Upholstered double bed becomes West Elm on the Cheap

I wanted to share my upholstered double bed made from a cheap IKEA FJELLSE double bed. It took quite a bit of work but I’m so pleased with the results.

What you will need:
  • IKEA FJELLSE double bed & LUROY bed slats combo
  • Paint or stain, varnish & foam brushes (I used Minwax Wood finish in 2716 Dark Walnut and Circa 1850 Antique Paste Varnish)
  • Scrap cardboard to protect floors
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Staple gun ***highly recommend automatic
  • Staples (I used 1/2″ T50s for the majority and 5/8″ for the headboard)
  • 1/2″ plywood cut down to 55 7/8” X 31” (or your choice)
  • 6’ piece of 1×2 pine to be cut down to: (****I’m basing this from memory, please double check your own measurements: 55 7/8”, 2 pieces at 10.5”, 1 piece at 10”)
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • 2 kinds of screws for headboard (I used 8×1 1/4 inch robertson wood screws, learn from my mistake and buy more than 20! You will also need 3 longer ones, I used 2 1/2″ screws I had already)
  • Wood glue
  • Some form of cushioning to wrap the bed in (I used quilt batting I had on hand and a large piece of eggcup foam for the headboard
  • Fabric of your choice – make sure it’s a WIDE fabric for the headboard, and don’t be afraid to get creative. I’ve seen people use blankets or curtains! I recommend asking for advice if buying from fabric store.)

Related: Professional looking FJELLSE upholstered bed hack


*2 paint stir sticks
*fabric glue
*double sided tape
*felt furniture stickers for feet

Steps for upholstered double bed

(after building bed, remove slats)

Upholstered double bed IKEA Hack

1) Legs Prep

Place scrap cardboard under all legs.

Saw off the tops of the footboard legs to be more equal with the bed, and sand them down to be smooth.

Sand all legs lightly, and clean up up all debris.

If staining: use a foam brush:

Try to be as even as possible applying, may need multiple coats, and is strong stuff so should be done in a well-ventilated area.

Once happy with results apply varnish to seal with another foam brush.

It doesn’t need to go alllll the way up, just what won’t be covered by upholstery.

You could prime and paint legs if you prefer.

Related: How to make a West-Elm inspired upholstered headboard

2) Upholstered double bed – the Sides

There are different ways you could approach this but I did the sides first:

For the quilt batting I used 2 layers on the sides, 3 on the footboard. So staple in the batting on both sides of the bed, leaving lots of excess material and space up towards the headboard and stopping before the footboard joint.

Then complete the side with fabric, again leaving lots of excess material and room for the headboard and stopping it before the footboard joint, making sure to tuck the end edge under itself before stapling.

(You may have to do the sides in tucked under edged separate panels if your fabric is not long enough, I did one in the middle)

3) Upholstered double bed – Footboard

The same process except: leave your batting and fabric a bit longer than the footboard itself to be able to figure out the corners, I worked from the centre outwards, leaving the corners last

Your bed should now look something like this, except you should leave the sides near the headboard undone!

Upholstered double bed IKEA Hack

4) Upholstered double bed – Headboard

Place your cut down plywood where it needs to sit (in front of the existing headboard).

I had someone help hold it in place while I did the next steps:

Drill pilot holes to connect headboard to existing structure

Screw in main wood screws

5) Building up the frame:

Take your 1×2” pine pieces and wood glue them accordingly to the back of the plywood and the existing pine beams so that the 2 medium pine beams are on the outsides.

The smallest one should be in the centre, and the longest spanning across all of them on top.

To add extra strength, use the 3 longer screws to go through the top beam into each of the newly added vertical ones from the front. Continue adding any more pilot holes and the smaller screws to add extra strength as you see fit. I did a ton!

6) Upholstering the Headboard

(switch to longer staples)

I wrapped mine in 4 layers of cotton batting as seen on other DIY headboards … then realized it wasn’t enough.

I then added a piece of eggcup foam (actually for use as a double mattress topper from craft store that) flat side facing out and then stapled in to the headboard in all 4 corners.

Because this thick padding made it hard to get my width of fabric alllll the way around I did as best as I could to get most if it pulled back as far as I could and stapled it kind of to the sides.

And then I did something really out of nowhere to fix this that actually wound up making my upholstered double bed look extra amazing: I made strips of the fabric to cover the sides down to the legs.

Making the faux seam

To do this I measured out how big I need the piece to be, cut a piece of fabric larger than that for seam allowance then used double sided tape to hide the raw edges as a sort of faux seam.

I then made diagonal pockets with fabric to cover where the sides of the headboard met the sideboards and the feet.

Then I applied fabric glue to the strips of fabric I just made with double sided tape and placed them so they covered the sides of the headboard and wrapped to the back.

At the bottom I inserted the fabric strip into the diagonal pockets, gluing in place.
I honestly love the way this turned out

Upholstered double bed IKEA Hack

Though in future I probably would have put the foam on first, then used 2 layers of batting … but its hard to say because I do really like how mine turned out.

Just do your own thing! 🙂

A few sources (1, 2) where I got the idea and help.

There’s also one for a twin size.

Voilà, the finished upholstered double bed

Upholstered double bed IKEA Hack

See the full step-by-step tutorial of the upholstered double bed on my blog.