How to Build a Bookshelf Bed

A bookshelf bed.
  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-100
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Wood glue
Wood screws
Electric screwdriver
Sander and sandpaper
Wood stain, paint, or primer
Table saw
Drill and drill bits
Dowel rods
3/4-inch thick plywood

If you love books and need a place to store them, you may want to consider a bookshelf bed as a future woodworking project. If your room is small, then a bookshelf bed is something that will not only make your bed a focal point, but will also free up space.

Step 1 - Determine the Bookshelf Size

Begin by measuring the width of the bed. This is how wide your bookshelf will be when you are finished. You can measure the thickness of the bed frame and either increase or decrease, the width of the bookshelf by this amount on each side. Increasing it allows the bookshelf to fit around the bed while decreasing it allows the bookshelf to be between the width of the bed. Measure the height of the bed from the floor and add 4 inches. This is where the first shelf will be.

Step 2 - Create Initial Frame

Determine how tall you want your bookshelf to be by adding the bed height. Also determine the depth of the bookshelf. A good starting size is 12 inches. Cut the sides out of plywood first. Measure from one end to the height of the bed and make a mark. Cut two pieces from the plywood with one measuring 3/4-inch longer and the other 3/4-inch shorter. Place the longer piece flush to the top of a side and screw in place; attach the second side. The shorter piece fits between the two sides at the mark you made for the height of the bed. Screw it in place to finish your basic frame.

Step 3 - Add Shelves and Dividers

You can create vertical dividers by measuring from the top of the bookshelf to the inner support. This will give you the height inside the bookshelf. You can create vertical dividers and then break them up with shelves. You can also create shelves the same size as the center support. Dividers and shelves the width of the bookshelf can be screwed in place. Shelves can be attached by drilling a hole halfway through the wood and inserting dowel rods. The shelves will sit on top of the dowel rods so you must measure the width from one end to the divider to cut the wood shelves to fit. Use a level and measuring tape to ensure straight, even lines. Affix the dowel rods with wood glue.

Step 4 - Attach and Finish the Bookshelf

Sand down the bookshelf and its pieces then stain or paint it. Apply lacquer or polyurethane to seal the wood. When dry you can stand the unit up and position at the head of the bed. If you made it the exact size of the bed use brackets to connect it on each side with at least two brackets per side. If you made it larger or smaller you can position it and then insert a series of screws to attach the bookshelf to the bed.