Furniture

DIY Murphy bed / wall bed with hardware kit & DIY LED lights

The 200 ft2 rental studio apartment I’m working on needed a Murphy bed so I built one with an industrial inspired interior complete with lighting. I did it using basic hand tools (no table saw or track saw), and without a workshop or fancy woodworking tools. It’s only the start for this studio apartment, lots more projects to come!

My Murphy bed hardware kit is from https://murphybeddepot.com/ and here’s some of the handy tools and supplies I used to build this Murphy Bed: 

WORX portable work bench

WORX cordless circular saw

Mini clamps

Carpenter square

Speed square

Veneer edge trimmer

Drill

Sander

Wood edging – 250 ft for $28

Stain (Briarsmoke)

Inside color: BEHR Butter Rum

The 200 ft2 rental studio apartment I’m working on needed a Murphy bed so I built one with an industrial inspired interior complete with lighting. I did it using basic hand tools (no table saw or track saw), and without a workshop or fancy woodworking tools. It’s only the start for this studio apartment, lots more projects to come!

My Murphy bed hardware kit is from https://murphybeddepot.com/ and here’s some of the handy tools and supplies I used to build this Murphy Bed: 

WORX portable work bench

WORX cordless circular saw

Mini clamps

Carpenter square

Speed square

Veneer edge trimmer

Drill

Sander

Wood edging – 250 ft for $28

Stain (Briarsmoke)

Inside color: BEHR Butter Rum

Building a Murphy bed series – Step 2- 6: lift mechanism & assembly

For highlights of this project, watch the video!

In case you haven’t been following along, here’s a recap of the Murphy Bed series thus far. The first post covered an overview of the project and some things to consider for choosing the type of DIY Murphy bed, which you can read here, and the second post went into detail about step 1: preparing the cabinet components which took a few days to get done, between getting the materials, cutting all the wood, edging, sanding, and staining (read more about that here). Now comes the fun part of actually mounting the lift mechanism for the bed and assembling the cabinet.

Tip: While it’s not impossible to do this alone, I would highly recommend getting a helper, preferably someone who is comfortable lifting heavy things.

As I mentioned in my first post, I chose to go with a Murphy bed hardware kit from murphybeddepot.com that comes with all the hardware for the lifting mechanism and the frame for the bed. The instructions say to assemble the cabinet first but I chose to begin with assembling the front panel, which is where the mattress will sit.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit---front-panel-frame-part-1

The cabinet plans called for having 4 pieces of plywood for the front panel but when I cut the plywood components, I made a slight change to the plans so I would have two pieces of plywood instead of four to have less joints on the front.

8a23e21a-9fad-4f79-bd8c-8c31e6540f9cBefore starting to screw the frames in place, I made sure that the panels were perfectly joined and square. It’s crucial for every component of the cabinet to be square, otherwise, the front panel will not be able to move up and down as designed. I also made sure that the metal frame was centered as per the instructions – this may vary depending on the kit you use. This step is fairly simple, just tedious as there are a lot of screws to put in.

Murphy-bed-hardware-kit---bedframe

Next I mounted the lift mechanism to the side panels of the cabinet.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit---for-sides

The specifics of this step will vary depending on the hardware kit you use but the process will be essentially the same. The holes have to be in a precise location to match the holes in the lift mechanism so here again, precision is key. Some kits provide a template to mark the holes but since this kit didn’t provide one, I measured and marked the location of each hole.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit---marking-holes

The instructions recommend starting by drilling a small pilot hole before making the hole bigger for the bolts – this helps to ensure the holes are in the right spot. I tried to do this in both side panels at once by stacking them on top of each other and it worked but I wouldn’t recommend doing this because it’s very difficult to keep the drill bit 100% straight and even a minute shift in the location of the pilot hole will cause the holes to not line up. 

Murphy-Bed-kit-drilling-pilot-hole

Then I used a countersink drill bit to make cavities so that the head of the bolts can sit flush with the outside surface of the side panels.

Murphy-bed-side-panel-counter-sunk-holes

Tip: Make sure you read the instructions many times before starting and make a list of all the tools you will need ahead of time so you have them on hand once you start putting the cabinet together. It will save you from having to make an impromptu trip to the hardware like I had to do when I realized I didn’t have the right sized countersink bit!

Murphy-bed-kit-putting-on-the-side-plates

The next step was to use nuts and bolts to attach the lift mechanism to the side panels. It’s a bit tricky to line up all the holes so I started by putting in one bolt very loosely and then fitting all the other, one by one, loosely at first. That made it easy to make small adjustments so they all fit it. Then I tightened the bolts – a wrench was handy to hold the nut while I used the drill to tighten the bolt.

Murphy-bed-hardware-kit-putting-in-the-bolts

Then it was time to add more springs – this part was somewhat frustrating because some of the springs went in very easily while others required a lot of coaxing. In the end, using the wrench to left the plates did the trick. The number of springs you will need depends on how heavy your mattress is, and what type of material you used for the front panel. Unfortunately there’s no easy way of knowing exactly how many you need before you put the mattress on and test it. I didn’t wear gloves while doing this but I highly recommended to do so – the springs are very greasy and it’s easy to get your fingers caught.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit-putting-in-springs

After that was done, I was finally ready to assemble the cabinet. I chose to use brackets and screws to assemble it because a) I don’t have a workshop or specialized tools  and b) I wanted to be able to take the cabinet apart for moving it, something that wouldn’t be possible if using dowels and glue. I was able to order all the screws and brackets necessary to assemble the cabinet components with the Murphy bed hardware so that took a lot of the guesswork out of having to figure out what I needed.

I started by installing the headboard and then moved on to the top and bottom pieces. It’s fairly simple to put together but clamps and an extra pair of hands is very helpful. And it’s easy to get confused as to what piece goes where so it’s also a good idea to refer to the drawings throughout the assembly process.

Murphy-Bed-assembly-step-2

Once the cabinet was built, I used a stud finder to locate the wall studs and marked their location with tape. The recommendations may vary depending on your specific hardware kit but mine recommended securing the top of the cabinet to 3 wall studs with brackets provided in the hardware kit. 

Murphy-Bed-installation-finding-studs

Tip: If you don’t have a stud finder, there’s other ways to find them. There’s usually a stud to the right or left of an outlet or light switch and they are typically 16”-24” on center (which means from the middle of one stud, to the middle of one next to it) but most common is 16”.  So if you have an outlet or switch nearby, you can start there to locate a stud and move along the wall to find the others. One caveat is that depending on when your home was built the actual size of the studs might not be the standard 1 ½” x 3 ½”. Between 1900-1950 rough cut 2×4’s were most common and were actually 2″ by 4″, and homes built between 1950-1965 could have 2x4s that are 1-⅝” by 3-⅝” – keep that in mind as this will affect the actual distance from the first stud to the next.

Before securing the cabinet to the wall, I had to check that it was square. I wasn’t sure the best way to do that but I used my carpenter’s square to check every corner at the front – it’s very important that the cabinet be perfectly square everywhere, otherwise the front panel won’t be able to close.

Murphy-Bed-assembly---checking-square

After securing the cabinet to the wall, the next step was to put the face panel onto the lift mechanism.  I had to call in reinforcements at this point because this step requires lots of muscles to first pull down the tension arm and then to lift the front panel onto the tension arm.  

