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Thread: Design ideas for bed with storage drawers underneath

  1. #1
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    Design ideas for bed with storage drawers underneath

    I am not sure if I should post this here or in another forum, so I hope a moderator will move it if necessary.

    I bought a little house to which I will be moving in the summer, if I can get it livable in time. It has two bedrooms, one about 8x9 feet and the other 9x9. I'll be in one and my mother is going to use the other one. Both will have twin beds, and since the rooms are so small I'd like to make large drawers that go under the beds for storage. I don't know how many drawers I should plan to divide the space into. In theory larger drawers seem more efficient, if I can get slides that are good enough to make them easy to open. My initial idea is to make two drawers which would each be about 3 feet square or 3 drawers at 2' wide and 3' deep, but these may be too big, I don't know.

    Another thing I am thinking about is the mattress support structure. It seems to me that the thinner I can make this the more depth there will be for storage, as long as there's enough strength to avoid sagging. My current bed is a temporary one that I've had for the last 20 years with a 2x6 down each side, 2x6 legs at the ends, and 3/4" plywood across the top. Another wrinkle I should mention is that my bed has a standard 39x75 twin mattress and a 15"x39" piece of couch cushion foam at the end, on which I put my pillow and, when I'm sleeping, my head. This makes for an overall length of 90". I was thinking about whether a torsion box would be an advantage for the top. Weight is not a problem, I'm just thinking about stiffness with minimal thickness. I've got some ash and cherry and red maple to build the bed frames and drawers and such. I'll be grateful for any advice as to how to proceed.

  2. #2
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    3/4" Melamine board for top and frame, 3/4" hardwood strips for edge banding. Divide length wise into 3 compartments and the idle compartment divide 1/3 2/3 height wise, nets out to 4 drawers. Put a divider length wise about 12" from back and make a long drawer with wood wheels to go in there from whichever end is not against the wall. This also keeps the main drawers from being too deep. 3/4" x 1" strips top and bottom along frame for main drawers keeps the partitions in the right spot. I like to make the drawer pulls out of 1" hardwood natural finish cut into first letter of their name.
    Ron

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the suggestions. I don't think I can do the long back drawer thing because the rooms are 8x9 and 9x9, so there isn't enough room to get that drawer out very far. On my bed it's the worst, and would only be able to slide out 18 inches before hitting the wall. The wooden wheels idea seems good, and maybe I should use that instead of drawer slides for the drawers.

  4. #4
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    How tall do you like your bed? If you like the mattress top hip-high, there's room for two or even three layers of drawers underneath. If you like the mattress top the same height as a dining chair, you have room for one layer of fairly tall drawers.

    Do you like a nightstand? If you do, and it is a conventional design, it consumes airspace which a drawer might open into. To avoid losing that airspace, you can hang the nightstand off the wall.

    Standard twin mattresses are 75" long. XL twins are 80" long. For adults I generally suggest the XL twin.

    I wouldn't use particle board for the top. It is going to spend many decades bridging two-foot-wide gaps, and most likely will sag. Plywood or your torsion box would be better.

    If you have only one layer of drawers, you could make them as wheeled carts which roll on the floor. The issue with that approach is that you have to carefully aim the cart to roll it into its stowed position. You can do that, particularly if you are in the drawers very rarely. But for most people it gets old pretty quickly. Folks want to open the drawer, pull something out, and slam the drawer closed without taking any care about it.
    Last edited by Jamie Buxton; 12-31-2021 at 11:21 AM.

  5. #5
    I built a set of bunk beds with drawers underneath. Instead of slides, I put the drawers on casters and used “guides” attached to the bed frame. This is a much simpler structure and allows the drawers to carry a much heavier load. (More of an issue for kid stuff than for adult clothing.). The end result looks exactly the same but was much easier to implement.

  6. #6
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    Thank you all for the ideas, you've given me a lot to think over. It looks like about 18" to the bottom of the mattress is where I come out on height, so that would probably be one 15 or 16" deep drawer or box on wheels. I don't anticipate needing a nightstand. I'm planning built in shelves for the interior walls in between the studs instead of drywall, so that should fulfill the same function, I think.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post


    I wouldn't use particle board for the top. It is going to spend many decades bridging two-foot-wide gaps, and most likely will sag. Plywood or your torsion box would be better.

    1st one 15 yrs and counting still no change in the top, 2&3 at 11 yrs and counting still all good

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