Our guests have always slept in our basement playroom, which was possibly the least restful spot in the entire house. I mean, how can you truly feel relaxed when you have dozens of board games hanging on the wall precariously over your head?
It was the only space we had, so we made it work for years. We sold our spine-crunching pull-out couch and bought a comfy double mattress, and built our own daybed — which we styled to look like a couch, unless we had overnight guests.
As soon as we decided to trade spaces — moving my office into the old playroom/guest room and turning my old office into a dedicated guest room — I knew I didn’t want to keep the daybed as-is. There was no need to have something that looked like a couch, and the last thing a tiny room needs is hulking pieces of wood along two sides of a bed.
Of course, we weren’t just going to toss the daybed. We spent about $200 building it from scratch, it fit the mattress perfectly, and it had useful storage underneath.
We ripped off the MDF “back” (that made it look like a deep couch) and the “end” (that doubled as a headboard), which left us with a really heavy platform bed. I dragged the “end” piece into my studio and raided my scrap wood pile to see how I could add to the original design.
I messed around for about an hour, cutting scraps of 1x3s and 1x4s and fitting them in wherever I could. The only criteria was that that both sides were balanced — any angled chunks I slid into one end needed to be matched on the opposite end.
If I didn’t have a long-enough board, I just used two smaller pieces. I even used scraps that were already painted, since I knew I’d be repainting the whole thing. If my mitered cuts were a bit off, I shrugged and went with it. Basically I did all of the things that would have made my handy husband writhe around in pain, if he had been watching.
Speak of the devil, he walked in just after I’d finished updating the headboard.
“I know what you’re thinking. I know it’s not perfect. But do NOT be critical!” I warned him immediately.
He practically turned purple keeping quiet, and managed to nod and eek out a “Very nice.”
“I didn’t have a long-enough board for the top, so I just stuck two smaller ones together,” I pointed out — proud of my resourcefulness, and also kind of enjoying his tortured expression.
(My handy husband and I are very different woodworkers. I’m all about using what I have, and he would have spent $200 on fresh lumber to do it all perfectly.)
When I explained I was out of wood-filler, he told me to mix sawdust with wood glue and use that instead. I did, but I’m not sure I got the proportions right — it looked like I was smearing dry oatmeal into the cracks. Perhaps that was a good thing, though, because I did have a lot of “oopsie” mitre cuts to camouflage.
I sanded the whole thing down the next day, and painted it with a single coat of dark matte grey (“Ash” by Fusion Mineral Paint). Then I sanded the edges to distress it and highlight all of the new shapes, and we screwed it back onto the old daybed. Job well done!
I’m pleased that the new guest bed looks nothing like the original daybed, and the upgrade didn’t cost us anything. The dark grey is a nice contrast against the guest room’s freshly-painted greige walls (Benjamin Moore’s “Edgecomb Gray”) and pale green/blue nightstand and armoire (Fusion Mineral Paint’s “Inglenook”).
It just goes to show that if you have furniture you don’t like, maybe it can be a useful “base” and you can turn it into something you love.