Murphy-bed-installation-putting-on-front-panel-1Murphy-bed-installation-putting-on-face-panel-2

 

Side Note: If you don’t want to deal with springs, you can get Murphy bed kits with pistons, though one of the downsides of pistons is that they are visible on the sides even with the mattress on. With the springs, the mechanism is out of sight once the mattress is there.

Luckily when we released the tension arm and lifted the front panel in place, it fit right between the side boards. We did have to make a slight adjustment to even out the spacing on both sides but that was minor. We tested the bed with the mattress on but we had put in too many springs so the front panel didn’t stay down. So we removed the mattress and unattached the cabinet from the wall so we could get access to the back of the lift mechanism and remove the springs.

Murphy-bed-installation-front-panel-on

All the heavy lifting was done but I still had the inside of the Murphy bed to finish. I didn’t like the look of the white wall above the headboard and I also wanted to incorporate some color, which is why I hadn’t stained the insides of the panels.

Murphy-Bed-installation-looking-at-the-insideAfter looking at the inside for a bit, I came up with an ambitious plan to create a panel to cover that space, and also incorporate lighting, all of which needs to be 1” thick or less so it doesn’t interfere with the mattress or bedding. My next post in the “how to build a Murphy bed series” will be all about that project and the final reveal of the finished Murphy Bed –  best way to not miss it when it’s published is to subscribe to my newsletter if you’re not already signed up!

For highlights of this project, watch the video!

In case you haven’t been following along, here’s a recap of the Murphy Bed series thus far. The first post covered an overview of the project and some things to consider for choosing the type of DIY Murphy bed, which you can read here, and the second post went into detail about step 1: preparing the cabinet components which took a few days to get done, between getting the materials, cutting all the wood, edging, sanding, and staining (read more about that here). Now comes the fun part of actually mounting the lift mechanism for the bed and assembling the cabinet.

Tip: While it’s not impossible to do this alone, I would highly recommend getting a helper, preferably someone who is comfortable lifting heavy things.

As I mentioned in my first post, I chose to go with a Murphy bed hardware kit from murphybeddepot.com that comes with all the hardware for the lifting mechanism and the frame for the bed. The instructions say to assemble the cabinet first but I chose to begin with assembling the front panel, which is where the mattress will sit.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit---front-panel-frame-part-1

The cabinet plans called for having 4 pieces of plywood for the front panel but when I cut the plywood components, I made a slight change to the plans so I would have two pieces of plywood instead of four to have less joints on the front.

8a23e21a-9fad-4f79-bd8c-8c31e6540f9cBefore starting to screw the frames in place, I made sure that the panels were perfectly joined and square. It’s crucial for every component of the cabinet to be square, otherwise, the front panel will not be able to move up and down as designed. I also made sure that the metal frame was centered as per the instructions – this may vary depending on the kit you use. This step is fairly simple, just tedious as there are a lot of screws to put in.

Murphy-bed-hardware-kit---bedframe

Next I mounted the lift mechanism to the side panels of the cabinet.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit---for-sides

The specifics of this step will vary depending on the hardware kit you use but the process will be essentially the same. The holes have to be in a precise location to match the holes in the lift mechanism so here again, precision is key. Some kits provide a template to mark the holes but since this kit didn’t provide one, I measured and marked the location of each hole.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit---marking-holes

The instructions recommend starting by drilling a small pilot hole before making the hole bigger for the bolts – this helps to ensure the holes are in the right spot. I tried to do this in both side panels at once by stacking them on top of each other and it worked but I wouldn’t recommend doing this because it’s very difficult to keep the drill bit 100% straight and even a minute shift in the location of the pilot hole will cause the holes to not line up. 

Murphy-Bed-kit-drilling-pilot-hole

Then I used a countersink drill bit to make cavities so that the head of the bolts can sit flush with the outside surface of the side panels.

Murphy-bed-side-panel-counter-sunk-holes

Tip: Make sure you read the instructions many times before starting and make a list of all the tools you will need ahead of time so you have them on hand once you start putting the cabinet together. It will save you from having to make an impromptu trip to the hardware like I had to do when I realized I didn’t have the right sized countersink bit!

Murphy-bed-kit-putting-on-the-side-plates

The next step was to use nuts and bolts to attach the lift mechanism to the side panels. It’s a bit tricky to line up all the holes so I started by putting in one bolt very loosely and then fitting all the other, one by one, loosely at first. That made it easy to make small adjustments so they all fit it. Then I tightened the bolts – a wrench was handy to hold the nut while I used the drill to tighten the bolt.

Murphy-bed-hardware-kit-putting-in-the-bolts

Then it was time to add more springs – this part was somewhat frustrating because some of the springs went in very easily while others required a lot of coaxing. In the end, using the wrench to left the plates did the trick. The number of springs you will need depends on how heavy your mattress is, and what type of material you used for the front panel. Unfortunately there’s no easy way of knowing exactly how many you need before you put the mattress on and test it. I didn’t wear gloves while doing this but I highly recommended to do so – the springs are very greasy and it’s easy to get your fingers caught.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit-putting-in-springs

After that was done, I was finally ready to assemble the cabinet. I chose to use brackets and screws to assemble it because a) I don’t have a workshop or specialized tools  and b) I wanted to be able to take the cabinet apart for moving it, something that wouldn’t be possible if using dowels and glue. I was able to order all the screws and brackets necessary to assemble the cabinet components with the Murphy bed hardware so that took a lot of the guesswork out of having to figure out what I needed.

I started by installing the headboard and then moved on to the top and bottom pieces. It’s fairly simple to put together but clamps and an extra pair of hands is very helpful. And it’s easy to get confused as to what piece goes where so it’s also a good idea to refer to the drawings throughout the assembly process.

Murphy-Bed-assembly-step-2

Once the cabinet was built, I used a stud finder to locate the wall studs and marked their location with tape. The recommendations may vary depending on your specific hardware kit but mine recommended securing the top of the cabinet to 3 wall studs with brackets provided in the hardware kit. 

Murphy-Bed-installation-finding-studs

Tip: If you don’t have a stud finder, there’s other ways to find them. There’s usually a stud to the right or left of an outlet or light switch and they are typically 16”-24” on center (which means from the middle of one stud, to the middle of one next to it) but most common is 16”.  So if you have an outlet or switch nearby, you can start there to locate a stud and move along the wall to find the others. One caveat is that depending on when your home was built the actual size of the studs might not be the standard 1 ½” x 3 ½”. Between 1900-1950 rough cut 2×4’s were most common and were actually 2″ by 4″, and homes built between 1950-1965 could have 2x4s that are 1-⅝” by 3-⅝” – keep that in mind as this will affect the actual distance from the first stud to the next.

Before securing the cabinet to the wall, I had to check that it was square. I wasn’t sure the best way to do that but I used my carpenter’s square to check every corner at the front – it’s very important that the cabinet be perfectly square everywhere, otherwise the front panel won’t be able to close.

Murphy-Bed-assembly---checking-square

After securing the cabinet to the wall, the next step was to put the face panel onto the lift mechanism.  I had to call in reinforcements at this point because this step requires lots of muscles to first pull down the tension arm and then to lift the front panel onto the tension arm.  

Murphy-bed-installation-putting-on-front-panel-1Murphy-bed-installation-putting-on-face-panel-2

 

Side Note: If you don’t want to deal with springs, you can get Murphy bed kits with pistons, though one of the downsides of pistons is that they are visible on the sides even with the mattress on. With the springs, the mechanism is out of sight once the mattress is there.

