How to upcycle an old bed into a sofa

Before I begin the process of upcycling an old bed, I probably should answer the question of WHY I decided to turn an old bed into a sofa!

I just love upcycling. I think it’s a great solution to being eco-friendly and saving money and reducing waste in your home. And of course, if you have kids or pets, you’ll appreciate the fact that the mattress is already broken in!

I just happened to have a beautiful old bed that I knew would be perfect for an upcycle project. It was my parents, and they gave it to me a few weeks before they moved a long time ago.” What did you start with, and how long did it take?

How to upcycle an old bed into a sofa, Zazzy Home

I started with a full-size bed that had an old mattress on it. First, I assembled the wooden parts from IKEA’s ps 2014 line, then put in new fabric with yellow, white, and grey stripes.

How much money did the project cost?

Less than $150. Here’s the breakdown:

– 3x PS 2014 Lack Shelves ($30 each): I already had these from a previous upcycle

– 1x Linus Cut-Out sofa ($99)

– Pillowcases ($20)

Extra supplies to finish it off: IKEA TALL FABRIC ($4.99)

Fabric for the cushions ($45)

Cushion foam ($25)

Sewing machine supplies ($5+)

TOTAL: $196

What will you do with the other parts of the bed, which you didn’t upcycle? 

We have a guest bed in our living room. I’m going to keep the headboard and the slats but get rid of the frame.

How did you do it?

You’ll need:

A bed frame without slats for the base A mattress A flat sheet or duvet cover For the back cushions – 4 old pillows and something firm like a rolled-up duvet or camping mat/foam (optional) Fabric of your choice for cushions and matching fabric for piping (optional) 1-meter zips.

To make: Remove all straps and fixings from your bed frame if there are any, then give it a good clean. If your mattress fits snugly into the base of the bed, it should be fairly stable already. If not, get some sturdy cardboard such as an old cereal box and line the inside of the bed frame. This will prevent the mattress from slipping and provide a little extra support.

How to upcycle an old bed into a sofa, Zazzy Home

If you’re worried about your mattress moving and want to add extra stability and comfort, then get some foam insulating material such as camping mat or wadding and line the inside of your bed frame with that before placing your mattress back in. Make sure you leave enough room, so everything still fits together nicely, though!

Now comes one of the most important parts – adding some fabric ‘cushions’ to the base of your bed frame. These will give it extra height and shape, making it more comfortable to sit on but also ensuring there is no danger of anyone rolling off in their sleep (which can be really dangerous if they’re sharing the bed with a newborn!).

Cut out four cushions to fit your frame, making sure they are slightly larger than the base of your frame. If you want them piping-ed around the edges, make sure this is ready before you start. You can see in my picture I’ve not done this yet because my piping cord was too thick – do it now if you’re using piping!

Now place each cushion at each corner of your bed frame and use zip ties to attach each one securely. A good tip here is to thread some cord or ribbon through all of your stitching on top of your zipper, tying it into a bow when you get back round to the front again, so you have something nice and pretty showing on top! Repeat on all four corners.

Suppose you’re worried about the piping coming undone, tape it in place at each corner with masking/sticking tape before attaching your zip ties. The next step is to get some stiff backing for your cushions, so they are nice and firm. You can use anything here, really – old pillows rolled up duvets/camping mats. Just take four roughly the same-sized pieces of whatever you’ve chosen and stuff them inside each cushion. I used a camping mat because that’s what I had to hand, but if you have any other materials, that could be worth a try!

Now give all the padding a good shake to plump it up and make sure it’s evenly distributed throughout each cushion. Then cover over the top of everything with your fabric of choice. Next, cut out four pieces that will each go over a cushion and two long strips that will be sewn into loops to go round the front and back of your bed frame, by an inch or so on either side (see picture above for how this looks).

You can do this however you like, but if it’s your first time, I would recommend using double-sided tape or masking/sticking tape to fix your fabric in place as you pin the pieces together because zips are pretty tricky! Also, if you want piping around the edges, make sure this is done now before sewing anything up.

Once you’ve got all your pieces pinned together, sew them up – starting from any corner, working along each edge toward the middle, then back up the other edge until you’re back at your starting point. I would recommend sewing each piece twice because it’s pretty likely that the weight of the mattress will cause them to tear eventually if you don’t.

Now to attach these pieces to your bed frame! You can do this however you like, but here are some photos showing how I did mine:

My material was quite stiff, so the front part stood up really nicely when I attached it using two loops of piping cord down either side. Unfortunately, the back couldn’t be done in piping because there wasn’t room for another cord, so I sewed big hidden loops onto my fabric and pulled them over clips just like on a patio door blind! Once everything is fixed in place, slip your mattress back in, and you’re done!

Please note that if your bed frame isn’t high enough off the ground, or if someone rolls off while asleep, it could be really dangerous, so please bear this in mind when making your bed – it may be worth adding extra support under each corner of the frame so they can’t roll/slide out of position until your child is old enough to not roll out of bed unsupervised. You could also use draw-strings instead of zip ties to stop them from rolling too far.

I hope this is helpful to some of you! Please do ask any questions if anything doesn’t make sense, and I’ll try my best to explain it better. Thanks for looking 🙂

Now there’s just the small matter of how to attach the zips to your cushion fabric (which has now turned into a mattress cover.


Claire is a blogger, writer, and designer with a passion for making the most out of any space. She's worked in interior design and maintenance for over a decade, and has learned how to make the most of even the smallest room. Claire shares her expertise, where she offers tips and tricks for creating beautiful, functional spaces on any budget. When she's not blogging or designing, Claire enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

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