Fold Out Sofa/Futon/Bed Frame: 7 Easy Steps

A folding frame for your sofa, futon, or bed.
A folding frame for your sofa, futon, or bed.

Don’t you just love lazing around on a comfortable sofa? More so after a tiring day at work. With a good book in hand, I have fallen asleep on my sofa many, many times. My husband used to joke that I should just turn it into a bed. So I thought, why not?

If you have a nook or an empty space that’s screaming for something, this project is perfect.

A skeletal part of a Fold Out Sofa/Futon/Bed Frame.
Pair this frame with a suitable mattress and enjoy!

This fold out sofa/futon/bed frame combination is actually a good idea. It’s tri-fold so it doesn’t take up too much space when not in use. And if you’re anything like me, I love a good project that allows me to save money. For this one, the savings was a little over $100.

Building a Fold Out Sofa/Futon/Bed Frame


  • 12 pcs 1200mm x 95mm wooden planks (20mm thickness)
  • 2 pcs 770mm x 70 mm wooden planks (20mm thickness)
  • 2 pcs 700mm x 70 mm wooden planks (20mm thickness)
  • 2 pcs 690mm x 70 mm wooden planks (20mm thickness)
  • stain, oil, or wax
  • 46 pcs 40mm screws (4mm head)
  • 4 pcs 6mm bolts (6mm is the diameter: length needs to be no less than 45mm, 50mm is ideal)
  • 4 pcs 6mm wingnuts (or regular nuts))


  • Pencil
  • Ruler (graduated in millimeters)
  • Set Square (or similar)
  • Protractor
  • Electric Screwdriver/Drill
  • 2.5mm drill bit
  • 6.5mm drill bit
  • Manual Screwdriver
  • Saw
  • Medium Grade Sandpaper
  • Rasp or planer


Step 1: Plan and Mark

  • Lay out the 12 pieces of 1200mm x 95mm planks.
  • Using a pencil, ruler, and set square, mark the areas where you will drill holes for screws. Ensure symmetry and accuracy in your markings.

Step 2: Cut and Shape

  • If necessary, use the saw to cut any planks to their required sizes.
  • Use the rasp or planer to smooth the edges of the cut wood.

Step 3: Drill Holes

  • Using the 2.5mm drill bit, pre-drill holes in the marked spots on the wooden planks. This prevents wood splitting when inserting screws.
  • For the sections that will pivot, use the 6.5mm drill bit to make larger holes for the bolts.

Step 4: Assemble the Frame

  • Start assembling the frame by connecting the planks with the 40mm screws using the electric screwdriver.
  • For movable joints (for the fold-out mechanism), insert the 6mm bolts and secure them with wingnuts or regular nuts. Ensure these joints are tight enough to hold but also allow for easy movement.

Step 5: Sanding

  • Once the frame is assembled, sand the entire structure with medium-grade sandpaper. This step is important for a smooth finish, especially if you plan to stain or paint the frame.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

  • Apply your chosen finish (stain, oil, or wax) to the wooden frame. Follow the product instructions for the best results.
  • Allow the finish to dry completely before using the fold out sofa/futon/bed frame.

Step 7: Final Inspection

  • After the finish has dried, inspect the frame. Check all screws and bolts are tight, and the fold-out mechanism works smoothly.

Safety Tips for Building Your Fold Out Sofa/Futon/Bed Frame

Building your own fold out sofa/futon/bed frame can be a rewarding DIY project. It’s essential to prioritize safety to ensure a successful and injury-free build. Here are some crucial safety tips to follow.

Wear Protective Gear

When building your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame, it’s crucial to wear the right safety gear. Safety goggles are a must to protect your eyes from flying wood chips and sawdust. Durable gloves safeguard your hands from splinters and cuts. 

Also, consider sturdy footwear, preferably with anti-slip soles. This footwear protects your feet from heavy materials and tools that might accidentally fall. Remember, personal protection should be your top priority to avoid any injuries while crafting your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame.

Work in a Well-Lit, Ventilated Area

Choosing a well-lit area is vital for precise measurements and cuts while constructing your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame. Adequate lighting helps in avoiding mistakes that can lead to accidents. It’s also essential for intricate work, like fitting joints or applying finishes. 

Additionally, ensure your workspace is well-ventilated. This is particularly important when using stains, oils, or any chemical treatments. Good airflow prevents the inhalation of fumes, which can be harmful to your health. A ventilated space also helps in drying the applied finishes more efficiently and evenly, ensuring a better-quality build of your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame.

Use Tools Properly

Proper tool usage is critical when building your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame. Start by familiarizing yourself with each tool, especially if they are new to you. Spend time reading the manuals, especially for power tools like drills and saws. Understanding their functions and safety features can prevent accidents. 

Practice handling the tools before starting your project. This practice builds confidence and ensures you’re comfortable using them. Remember, each tool has a specific purpose. Use them to achieve the best results and maintain safety while constructing your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame.

