Hi friends! Today I’m sharing how we built our king size farmhouse bed with plans from Ana White! We have our first baby on the way and aside from getting ready for our little one’s arrival we have a long list of to do’s we are trying to get done. Pretty much I’m in nesting mode and I need the house to be perfect before he gets here!
One of the things on our never ending list was moving our old bedroom furniture into our spare bedroom so we would have a guest room for family to stay in once baby is here. This would also force us into getting a King size bed. Which I have been wanting so bad since I became pregnant! Our mattress needed to be upgraded badly and I was getting terrible sleep! I was also thinking ahead wanting more room in our bed for our future babies/kids. The queen just all of a sudden felt so small. So we purchased a new mattress, moved our old furniture into the spare room and began making our new king size bed.
Our King Size Bed
Of course we could of purchased one from a store but I had my eye on a version of the Ana White farmhouse bed. How beautiful is this color?!
If you haven’t already heard about Ana White and her awesome furniture plans you need to check them out! Also, where have you been?! Building your own furniture is life changing! I’ve built many things and when I saw this bed I new I had to have it!
The bed is pretty amazing but the main reason I’m sharing this build with you is because I had some questions of my own when we started building it. I wasn’t able to get my questions answered and had to figure them out on my own! The plans only show how to build the king headboard and footboard. The plans are also designed to fit an 80″ wide mattress. Normal king size is 76″ wide and 80″ long. The headboard and footboard plans are also a tad wrong. There’s a wrong measurement that could totally screw up your bed. That’s why it’s good to go over your plans, measure your mattress and see what you’re dealing with!
I never thought I would have to double check the Ana White plans but it really is safe to do so no matter what plans you are looking at. This way you don’t ruin your build and you also don’t waste money on wood/supplies you don’t actually need. I might be blind but I also did not see any plans for the king farmhouse bed side rails and frame. You can only find side rail and frame plans for the queen farmhouse bed and fancy farmhouse king size bed. If you’re not a very skilled woodworker or you’re just a beginner all this can really mess you up when building this bed. It’s a lot of problem solving, guessing and things that you may not know how to do.
With all my blog posts I like to share my experiences. What was easy about the project and what problems I ran into. Hoping my errors will help others do a better job!
First Things First
Our king bed was made to fit our mattress with no boxspring. Our mattress size is 75″ wide, 79″ long and about 14″ tall. It’s an inch short on each side compared to the standard king size mattress (76″ wide/80″ long). We wanted our bed to be able to come apart and easily be put back together just incase we decided to move one day. This is so convenient and I recommend doing this! We also wanted the bed to be extremely sturdy and let me tell ya!… This bed does not move. At. All.
Our mattress fits great inside our bed but has a 2 inch gap on each side. If your mattress is normal king width (76″) there should be less of a gap for you (it’s barely noticeable anyway). If you really do not want a gap you could possibly change the board sizes in the headboard piece. Then you would have to adjust your rail width and your frame size. I won’t be explaining this adjustment in this post. We found it easier to just stick with the 78″ width of the headboard piece. If you have questions on how to adjust the entire size I would love to help you or you can ask your questions on Ana White’s website.
Lastly, I didn’t want our mattress sticking up too high over our footboard so we picked a good height for the frame so our mattress would sit a little lower. I don’t recommend using a box spring for this bed. If you really want to you’ll have to adjust your rail height and even the height of the headboard and footboard. Your mattress height could end up being really tall if you don’t make adjustments.
What We Did
Before we began building the bed we first needed all the wood. I followed the exact wood list for the king headboard and footboard plans. I also added the wood we needed to make the side rails and frame. Here is the complete wood list:
Headboard + Footboard
- (5) 1 x 8 x 8′
- (2) 4 x 4 x 8′
- (1) 1 x 3 x 8′
- (8) 1 x 4 x 8′
- (2) 2 x 4 x 8′
- (2) 2 x 6 x 8′
- (2) 1 x 10 x 8
(For the side rails the farmhouse queen bed plan uses 2 x 10’s. We wanted to use 2 x 10’s for the side rails but we couldn’t find them at our local lumber store. So we decided to go with 1 x 10’s instead. The 1 x 10 is definitely a lot thinner than the 2 x 10 but our bed is still extremely sturdy using the 1 x 10’s!)