Luckily when we released the tension arm and lifted the front panel in place, it fit right between the side boards. We did have to make a slight adjustment to even out the spacing on both sides but that was minor. We tested the bed with the mattress on but we had put in too many springs so the front panel didn’t stay down. So we removed the mattress and unattached the cabinet from the wall so we could get access to the back of the lift mechanism and remove the springs.

Murphy-bed-installation-front-panel-on

All the heavy lifting was done but I still had the inside of the Murphy bed to finish. I didn’t like the look of the white wall above the headboard and I also wanted to incorporate some color, which is why I hadn’t stained the insides of the panels.

Murphy-Bed-installation-looking-at-the-insideAfter looking at the inside for a bit, I came up with an ambitious plan to create a panel to cover that space, and also incorporate lighting, all of which needs to be 1” thick or less so it doesn’t interfere with the mattress or bedding. My next post in the “how to build a Murphy bed series” will be all about that project and the final reveal of the finished Murphy Bed –  best way to not miss it when it’s published is to subscribe to my newsletter if you’re not already signed up!

Building a Murphy bed series – Step 1: preparing the cabinet components

Did you read my first post in this  “how to build a Murphy bed” series? In case you missed it, here’s a recap. I’ve undertaken a new big/small project, transforming a tiny 200 ft2 rental studio apartment into a functional home that reflects the unique personality of its occupant, that easily adapts to change and has everything needed: a place for sleeping, hanging out and relaxing with friends, cooking, eating and working. I talked in my previous post about how a Murphy bed with a sofa was the best solution for this space and also which options I considered, eventually settling on a DIY Murphy bed with a ready made hardware kit and cabinet design. You can read all the detail here and I left off with outlining all the steps involved with this Murphy bed option:

  1. Prepare all wood or laminate components
  2. Mount lift mechanism
  3. Install springs in lift mechanism
  4. Assemble the bed cabinet
  5. Attach bed cabinet to the wall
  6. Assemble steel bed frame to bed face panels
  7. Install the bed face panel in cabinet
  8. Install handles, leg assembly, mechanism covers, mattress

In today’s post, I’m covering what’s involved with step 1, but before I get started, there’s something I wanted to mention that I didn’t cover in my first post: the importance of knowing the thickness of the mattress you plan on using with your Murphy bed.

Tip: Not all kits are the same and some only accommodate mattresses that are 10 inches thick while others allow you to use mattresses up to 12” thick. Make sure you know what thickness you need for your mattress so you don’t end up with a cabinet that’s too shallow for your mattress. Not fun after doing all that work to build a Murphy bed!

Reading-instructions

And another general note, I can’t recommend enough reading the directions for your Murphy bed kit  several times and also be ready to make a few trips to the hardware store. I know that I did several trips, sometimes more than once in one day! OK, now let’s get started with Step 1: preparing the cabinet components:

There are many different designs of cabinets out there, but they all have essentially the same components and similar steps are needed to get all the cabinet components ready. I used a Murphy bed kit that had a cabinet design and a cut list ready which made it a lot easier than having to figure out a design and dimensions, and I highly recommend this approach, especially if you’re a novice DIYer.

Step 1a – Getting the materials:  

There’s a few choices for the material  you can use to make the cabinet, like MDF or plywood. I went with a higher quality birch plywood because the plan was to stain the wood. If you’re thinking of painting it, then MDF will work too. Whichever one you use, you will need veneer edging to finish the edges, so be prepared to get a lot of it. 

Tip: if you think you’ll be building more furniture with plywood in the future, I recommend buying a large roll of 250 ft online. It sounds like a lot but at roughly $25, it’s way cheaper than buying several packages of 25 ft which is what they sell at the hardware store.Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 4.06.35 PMI usually have larger sheets of plywood cut at the hardware store since I don’t have a table saw, plus it also makes it easier to transport. But hardware stores don’t typically guarantee precise cuts and I’ve had pieces cut that were as much as ¼” off which wouldn’t be acceptable when working on a project like a Murphy bed – precision is critical to ensure that the cabinet is square. So for these reasons, I chose to cut the wood myself.

Getting-plywood

This meant that I had to bring the 3 x 4’x8’x ¾” sheets of birch plywood (~ $150) from the hardware store to the apartment. This is definitely a 2 person job, so I got a friend to help out and also to lend me their pickup truck to transport everything. Since I don’t have a table saw and would be cutting the plywood on the ground, I also got five 2”x4” to use as a base (more on that in step 1b) and a 1”x 3”x 8ft to use as a cutting guide.

Tip: I like to do the materials run the day before I’m planning on cutting and building. This way, I have everything on hand at the start of the day which makes for a more productive day.

Step 1b – Cutting the plywood:

If you have a workshop with a table saw, this step is fairly straightforward. But I don’t have either and I also had limited space inside to work, so cutting outside using a circular saw was the best option available to me. I used a cordless circular saw from WORX that has a built in feature that allows you to use any straight edge to cut, which is extremely helpful. Another reason I love this saw is the battery life – you can get many cuts done on one charge. I also used small clamps and a carpenter framing square to make the cuts.

setting-up-the-cutting-station-outside-murphy-bed

To set up my cutting station outside, I laid down the 2”x4”s evenly spaced out and placed the sheet of plywood on top. By doing this the circular saw blade will cut a bit into the 2”x4” but won’t catch the ground.

marking-plywood-Murphy-bed

Then I measured and marked the line for the cut I needed to make and clamped the guide on the line. I used the carpenter framing square to make sure the 1”x3” guide is perfectly square.

Cutting-plywood

Tip:  it’s important to remember that the saw blade will eat up about ⅛” off the wood, so the guide needs to be placed on the side that you measured (want to keep), otherwise your piece of wood will be ⅛” too short.

It took me a while to get all the cuts done because I was being extra careful with all my measurements and making sure that everything was square every step of the way, but it was very satisfying once I was done! I brought all the wood inside to get ready for the next steps, which included cutting out a section off the bottom back of the side panels so the cabinet could sit flush against the wall. I used a hand saw to do this but you could also use a jigsaw – it’s much easier to do this before the cabinet is assembled!

Cutting-off-back-piece-for-moulding-DIY-Murphy-bed

Another way to go would have been to remove a section of the  baseboard but that wasn’t an option since this is a rental apartment and I’m sure the landlord wouldn’t appreciate having the moulding taken out. 

Cut-out-at-the-back-of-side-panels-murphy-bed

Side note:  If you were using the dowel method to join the pieces, you would need to drill all the holes for the dowels along the edges of each of the components, which can be very time consuming depending on the tools you’re using to do this. Since I’m using brackets and screws to put the cabinet together, I could skip this step. Another reason that I chose brackets and screws is that it will make it a lot easier to disassemble the Murphy bed later – this is very important because it won’t be possible to take the Murphy bed out of this apartment without taking the cabinet apart first.

Step 1c – Adding veneer edging to the plywood edges

While this is fairly easy to do (you will need an iron and a utility knife for this step), it does take a lot of time, especially if you use a utility knife to trim off the excess on the sides, which is what I used. I needed to use some sandpaper to smooth out the rough edges that I sometimes made because I wasn’t precise with the utility knife.

