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  • Neyir Urminsky

Custom upholstered bed OR Ikea Hack - you decide!

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Hello and welcome back to week 4 of the One Room Challenge! Thanks for sticking with me through the ups and downs and hilarity of life! Please be sure to hop over and check out the featured designers and the other guests like me :-)! To start at the beginning of my project; week 1, week 2, week 3. Also to see all the riveting behind the scenes, which headboard shape will I choose ;-) follow me on Instagram!!

One Room Challenge Gold logo

Soooooo as I said back in week 1 we have absolutely no wiggle room in the layout of the beds. In fact for the twins we have exactly 1 7/8'' of extra space to work with! Still I knew I wanted to up the style and comfort factor of their beds while keeping the elements that were working for us.

I also knew that I really wanted to feature the Ikea Malin Akerblom fabric that I had bought quite a lot of and used as a canopy for a bed when my now 13 year old was 5! Thus was born the plan to upholster the bed frames and make custom headboards. I also knew that I needed a specific shape for the headboards to accommodate the window, the other patterns in the room, many of which are fairly organic in movement, and respect that this was a room that 3 boys lived it. I will also say that in the back of my mind many of my choices with a few simple changes should work as the boys get older and this becomes a room for 2 not 3! Let me show you where we are headed :-).

Upholstered twin bed with blue background bird fabric surrounded by bookcases
The finished product

I'm going to walk you circumspectly through the process of upholstering the base but not the headboard. There are about 1,000 headboard tutorials available. I am happy to answer questions and I will definitely update the post if specific info is needed. But first a thought on legs, bed legs that is!

If you don't want to lose your sanity banish all not easily accessible spaces where toys can be accidentally or purposefully pushed/rolled/thrown. When we first bought the Ikea Espevar bed we used the shorter Bastfjord legs (they appear to be discontinued). It took me 'only' 2 years of lifting the beds and helping the twins clean underneath ie, saving toys before I said forget it and took off the legs. It was a beautiful, beautiful day my friends!!! We do have the third twin bed raised off the ground but it is high enough that we can retrieve toys that migrate underneath. And we forestall a lot of that anyway by storing an extra twin mattress below for fort making, sleepovers etc. Man I pray sleepovers will be a thing again soon...wait did I just say that, did I just think that????

Having said alllll of that I will add that one of the advantages of hiking the old Espvar up on legs is that the centre of gravity to which you are attaching your headboard will be higher and innately more stable. Now if you happen to be using 3/4 '' plywood as your base and you have to fit in 2 and you only have 1 7/8'' of wiggle room then stability becomes a non-issue because you have to measure like a crazy women and then wedge those headboards in there! No idea how I'm going to change the sheets on those beds.....

Upholstering the Ikea Espevar a tutorial;

Step 1 - Make/buy/fashion a headboard, find a tutorial, pick your fav.

Step 2 - Assemble your Espevar and add on the cover (this is important because it saves you so very many steps and makes this so, so easy!)

Step 3 - choose your fabric and measure to ensure you have enough to cover at least 3 sides of the base (or as many as are going to show, odds are the head isn't going to be seen as it will be against the wall).

Step 4 - Think about you fabric placement before you start cutting anything (put down the scissors!). You will need enough to cover the parts seen while wrapping over and under that board into the inner edges. You also want to think about pattern direction if you have a pattern as well as matching up the pattern.

Close shot of bed frame upholstering

Step 5 - Lay our the fabric and cut it to size leaving a few extra inches top and bottom, you can choose to seam the fabric to make it long enough to reach around the sides and footboard or simply fold and upholster one piece on top of another at seams. I did NOT do this as it would have created a pocket and I kid you not they would have stored things in it and my bets are on ant-attracting candy, happily I'll never know!

Close shot of bed frame upholstering

Step 6 - Staple away! Start by attaching at the headboard end and smooth down one long side and attach around the corner at the footboard. Then tack the middle of that long board at the inside edges top and bottom. As you are starting on a long side, you will have the base balanced like a book on its spine. I suspect this would be significantly easier with 2 people, just please practice staple gun safety!

Step 7 - Continue to staple top and bottom edges along the first long side and then move on to the foot board tacking first in the middle and then the rest of the inner edges top and bottom and then STOP.

Stapling shot of bed frame upholstering

Shot of bed frame upholstering
Removing the white slat cover

Step 8 - Take a pair of scissors and cut the Ikea cover right where the white middle and in my case grey meet all the way around. If you don't do this when you start on the next long side the tension will pull out all of your work/staples on the first side.

Step 9 - Cut the remaining grey fabric to the corners and affix what is left to affix. The corners are particularly tricky as the frame has metal pieces I couldn't staple through. In the end I felt the fabric was attached firmly enough and I actually sewed the final corner by hand :-).

Close shot of bed frame upholstering

Step 10 - Attach your headboard and enjoy! I think it goes without saying that this process makes the base cover un-removable. If you were going to remove and wash the base to this bed then you are my hero but please don't come and inspect the bed bases over here - you will be terrified ;-)!

Ain't she a beaut!

So there you have it, lovely bespoke beds that cost a sliver of what they should have. They fit under the window and look pretty swank! One of the boys told me that they are so soft he doesn't need a pillow - bless his misguided heart.

Upholstered twin headboard
All ready to set up in their room

Now I just need to figure out how to pivot given that I don't seem to have enough fabric left to upholster bed number 3 the way I was planning - I'll figure something out!

Still to do;

Properly mount curtain above window

Paint Trim

Tape off & Paint wall panels

Upholster/slipcover bigger bed

Find/buy new bedside table for Louis

Paint bedside tables

Buy and install reading lights

Make art panels

Decide on bed coverings/duvets

Decide on closet - door or curtain

Make cushions

Upholster Slipper chair??

Research, buy supplies and make terrarium with boys



Detail shot of kid's bedside table

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