- (16) 2 x 4 x 8
(We chose 2 x 4’s for our bed frame because we knew they would hold more weight and make our bed more sturdy! I didn’t find plans for the frame but I did see some people using plywood if they didn’t have a boxspring. I didn’t want to use plywood so I designed my own frame using the 2 x 4’s.)
Hardware + Other Supplies
- Bed rail fasteners
- (4) 2 x 4 joist hangers
- 2″ wood screws
- 3″ wood screws
- 3/4″ wood screws (these are used for the bed rail fastners when using 1 x 10 rails. If you use 2 x 10’s you’ll want to use longer screws.)
- 2 1/2″ PH screws
- Liquid nails
- Kreg jig
- Miter saw
- Palm sander
- 120 & 220 grit sand paper
Making Your Cuts | Building Your Bed
After we had all of our wood we made all of our cuts for the headboard and footboard (again listed on Ana White’s website). We hand sanded all of the edges, organized our stacks of wood and started putting the headboard and footboard together! The wood for the side rails and frame I set aside to deal with later.
I recommend laying your 1 x 8’s and 1 x 3’s down to make the headboard and measure the entire width. This is where you’ll find the error with the plans. The (10) 1 x 8’s + the (2) 1 x 3’s add up to 78″ wide not 80″ like the plans show (at least it did for us). This is actually good because if the width ended up being 80″ it would not fit our mattress width and we would of had to modify the plans again. By measuring the width you can then cut your (8) 1 x 4’s to match.
Our 1 x 4’s were cut to 78 inches long. I would double check your width before you cut your 1 x 4’s so you don’t waste wood.
Before we put all of our boards together we put kreg jig holes in both the 1 x 3’s facing towards the soon to be 4 x 4 posts. We set our kreg jig and bit to the 1 1/2 markings. Make sure when you lay your headboard boards out your holes on your 1 x 3’s are facing the correct way! (I never got a photo of this step so I’ll show you a current photo of what the 1 x 3 will look like attached to the 4 x 4 with it’s pocket holes)
If you do not want to kreg jig your 1 x 3’s you can follow the Ana White plans by skipping this step and add screws from the outside of the 4 x 4’s into the headboard piece. See this step in her plans to make sure you do it the correct way.
We then put our (2) 1 x 4’s on the ground, added glue, set our 1 x 8’s and 1 x 3’s on top, glued the other two 1 x 4’s, set them on top and screwed everything together from the back using our 2″ wood screws. If you’re picky about the way your wood looks you’ll have to look at what boards look best and make sure they are facing down on the ground (this side will be the front side when you’re done).
In the Ana White plans it tells you to use nails or your nail gun. My husband and I swear by screws. So that’s what we used. We screwed 2 screws into the 1 x 4’s which were connected to the 1 x 8’s and added one screw to each 1 x 3. Another tid bit is to make sure your boards are pushed tight together when you’re adding your screws. Having a second pair of hands during this part helps a lot!
This photo is from the queen farmhouse bed plans but it shows how your headboard is going to go together. Some people kreg jig all of the center boards together but for us screwing them to the 1 x 4’s made more sense and was a lot faster! (I edited this photo to show where our screws went. Do the same screw placement on the top 1 x 4 as well.)
Once your boards are all put together next step is connecting your 4 x 4 posts. We used our wood glue and 2 1/2 PH screws to connect the headboard piece into the 4 x 4’s. Your screws will go in those 1 x 3 pocket holes.
