DIY Minimalist Bed Frame: 5 Coziest Bed Must-haves!

Have you been wanting to design your own bed? Today we’re sharing our 5 bed must haves, as well as how that led us to designing our own DIY minimalist bed frame!

Who says minimal can’t equal cozy?!

After giving away the beautiful Brazilian hardwood bed Matt made for us (and that we’d had the first 15 years of our marriage), we started sleeping on our mattress on the floor. Not because of poor planning or because we were going uber-minimalist?…

…but because we actually wanted to test something out before designing our own bed!


The story!

When I (Jess) was a little girl, I loved the idea of having a platform bed. I would pour over Architectural Digest magazines and see these very simple, minimalist bed frames that were low to the ground—and they looked SO warm and comfortable and extra snuggly to me! Like you could literally just fall into bed instead of having to jump in.

I’m not sure why sleeping low to the ground meant “cozy” to me. Maybe because it’s a little more “earthy” feeling or maybe it’s due to living in Japan as a child, but one thing was certain:

a low(er) bed was always my dream.


A little bed psychology.

Why then didn’t I have Matt build a platform bed back when we first got married? EXCELLENT QUESTION! And I think I know the answer, which involves several different elements:

First, I was 24 years old when we got married. (I am now looking at my 40th birthday.)

Second, my design style back then versus now is very different.

Third, back then I didn’t have as much confidence in myself and my feelings and my opinions as I do now. (I’m still working on this, to be honest!) Back then, I thought I needed to stick more with the traditional or “usual” route—all to be safe. If most people I knew slept on beds that were several feet off the ground, then it felt safer to me (at age 24) to go with that.

I didn’t trust myself. So while I might have loved the idea of a platform bed, the fear that “everyone would think it was weird” or that I would get ruthlessly made fun of (which was a constant reality of my upbringing, so that wasn’t a completely baseless fear) was enough to drive me away from the things that truly made my heart sing.

So, that all being the case at the time, I created my own design of a more traditional-style bed for Matt to build. (You can see that bed in this tour of our first house, taken 10-15 years ago!) When we moved to New Zealand six years later, we put the bed into storage, and our bed in our last New Zealand flat you can see was already getting a little more minimal as I was literally and figuratively learning to break away from the constrictions I’d grown up with.


Our 5 Bed Design Must-haves

I did try looking online for weeks to see if there was already a premade bed that would suit our needs.

However, you can already see where this is going, my friend. There is (as of yet) no “Store of Perfect Items That Exist Only in Jess’ Imagination.”

No one made bed frames that would check all our boxes, so we started designing our own.

What did we want?


#1. The perfect height.

Both Matt and I are tall, and sleeping on a mattress on the floor made it clear that getting out of a mattress that low every day for years would be difficult. We needed a little more height.

However, we didn’t want too much height. Our old bed was 18 inches off the ground, so with the mattress it was 30. While it was okay for Matt to get into, I almost had to give a little hop to get in every night.

I wanted more of that “falling into bed” feeling I mentioned earlier with my childhood love of minimalist platform beds, but I also wanted it to be comfortable to Matt. So we embarked on a testing phase where Matt built some rough “platforms” at the height we thought we wanted so that we could test it out for several weeks to make sure it really was the perfect height—for BOTH of us.


#2. A soft, upholstered headboard.

Living all these months without a headboard made us realize we definitely wanted one. I had gone through a time where I wondered if we even needed a headboard (you know my growing minimalist tendencies as an HSP), and seeing photos like the below—sans-headboard—looked so simple and clean to me…

…but I’d never actually had a bed without a headboard. And now I can say (after months without one) that I quickly realized a headboard is pretty nice to have!

At the same time, we decided against a hard wood or rattan-style headboard in lieu of a simple upholstered one. If we were sitting up in bed talking or reading, we wanted there to be something soft and cushy we’d be leaning up against. A second reason against that was, while I love woven materials, they can tend to snag on other fabrics and we definitely didn’t want that happening with our linens.


#3. Simple, relaxed vibe.

I’ve been loving having a more simple, relaxed feel in our home for awhile. And as shared above, this is especially so in our bed. I’m envisioning something relaxed and easygoing. Easy breezy!

