DIY Furniture for a fraction of the price

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I'm afraid Frugaldad and I both have the same disease. It's the "I'm not going to buy that because I can make it myself" disease. Which can totally save money, provided you actually make the item in question. You've seen my fabric stash. I almost only buy fabric with a specific project in mind. See that red fabric under the table? It's going to be a skirt for me. Someday. I've had it for over a year now with the intention of making a great holiday skirt from it, but its place on the priority list falls as I decide to sew Christmas presents and stuff. I end up with a huge pile of to-do's. (This year I've vowed to get through my to-dos before I buy more fabric but that is a post for another day.)

Since we keep having kids, we keep needing places for them to sleep. The first two kids were sleeping on metal bed frames and the third was in the crib, but when the fourth came, the third needed a place to sleep. Since we were putting all three girls into one room, we needed a long term plan. Bunk beds are the first thing that came to our minds, but we wanted more flexibility. Since we are cheap frugal, we didn't want to pay the several hundred dollars that a solid wood bed costs. Rather than bunk beds, we decided on a loft bed and a regular bed underneath it at a right angle. Since it was the younger girl who needed a bed, the shorter bed got built first.

Frugaldad built it out of 2x4 and 2x6 lumber, held together by glue and carriage bolts. The lumber for this bed cost about $27. Since it was custom-built, we made it tall enough to accommodate a box of quart-size jars. The mattress is supported by 1x3 slats.

2x4 bed

Bed slats

Baby 3 moved into the bed, and baby 4 got the crib.

Then three years later we had another baby who needed the crib. Frugaldad had some time off from work during the holidays and we had hired out the tape and texture work in the addition, so he had some "free" time to do other things. He went to Home Depot and bought $45 in lumber ($15 of that being the 1x4 for the slats) and in a few days built the loft bed that we imagined 3 years ago. We saw a comparable bed at a furniture store the next week that cost $800.

new bed

Before he even built the beds, Frugaldad built a dresser out of 2x4s. The frame is ripped-down 2x4 and the drawer fronts are 1x material. When he built this dresser the only power tool he had was a table saw (he now has many more since we're building our own house and all that) so he also used a hand plane, hand saw, and a chisel.

Dresser made from 2x4s

We figure we saved several hundred dollars by building this furniture ourselves, and the beds are much more solid and sturdy than what we have seen in the stores. Even if you count the price of the power tools, we've still saved money, but these tools are used for many, many other things as well.

Want to see more 2x4 furniture? I went to Flickr and did a search for "2x4 furniture" and found more. Sometimes you have to click a photo to see more from someone's photostream since they aren't all tagged the same.

My friend Michelle's husband built a table out of dimensional lumber. It looks great with the Craftsman-style chairs she bought on deep clearance. And Michelle gave me permission to share this picture of the bed he built as well.

Michelle's bed

While building your own furniture does require tools and knowledge, the tools are a great investment and the knowledge is free!