Ironing-on-veneer-edging-Murphy-bed

trimming-off-veneer-edging-Murphy-bed

Tip: Invest in a little gadget called a “veneer edge trimmer” – I wish I had done that before taking on this project! It will save you a oodles of time and also do a much cleaner/better job at getting nice flush edges. 

Step 1d – Sanding

The plywood I was using was already sanded but since I was staining the panels, I wanted to do some more sanding to get the smoothest surface possible. I didn’t want to sand inside so I used my portable WORX table to set up an impromptu workshop outside.

Sanding-plywood-DIY-Murphy-Bed

Step 1e – Staining or painting

Once all the pieces were sanded, it was time for staining. It wasn’t practical to do this outside and there wasn’t enough floor space inside to lay out all the components on the floor of the tiny studio, so I channeled my inner MacGyver and improvised by building a staining rack out of 2”x4”’s and ½” plywood.

Staining-rack-for-Murphy-bed

I also used some tarps to protect the floor and the wall, some painter’s tape and rags for applying the stain. I still had to do 2 batches and staining proved to be a bit tricky (it’s not my strong suit!) – it didn’t turn out as nice as I would have hoped but the final look was still nice. I do love the color of the stain – it’s from Varathane and called Briarsmoke Premium Fast Dry Interior Wood Stain. Again, this step isn’t necessarily difficult, just time consuming because I needed to allow for drying time in between coats (I could have stopped at one coat but I wanted a deeper color). 

Staining-panels-Murphy-Bed

I chose to stain the outside of the cabinet and to leave the inside not finished because I knew that I wanted to paint the inside a different color to create the effect of having a different room when the bed is down. Since I wasn’t sure what I color I wanted to use, I will do that to the end when the Murphy bed is build and installed.

Tip: It’s definitely easier to paint and finish all the wood before assembling it, but the downside is that the components do need to be handled a lot during assembly so be prepared to do a few touch ups after it’s done.

Now it’s time to move on to step 2-6: mounting lift mechanism and assembly. I learned a few things while doing this as well, which I’ll share in my next blog post in the “Building a Murphy bed” series. Best way to not miss it when it’s published is to subscribe to my newsletter if you’re not already signed up!

Did you read my first post in this  “how to build a Murphy bed” series? In case you missed it, here’s a recap. I’ve undertaken a new big/small project, transforming a tiny 200 ft2 rental studio apartment into a functional home that reflects the unique personality of its occupant, that easily adapts to change and has everything needed: a place for sleeping, hanging out and relaxing with friends, cooking, eating and working. I talked in my previous post about how a Murphy bed with a sofa was the best solution for this space and also which options I considered, eventually settling on a DIY Murphy bed with a ready made hardware kit and cabinet design. You can read all the detail here and I left off with outlining all the steps involved with this Murphy bed option:

  1. Prepare all wood or laminate components
  2. Mount lift mechanism
  3. Install springs in lift mechanism
  4. Assemble the bed cabinet
  5. Attach bed cabinet to the wall
  6. Assemble steel bed frame to bed face panels
  7. Install the bed face panel in cabinet
  8. Install handles, leg assembly, mechanism covers, mattress

In today’s post, I’m covering what’s involved with step 1, but before I get started, there’s something I wanted to mention that I didn’t cover in my first post: the importance of knowing the thickness of the mattress you plan on using with your Murphy bed.

Tip: Not all kits are the same and some only accommodate mattresses that are 10 inches thick while others allow you to use mattresses up to 12” thick. Make sure you know what thickness you need for your mattress so you don’t end up with a cabinet that’s too shallow for your mattress. Not fun after doing all that work to build a Murphy bed!

Reading-instructions

And another general note, I can’t recommend enough reading the directions for your Murphy bed kit  several times and also be ready to make a few trips to the hardware store. I know that I did several trips, sometimes more than once in one day! OK, now let’s get started with Step 1: preparing the cabinet components:

There are many different designs of cabinets out there, but they all have essentially the same components and similar steps are needed to get all the cabinet components ready. I used a Murphy bed kit that had a cabinet design and a cut list ready which made it a lot easier than having to figure out a design and dimensions, and I highly recommend this approach, especially if you’re a novice DIYer.

Step 1a – Getting the materials:  

There’s a few choices for the material  you can use to make the cabinet, like MDF or plywood. I went with a higher quality birch plywood because the plan was to stain the wood. If you’re thinking of painting it, then MDF will work too. Whichever one you use, you will need veneer edging to finish the edges, so be prepared to get a lot of it. 

Tip: if you think you’ll be building more furniture with plywood in the future, I recommend buying a large roll of 250 ft online. It sounds like a lot but at roughly $25, it’s way cheaper than buying several packages of 25 ft which is what they sell at the hardware store.Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 4.06.35 PMI usually have larger sheets of plywood cut at the hardware store since I don’t have a table saw, plus it also makes it easier to transport. But hardware stores don’t typically guarantee precise cuts and I’ve had pieces cut that were as much as ¼” off which wouldn’t be acceptable when working on a project like a Murphy bed – precision is critical to ensure that the cabinet is square. So for these reasons, I chose to cut the wood myself.

Getting-plywood

This meant that I had to bring the 3 x 4’x8’x ¾” sheets of birch plywood (~ $150) from the hardware store to the apartment. This is definitely a 2 person job, so I got a friend to help out and also to lend me their pickup truck to transport everything. Since I don’t have a table saw and would be cutting the plywood on the ground, I also got five 2”x4” to use as a base (more on that in step 1b) and a 1”x 3”x 8ft to use as a cutting guide.

Tip: I like to do the materials run the day before I’m planning on cutting and building. This way, I have everything on hand at the start of the day which makes for a more productive day.

Step 1b – Cutting the plywood:

If you have a workshop with a table saw, this step is fairly straightforward. But I don’t have either and I also had limited space inside to work, so cutting outside using a circular saw was the best option available to me. I used a cordless circular saw from WORX that has a built in feature that allows you to use any straight edge to cut, which is extremely helpful. Another reason I love this saw is the battery life – you can get many cuts done on one charge. I also used small clamps and a carpenter framing square to make the cuts.

setting-up-the-cutting-station-outside-murphy-bed

To set up my cutting station outside, I laid down the 2”x4”s evenly spaced out and placed the sheet of plywood on top. By doing this the circular saw blade will cut a bit into the 2”x4” but won’t catch the ground.

marking-plywood-Murphy-bed

Then I measured and marked the line for the cut I needed to make and clamped the guide on the line. I used the carpenter framing square to make sure the 1”x3” guide is perfectly square.

Cutting-plywood

Tip:  it’s important to remember that the saw blade will eat up about ⅛” off the wood, so the guide needs to be placed on the side that you measured (want to keep), otherwise your piece of wood will be ⅛” too short.

It took me a while to get all the cuts done because I was being extra careful with all my measurements and making sure that everything was square every step of the way, but it was very satisfying once I was done! I brought all the wood inside to get ready for the next steps, which included cutting out a section off the bottom back of the side panels so the cabinet could sit flush against the wall. I used a hand saw to do this but you could also use a jigsaw – it’s much easier to do this before the cabinet is assembled!

Cutting-off-back-piece-for-moulding-DIY-Murphy-bed

Another way to go would have been to remove a section of the  baseboard but that wasn’t an option since this is a rental apartment and I’m sure the landlord wouldn’t appreciate having the moulding taken out. 

