How to Build a Bed Surround
Headboards aren’t the only way to adorn the head of a bead. Indeed, it can be dressed not only with form but with terrific function.
Headboards aren’t the only way to adorn the head of a bead. Indeed, it can be dressed not only with form but with terrific function. Combining cabinets of differing sizes and shapes provides both the finish to a bed—that is often the sole domain of the attractive but purely decorative headboard—and the utility of cabinets that double as both decoration and much needed storage.
The cabinets’ clean, defined lines lend this Bed Surround a modern feel while the option for above-bed lighting creates the halo of a warm and calm space for starting and ending the day or tucking away for a quick nap.
Before getting started, determine if you want the option of cabinet-mounted lights. If so, rough-in the wires and switch(es) prior to installing the cabinets. Once the cabinets are on site, prep them before hanging by drilling the appropriate holes to accommodate the wires and house the light fixtures.
12 x 30"
15 x 30"
18 x 34 1⁄2"
11⁄2 x 19 x 25"
From: Complete Guide to Custom Shelves & Built-Ins, 978-1-58923-303-4
Lay Out the Project - Step 1
Choose the exact location for your bed surround. Mark the left and right edges of the project area, and then find the centerline. Be very exact. Using a 4 ft. level, plumb up from the center point. Mark a plumb line.
Lay Out the Project - Step 2
This is the control point from which you map out the rest of the layout. Measure 30 1/8" left and right of the center point to mark the outside edges of the horizontal uppers. Drive a 6-penny nail right on the centerline to hold your tape.
Install the Upper Cabinets - Step 1
Install a temporary ledger at the location of the bottom edges of the horizontal cabinets (81" above the floor in our project). Carefully install the horizontal uppers by resting them in position on the temporary ledgers and then driving screws through the cabinet backs and into wall studs.
Install the Upper Cabinets - Step 2
If you discover gaps between upper cabinets, create filler strips to insert between the cabinets and conceal the gaps.
From the outside edges of the installed horizontal upper assembly, plumb down to the floor with a 4-ft. level. With the uppers installed, you now have rock solid control points to plumb down to the floor from. These lines enable you to place the lower cabinets accurately and keep all face frames tight.
Install the Upper Cabinets - Step 3
Measure the base cabinets’ width to the left and right of the plumb lines and mark the baseboard for removal. Using a combination square and pull saw, mark and remove the base molding. Be careful not to damage the wallboard when removing the base molding.
Install the Vertical Elements - Step 1
The base cabinets will need some type of countertop surface so they can function as nightstands and also support the vertical upper cabinets. We made particleboard countertops with plastic laminate applied to the tops and edges. Because the sizes are relatively small, this project also presents a good opportunity to experiment with some high-end countertop materials, such as granite or quartz. Install the countertops before installing the base cabinets in the project area.
Install the Vertical Elements - Step 2
Install the left base cabinet tight to the plumb line.
Install the Vertical Elements - Step 3
On top of the left base cabinet, mount the first vertical upper tight to the plumb line. Be careful of the laminate countertop during installation. Mount the second vertical upper tight to the first. Make sure the face frames are flush. Shim the back as necessary and make sure to catch wall studs with the fasteners. Repeat these steps for the base cabinet on the right side.
Join the Cabinets - Step 1
The horizontal uppers and vertical uppers should be at the same height. If so, flush up and fasten the face frames.
Join the Cabinets - Step 2
If the cabinet gangs are not flush, adjust the horizontal uppers to mate with the left and right vertical gangs. Once flush in all directions, fasten the face frames and secure to the wall.
Install (or have installed) the light fixtures and switches. Remove the temporary ledger, patch drywall, caulk, and trim cabinet bases as required. Sand and spot-touch the finishes.