pull-out drawers that slide in and out from under their beds. These would work great for storage, and I could customize the sizes of the drawers. But these Pinterest examples only filled in the area under the bed – they did little to hide the bed frame or higher. I needed something that would go a bit higher and also cover the areas where there wouldn’t be drawers, such as at the ends of either side where the bed’s feet prohibited drawers.
While making the accent wall in our bedroom, I discovered a forgotten 1x10x10 board that had somehow fallen behind the shelves and tool chest in our garage. Treasure! 😍 This board gave me an idea for my bed problem. What if I made drawers like I’d seen on Pinterest BUT used this taller board as the drawer fronts? That way, it could cover the space from the floor all the way up past our bed frame and a bit covering the box springs. And I could use this same taller board to cover the rest of our bed’s sides by attaching it to the frame – these filler pieces could be “permanently” in place while only the drawer pieces moved. That way, the whole way around the bed, it could look like one solid wooden frame with all the drawer fronts and filler pieces lined up.
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Step 1: Measure and plan the drawers. Our bed frame is one of those with a support and feet running right down the center of the bed. This meant I couldn’t make the drawers too deep, or else they’d hit these middle supports and not fit. I measured how deep under the bed I could go before hitting those supports, and this depth was about 30 inches. Next I measured from side to side between the bed frame’s main feet, and this open space was about 47 inches. The height of this opening allowed about 4.5 inches of clearance – measuring from the underside of the bed frame to where the drawers would rest ON TOP of the appliance rollers. (Be sure to account for the height of the rollers.)
On my side of the bed, I decided I wanted one big drawer for easy access to all my purses and small bags. On my husband’s side, he wanted 2 smaller drawers (originally for hats, but they were a bit too tall 🤦♀️). So, to allow for a little wiggle room, I wanted my drawers to be:
- One at 4.5 high x 29 deep x 42 long
- Two at 4.5 high x 29 deep x 21 long
Step 2: Cut wood for drawers. There are different, probably better ways to make nice drawers. For my purposes and patience level, I usually cut the bottom piece, side pieces, and front and back pieces with my miter saw and/or table saw, then hold them in place while using Brad (my nail gun) to attach all the pieces. You can use wood glue, pocket screws, or angled corner cuts, but this is my way and it’s always worked just fine. It helps to remember that these drawers aren’t supporting the weight of what’s in them – the appliance rollers do that. So, you don’t have to be a great carpenter to build these drawers. 😉
First I cut my drawer bottoms. Since I was using 1/2 inch plywood, I took 1 inch off my total drawer depths and lengths so that I could put 1/2 inch side pieces all around and still have my total dimensions. (This hides the bottom board and looks a little nicer from the side view in particular.)
Next I used my dad’s table saw and cut long strips of the plywood at 4.5 inches. Since my surrounding pieces would cover the bottom board, they needed to be the full 4.5 inch height of my drawers.
Then I took a 4.5 inch strip and used my miter saw to cut my drawer sides at 29 inches for the total depths of my drawers. I needed 6 of these, 2 for each drawer.
For the fronts and backs, I again needed 6 pieces of my 4.5 inch boards. To get the right lengths, I simply double-checked the lengths of my bottom boards. This was so that these front and back pieces would fit along the fronts and backs of the drawer bottom while the side pieces would run the full depth of the drawer, including the corners. (See picture below if visuals help this make sense.)
Side note: You don’t need to worry about the “pretty” 1x10x10 front board now – just the basic drawers. The front board “bedskirt” will attach once everything else is assembled.
Step 3: Sand. With all my pieces cut, I had some pretty rough edges. I got out my little sander and smoothed down these edges as best I could, and I also went over the surfaces of the boards to eliminate rough spots or splinters. This was a pretty quick step but made the boards nicer to work with.
Step 4: Assemble/nail the drawers together. I put each bottom down first, positioned each side, then fit the front and back boards to make sure my measurements were accurate. I held them in place one-at-a-time and used a square to make sure they were right. Using my nail gun, I attached the surrounding boards into the drawer bottom. I made these REALLY secure by using a nail every 2 inches or so.
Step 5: Stain. The finished drawers were fairly heavy (these are BIG drawers), but I carried them down into my basement workshop and stained each, inside and out, not bothering with the underside that would only be seen by my floor. I used the same stain as I’d used on our accent wall, which looks really nice all together in our bedroom.