Cut-out-at-the-back-of-side-panels-murphy-bed

Side note:  If you were using the dowel method to join the pieces, you would need to drill all the holes for the dowels along the edges of each of the components, which can be very time consuming depending on the tools you’re using to do this. Since I’m using brackets and screws to put the cabinet together, I could skip this step. Another reason that I chose brackets and screws is that it will make it a lot easier to disassemble the Murphy bed later – this is very important because it won’t be possible to take the Murphy bed out of this apartment without taking the cabinet apart first.

Step 1c – Adding veneer edging to the plywood edges

While this is fairly easy to do (you will need an iron and a utility knife for this step), it does take a lot of time, especially if you use a utility knife to trim off the excess on the sides, which is what I used. I needed to use some sandpaper to smooth out the rough edges that I sometimes made because I wasn’t precise with the utility knife.

Ironing-on-veneer-edging-Murphy-bed

trimming-off-veneer-edging-Murphy-bed

Tip: Invest in a little gadget called a “veneer edge trimmer” – I wish I had done that before taking on this project! It will save you a oodles of time and also do a much cleaner/better job at getting nice flush edges. 

Step 1d – Sanding

The plywood I was using was already sanded but since I was staining the panels, I wanted to do some more sanding to get the smoothest surface possible. I didn’t want to sand inside so I used my portable WORX table to set up an impromptu workshop outside.

Sanding-plywood-DIY-Murphy-Bed

Step 1e – Staining or painting

Once all the pieces were sanded, it was time for staining. It wasn’t practical to do this outside and there wasn’t enough floor space inside to lay out all the components on the floor of the tiny studio, so I channeled my inner MacGyver and improvised by building a staining rack out of 2”x4”’s and ½” plywood.

Staining-rack-for-Murphy-bed

I also used some tarps to protect the floor and the wall, some painter’s tape and rags for applying the stain. I still had to do 2 batches and staining proved to be a bit tricky (it’s not my strong suit!) – it didn’t turn out as nice as I would have hoped but the final look was still nice. I do love the color of the stain – it’s from Varathane and called Briarsmoke Premium Fast Dry Interior Wood Stain. Again, this step isn’t necessarily difficult, just time consuming because I needed to allow for drying time in between coats (I could have stopped at one coat but I wanted a deeper color). 

Staining-panels-Murphy-Bed

I chose to stain the outside of the cabinet and to leave the inside not finished because I knew that I wanted to paint the inside a different color to create the effect of having a different room when the bed is down. Since I wasn’t sure what I color I wanted to use, I will do that to the end when the Murphy bed is build and installed.

Tip: It’s definitely easier to paint and finish all the wood before assembling it, but the downside is that the components do need to be handled a lot during assembly so be prepared to do a few touch ups after it’s done.

Now it’s time to move on to step 2-6: mounting lift mechanism and assembly. I learned a few things while doing this as well, which I’ll share in my next blog post in the “Building a Murphy bed” series. Best way to not miss it when it’s published is to subscribe to my newsletter if you’re not already signed up!

Building a Murphy Bed Series: Before you start – DIY Options

 

If you’ve been reading my newsletter and following me on Instagram, you know that I’ve undertaken a new big/small project, transforming a tiny 200 ft2 rental studio apartment into what I call a “nimble” home: a home that reflects the unique personality of its occupant, that easily adapts to change and has everything needed: a place for sleeping, hanging out and relaxing with friends, cooking, eating and working.

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 5.32.48 PM

One of the main requirements for the design of this home was to have a sofa for relaxing and to also have a queen sized bed for sleeping. Given the size of the main living area, a mere 144 ft2, and the standard 8 ft ceiling, it quickly became apparent that a sofa Murphy bed like this one was the best solution for the space. 

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 5.35.18 PM

Since buying a ready made sofa Murphy bed was outside of the budget (they can cost anywhere from $2500-$6000 plus), it made sense to go the DIY route. A quick internet search revealed these DIY options to choose from, from least expensive to most expensive:

  1. Build the cabinet from scratch and make your own lifting mechanism/hardware.
  2. Build the cabinet from scratch and use a Murphy bed hardware kit.
  3. Assemble a pre-cut cabinet and use a Murphy bed hardware kit.

I went with option 2 mainly because:

  1. It fit the budget while allowing the use of higher quality materials (plywood vs particle board) 
  2. It also allowed for customization of the look of the cabinet.
  3. Buying a hardware kit would save time on having to figure out a design, getting parts, etc..

Having settled on option 2, next I had to decide how to put the cabinet together. There’s a few different assembly methods to choose from:

  1. Dowels and glue
  2. Pocket screws and glue
  3. Brackets and screws

Since this Murphy bed would need to be dismantled in order to be moved, options 1 and 2 didn’t make sense because the cabinet would be one solid piece of furniture.  I also have limited tools to work with, and no workshop, so I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, which was option 3.

After looking at all the available options out there for hardware kits, I chose this DIY panel bed Murphy bed hardware kit from murphybeddepot.com – I liked that it came with the cabinet design already laid out, including a cut list of all the components, and that there was the option of buying the hardware kit that included all the brackets and screws needed to assemble the cabinet. The cost for the Murphy bed hardware and the hardware kit to put together the cabinet is $435 (excluding taxes) and since this option involves building a cabinet,  3 sheets of plywood were also needed for that (around $150 for premium birch plywood). There’s lots of other supplies and tools involved but more on that later.

When I received the hardware kit, I read the “how-to” instructions for building the Murphy Bed which listed the following 8 steps:

  1. Prepare all wood or laminate components
  2. Mount lift mechanism
  3. Install springs in lift mechanism
  4. Assemble the bed cabinet
  5. Attach bed cabinet to the wall
  6. Assemble steel bed frame to bed face panels
  7. Install the bed face panel in cabinet
  8. Install handles, leg assembly, mechanism covers, mattress

Turns out that every step breaks down into many smaller steps, each with its own set of  considerations and challenges. Take step 1 for example. It sounds simple enough, but this took way longer than expected and involved some creative solutions to work around not having a workshop, having limited tools and building in a tiny space. It’s challenging but it is totally doable as you’ll see!

Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 9.09.13 AMSo if you’re thinking of building your own Murphy bed or are just curious as to what’s involved in a project like this, subscribe to my newsletter here so you don’t miss any of the posts in this “Building a Murphy bed series”. The next post will be all about step 1: preparing the wood components for the cabinet – stay tuned!

 

If you’ve been reading my newsletter and following me on Instagram, you know that I’ve undertaken a new big/small project, transforming a tiny 200 ft2 rental studio apartment into what I call a “nimble” home: a home that reflects the unique personality of its occupant, that easily adapts to change and has everything needed: a place for sleeping, hanging out and relaxing with friends, cooking, eating and working.

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 5.32.48 PM

One of the main requirements for the design of this home was to have a sofa for relaxing and to also have a queen sized bed for sleeping. Given the size of the main living area, a mere 144 ft2, and the standard 8 ft ceiling, it quickly became apparent that a sofa Murphy bed like this one was the best solution for the space. 

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 5.35.18 PM

Since buying a ready made sofa Murphy bed was outside of the budget (they can cost anywhere from $2500-$6000 plus), it made sense to go the DIY route. A quick internet search revealed these DIY options to choose from, from least expensive to most expensive:

  1. Build the cabinet from scratch and make your own lifting mechanism/hardware.
  2. Build the cabinet from scratch and use a Murphy bed hardware kit.
  3. Assemble a pre-cut cabinet and use a Murphy bed hardware kit.

