How to raise the IKEA stackable bed for storage

ikea stackable bed with storage hack
Photo Credit: IKEA.com

We have an IKEA stackable bed in the guest room and love it. The only problem is that the legs on the UTÅKER bed frame are so short that we cannot store anything under the bed.

Also, because of the short legs, you are limited in the height of the (bottom) mattress when the beds are stacked, and the indicated maximum mattress height (12 cm/ 5 inches), in our opinion, is not comfortable. That is why I decided to replace the legs with new, taller ones.

In a nutshell, I cut new legs in the length I wanted (added 10 cm/ 4 inches per bed), copied the holes from the original legs, reused the hardware, and assembled the beds back together. Read on for details of our UTÅKER IKEA stackable bed hack.

IKEA items used: 

  • UTÅKER stackable bed

Optional IKEA items:

  • 2x MORGEDAL mattress 80×200 (18 cm/ 7 inches thick, instead of the recommended max 12cm/ 5 inches)
  • SKUBB storage case 93x55x19 cm (36 ½x21 ¾x7 ½”)

Other materials used:

  • Wood for new legs, I used 44x44mm planed timber (standard size), 8 x 30cm
  • Plastic furniture feet with nail

Tools: 

  • (miter) saw
  • Drill press (or regular drill and steady hands)
  • ⌀7,5mm drill bit
  • ⌀8,1mm drill bit
  • ~⌀12-13mm drill bit or countersink drill bit
  • drill bit bigger than the size of your plastic feet
  • HEX key 6mm
  • HEX key 5mm (provided in the package by IKEA)

Optional:

  • 3D printed drilling jig (file available here)
  • or printed drilling jig/ drawing and glue (file available in attachment)
  • router and big round-over bit

Options for the IKEA stackable bed hack

Image Credit: Pauline M.

Option A: If you only want more room for a thicker mattress, you could change the legs for one bed and increase the length to the top of the bottom bed. (Please note that the jigs I made are based on adding length to the bottom of the legs).

Option B: If you only want to make room for storage under the bed, you could only change the legs for one bed and increase the length on the bottom. If you choose this option, you cannot use the two beds as a double bed since the height will be different.

Option C: That is why I chose to increase the height of all 8 legs. The beds will remain identical and interchangeable and can be used stacked as 2 twin-size beds or as 1 double bed. Please note that the total height of the stacked beds will be higher, so it will be less suitable as a daybed/ couch. 

The legs

Image Credit: Pauline M.

The original legs of the bed are 40mm x 40mm and have a height of 20cm. They have big radii (±R20) on 2 corners.

I used planed wood with a dimension of 44x44mm, a standard available size in hardware stores. Since I use the outsides to line out the holes to have the boards flush with the legs, the total bed will be 8mm wider and 8mm longer with these legs. This was not an issue for the assembly of the beds or fitting of any of the other parts.

The radii on the legs are just decorative; the bed is also usable with square legs. I chose to put a radius on the outer corners with the biggest round-over bit I had (R9mm), but this is totally optional.

New leg (left) vs. original leg (right):

Image Credit: Pauline M.

The holes and how to copy them

Photo Credit: Pauline M.

The beds both have a side with a high board and a low board. (image top left) This results in 4 different legs, and IKEA marks them (on the bottom of the leg) with A, B, C, and D. (image top right)

There are 2 different holes in all legs (image section A-A)
– ⌀8,1mm holes, 17mm deep, for the wooden dowels
– ⌀7,5 mm holes, 27mm deep, for the pre-assembled hardware (screw-in nuts), with a (counter)sunk edge of ± ⌀ 13mm.

These holes are in different locations on the legs. To copy them, you can use one of these 3 options:

  1. copy the measurements from the drawings onto your new legs
  2. print the drawings on true scale, and glue them to your new legs
  3. 3D print the jigs I made and use them for drilling the holes.

Make sure to align the measurements to the outside of the leg (closest to the row of holes; this will ensure the boards will be flush with the legs) and to the top of the leg. 

I numbered the holes/ jigs as below. As you can see, 3 different patterns (1, 2, 3) are used on the left and right sides of the legs (L, R).

Photo Credit: Pauline M.

Transferring the drill holes to new legs: 3 methods

1. Copy the measurements from the drawings onto your new legs

Photo Credit: Pauline M.

If you don’t have or don’t want to use any of the printing options, you can take the measurements from above and copy them onto your legs. All dimensions are in mm.

2. Print the drawings on true scale and glue them to your new legs

To make life just a little bit easier, you can print the drawings on a true scale and glue them onto your legs. Always check a few dimensions on your printed drawing to see if the scale is 1:1.

The .pdf (opens in a new tab) contains 4 pages, with 1 jig per page; jig 2 is double because you need it twice. Print out all 4 pages for 1 set of legs. 

Ensure you align your print with the outside (12mm dimensions) and the top of your legs.

3. 3D print the jigs I made and use them for drilling the holes

Photo Credit: Pauline M.

If you have the opportunity to print out the jigs with a 3D printer, that is (in my humble opinion) the easiest and fool-proof method. There are 3 jigs that can be used to align to the left or right side of the leg. You can push it against the sides, align the drill with the holes, and drill through them. 

The files are available on Thingiverse.

Photo Credit: Pauline M.

Getting to work

After all this theory, it is finally time for the steps to get the job done:

1. Cut the legs to your desired length

The original height under the bed is 10cm (on the high side B-D). To fit a big SKUBB box, I added 10 cm, which makes the total leg 30cm long. You can choose any length; the jigs measure from the top of the leg.