Step 6: Attach drawers to the appliance rollers. If you’ve followed my blog at all, you might’ve noticed that I use drawer slides A LOT (“When in doubt, install a pullout!” is my motto 😂). These rollers are way, way easier.
I carried the dried drawers up to my bedroom and flipped them over on the floor. All I had to do was space the rollers evenly, extend them so that the ends fit over the corners of the drawers, and tighten the bolt. I also added a screw for extra support.
Flipping the drawers back over, I slid them in place under the bed and tested a few times by pulling them out and pushing them back under. They rolled great! But, because my drawers were such a tight fit (to give me as much drawer height as possible), there was no great place to grab and pull them out. This was another good reason to add the front piece and give myself something to grab!
Step 7: Attach the nice front pieces. Because I only had one 1x10x10, I finished my side of the bed first. (I finished up my husband’s side and the foot soon enough, but I wanted my side finished ASAP.) Hoarding my treasured board thusly, I used my miter saw and cut it to the total length I wanted – 80 inches. Then I measured how far I had from the head of the bed to where my drawer started – I decided on 22 inches – and marked that point on the board.
Next I double-checked what I wanted for the length of my drawer front – 44 inches – and marked the board. That left 14 inches to run from the other end of the drawer front to the foot of the bed.
I cut the board at these 2 marks and then sanded all the edges, paying special attention to the drawer front’s top where I’d be grabbing the board to pull out the drawer.
Taking the 3 boards back to my bedroom, I started with my drawer front. I wanted a little space along the floor, and it was easiest to rest one board on the floor and set my drawer front on that board to hold it in position. (The rollers have locks on the front, so I wanted to be able to get to these as well along the floor.)
I grabbed a level and did a quick check along the top, then used a few screws and secured the board in place. I ended up placing a screw near the top every 6 inches or so along the inside, then at the bottom every 6 inches or so, screwing into the back of the front piece. This needs to be attached really well since it’s how the heavy drawer is pulled out.
For the 22-inch filler board near the head of the bed, I crossed my fingers and attached command strips to the metal frame. I put one strip near each end of where the boards would be, pressed the connecting command strips lightly onto the first strips, and peeled the backs so the adhesive was exposed. Then I held the board in place and made sure it was level with the drawer’s board. Pressing the filler board against the command strips, I could hear them fully connect.
It held! If this was in a place likely to be bumped, I might worry about the board staying on, but here near the head it’s pretty protected.
For the 14-inch filler board at the other end, I ended up using a J-shaped hook for added security. This board is more likely to be bumped, plus this worked better for how I planned to do the “bedskirt” at the foot of my bed. (More on that in a second.)
For my husband’s side, I basically repeated everything above for this step. I measured and cut another 80-inch board, dividing it up for each end’s filler board and the two drawer fronts this time. I screwed on the drawer fronts, then used J-shaped hooks to attach the filler boards. (My husband is far more likely to bump his side, so I wanted these more secure than the command strips.)
Step 8: Stain the “bedskirt” boards. I put some scrap cardboard under the bottom edges, then carefully stained the boards. I stained the backside of the drawer front too, but I left the backsides of the filler boards, since those won’t be visible.
Step 9: Attach the “bedskirt” at the foot of the bed. I’d originally planned to do another drawer at the foot of the bed, but there wasn’t enough room to be worth it. Instead, I attached a long board that ran the width of our bed, from filler board to filler board at either end of my sides. I attached these boards and made corners by using a 2×2 on the inside corners. These 2x2s also helped to create little feet at the corners which helped hold up the “bedskirt” off the floor at the same height as the drawers.
Just be sure to measure for your 2x2s so they’re not too tall to fit under your bed at the corners. I made mine 4 inches. I used my nail gun to nail these 2x2s to the inside corners of my filler boards and my long end board.
You could also use L-brackets to make then really secure, but after setting the whole thing back in place so that the J-hooks of the filler boards hooked on again, it seemed pretty secure. I was also happy that I could remove this whole end piece and still get to a little extra storage space at the foot of the bed. This is pretty easy to do by just lifting up the footer board, and the J-hooks on the sides slide right up.
Done! It looks SO much better! (Though I cheated in this picture and in reality need to buy a comforter that fits again. 😬) I love that we have hidden storage now. Nothing huge or very tall will fit in the drawers, but it gives us useful space that’s at least easy to get to. My purses are happy, and my husband has almost enough storage for all his watch boxes and Legos. 🤦♀️🤣🤷♀️