Classic Daybed


This daybed design uses simple 1×3 construction. It can be disassembled into 5 sections using 6 bolts.

Shopping List

2 – 1×2 x 8′
15 – 1×3 x 8′
3 – 1×4 x 8′
6 – 3″ carriage bolts, nuts, washers
2″ screws
1.25″ screws
finish nails

Cut List

1 – 1×2 x 80″ top
2 – 1×2 x 14.75″ top corner trim

3 – 1×3 x 80″ lower back & main support rails
1 – 1×3 x 77″ upper back
2 – 1×3 x 39.5″ arms
2 – 1×3 x 35″ arm supports
12 – 1×3 x 38″ slats
2 – 1×3 x 36.25″ back legs
6 – 1×3 x 24″ legs
6 – 1×3 x 17.75″ back diagonals (one end cut at 45 degrees)
2 – 1×3 x 13″ filler
2 – 1×3 x 10.5″ filler
4 – 1×3 x 8.5″ filler

2 – 1×4 x 75″ main support rails
2 – 1×4 x 35″ end rails

Some connections need only glue and finish nails, others require screws for extra strength. All glue joints need to be properly clamped, and time allowed for the glue to dry, especially when held with nails.

Step 1 – Build the front legs

Daybed leg
Build 2 front legs, using 2 of the best 24″ pieces. Attach one 8.5″ filler and one 13″ filler to each leg using glue and nails. Make sure the gap between the filler pieces allows the width of the 1×3 rail to fit tightly between them. Nail through the filler, so the heads are not visible on the 24″ piece.

Attach the main rail, using glue and 2 screws on each end. Position the screws about 3/4″ from the corners of the rail. Attach a 1×4 facing rail (the best looking one) using glue and finish nails. Align the bottom edge, so the 1×4 extends above the 1×3 at the top (the 13″ filler pieces are the top end of the leg). Pre-drill the rail, and screw through it into the leg.

Daybed Front

Step 2 – Build the ends

Pre-drill the remaining 24″ legs with 2 holes each, 3/4″ from the edge, at 9.25″ and 11.25″ from the bottom. Attach a 35″ 1×4 between them with glue and 2″ screws, with the top edge 12″ from the bottom of the legs, and 3/8″ in from the edge. Note: having properly squared ends on the 1×4 will help keep the whole thing square (don’t trust the factory cut to be perfectly square).
Daybed end
Now install a 35″ 1×3 between the legs, with the top edge aligned with the top of the legs, also set 3/8″ in from the edge. Pre-drill holes, and use glue and screws.
Daybed end
Install the top armrest on each end piece, in mirror image. Each arm extends 3/4″ in the back, and 2.25″ in the front. Make sure that one has the side rails on the left, and the other has the rails on the right, when viewed from the front. Use glue and finish nails.
Daybed arms

Step 3 – Build the back
Daybed back
Attach the 8.5″ and 10.5″ filler pieces to the back legs, using glue and nails. The gap between them should just fit the width of the 1×3 rail. Attach the rail and the lower back support using glue and 2 screws on each end, 3/4″ from the corners.
Daybed back
Attach the short pieces of 1×2 to back side of the legs, aligned with the top, outside edge, with glue and nails. Now attach the top 1×3 back rail, fit between the 1×2’s, with glue and screws. Also attach the remaining 1×4 to the back of the lower rail, aligned with the bottom edge of the 1×3, with glue and nails.
Daybed back
Glue and nails can be used to attach the diagonal pieces and the top 1×2. You may need to slightly sand the lower corners of the diagonals, where the end is cut square, to get them aligned correctly.
Daybed back

Step 4 – Clamp together & drill bolt holes

Daybed assembly
Assemble the main pieces using clamps to hold it together. Drill the bolt holes through all 3 pieces at once. The 4 lower bolt holes should be 7/8″ from the inside edge of the legs, and the 2 upper bolt holes should be 5/8″ from the inside edge. Each should be centered vertically in the middle of the rail (9.75″ from the bottom for the lower holes, 22.75″ for the upper holes.

Daybed bolt holes
Insert the bolts, tighten, and remove the clamps.

Daybed assembly

Step 5 – Add slats

Set the slats in place, and connect them using one of various methods.
– staple 2 yards of cloth, or 2 strips of burlap, to the slats. You may want to insert 4 screws in the top of the support rails, sticking up a half inch or so, just inside the outer slats to keep things in place.
– use 2 more 1×2 pieces, perpendicular to the slats, screwed or nailed to each slat. Assemble with the 2 pieces on top, and flip it over to use.

Daybed slats

If you have installed Sketchup, you can download the file for this bed.

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