After your 4 x 4 posts are added stand your headboard up and add your top pieces! You’ll want to measure your top header length to re-cut your 2 x 4. Measurements can be very different once everything is put together. Once your new 2 x 4 is cut to the correct length you’ll add wood glue to the top of the headboard panel, set your 2 x 4 on top and use your 3″ screws to secure it.
For the very top 2 x 6 header you’ll want to re-measure again. There should be an inch over hang on each side and the 2 x 6 should be centered with the headboard.
Repeat these steps for the footboard. Fill your top holes with wood filler. I use Elmer’s natural wood filler. The color changes to natural when it’s dry! Next up is the side rails!
Because our mattress is 79″ long I guessed and made our side rails 80″ long. With our bed all put together our mattress and bedding literally fit perfectly. If I could redo the cut I would of added an extra inch. I’ll leave that measurement up to you though!
Paint & Stain Technique
I fell in love with this bed when I saw it because I loved the color of the one in those photos! I couldn’t stop thinking about it! It’s just gorgeous. Luckily the person who made that exact bed shared how they got the stain color. So I risked our entire bed and decided to try it myself. No risk no reward right?
First step was sanding the bed pieces down to get rid of all the rough spots. I used 120 grit sandpaper and my Dewalt palm sander. Then I wiped down the bed with a damp cloth and began painting with some latex white paint. You can use anyone you want and you can probably even use chalkpaint! I used Satin Valspar Signature Ultra White paint. All you need is one coat.
For me the paint dried really fast. Next step was taking my sander again and using 220 grit sandpaper to remove some of the white paint. This is where I went wrong! I sanded too much off. My husband told me he didn’t like the look of the white so being a good wife I tried to sand a lot of it off. I wished I would have left more of it on. You really only want to sand down the edges of everything.
Next step is wiping everything down again and adding your stain. The directions called for Dark Walnut by Minwax. I’m thinking if you want more of a grey look or a different color tint you could use a grey stain or whatever color you like. Using the Dark Walnut made the wood very dark. Especially because I sanded so much white off.
Some people might like this look but I was pretty upset when I saw it. I thought I’d follow the steps and boom it would be sparkling and look exactly like the photo I loved… Definitely did not happen. You can see if I would have left the white paint on you would see less big dark brown spots. So I said a little prayer and looked through all my other stains. I found some Varathane Sun Bleached stain and knew just by looking at the stain color it was going to solve my problems!… and it did! Make sure as you’re adding your stain you’re following behind with a dry rag wiping off the stain.
Before & After Sun Bleached Stain
I love that it turned out so unique and pretty from making a little mistake. Once we had the bed all put together I thought I might of even liked it better with another coat of the sun bleached stain (maybe that’s something you can decide if you do this technique) but the bed is already up and put together so I’ll have to forget about that! I do love our bed don’t get me wrong! I’m so happy with how it turned out!
Once all the staining was completed I went over everything with some Matte Varathane Polyurethane. I let the wood dry over night and the next day we were ready to put the bed together!
Assembling Your Bed | Building the Frame
Now that your bed is the color you want it’s time to assemble it and build your frame! We moved the headboard, footboard and side rails into our bedroom and got started. First thing we needed to do was add the bed rail fasteners. There’s a correct way to add the fasteners and a wrong way. The correct way is shown here:
The bracket on the left side should have it’s holes facing the outside of the bed. The hooks on the bracket on the right should be clear up to the edge of the wood. You might think they should stick out further but they need to be perfectly lined up with the edge so your footboard and side rail will line up flush. The fasteners don’t come with screws so we used 3″ screws for the bracket that was mounted onto the 4 x 4 (you can also use 2″ if that’s all you have) and we used 3/4″ screws for mounting the rail bracket. If you decide you want to use 2 x 10’s for the rails instead of 1 x 10’s you’ll have to use a longer screw to make the bracket more secure.