I went with option 2 mainly because:

  1. It fit the budget while allowing the use of higher quality materials (plywood vs particle board) 
  2. It also allowed for customization of the look of the cabinet.
  3. Buying a hardware kit would save time on having to figure out a design, getting parts, etc..

Having settled on option 2, next I had to decide how to put the cabinet together. There’s a few different assembly methods to choose from:

  1. Dowels and glue
  2. Pocket screws and glue
  3. Brackets and screws

Since this Murphy bed would need to be dismantled in order to be moved, options 1 and 2 didn’t make sense because the cabinet would be one solid piece of furniture.  I also have limited tools to work with, and no workshop, so I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, which was option 3.

After looking at all the available options out there for hardware kits, I chose this DIY panel bed Murphy bed hardware kit from murphybeddepot.com – I liked that it came with the cabinet design already laid out, including a cut list of all the components, and that there was the option of buying the hardware kit that included all the brackets and screws needed to assemble the cabinet. The cost for the Murphy bed hardware and the hardware kit to put together the cabinet is $435 (excluding taxes) and since this option involves building a cabinet,  3 sheets of plywood were also needed for that (around $150 for premium birch plywood). There’s lots of other supplies and tools involved but more on that later.

When I received the hardware kit, I read the “how-to” instructions for building the Murphy Bed which listed the following 8 steps:

  1. Prepare all wood or laminate components
  2. Mount lift mechanism
  3. Install springs in lift mechanism
  4. Assemble the bed cabinet
  5. Attach bed cabinet to the wall
  6. Assemble steel bed frame to bed face panels
  7. Install the bed face panel in cabinet
  8. Install handles, leg assembly, mechanism covers, mattress

Turns out that every step breaks down into many smaller steps, each with its own set of  considerations and challenges. Take step 1 for example. It sounds simple enough, but this took way longer than expected and involved some creative solutions to work around not having a workshop, having limited tools and building in a tiny space. It’s challenging but it is totally doable as you’ll see!

Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 9.09.13 AMSo if you’re thinking of building your own Murphy bed or are just curious as to what’s involved in a project like this, subscribe to my newsletter here so you don’t miss any of the posts in this “Building a Murphy bed series”. The next post will be all about step 1: preparing the wood components for the cabinet – stay tuned!

How to build a small bedside table

Necessity is the mother of all inventions…. I needed a new bedside table to go with the  DIY headboard I made a few weeks ago, I had a pile of scrap wood, plus I got some great new toys, I mean tools!, including a portable work bench and a circular saw, and this is the result: a one of a kind sculptural bedside table!

Here’s a list of some of the tools and materials I used to make this table:

Tools:

Circular saw

Drill

Materials:

1”x3”

1”x4”

¾” plywood

Iron-on wood edging

Wood glue

SPAX Screws

Necessity is the mother of all inventions…. I needed a new bedside table to go with the  DIY headboard I made a few weeks ago, I had a pile of scrap wood, plus I got some great new toys, I mean tools!, including a portable work bench and a circular saw, and this is the result: a one of a kind sculptural bedside table!

Here’s a list of some of the tools and materials I used to make this table:

Tools:

Circular saw

Drill

Materials:

1”x3”

1”x4”

¾” plywood

Iron-on wood edging

Wood glue

SPAX Screws

One DIY Headboard with Two Different Looks

When I moved into my LA apartment,  I had bought a bed frame that didn’t have a headboard – the plan was to build one that would have legs that could simply be wedged between the bed and the wall and not require to be screwed into anything. The first version of the headboard was upholstered with burlap and I loved it but over time, it got a bit discolored so I used that as an excuse to come up with a new look for my headboard.

The second version is more sleek and upscale, something you would find in a boutique hotel. The new look was inspired by a previous project where I had build wood wall panels to cover up an ugly wall. I love the way this one turned out and it has inspired me to make over the rest of my bedroom, so stay tuned for that!

Here’s a list of materials that I used to make the upholstered headboard:

3M Command strips – removable
Peel and Stick fabric tape
Burlap 13.5” wide panel fabric
Burlap 3” wide ribbon
Batting
Decorative nails

I recommend protecting the burlap or fabric with UV protectant , otherwise it may become discolored over time.

For the second version of the headboard, I used 1/4″ thick floor underlayment, 1″x2″ furring strips and screen molding to make the panels. Basswood strips were used to pretty up the sides.

I also used SPAX screws for this project which are my favorite – you can give them a try with this SPAX assortment screw pack

When I moved into my LA apartment,  I had bought a bed frame that didn’t have a headboard – the plan was to build one that would have legs that could simply be wedged between the bed and the wall and not require to be screwed into anything. The first version of the headboard was upholstered with burlap and I loved it but over time, it got a bit discolored so I used that as an excuse to come up with a new look for my headboard.

The second version is more sleek and upscale, something you would find in a boutique hotel. The new look was inspired by a previous project where I had build wood wall panels to cover up an ugly wall. I love the way this one turned out and it has inspired me to make over the rest of my bedroom, so stay tuned for that!

Here’s a list of materials that I used to make the upholstered headboard:

3M Command strips – removable
Peel and Stick fabric tape
Burlap 13.5” wide panel fabric
Burlap 3” wide ribbon
Batting
Decorative nails

I recommend protecting the burlap or fabric with UV protectant , otherwise it may become discolored over time.

For the second version of the headboard, I used 1/4″ thick floor underlayment, 1″x2″ furring strips and screen molding to make the panels. Basswood strips were used to pretty up the sides.

I also used SPAX screws for this project which are my favorite – you can give them a try with this SPAX assortment screw pack

Simple DIY chair perfect for outdoor living

I built this outdoor chair right on the dining room table of my small apartment, using just a few hand tools – if I can do it, so can you!

Here’s a list of all the tools and materials I used to build this chair below:

Tools:

Rockler Dowel Jig Kit

Drill

Drill bits

Combination Square

Speed Square

Mini clamps

Ratchet Straps

Rubber Mallet

Materials:

2 x 2”x3” x 8ft

2 x 1”x 6” x 8ft

1 x 1”x 6” x 6ft

SPAX Exterior Screws I used that don’t require pre-drilling

Behr Solid Weatherproofing Stain (Pewter)

 

Outdoor Chair Project Guide

I pack a lot of info into my videos and it might be challenging to follow when you’re actually building this chair. So I’ve put together a detailed project guide that includes list of all the tools and supplies needed, a handy cut list, plus step-by-step drawings that will make building go a lot easier. It’s the next best thing to having me there with you when you’re building your chair!

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 4.42.33 PM_edited-1

I built this outdoor chair right on the dining room table of my small apartment, using just a few hand tools – if I can do it, so can you!

Here’s a list of all the tools and materials I used to build this chair below:

Tools:

Rockler Dowel Jig Kit

Drill

Drill bits

Combination Square

Speed Square

Mini clamps

Ratchet Straps

Rubber Mallet

Materials:

2 x 2”x3” x 8ft

2 x 1”x 6” x 8ft

1 x 1”x 6” x 6ft

SPAX Exterior Screws I used that don’t require pre-drilling

Behr Solid Weatherproofing Stain (Pewter)

 

Outdoor Chair Project Guide

I pack a lot of info into my videos and it might be challenging to follow when you’re actually building this chair. So I’ve put together a detailed project guide that includes list of all the tools and supplies needed, a handy cut list, plus step-by-step drawings that will make building go a lot easier. It’s the next best thing to having me there with you when you’re building your chair!

