Added by Alex Outhwaite

Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, making the best use of a spare room can be tricky – do you have a bed, a sofabed, just use it for storage?

DIY Foldaway Bed in a Box

In our flat we have put together a combination study and spare bedroom and maximised storage space of typical attic items (archived paperwork, Christmas decorations) by building floor to ceiling bookcases. A bookcase is kinder to walls than installing individual shelves, as it is mainly supported by the floor and only needs to be anchored to the wall here and there with a few screws.

In the middle of the walls of books and boxes is one of our proudest upcycling achievements – what we grandly and erroneously call the daybed:

Study With Sleeper Daybed

It is, in fact, a converted sofabed. Here’s how we did it…

I bought the sofabed from a Salvation Army charity shop about ten years ago. The sofa itself had become very battered over the years, but the sofabed mechanism was still in good condition. Rather than chuck the whole thing out, I wondered if there was a way we could make use of the bed part by removing it from the rest.

Sofa Bed Before

After some very satisfying tearing and dismantling, we discovered that the bed mechanism was conveniently housed in a wooden box, around which the sofa had been built:

Sofa Bed Dismantled

(Apologies for the quality of some of these pics – I never dreamt when we embarked on this project a couple of years ago that I’d one day end up blogging it!)

We clad the box in some tongue and groove effect MDF board, added skirting and a hinged lid made from plywood and painted the whole thing white:

Sofa Bed In Progress
Sofa Bed Box Painted

I ordered a piece of foam for the top, found some striped upholstery linen on ebay and made a cover and two bolster pillowcases for the new seating. The cushions are a mix of cheap and cheerful Ikea and custom made gorgeousness by Helkat Designs on Etsy.

DIY Sleeper Daybed
Helkat Cushions Detail

We made ours to be part of a built-in arrangement with the bookcases, but if you wanted to try it yourself there are any number of ways you could adapt it.

Here’s how the room looks all set out for guests:

Day Bed Folded Out

Cosy and inviting, with a hint of childhood cabin-bed fun about it!

Finished Day Bed Detail

What’s your favourite upcycle? Have we given you any ideas for adapting worn out furniture in your home? Let us know in the comments!

Added By
Alex Outhwaite
Alex Outhwaite is a reformed country bumpkin, though green and pleasant Bristol is about as urban as she can tolerably go, and she misses her chickens. She works for the BBC, and prior to that kept herself busy with various forms of theatrical endeavour. Her partner Josh works for Hewlett Packard, and in his spare time is a keen photographer. They live in a two bedroom rented flat with Pusspartout (a very lazy cat) and Ko-Ko (a very silly dog). Interior decorating has taken over all their lives. All images in Alex's posts unless otherwise stated copyright Josh Whelan.