How to Make a Cheap King Size Bed
By Steve Gillman
We made a cheap king size bed. I'll get to just how cheap
it was in a moment, but first... the rest of the story.
We moved to Naples Florida recently (2012), and we rented
an apartment while shopping for a condo. We left all our furniture
behind in Colorado, and planned to camp out in the apartment
until we bought a place. We didn't want to move furniture twice,
after all (from the store to the apartment and then to the condo).
But sleeping on our foam pads got old after six weeks, so it
was time to get a bed.
We discovered that while many things cost the same or even
less than where we had lived in Colorado (fruits and vegetables
are less, for example), furniture cost more than we had ever
seen anywhere else -- and we have moved around the country quite
a bit over the years. New items here are substantially more than
in most areas, and used furniture is shockingly expensive. Even
a broken-down ten-year-old dining table can cost $500 in a thrift
store. This was going to be a real test of our theory that it's
cheaper to sell everything and replace it rather than move it
across the country.
In any case, even if they were much less expensive, mattresses
are not something we will buy used. So we started going to various
stores and learned that a decent, comfortable queen-size mattress
like the nice one we had bought for $450 in Colorado three years
earlier would cost between $800 and $1,600 here in Naples. The
nicer ones were much more. Of course, taxes and bed frames were
Then I had an idea. What if we bought two twin beds and put
them together to create one king-size bed? A sales lady at one
mattress store confirmed that this can be done. In fact, because
of the need to move them through narrow halls and doorways, the
bases or box springs for a king bed are almost always two twin-sized
ones. They are twin longs, though, which definitely cost more.
Finally, forty-five minutes from where we were living, we
discovered the only place in town with cheap furniture that was
of reasonable quality: Big Lots. They even had a queen-size mattress
like the one we left behind for $560. That was just 24% more
than the price we paid in Colorado. Then I made the real discovery...
Big Lots had a deal going, which ended the day I went there
intending to finally buy something (lucky timing). If I bought
a Serta twin mattress they would sell the base for just $10 instead
of the usual $100. The basic $110 mattresses were pretty thin
looking, so I went with the plush $160 ones. Two of these plus
two $10 bases and we had a king-size bed for $360 including sales
tax. I even managed to stuff all four pieces into our little
Suzuki hatchback or on the roof (two inside and two out) in order
to get them home all at once and save the cost of having them
The frames (basic metal ones) cost around $30 each. I strapped
the frames together so the two halves of our bed would not roll
apart, and after several months now we haven't had a problem.
We put regular king-size sheets over the two parts. A regular
twin mattress is normally 36 inches wide and 75 inches long.
King mattresses are normally between 72 and 76 inches wide, and
are 80 to 84 inches long. We ended up with a total size of 72
inches wide by 75 inches long. I'm a tall guy and I haven't had
a problem with the length.
I haven't had a problem with the bed at all. In fact, my wife
and I both agree that it is the most comfortable bed we've had.
The fact that it is actually made from two mattresses means there
is less transfer of motion when we roll around at night, so we
wake each other up less often. The extra space, compared to our
previous queen bed, means the cats don't crowd us as much. The
crack in the middle is barely noticed unless you put an elbow
down right between the two mattresses.
This, then, is how you make a cheap king size bed. If we had
gone with the cheaper mattresses it would have been just $240
(plus taxes and the frames). As it was we spent a little over
$420 with the frames, versus at least a $1,300 for any other
king-size bed we had seen. Even if the bases were not on sale
we would have spent half as much in this way.
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