Builders Showcase // Emerson Bed Spin-Off

01.10.15 By //
The Design Confidential Builders Showcase // Emerson Bed Spin-Off

The whole bed project started out with the purchase of a new queen size latex mattress from a local company called Cozy Pure. They have a few locations on the east coast and their beds are simply amazing.

With that being said, we needed a bed frame that used slats instead of a box spring like our previous King Koil mattress. Also worth noting, our previous mattress and box spring was around 30″ tall so we wanted to stick around the same height.

Lastly, we wanted to make a few subtle changes to the overall look. It was more of a last minute idea that popped in my head to make the build a little more manageable for an amateur woodworker like myself.

Reader Project in Master Bedroom for The Design Confidential Builders Showcase // Emerson Bed Spin-Off

As stated above, we wanted the bed to be close to 30″ tall like our previous setup. I made some adjustments to the overall height of the headboard and the footboard. I also raised the slat support as well to give additional height to the bed.

From what I can remember off the top of my head:

  • 23 – 1×6 tongue and groove boards (4.98/ea) – $115
  • 2 – untreated 4x4x8 (9.94/ea) – $20
  • 2 – 1x8x8 ($6.64/ea) – $13
  • 2 – 1x6x6 (7.25/ea) – $14.50
  • 15 – 1x3x6 ($4.21/ea) – $63.50
  • 1 – no mortise bed rail – $12.50
  • 2 – 1x6x6 (headboard/footboard tops)($7.25/ea) – $14.50

So I’m right under $300 for this bed. I could have saved even more money had I not used the select pine from HD/Lowes but it’s so much nicer to not have to deal with the knots in certain areas. Plus most of the time you have better luck at finding straighter pieces. The major downside is each piece is about twice as much.

Estimated Cost

As stated from above, it was around $300 after the paint, primer and materials. I also purchased the kreg jig which added another $100 to the build but that is a tool that I have fallen in love with.

Needless to say, this bed still cost a fraction of what it would have if I purchased it through a retailer.

Length of Time

Total time was about 2-3 days. The longest part was waiting for the paint and poly to dry. Cutting and setting everything up was straight forward and simple.


The bed height was increased, the headboard/footboard material was changed as well. This was simply for aesthetic reasons.

The clearance between the floor and the bed rail is 10″. This will allow for a future build of under bed storage.

I also added a middle slat support under the bed with an additional leg mid-way. This made the bed feel way more rigid and added extra support for the slats. I highly recommend doing this. It’s going to help eliminate any sag in the future.

To add the mid-rail support, just buy (2) 2×4 hurricane ties (at least that is what I have called them) from Lowes or Home Depot ($.97/ea) and a untreated 2×4 ($3/ea) and put it in the middle of the bed rails. Make the mid-rail barely touch the slats. To add the mid-rail leg I just simply used some scrape 1×6 I had and did two offset legs screwed into the 2×4. Nothing fancy but works like a dream.

Lumber Used

This build was all pine. The headboard and footboard is tongue and groove 1x6x8 boards. The posts are untreated 4x4x8 I found from Lowes.

Finishing Technique

I’ll be honest, I’m impatient and finishing is something I need to slow down on as well as become more advanced. We originally thought about doing a stain but quickly changed the idea to paint for simplicity reasons. My fear with the stain was the different types/looks of pine. Some of the wood had knots while some of it did not.

We ended up going with basic latex paint and a poly coat. We really couldn’t find anything online that said whether or not latex was ok to use for this type of project. I guess only time will tell.

Word of advice, if you use the tongue and groove boards, don’t sand mid-way through painting or putting on poly UNLESS you has sanded all of the boards smooth once assembled. I ran into the issue of sanding down the high spots (on accident) after applying multiple coats of paint and poly. It was bound to happen and it was just something I didn’t think about until after I sanded.

I was also using 80 grit on the rough boards, then jumped to 120 grit and finished off with 220. When sanding the poly I used 220 as well but found it kind of worthless in the end. The finished didn’t need to be perfect and I ended up saving time by not sanding the last coat of poly. I would assume this would be more important over a stain but over latex paint it’s fine.

Oh and I used a water based latex. The bed sees a good amount of sun during the day through double windows and oil-based latex turns yellow over time. So thanks to Google, it was advised to use water-based poly.

Only thing I “dislike” or need to address with the bed is the no mortise bed rails. I really dislike them because they aren’t the tightest fit and allow for play (aka the bed can rock a little). I also ended up shimming beside the bed rail hardware (on the inside so you can’t see it) and that helps a little. It could be better but it’s not a deal breaker.

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