Storage Daybed - Lessons Learned

PDF versionPDF version

Additional Photos

About This Project

Birch plywood

Hello Builders!

I made this bed for my daughter right after finishing Ana’s Simple Bed for myself. This bed is great because it is cool-looking (the most important factor for my middle-schooler) and because it adds tons of storage space (the most important factor for me, the mom!). Ana has this bed marked as easy, and it was easy. After working on the Simple Bed with lots and lots of cutting and gluing and nailing, I was amazed at how quickly this bed started looking like itself.

As a newbie builder, I read and read and re-read Ana’s plans and the comments on the plans and any similar plans until I feel comfortable. The Storage Daybed is just three separate benches that sit side-by-side and the mattress just lies on top. Somehow, when digesting the plans, I was really confused about the divider in the middle of each bench, but eventually the light bulb went on (the divider is necessary to support and strengthen the top, but the end result is that there are three cubbies in the front of the bed and three cubbies in the back – perfect for storing off-season clothes).

So I went to the Blue home improvement store and decided on birch plywood. Special thanks to Jen for working up the plywood cutting layout that Ana included in the plan. I don’t think I could have figured out how to get the pieces cut without you. The associates at the large home improvement store were very nice, and they offered to make the cuts for me even though they said that they really weren’t supposed to make “project cuts”. The problem was that their cuts were oh, so bad! They marked out all of the cuts at once, which doesn’t account for the sliver that the blade takes out, and when measuring they didn’t even have the tape measure blade flush against the top in the first place.

On my other projects, I made plenty of mistakes. But they were my mistakes, you know what I mean? On this build, I spent so much time trying to fix bad cuts. But it’s my fault. I was concerned, but I second guessed myself and didn’t speak up while they were cutting. I ended up having to cut a thin strip of plywood to lengthen the side of one of the benches, and had to sand and sand and sand. Also ended up having to re-cut the dividers.

Oh, well. I got a little life lesson in assertiveness, and I got to add a circular saw to my toolkit! After all was said and done, this really is a great bed, and it made my heart glow to hear my daughter going around telling folks: “My mom is making my bed!

Required Skill Level: 
Estimated Time Investment: 
Week Long Project (20 Hours or More)
Finish Used: 
Glossy white paint on the trim, flat white on the sides and top. We're debating about repainting it in a bold color.
Estimated Cost: 


Despite the obstacles you faced, you did an awesome job on this! I love the brightly colored pillows and cubbies. No wonder your daughter's thrilled!

And I know exactly what you mean about "fixing" someone else's cuts. After fixing several bad cuts myself (and discovering after several projects that I'm never going to get completely comfortable with the circular or the table saw) I find myself lusting after this tool...

Congratulations on an excellent build!

Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I am still not 100% ok, with using my circ saw, however I am much better than I was a year ago! If you have not used a light weight cordless one, you should give it a whirl! I use the Kreg blue jig, with mine and lots of clamps! I still have to sand a bit much, but it feels so good, having 90% of my cuts right on, or darn close! I love, love, love, my little cordless circ saw!

I have been so blessed to find the nicest guy in the world at my local orange. He worked so hard to make all of my cuts perfect on just about any project I showed up with plans for. :)


The cuts were still never perfect. In my case, it wasn't the orange guy, it was their saw. It's just not as exact as a really good table saw would be. I finally stopped having orange cut things for me and braved the circular saw at home. I did some research on how to make a circular saw guide out of plywood and that helped.

So sorry you had a sloppy employee cut your boards! That really sucks. Your bed still turned out fantastic though! I was sooo tempted to paint mine white, but I paint EVERYTHING white! LOL I was dying to try staining at least once and now I'm hooked. :)

Thanks for the kind words, ladies! I have a small car, so I've got to get stuff cut, but in the future I'll maybe just have it cut just enough to fit in the car and then I'll do the rest at home. @Ferbit, I am also researching circular saw guides.

I feel ya, I dont drive, and we live in a very small town, with a population of about 5000, people! So when I get to our nearest town, I have to make the most of it. So far I have had just about everything ripped into 4 foot long sections, and I spend lots of time digging through the 4 foot boards to get as many straight nice boards that I can, when I see that Blue just got a shipment, I buy lots, even though, I am never sure what I am gonna make! I have no doubt, I could stay busy for years, just making stuff, using Ana's plans! Your bed is so pretty!

It turned out LOVELY! You made the best you could out of the hand you were dealt by the crooked cutting. The end result is perfect for your needs. The one thing that I have learned is that perfectionism leads to more work and more mistakes.

Enjoy your finished product, learn and move on. I LOVE how you finished it with the bins and bedding. If you are often pulling the bed from the wall to get at those off season clothes, you can buy some magic sliders and either attach them to the bottom permanently or set them under the bed as needed to make moving it that much easier.

That's why I love this community! I hadn't attached the benches together because I was afraid that it would get too hard to pull the bed away from the wall to access the back cubbies if I had to move all three at once. I thought about improvising with some casters, but wasn't sure. Magic sliders sound like the way to go. I even have some of the big sliders left over from moving an old refrigerator. Great tip!

thanks so much, i'm working on this right now and am being extremely careful d/t your wise words.
i'm going white too,
thanks again, i love your pics,

I think we all struggle with the cuts made at our local big box stores - even though it's such a blessing to get it cut to a size that fits in the car!
My brother, a cabinet maker, suggested that I find a local cabinet shop and buy the wood from them. When he had a shop he would often take orders for wood to be cut into size. He added a small up charge to the cost of the lumber, and a small fee for the cuts. The end result was better, straighter wood, and precise cuts for the customer. At just a slightly higher cost than at the big stores.
I haven't found a shop yet, but maybe this would be a good option for your next project!

What kind of plywood do I use. There's rough stuff, smooth stuff, redwood ply, birch ply? It's a 3/4" thick but ranges in price from $11-$45 per board. What should I use?!

plywood will have one fairly smooth side and one rough side. Smooth side is usually the actual wood it states...redwood, birth, etc. If you are staining the bed, then plywood is your way to go. If you are choosing to paint it, you can use MDF. I just finished the twin storage bed similar to this one and used MDF for the 3/4 pieces. The real rough stuff in the same aisle in most home improvement stores and lumber yards is particle board or hard board which neither one you want to use for this project. Hope this helps.

ANyone build this and have dimensions to build exact same bed to fit a queen bed? I'm sure I can figure it out, but would be nice to learn/copy from others :)

I would strongly recommend plywood for all projects. I dislike MDF for several reasons, but I would list poor structural integrity at the top. If you screw up, or damage your bed in the future, you will be extremely glad you choose plywood and can actually repair it.

My tip for the box stores is to have them make a few key cuts for you, and have them make the pieces an inch too long. What I do is sketch out a second cut sheet to bring to the store for the rough cuts, and usually have two done per sheet: one length-wise, and one width-wise. This makes the sheets narrow enough to fit in the Subaru, and short enough to work with my circular saw guide.

I do not have an 8 foot circular saw guide, but I have a few shorter ones up to 50" in length, which is good enough for most projects. I will probably make a 60" circular saw guide in the future since those lengths come up from time to time.

I absolutely love this bed! We are short on space and I would love to make a toddler bed version for our 2 year old while making this Twin size for her half sister. Would just removing one of the box bases for the toddler bed work? Does anyone have any recommendations for shrinking the size. I want to make an L shape bedding corner for both girls. And after little miss moves on to a twin bed we would still have a love seat/reading nook.

The bed looks fantastic! Just what I am looking to make for my 10 year old! Where did you get the storage baskets?