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How to build a slatted bed base

Slatted bed bases are the most common type of bed base available, according to Sleeping Solutions Ltd. They consist of removable or fixed slats of wood or other rigid material with gaps spaced evenly between them. The slats provide support for the bed, while the gaps allow air flow.

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  1. Measure the width between the inner faces of the left and right edges of the bed frame. This is the width of slat you need. Aim to make your slats slightly narrower than this so they will fit in placec easily.

  2. Measure the length of the bed between the inner faces of the top and bottom edges of the bed frame. This is the maximum length of the slatted bed base. Furthermore, the measurement allows you to work out how many slats you can fit on your bed base.

  3. Saw one slat from 44 x 12 mm planed softwood to the required width. Use planed timber to ensure it does not abrade against the mattress. Place it at one end of the bed, resting on the inner side rails. Aim to work from right to left or vice versa, whichever suits you better.

  4. Drill a hole near both ends of the slat, through into the rail below. Countersink the holes. A countersink drill bit creates a conical space for the screw head to sit in. Alternatively, perform both operations in one go with a special drill bit and countersink tool.

  5. Screw the first slat in place. Ensure the screw head sits slightly below the top surface of the slat, so it doesn’t catch on the mattress.

  6. Saw another two slats. Place one next to the first as a spacer. Place the other next to the spacer. Fix this one in place using the same method as for the first one.

  7. Remove the spacer slat. Proceed in a similar manner until the bed frame has as many slats as will fit. The slatted bed base is then complete and ready to use.

  8. Tip

    Other sizes for the slats may be suitable, depending on the size of your bed.

    You can saw all the slats en masse if you prefer this way of working.

    Use beech slats for a hardwood alternative to softwood.


    Make sure the screws you choose are long enough to secure the slat but not long enough to penetrate completely through the side rail. Screw size choice will depend on the depth of the side rail.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Planed softwood 44 x 12 mm
  • Saw
  • Drill and bit
  • Countersink drill
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver

About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.

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