How can I Make a Trundle Bed?

Sherry Holetzky

Many people opt for bunk beds or toddle beds for their children, especially when space is limited. However, a trundle bed is also a great option. Whether it is used on an everyday basis or simply as an extra bed when guests stay over, a trundle bed can be very handy.

Stacks of plywood sheets, which can be used to make a trundle bed.
Stacks of plywood sheets, which can be used to make a trundle bed.

A trundle bed slides beneath an existing bed, allowing for extra sleep space without taking up floor space when not in use. It is also a safe way to transition from crib to “big kid bed” because little ones don’t have far to fall if they roll out of bed during the night. This is a common concern with bunk beds when children are very small.

While trundle beds are available for purchase it is possible to make your own. When preparing to do such a project, keep in mind that safety gear and the appropriate tools are imperative. The old saying, “measure twice, cut once,” is also invaluable. Begin by taking bed measurements, ensuring that the trundle bed will fit easily beneath the bed under which you intend to store it.

You should measure from the inside edge of the leg at the head of the bed to the inside edge of the leg at the foot of the bed. Measure the width as well. Measure each section twice. Write down the measurements and begin making a list of materials.

You will need to create a wood frame by adding boards to the bottom of the plywood base and then adding sides. L-brackets work great for securing corners. Make sure the sides are deep enough to keep the mattress secure yet not so high that the trundle bed is difficult to slide under the bed.

You can purchase cut to size plywood at many home improvement centers, generally for just a few cents more than the cost of the material. Purchasing pre-cut wood will greatly reduce your workload, the time you spend on the project, and the difficulty of transporting the plywood. Ask about pre-cut lumber as well.

You might opt for furniture grade wood. It costs more but it is higher quality and will require less sanding. The wood must be sanded and wiped before primer or paint is applied. When the frame is complete, you’ll want it to slide easily, so you will need to mount caster wheels. You might also want to add drawer pulls to the front to make the trundle bed easier to pull out.

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Discussion Comments


If I was making a trundle bed, I would surely have the lumber and plywood cut to order at the home improvement store. A novice measuring for a project is almost always inaccurate. The rest seems doable - the sanding, connecting pieces of lumber, staining or painting, and attaching the coasters.

It's a great idea to have a trundle bed in a kid's room. My granddaughters slept in a trundle bed and had a ball. Later, they went to separate rooms and the trundle bed went into the guest bedroom.

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