How to make an outdoor bed?

David Goldman

How to make an outdoor bed?

Have you ever gone to a tropical resort and laid in one of those beautiful beds on the beach? There are usually only a handful of these beautiful beds that people usually fight over. If you have ever been to one of these resorts people usually wake up at the crack of dawn to try to reserve their bed for the day. They come with their book, margarita and other beach gear at 4:00am to claim their bed for the day.

If you have not experienced this first hand, you have likely seen an ad for a resort with one of these beds. Let me paint that picture for you. The sun is setting with that perfect pink and purple sky. The bright blue waves are crashing on to the beautiful sand. There are usually white linens on the bed gently blowing in the tropical wind. Than reality kicks in and you realize you are inside on your computer on a cold day wishing you could be relaxing on one of those beds. 

Well here’s your chance to bring a small part of that experience to your backyard. We are going to show you how you can build your very own outdoor bed.

First you need to figure out how much space you have. Do you have room for a king, queen, full or twin? Once you figure out what size space you have its time to get to work. Depending on your level of DIY skills you need to start by making a platform for the bed. Some people use pallets to lift the bed up and create a more modern look to the bed. Others might want that beautiful canopy type bed with large posts. These beds look more elegant, but are more complex to build. 

Once you have identified what type of bed frame you want, its time to get your hands dirty. Here are the supplies you will need.

  • Wood
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Some type of saw
  • Marine Vinyl Fabric
  • Sewing Machine
  • UV Upholstery Thread
  • Double sided craft tape
  • 3” latex mattress topper

If you chose to make your frame/base out of pallets then pick them up and cut them to the size of the bed you want to build. If you chose some other type of frame you will need wood. The wood should be an outdoor wood. Cedar, teak and oak work well, but pressure treated wood will also work and is usually much cheaper. We would suggest staining or painting your wood before you put it together.

Every bed regardless of the type of bed you want to build needs legs, a frame, and slats. Your design will determine what size wood you will want to use for your frame but we would suggest a wood with a minimum of 2” thickness, as you don’t want the frame to break from too much weight. Thicker wood creates a more durable frame. Take your wood and cut it to size in a rectangular shape the same size of the bed and screw it together. Now you have a frame. To give it more support place a piece of wood down the center of the frame and screw it in place. Now cut slats to go across the frame and place each slat about 1-2 inches apart. Once the whole frame is covered you can either add legs to raise the bed up or add decorative casings and posts to reflect your design. 

Now that you have an awesome frame it’s time to turn it into an outdoor bed. Depending on your comfort level select a hard, medium or soft mattress or mattress topper. Since this will be outside in the sun the bed will naturally be a bit softer as the heat will soften the latex mattress material. This makes the bed more comfortable, but needs to be considered during your selection process. We suggest you choose a medium or hard topper for an outdoor bed. We would also suggest a thicker mattress topper or mattress so you don’t feel the wood slats underneath.

To make your bed waterproof we would suggest you use Marine Vinyl Fabric. This material is built for outdoor use. It’s water resistant and repels water. It’s UV protected to help protect the material from fading in the sun and has anti-mildew properties to help prevent mold. It’s very durable, heavy-duty fabric. 

Using the Marine Vinyl Fabric you will need to make a case for your mattress. It’s very easy if you have a sewing machine. You will need a thicker needle (size 90) as it goes through the thicker material easier. Use a UV protected upholstery thread as it’s a thicker thread and won’t fade from the sun. Here’s a quick tip to make your life easier place a small piece of scotch tape on the presser foot to allow the fabric to run smoothly through the machine and use double sided craft tape to hold your seems together. Now sew the fabric like a giant pillowcase to slip over your latex mattress. While the sewing machine is out you may want to make 2 or 3 outdoor pillows using the same steps mentioned above.

That relaxing outdoor bed doesn’t need to be in your dreams. Go ahead make it a reality. With a little work you can be sipping your own margarita with a book in your own back yard.

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