2. Drill the holes into your legs using one of the methods described above. 

Make sure you drill perfectly straight (drill press recommended) so all the hardware will fit with the boards.

To not mess up the different sizes of holes, I drilled all 7,5mm holes first, then made the (countersunk) collar on them, then drilled all remaining 8,1mm holes.

Optional: add a radius to the square legs to approach the original shape.

The beds work and fit perfectly fine with square legs, but if you want to have them look more like the original ones, you can use a router and a big round-over bit to add a radius to them.

You can also do this step before cutting the legs to length. I did it after; it makes for a more stable part for drilling. If you attach the legs to the head/feet board of the bed, you have a piece that is easy to clamp down and run a hand router or palm router on.

3. Drill a hole in the center of the top of the legs 

The size depends on the feet you have available. Make sure it will easily fit the furniture feet at the bottom of the other bed with some play. These feet are not only used to protect your floors but make sure the beds remain in place when they are stacked.

I drilled the holes deeper than the thickness of the feet so the wooden legs of the two beds would make contact when stacked.

4. Add the furniture feet on the bottom of the legs in the center

Provided by Pauline M.

5. Disassemble the original beds if needed

6. Disassemble the screwed-in nuts from the original legs

Photo Credit: Pauline M.

These nuts/ inserts are pre-assembled to the legs when you buy the bed. You can remove them with a size 6 HEX key. 

7. Screw the nuts into your new legs 

Assemble the nuts you just removed from the original legs into the ⌀7.5 mm holes (the ones with the collar) of the new legs.’Assemble the nuts you just removed from the original legs into the ⌀7.5 mm holes (the ones with the collar) of the new legs.

8. Now follow all the installation steps from the manual

IKEA stackable bed: Bed riser process

4 legs cut to length with the ⌀7.5 holes with ⌀13mm collar | Photo Credit: Pauline M.
IKEA Stackable Bed with taller bed legs
Square legs assembled (no radius added yet) | Photo Credit: Pauline M.

I was afraid that the beds with the higher legs would not be as stable and that, especially stacked, they might wobble. But luckily, this is not the case; I do not feel a big difference between the modified beds and the original ones.

I hope this is helpful to anyone hoping to raise their IKEA stackable bed. Here’s how the IKEA stackable beds look after it’s all done.

The SKUBB storage box slides in nicely | Photo Credit: Pauline M.
Looks similar to the original legs but taller | Photo Credit: Pauline M.
Stacking works the same as before | Photo Credit: Pauline M.

More on the IKEA UTÅKER stackable beds

The IKEA stackable bed offers numerous benefits for those seeking an efficient and versatile sleeping solution. The IKEA UTÅKER stackable beds consist of two individual bed frames that can be easily stacked on top of each other to create extra sleeping space. 

This innovative design brings numerous advantages to various settings, such as dorm rooms, kids’ bedrooms, guest bedrooms, or any space requiring extra sleeping accommodations. One of the main benefits of stackable beds is their space-saving nature, unlike bulky bedroom furniture that may not properly fit small bedrooms. And much easier to DIY compared to a Murphy bed.

Benefits of stackable beds

By stacking multiple beds vertically, these beds utilize the available space efficiently. Unlike traditional beds, stackable beds do not take up unnecessary floor space, allowing you to maximize the functionality of your room or living area. This feature is particularly valuable in small apartments or shared rooms with limited space. 

Moreover, IKEA stackable beds are incredibly versatile. They can be easily rearranged according to your needs, changing the configuration to a single bed, a queen bed, two twin beds, or a corner sofa daybed. This flexibility allows you to customize your sleeping arrangements depending on the number of guests or occupants in your space. 

Another advantage of the IKEA UTÅKER bed is its durability. Made from lightweight solid pine, these wooden beds are built to be easily stacked and unstacked without compromising their structural integrity. This durability ensures a long lifespan for your stackable bed, making it a wise and cost-effective investment. 

Furthermore, IKEA stackable beds come unfinished, allowing you to DIY them to suit your taste. You can use glazing paint, oil, paint, or stain to protect the surface and stamp your unique style to your bedroom decor.

An affordable choice

Lastly, IKEA stackable beds are known for their affordability. Stackable beds are generally more budget-friendly than other furniture beds on the market. The two IKEA bed frames with included slatted bed bases come up to almost $250. Your choice of mattresses will bump the price up, but it is still a good bargain. This affordability makes them an excellent choice for those on a tight budget or individuals needing temporary or guest sleeping arrangements. 

The only downside of the stackable bed is the lack of a headboard and footboard, which is not a big problem for most. You can easily add an upholstered headboard and line up pillows along the wall to create a plush headboard. Another issue is its short legs, which do not allow for storage under the bed. The good news is the IKEA UTÅKER bed hack above solves this problem.  

Stackable bed with 5-star reviews

The IKEA UTÅKER bed reviews are mainly positive, with over 92 5-star reviews. Buyers love it for its space-saving feature, minimalist design, and how it unstacks into a big double beg. Buyers recommend measuring the mattress size in advance to ensure it fits the bed dimensions. 

The benefits of IKEA stackable beds are manifold. They save space, offer versatility and storage solutions, provide durability, come in various styles, and are budget-friendly. Whether you need an extra bed for guests, a space-saving solution for a small room, or a flexible sleeping arrangement, IKEA stackable beds are a practical and efficient choice for any home or living space.