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 4.42.33 PM_edited-1

DIY LA balcony makeover

My LA balcony is getting a new look! This makeover is full of small balcony ideas you can use, especially if you live in a rental apartment and can’t make any holes in the walls. I’m in love with the artificial boxwood greenery – it totally transformed the look of my balcony! Here’s some of the other things I used to complete the transformation:

Outdoor moroccan lantern

Outdoor smart LED lights

Double sided removable tape (indoor/outdoor)

Vinyl Rug – it’s not meant to go outdoors but it is waterproof):

You can see what I did to my LA balcony the first time I gave it a makeover in these videos. Enjoy!

My LA balcony is getting a new look! This makeover is full of small balcony ideas you can use, especially if you live in a rental apartment and can’t make any holes in the walls. I’m in love with the artificial boxwood greenery – it totally transformed the look of my balcony! Here’s some of the other things I used to complete the transformation:

Outdoor moroccan lantern

Outdoor smart LED lights

Double sided removable tape (indoor/outdoor)

Vinyl Rug – it’s not meant to go outdoors but it is waterproof):

You can see what I did to my LA balcony the first time I gave it a makeover in these videos. Enjoy!

DIY room divider sofa bed combo

This quirky school bus conversion out in beautiful Joshua Tree is definitely one of the most unique projects I’ve worked on and my DIY sofa that also doubles as a bed and room divider is definitely one of a kind as well. It was so much fun to build and even though it was made for a bus, it could also work great in a studio apartment to help divide up the space. This is also a very affordable project: the cost, including the seat cushion foam, was $220 and here’s a list of the materials that were used:

Wood filler

¼” plywood

high density foam foam

Batting

Varathane wood stain (color: kona)

9 x 2”x4”s

2 x 4’x8’ 1/2 inch plywood

Spray Adhesive

Staple gun

This quirky school bus conversion out in beautiful Joshua Tree is definitely one of the most unique projects I’ve worked on and my DIY sofa that also doubles as a bed and room divider is definitely one of a kind as well. It was so much fun to build and even though it was made for a bus, it could also work great in a studio apartment to help divide up the space. This is also a very affordable project: the cost, including the seat cushion foam, was $220 and here’s a list of the materials that were used:

Wood filler

¼” plywood

high density foam foam

Batting

Varathane wood stain (color: kona)

9 x 2”x4”s

2 x 4’x8’ 1/2 inch plywood

Spray Adhesive

Staple gun

DIY Furry Ottoman and more IKEA Hacks

I needed a new coffee table/Ottoman for my living room after redecorating it and I saw a cute furry pouf I really liked but couldn’t afford ($350!!) so my solution? An IKEA hack involving the ubiquitous LACK table which costs $8!

Here are the main products I used to make my DIY furry Ottoman for my small living room:

IKEA lack table (21.5”x21.5”)
Gold vinyl/contact paper
2” foam
1” foam
Batting
Fur fabric

Spray Adhesive

Tools I used:
Miter box
Hack saw
Staple gun

I needed a new coffee table/Ottoman for my living room after redecorating it and I saw a cute furry pouf I really liked but couldn’t afford ($350!!) so my solution? An IKEA hack involving the ubiquitous LACK table which costs $8!

Here are the main products I used to make my DIY furry Ottoman for my small living room:

IKEA lack table (21.5”x21.5”)
Gold vinyl/contact paper
2” foam
1” foam
Batting
Fur fabric

Spray Adhesive

Tools I used:
Miter box
Hack saw
Staple gun

No sew DIY Striped curtains and other easy DIY home decor accessories

To save some money when I did my latest project, a very ambitious basement renovation, I made a few DIY home decor accessories, including no sew striped curtains perfect for non-sewers like me.

What I used to make the curtains:

IKEA curtains

Burlap 14” panels 30 ft

Fusible tape

Pins

For the vase project, I used Cricut vinyl

Like the sofa in this makeover? It’s Slim Furniture’s modular compact line of modular furniture with integrated storage:

Watch how to make the side table/stool here:

To save some money when I did my latest project, a very ambitious basement renovation, I made a few DIY home decor accessories, including no sew striped curtains perfect for non-sewers like me.

What I used to make the curtains:

IKEA curtains

Burlap 14” panels 30 ft

Fusible tape

Pins

For the vase project, I used Cricut vinyl

Like the sofa in this makeover? It’s Slim Furniture’s modular compact line of modular furniture with integrated storage:

Watch how to make the side table/stool here:

How to do a white wash treatment on natural wood

I recently took on the challenge of transforming a dark and neglected basement into a creative space for me to use for a few months. I was on a very tight budget for this project but luckily there were a few things left in the basement that I could use or repurpose, like this old shelving unit built out of 2″x4″. It will be very useful to store things but I had to figure out a way to spruce it up without spending a lot of money.

White-wash-shelving-before

I had always wanted to try white washing a piece of furniture so this was the perfect occasion to give it a try without too much stress about the outcome – this will be a creative space to experiment after all!  So after doing a bit of research online, I settled on making a white wash mix of 1 part paint, 2 parts water. It’s important to mix the 2 together very well to have a uniform distribution of the paint.

White-wash-treatment-step-1

I prepped the shelving unit by filling in holes with wood filler and sanding down the rougher parts.

White-wash-treatment-step-2

Then I applied the white wash mix onto the shelving unit with a brush first, and then wiped off the excess with damp rag. Please don’t go “sans-gloves” like I did or your hands will be covered with paint like mine were! 

White-wash-treatment-painting-on-square

White-washing-rag-first-coat-square

After doing the first coat and letting that dry, I opted to apply another coat for a whiter look. 

White-wash-treatment-wiping-off

The shelves had a lot of stains so I painted them instead of doing the white washing. 

White-wash-treatment-painting-shelves

I really liked how it turned out. I didn’t do this but it would be a good idea to seal it with wax or some other sealer.

White-washed-shelving-unit

Here’s the shelving unit with that side of the basement finished. I made some barn doors, including the hardware, to partially cover up the front and the things I’m storing that aren’t the nicest to look at.

Shelving-unit-with-barn-doors

You can see all the projects I did in the basement in this video, including how I built the wall panel, temporarily covered up the old carpet. 

 

 

I recently took on the challenge of transforming a dark and neglected basement into a creative space for me to use for a few months. I was on a very tight budget for this project but luckily there were a few things left in the basement that I could use or repurpose, like this old shelving unit built out of 2″x4″. It will be very useful to store things but I had to figure out a way to spruce it up without spending a lot of money.

White-wash-shelving-before

I had always wanted to try white washing a piece of furniture so this was the perfect occasion to give it a try without too much stress about the outcome – this will be a creative space to experiment after all!  So after doing a bit of research online, I settled on making a white wash mix of 1 part paint, 2 parts water. It’s important to mix the 2 together very well to have a uniform distribution of the paint.

White-wash-treatment-step-1

I prepped the shelving unit by filling in holes with wood filler and sanding down the rougher parts.

