IKEA Bed Hack: Upgrading a FJELLSE twin bed

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Here’s a fun fact about me: I absolutely love IKEA! I don’t think I’ve ever walked about of that store with only what I went in for. Almost everything in our house is from IKEA (and I love assembling their furniture)! Plus, the meatballs… Anyway, back in March Emma was nearly night time potty trained and quickly growing out of her toddler bed. So I decided it was time to get her a big girl bed! But I was really surprised at how expensive they were. IKEA to the rescue! They had some cute options, but I wanted to keep the cost low and I wasn’t afraid of sprucing it up myself. This is my first IKEA bed hack, and I’m excited to show you how it turned out!

The Plan

Keith and I have a HEMNES bed in white, and I like the simple style of it. I wanted to create something similar for Emma without having to shell out for a HEMNES twin, so I got a-Googlin’. I came across this post of an IKEA bed hack and I loved it! So, I decided to create something similar but simpler.

I upgraded my daughter's plain FJELLSE twin bed into a cute white bed fit for a princess. Read all about how I accomplished this IKEA bed hack! | Fulfill & Thrive

The Shopping List

I knew I would use the FJELLSE twin bed frame, because it’s inexpensive, real wood, and unfinished. I decided to paint it white to go with any color Emma might want to change her room’s theme to in the future, or be a good base coat if she wants to paint it. And I wanted to give it a better headboard so all her stuffed animals and books weren’t falling through.

So for this IKEA bed hack, I needed:
FJELLSE twin bed frame
Piece of plywood 40.5″ by 23″ (one with a very smooth surface)
Nails or wood screws
Hammer or drill
White paint
Plastic drop cloth
Small foam roller and paintbrush
Wood filler (for uneven places in the plywood)
Medium sandpaper
Tack cloth/microfiber cloths
Twin mattress, sheets, comforter set, slats, etc

Psst: Headed to IKEA soon? Then you need my IKEA shopping list! It’s in my Resource Library, along with tons of other FREE resources, with more added every week. Click the banner below to sign up!

The Method

I had already assembled the bed frame with only one of the three vertical headboard pieces. Then I removed the mattress and slats. I put down the plastic drop cloth and used some alphabet blocks underneath the drop cloth to raise the bed legs (so the plastic drop cloth wouldn’t get stuck to them).

Ikea bed hack with drop cloth

Then I attached the plywood to the back of the headboard with nails. (I was planning to use screws, but my drill needed to charge and I was impatient!)

Ikea bed hack attach plywood to headboard

I had the plywood cut to size for free at Home Depot where I bought it. Unfortunately the piece of plywood I got was very rough, so I used a lot of wood filler to smooth out the rough surface. (See “What I Would Do Differently” for more about this.)

Ikea bed hack using wood filler

While the wood filler dried, I painted the frame white with the foam roller. I filled in the corners with the paintbrush. Then I sanded the wood filler a bit, wiped it with tack cloth, and painted the headboard. I gave everything a second coat and let it dry before putting the bed back together!

Ikea bed hack painted white

The Results

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the results! Emma’s bed looks good in her room, she has more space to sprawl out, and I can lay in the bed with her. I like the white frame with her comforter.

What I Would Do Differently

First, I would have chosen a much better piece of plywood. Even though it would have been more expensive, it would have saved me time, effort, and wood filler. Second, I wouldn’t paint the little ledge that the slats sit on, because they make a squeaking noise now. To solve that, I took an old sheet and wrapped it around the slats.

If I decide to upgrade this IKEA bed hack in the near future, I’ll take off the old piece of plywood and either wrap it in pretty fabric or wallpaper it, or get a new smooth one. Some people have gone so far as to pad and upholster the entire frame and plywood headboard addition – that’s a bit too much DIY for me!

I hope you enjoyed this post about my IKEA bed hack! I had a lot of fun doing it.

Are you inspired? Leave me a comment with your next DIY or IKEA hack!

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I upgraded my daughter's plain FJELLSE twin bed into a cute white bed fit for a princess. Read all about how I accomplished this IKEA bed hack! | Fulfill & Thrive

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