Our fastener placement is based off using one mattress. We figured out the exact height we wanted our mattress to be. For the left bracket (the one on the 4 x 4) we measured up from the floor 15 1/2 inches and marked a dot. The top of that bracket will match up with that dot. We placed it right up against the 4 x 4 closest to the inside of the bed.
For the fastener on the rail we measured from the top of the rail down 2 inches. You’ll want to do the same thing on all of your posts and rails.
We attached the rails and moved on to our next step. We added a 2 x 4 to the footboard and headboard to start our frame. We measured the distance between the center of the headboard and the distance in the center of the footboard (between the 4 x 4’s). Then we cut our boards to length which was 78″ but you might check your measurements just incase! We added 2 pocket holes (1 1/2 holes) to each side of our (2) 2 x 4’s and screwed them in using 2 1/2″ PH screws.
The first 2 x 4 should fit right up on top of that lower 1 x 4 on your footboard. Screw it into each 4 x 4. Measure up from ground to the top of that 4 x 4 to get your next height measurement. We found it was easier to get our exact measurement by sticking the tape measure under the 4 x 4 and measuring up. I believe our measurement was 13 inches.
Measure up from the ground (bottom of 4 x 4) and make a mark at 13 inches on the 4 x 4. I held one end while my husband drilled one side and vise versa. Next you’ll need to measure between the side rail brackets to get your next (2) 2 x 4 measurements. Ours ended up being 77″ long. Instead of measuring and trying to get these 2 x 4’s the right height on the rails we just added a level to one side and I held it in the right spot while my husband attached the 2 x 4’s to the rails. He added one 2″ screw on one end and then we moved down to the other end to add another screw. This made the board level and stuck in place. Then we added more screws to make the board secure.
This is how it should look. Your 2 x 4 should be between your bed rail fasteners and lined up perfectly with your other 2 x 4’s that are connected to the headboard and footboard. Again you can use longer screws to attach these 2 x 4’s if you’re using 2 x 10’s as your bed rails.
Once your (4) 2 x 4’s are in place next step is adding your 2 x 4 joist hangers. I took the 78″ measurement of the headboard 2 x 4 and footboard 2 x 4 and divided it by 3. This gave me a perfect 26 inches. I marked my lines and we placed the joist hangers in the center of each mark. You want that 2 x 4 that’s going to go inside of the joist to be flush with your attached 2 x 4’s. These (2) 2 x 4’s will be supporting all of the 2 x 4 slats that will be holding up your mattress so you want them to be completely level.
After your joist hangers are in place you’ll want to measure the distance inside of them between the headboard and footboard to get your next (2) 2 x 4 measurements. Cut your wood and slip them right into the joist hangers.
We measured between the bed rails and came up with a little under 79 and a half inches for all the 2 x 4 slats. Your measurement could be a little different. I would always double check! Lay out all your slats and you’re done! We actually added two legs in the center for even more support. My husband didn’t think we needed them but I wanted to be even more sure our bed was solid. One day we might have children jumping up and down on this bed… We cut the feet to 13 inches and just screwed them into the center supports.
Seeing and adding the slats was the icing on the cake! So was adding the mattress on top! My husband was so excited he stood right in the center and jumped up and down. This bed does not move!
My husband helped me put the headboard and footboard together. It took us one evening. I worked on the sanding, staining and sealing for 2 straight days. It took us one evening to put the bed together and make the frame. Hope this gives you an idea of how long it might take you to make it! If you have any questions or I left something out please feel free to ask me anything! This bed was a lot of work and I’m so glad it’s done. It was so worth it and it will last us a lifetime!
Thanks for stopping by!
(Note: Before making this bed please go over all the measurements before purchasing and cutting your wood. I am not responsible for any mistakes. I’ve had some typos before so double check everything!)
Here are some helpful links:
- King farmhouse bed plans
- Fancy farmhouse king bed plans
- Queen farmhouse bed plans
- Kreg jig setting chart
- Ana White how to get started page