Keep Workspace Organized

An organized workspace is key to safety and efficiency. Begin by designating areas for different tasks and materials. Keep tools in easily accessible locations and return them after use. This approach saves time and prevents tools from being misplaced or causing accidents. 

Regularly clear away wood shavings and debris. These can be slipping hazards and can also catch fire if you’re working with any heat-generating tools. By maintaining an organized workspace, you ensure a smoother and safer process in building your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame. Remember, a clutter-free environment is conducive to better focus and craftsmanship in your DIY project.

Regularly Check Materials

Properly inspecting materials is essential when building your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame. Before you start, and periodically throughout your project, examine the wood and other materials. Look for cracks, warps, or any signs of weakness. These flaws can compromise the stability and safety of your finished frame. 

Warped wood, for example, might not align properly, leading to uneven stress points. Cracked wood can break under weight, posing a risk for future use. If you find any damaged materials, it’s best to replace them immediately. This ensures your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame will be strong, durable, and safe to use.

Secure Loose Clothing and Hair

Securing loose clothing and hair is crucial for safety. Long hair should be tied back, and loose clothes should be fitted or secured. This precaution is especially important when working with power tools. Loose hair can become entangled in moving parts, leading to serious injury. 

Similarly, baggy clothing can catch on tools or materials, causing you to lose balance or control. By securing hair and clothing, you reduce these risks significantly. This allows you to focus on crafting your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame without the distraction or danger of entanglement. Remember, safety in your workspace includes managing personal and environmental risks.

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Styling Your Fold Out Sofa/Futon/Bed Frame

Once you’ve built your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame, the next exciting step is styling it. A well-styled fold out sofa/futon/bed frame can be the focal point of your room. Here are some tips to help you achieve a look that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Choose a Color Scheme

Select a color scheme that complements your room. Neutral tones like beige, gray, or white offer versatility and can easily blend with various decor styles. If you prefer a bolder look for your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame, choose vibrant or dark colors that make a statement. Remember, the color you choose sets the tone for the entire room.

Select Comfortable and Attractive Bedding

The right bedding can transform the look of your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame. Opt for comfortable materials like cotton or linen for a cozy feel. Patterns and colors in the bedding can add personality to the room. Consider seasonal changes, using lighter fabrics and colors in summer and warmer, richer tones in winter.

Add Pillows and Throws

Pillows and throws are not just for comfort; they are great for adding texture and layers to your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame. Mix and match different sizes, shapes, and textures of pillows. Throws can be draped over the back or side of the sofa for a relaxed, inviting look.

Incorporate Functional Accessories

Consider functional accessories like side tables or a magazine rack. These can enhance the utility of your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame, making it a perfect spot for relaxation or reading. Choose accessories that complement the overall style and color scheme of the room.

Styling your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame is an opportunity to express your personal taste and create a comfortable, inviting space. With these tips, you can ensure your DIY project serves its purpose and enhances your home’s beauty.

Cost Comparison: DIY vs. Store-Bought

When considering a fold out sofa/futon/bed frame, deciding between a DIY project and purchasing a store-bought piece is a common dilemma. Let’s explore the cost implications of both options to help you make an informed decision.

Initial Investment

DIY: Building your own fold out sofa/futon/bed frame requires buying materials and tools. While the cost of materials like wood, screws, and finishes may be lower than buying a finished product, you need to factor in the cost of tools if you don’t already own them.

Store-Bought: A ready-made fold out sofa/futon/bed frame comes at a fixed price. This price generally includes design, labor, and material costs. Higher-end models can be quite expensive, but you can also find budget-friendly options.

Customization and Quality

DIY: The major advantage of a DIY fold out sofa/futon/bed frame is the ability to customize. You can choose materials and designs that match your specific needs and taste. While this might increase costs, it also means potentially higher quality and personalization.

Store-Bought: With store-bought items, what you see is what you get. Customization is limited, and you might have to compromise on materials and design. However, you benefit from professional craftsmanship, which can be a plus for durability and aesthetics.

Time Investment and Skill Level

DIY: Your time is valuable. Building a fold out sofa/futon/bed frame requires a significant time commitment, especially if you’re new to woodworking. The learning curve can be steep, but it’s a rewarding experience if you have the time and interest.

Store-Bought: Purchasing a fold out sofa/futon/bed frame is straightforward and time-efficient. It’s ideal if you need something quickly and lack the time or skills for a DIY project.

Long-Term Value

DIY: A well-made DIY fold out sofa/futon/bed frame can last many years. The skills you learn can be applied to future projects, adding value beyond the immediate product.

Store-Bought: The longevity of a store-bought frame depends on its quality. High-quality models can be durable but may come at a higher price.

The choice between DIY and store-bought depends on your budget, time, skills, and the value you place on customization. DIY projects can be more cost-effective and rewarding but require significant time and effort investment. Store-bought options offer convenience and professional craftsmanship at a fixed cost.