So while we wanted an upholstered headboard, we knew we wouldn’t want it tufted or fancy looking in any way. Just simple, clean lines.


#4. Purely a place to sleep. (Not store stuff.)

There is something that I really like about storing nothing under the bed. (Whether it’s well-hidden or not.) I think I like the simplicity and purity of this. I like the idea of coming to my bed to sleep, and I’m literally not on top of anything else but my bed. No extra items (whatever they may be) beneath me as I sleep. This, I love.

Simultaneously, there is a low-maintenance benefit to the above. I am my own cleaning lady, and I don’t like cleaning under beds. I don’t like storing anything under beds either (it rarely looks clean and tidy), unless you’re in a small space and absolutely have to. (Like we did in our last New Zealand flat. Under our bed was the only place we had to keep our shoes!)

So my “dream design” for our current living situation (where we have more than enough storage in other areas of the house) involved the sideboards and footboard of the bed coming down all the way to just a quarter inch of the floor. No more vacuuming up dust bunnies over here!


#5: To footboard or not to footboard?

So far, Matt and I were on the same page about everything.

Until we got to the footboard.

Matt did not want a footboard. Jess did.

Matt didn’t want a footboard because Matt is tall. At 6′ 3″ and even with our California King sized mattress, he likes having some extra space to really stretch out. Our first bed had a footboard, but after spending some time on our mattress on the floor, he shared that he really liked not having a footboard.

I, however, had discovered the opposite. I discovered that footboards were my friend. Usually cold at night, I like to pull the down comforter up over my shoulders and snuggle in. But I soon discovered that, with not having a footboard anymore, the covers slowly inched down off the end of the bed and I was having to pull them up often. Not the end of the world, of course, but it was just my preference to not have to do that if possible.

We discussed it a bit but I knew the right answer. I transferred over to Team Sans-Footboard! I wanted Matt to be comfortable, and I decided I’ll just deal with tugging up the covers. Easy. Marriage crisis averted before it even began!

Psssst…don’t tell Matt, but I’ve actually been liking the look of a bed without a footboard. It’s just a cleaner look to me right now. But yeah, don’t tell him because I need to keep my points from giving in about the footboard issue! Gotta cash those babies in for something later!


How We Built Our Own Bed in 7 Steps.

To see exactly how we built our DIY minimalist bed frame, check out this post that outlines each step—simply!


The Completed Bed!

Do you remember how our bedroom looked before we bought it? (Along with those mirrored closet doors before we removed them and filled in the space to expand our walk-in closet?)

Bedroom wall before:

bedroom corner before with mirrored closet doors


Minimalist bed frame upholstered in bedroom with minimalist platform bed and woven pendants

pendants | table | blanket | duvet | rug runner


Handmade Fishtrap Baskets from Thailand

I searched literally the entire world for these pendants (via the internet, of course).

Could I find woven pendants available in the U.S. that were what I wanted? No siree! If you’ve been around this blog (or me) for any length of time, you already know that what I envision usually cannot be found anywhere, which is why we make so much of our own furniture!

I didn’t actually have a specific vision of the exact pendants I wanted; it was more like “When I see The Ones, I’ll know ’em when I see ’em.” I found this shop in Thailand (will link to it below the photo) and was so pleased to have found something so unique for this space.

Every space needs something handmade. (And now we have several in our bedroom!)

minimalist bed upholstered as a platform bed with wood side table and woven pendant hanging as bedside lamp

pendants | table | blanket | duvet | rug runner


Bedroom corner before:

old bedroom with green walls, bed, and closet doors


minimalist bed frame in bedroom with upholstered platform bed frame, woven pendants, and rugs

pendants | table | blanket | duvet | rug runner | area rug | similar rug | similar rug

And if you’re not feeling like you have the time or energy to make a DIY bed, check out my friend Lindsey’s list of her favorite bed finds!


You can find all our house projects HERE.

*This post contains affiliate links, which are no extra cost to you but help us keep this site alive!

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Cho

    Thank you so much for providing such accurate information in this story. I really enjoyed reading this story of yours-and your writing style is so beautiful that anyone can easily understand it…

    1. Jess

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed!

  2. A

    Beautiful ❤️

    1. Jess

      Thank you so much! Such a big change from sleeping on a mattress on the floor for the past year!😆

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