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I’ve been working on redoing our guest room and I’m almost finished! One thing that is complete is the daybed. Today I’m going to share with you how to build a daybed from old doors. It’s actually pretty easy.
First, why did I decide to build a daybed? Our guest room is pretty small. Here’s what it looked like before:
It’s a tall, long room and it was very beige with no architectural features. Sounds like a lovely place for guests, yes?
As you can see, the bed takes up most of the room. I wanted to keep the queen size bed in there for guests, but move it so that there’s more space in the room. A daybed seemed like a good solution.
That said, it’s darn near impossible to find a queen-size daybed frame. The few I did find were very expensive. So, I put on my DIY hat and got to work.
Two doors, preferably solid wood
Dish soap, bucket, rags
Wood screws (I used 2-inch wood screws)
1 x 4s – You need enough to create five braces that will cover the width of the door (the width of the door is the height of the daybed) plus half the length of the leg of the daybed. For my doors, each brace needed to be 42 inches long: 36 in.-wide door + 1/2 of 12-inch leg=42 inches).
2 x 4s – You need enough to create five legs. I cut mine 12 inches long so that the daybed walls’ total height was 48 in. (the doors were 36 in. wide + 12 in. legs).
Metal corner braces – I used 4-inch braces. Pick braces that fit with your doors (the thickness of the door will determine this).
Polyurethane (or wax) if using chalky finish paint, like I did.
How to Build the Daybed
First, I went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and found these two doors.
I was lucky to find two matching doors. As long as you find doors that are the same width (which becomes the height of the daybed), you’re good. The doors here are solid wood and were only $29.95 each. Woo to the hoo!
I removed the hardware from the doors and cleaned the doors with mild dish soap and water.
Next, I figured out the dimensions for the daybed.
I started the build with the head of the bed. Since the wall space at the head of the bed is 54 inches, I knew that side of the daybed should not be more than that length. Since the door was 79 inches long, I had to cut it down.
Because the doors I’m working with are paneled doors, I wanted to cut the door so that the middle panels remained intact. In other words, I had to cut some from each end.
Using my RYOBI circular saw, I cut enough from each end to end up with a headboard that was 54 inches long. This took multiple cuts, so if you are going to do this project and cut down a door this way, bring patience. I probably made three or four cuts on each side to get it right. How much you cut will depend on the size of the daybed, the size of the door, and the panels of your door.
Once I cut the door to size, I wiped it down to get the sawdust off of it and it was ready for paint.
The next steps – painting and attaching the braces and legs – are the same for both doors. I didn’t cut the second door down because I wanted it to be the length of the mattress. At 79 inches, it was pretty close. So I just gave the second door a good cleaning and then it was ready for paint and legs.
I painted the front side of the doors before attaching the braces to the back, but you could do it either way. For paint, I used DecoArt chalky finish paint in “New Life,” which seemed appropriate, given that I’m giving these old doors a new life. I used the chalky finish paint because I wanted a matte finish and I loved this bright, happy color.
Because I used the chalky finish paint, I needed a protective coat on the paint so that the paint didn’t flake off. I used polyurethane, which I thought would be more durable than wax. I used Varathane Triple Thick Poly in a satin finish; that way, I only needed to apply one coat.
Once all that dried, I flipped the door over and attached the braces and legs to create the sides of the daybed.
I’m showing you the finished structure first, so you can see where I’m going with this.
Lemme explain. Obviously, I needed a way to attach the legs to the door to create the sides of the daybed. I also needed a way to stabilize the door on its legs. So, I used 1x4s to create a brace that connected the leg to the door.
First, I screwed the 1x4s – cut to size first – into the door. I used two screws at the top, middle, and bottom of the door – the thickest parts of the door. Then, I clamped the leg to the bottom of the brace, tight up against the bottom edge of the door, and screwed the leg into the brace. I put two screws at the top and middle of the leg.
Note: if you are putting the legs of the daybed on the same side of the door as where the hinges used to be, the legs may fit snugly into those cut-out areas of the door. If you decide to put the legs in these spaces, where the hinges used to be, just make sure you do this for both doors, or else you have to account for the difference in the height of the legs.
Do the same thing for both doors. For the shorter door, I used two braces and two legs; for the full-size door, I used three (as pictured above).
There’s the headboard in place.
Next, I attached the doors together to create the sides of the daybed. To do this, I used corner braces. For these doors, I needed 4-inch corner braces.
I brought the doors together to create the L-shape. Find a helper for this because it’s a two-person job; Dear Husband held the doors while I screwed the braces into the doors. I screwed the corner braces into the doors at the top, middle, and bottom, to create maximum stability. I didn’t photograph this because Dear Husband and I had our hands full keeping the doors together while screwing the braces in. I took this photo after the fact (sorry for the poor quality).
Once braced, I pushed the daybed structure into place against the wall. I screwed the bed frame to the headboard-side leg of the daybed. Then Dear Husband and I replaced the box spring, bedskirt, and mattress, and I made the bed.
To see the complete “before and after” of the guest room transformation, click HERE.
For five things every guest room needs, click HERE.
This daybed was featured in the October 2015 issue of This Old House Magazine!