White-wash-treatment-step-2

Then I applied the white wash mix onto the shelving unit with a brush first, and then wiped off the excess with damp rag. Please don’t go “sans-gloves” like I did or your hands will be covered with paint like mine were! 

White-wash-treatment-painting-on-square

White-washing-rag-first-coat-square

After doing the first coat and letting that dry, I opted to apply another coat for a whiter look. 

White-wash-treatment-wiping-off

The shelves had a lot of stains so I painted them instead of doing the white washing. 

White-wash-treatment-painting-shelves

I really liked how it turned out. I didn’t do this but it would be a good idea to seal it with wax or some other sealer.

White-washed-shelving-unit

Here’s the shelving unit with that side of the basement finished. I made some barn doors, including the hardware, to partially cover up the front and the things I’m storing that aren’t the nicest to look at.

Shelving-unit-with-barn-doors

You can see all the projects I did in the basement in this video, including how I built the wall panel, temporarily covered up the old carpet. 

 

 

Easily Reversible Basement Renovation

Damaged walls and a worn out stained carpet were just some of the challenges in this makeover but with lots of creative and inexpensive projects that are also easily reversible, is was transformed from a dark and neglected basement into a bright and inspiring creative space where I can experiment and test out new design ideas.

Here are more links to some of the products I used in the various projects from the video:

Carpet project:

IKEA floor mats

Carpet tape

Wall panel lighting

LED lights

Corrugated transparent plastic

Unfortunately, the furniture (Slim sofa) is discontinued.

Damaged walls and a worn out stained carpet were just some of the challenges in this makeover but with lots of creative and inexpensive projects that are also easily reversible, is was transformed from a dark and neglected basement into a bright and inspiring creative space where I can experiment and test out new design ideas.

Here are more links to some of the products I used in the various projects from the video:

Carpet project:

IKEA floor mats

Carpet tape

Wall panel lighting

LED lights

Corrugated transparent plastic

Unfortunately, the furniture (Slim sofa) is discontinued.

Get more storage out of a plain bookcase

I’m a big advocate of making what you have work for you, especially when you can repurpose something without spending too much time or money. This bookcase is a perfect example – it’s very useful to store beauty products and clothes but it’s kind of plain and not very interesting to look at and it could use some more organizing. So to make it work better in the room and get more storage space out of it, I gave it a few upgrades.

Small-bedroom-before-right-side

The first thing I did was to pretty up the back of the bookcase. I used removable double sided tape to secure beautiful wallpaper remnants I had on hand from a previous project. You could also use contact paper, but I find it can be difficult to handle at times to get a smooth finish so I prefer this wallpaper/removable double sided tape. 

Putting-in-wallpaper-with-double-sided-removable-tap

Next I made some small shelves out of scrap wood  – I cut 2 smaller pieces to make the supports, painted them white and used the same removable double sided tape to secure them to the sides of the bookcase, at the back. Then I simply placed the top of the shelf on the supports. 

Putting-in-shelf-support

Putting-in-the-top-of-the-shelfI had some wallpaper left so instead of painting another smaller shelf, I covered it with the wallpaper using Mod Podge. if you didn’t want to make yours, you can buy shelf extenders, most often used for pantries.

Covering-up-the-shelf-with-wallpaper

Smaller-shelf-with-wallpaper

Having those smaller shelves not only makes it easier to see what’s there, it also uses up more of the vertical space. As a result, I was able to free up a shelf and use it for shoe storage. The easiest way to make a shoe rack in a bookcase is to use tension rods.

Putting-in-tension-rods-to-make-a-shoe-rack

I put one in the back and one in the front, with the back one being a few inches above the front one.

Tension-rod-shoe-rack

The tension rods are so simple and they work great!

Shoes-on-tension-rods

The last thing I did was use some inexpensive cloth boxes that fit the depth of the bookcase (about 11″) to store clothes and other nicknacks.

bookcase-bottom-view-with-cloth-boxes

Now the bookcase is much more organized with everything easy to find, all for less than $25!

Bookcase-and-jewelry-storage-small-bedroom-makeover_square

I’m a big advocate of making what you have work for you, especially when you can repurpose something without spending too much time or money. This bookcase is a perfect example – it’s very useful to store beauty products and clothes but it’s kind of plain and not very interesting to look at and it could use some more organizing. So to make it work better in the room and get more storage space out of it, I gave it a few upgrades.

Small-bedroom-before-right-side

The first thing I did was to pretty up the back of the bookcase. I used removable double sided tape to secure beautiful wallpaper remnants I had on hand from a previous project. You could also use contact paper, but I find it can be difficult to handle at times to get a smooth finish so I prefer this wallpaper/removable double sided tape. 

Putting-in-wallpaper-with-double-sided-removable-tap

Next I made some small shelves out of scrap wood  – I cut 2 smaller pieces to make the supports, painted them white and used the same removable double sided tape to secure them to the sides of the bookcase, at the back. Then I simply placed the top of the shelf on the supports. 

Putting-in-shelf-support

Putting-in-the-top-of-the-shelfI had some wallpaper left so instead of painting another smaller shelf, I covered it with the wallpaper using Mod Podge. if you didn’t want to make yours, you can buy shelf extenders, most often used for pantries.

Covering-up-the-shelf-with-wallpaper

Smaller-shelf-with-wallpaper

Having those smaller shelves not only makes it easier to see what’s there, it also uses up more of the vertical space. As a result, I was able to free up a shelf and use it for shoe storage. The easiest way to make a shoe rack in a bookcase is to use tension rods.

Putting-in-tension-rods-to-make-a-shoe-rack

I put one in the back and one in the front, with the back one being a few inches above the front one.

Tension-rod-shoe-rack

The tension rods are so simple and they work great!

Shoes-on-tension-rods

The last thing I did was use some inexpensive cloth boxes that fit the depth of the bookcase (about 11″) to store clothes and other nicknacks.

bookcase-bottom-view-with-cloth-boxes

Now the bookcase is much more organized with everything easy to find, all for less than $25!

Bookcase-and-jewelry-storage-small-bedroom-makeover_square

Outdoor furniture perfect for any patio or small balcony

I’m always on the lookout for outdoor furniture that’s easy to move and that will easily adapt to new spaces, so I was really excited when Slim furniture asked me to try out their new line of flat packed outdoor furniture – I was amazed at how light it was (it’s made from rust proof aluminum frames) and how easy it was to put together without ANY tools, take apart and to move by myself! The whole process was way easier than putting together furniture from IKEA. And every piece of furniture has storage built-in – so useful for smaller outdoor spaces like small balconies! You can only purchase Slim furniture online: it’s available on Amazon.com and you can also check out Slim Furniture’s website to find out more about their furniture and purchase it there.

* This video was sponsored by Slim Furniture – all thoughts and opinions are my own *

 

I’m always on the lookout for outdoor furniture that’s easy to move and that will easily adapt to new spaces, so I was really excited when Slim furniture asked me to try out their new line of flat packed outdoor furniture – I was amazed at how light it was (it’s made from rust proof aluminum frames) and how easy it was to put together without ANY tools, take apart and to move by myself! The whole process was way easier than putting together furniture from IKEA. And every piece of furniture has storage built-in – so useful for smaller outdoor spaces like small balconies! You can only purchase Slim furniture online: it’s available on Amazon.com and you can also check out Slim Furniture’s website to find out more about their furniture and purchase it there.

* This video was sponsored by Slim Furniture – all thoughts and opinions are my own *