Maintenance Tips for Your Fold Out Sofa/Futon/Bed Frame

Maintaining your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame is essential to ensure its longevity and functionality. Proper care keeps it looking great and functioning smoothly for years. Here are some tips to help you take care of your frame.

Regular Cleaning

Dust and Wipe Down

Dusting your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame regularly is essential to prevent the buildup of dirt and debris. Over time, dust can accumulate in crevices and on surfaces, making your frame look dull and potentially affecting its function. 

Use a soft cloth for routine dusting, gently wiping down the entire frame. If your frame is made of wood, consider using a wood-friendly cleaner for deeper cleaning. These cleaners not only remove dirt more effectively but also nourish the wood, enhancing its natural beauty and protecting it from damage. It’s important to treat the wood gently to avoid scratches or other damage.

Fabric Care

If your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame includes fabric elements, such as a mattress or upholstery, regular care is crucial for maintaining its look and feel. Vacuum the fabric regularly to remove dust and small particles. This is particularly important for frames used frequently, as body oils and dust can quickly accumulate. 

For spills, immediate treatment is crucial. Blot any spills gently with a clean, dry cloth to prevent the liquid from seeping into the fabric. Avoid rubbing, as this can push the spill deeper into the fabric. 

Follow fabric-specific cleaning instructions for any deeper cleaning or stain removal. This might involve using specific cleaning agents or methods, depending on the fabric type. Proper fabric care not only keeps your frame looking great but also extends its lifespan, ensuring that it remains a comfortable and attractive part of your home.

Routine Inspection

Ensuring the stability and safety of your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame involves regular inspection and tightening of screws, bolts, and fasteners. Here’s an expanded guide on how to effectively maintain these components:

Routine Inspection of Hardware

The hardware that holds your fold out sofa/futon/bed frame together is critical to its overall stability and durability. Over time, with regular use, these components can loosen, making the frame less stable and potentially unsafe. It’s important to periodically inspect all screws, bolts, and fasteners. 

Go over each joint and connection point on your frame. Check for any signs of movement or looseness in the hardware. This regular inspection is particularly important in areas that bear more weight or are subject to frequent movement, such as where the frame folds or unfolds.

Tightening Loose Components

If you find any screws, bolts, or fasteners that have loosened, it’s essential to tighten them immediately. Use the appropriate tools, such as a screwdriver or a wrench, depending on the type of hardware. When tightening, it’s important to apply enough force to secure the hardware firmly but not so much that it strips the threads or damages the material of the frame. 

Sometimes, you may find that hardware has worn out or become damaged. In such instances, it’s advisable to replace these components to maintain the safety and integrity of your fold out sofa/futon/bed frae.

Regular Maintenance Schedule

Setting a regular schedule for inspecting and tightening the hardware on your frame can prevent unexpected issues. Depending on how frequently the fold out sofa/futon/bed frame is used, this maintenance check can be done every few months. If the frame is used daily, such as in the case of a bed in a small apartment, more frequent checks might be necessary.

Protect and Treat Wood

Apply Wood Treatments

Wooden frames benefit greatly from regular application of oils or waxes. These treatments serve multiple purposes. Firstly, they nourish the wood, replenishing essential oils that can be lost over time due to exposure to air and sunlight. This nourishment is crucial to prevent the wood from drying out, which can lead to cracking or splitting. 

Secondly, these treatments create a protective layer on the wood’s surface. This layer guards against everyday wear and tear, minor scratches, and stains.

When applying wood treatments, choose products suitable for the type of wood your frame is made from. Some woods respond better to certain oils, while others might need a specific kind of wax. 

Apply the treatment as per the product’s instructions, typically using a clean, soft cloth. Make sure to cover the entire surface evenly and allow it to absorb into the wood. After the treatment has been absorbed, buff the surface to bring out the wood’s natural sheen. This not only protects the wood but also enhances the frame’s appearance, keeping it looking fresh and new.

Avoid Excessive Moisture

Excessive moisture is a major enemy of wooden furniture. Prolonged exposure to moisture can cause the wood to warp or swell, and in extreme cases, it can lead to mold or mildew growth. 

To protect your wooden fold out sofa/futon/bed frame, keep it in an environment with stable humidity levels. Avoid placing it near sources of moisture, such as humidifiers, showers, or open windows during rainy weather.

If your wooden frame does get wet, it’s important to dry it promptly. Use a soft, absorbent cloth to gently blot away the moisture. Avoid rubbing, as this can push the water deeper into the wood’s grain. After blotting, let the frame air dry completely, but avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, as these can cause the wood to dry out too quickly and crack.


Building your own fold out sofa/futon/bed frame can be a rewarding and cost-effective project. You can create a durable and stylish piece of furniture by following safety guidelines, using the right materials, and employing proper techniques. Regular maintenance will ensure its longevity and functionality. This DIY project saves money and allows for customization to perfectly fit your space and style.

For more comfortable projects, check out our article on picking out the perfect bed!



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