how to make a built in trundle bed

How to Make Your Own Built-in Trundle Bed and Cabinets

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When we were planning the layout for our 110 square foot cottage guest shed, we wanted the end result to feel like our own tiny house.

In order to do this, we knew we needed to incorporate a built-in trundle bed with cabinets on either side, much like the built-in bed and cabinets we made for my oldest son’s bedroom. This way we could fit a kitchenette, bed and closet that’ll eventually hold a toilet along the longest wall in the cottage.

how to make a built in trundle bed and cabinets

We were able to make it all for less than $300.

We made this room for my stepdaughter and our parents when they come to visit. As you can imagine, my stepdaughter can be found lounging in this sweet little cottage about 75% of the time she’s here.

I don’t blame her one bit.

Update: At the end of the post, there’s a time lapse video where you can watch the cabinets being built.

 DIY Built-in trundle daybed with cabinets tutorial
The thing that saved us the most money was building the cabinets in place so there wasn’t the need to place wood on the back and on one wall inside the cabinets. When you open the cabinets, the shiplap is exposed, which is my favorite part of the room anyways. Why cover it up? 🙂
We also saved money by using a combination of cabinet grade plywood and 1/4″ luan. Once you sand the edges, fill the edges with spackle, sand again, then paint, you can’t tell the cabinets were made with plywood. We used this same technique when we made the drawers for our vanity in our master bathroom remodel. 

In order to make the platform for the built-in trundle bed and the two cabinets, we needed the following supplies:

*affiliate links are included for convenience
  • (2) sheets of 1/2″ plywood for the bed platform $70
  • (2) sheets of 3/4″ birch cabinet grade plywood for the cabinets and doors $90
  • (10) 2″ X 3″ boards $26
  • (10) pre-primed 1″ x 3″ boards to face the bed and cabinets $45
  • (1/2) sheet of 1/4″ luan to make the X-detail and trim on the cabinet doors and trundle cover $13
  • (6) European hinges for the cabinet doors $8 (they’re on sale now for 50% off. Super deal so grab em’ up!)
  • (3) flat hinges for the trundle door beneath the bed $9
  • (2) magnetic latches for the door cover $8
  • Wood glue, nails, screws $25

Total: $294

We already owned the metal pop up trundle bed that fits beneath the platform bed. When the trundle is up, it makes the bed king-size. If you want to make your own slide-out trundle, you can follow these plans.

plans for the built-in bed and cabinets

To make sure we could fit our idea of built-ins to this tiny space, I used a 3D home design app .

The base of the platform bed had to accommodate a popup trundle bed frame we already owned so we made the base of the bed 79″W x 40-3/4″ D x 16-1/2″H. The finished height of your bed will vary according to your mattress and trundle height. The frame of the bed was made using 2 x 3s spaced 8″ apart.

Beneath the built-in bed platform

It was then covered with 1/2″ plywood on the top and  3/4″ cabinet grade birch plywood on the sides. (To allow for mattress ventilation, you can drill 1-inch holes with a paddle drill bit in the plywood top.) Later, we faced the front with pre-primed 1 x 3s.

Built-in bed platform

To make the cabinets on each side of the bed, we used the same 3/4″ birch plywood. We started off by placing the sides flush with the bed frame and marking our level line. Then, we could determine the length of our horizontal supports made from ripping the 1 x 3s in half.

left and right built in cabinets

Next, the cabinet sides are screwed into the horizontal support boards at the top, where the shelves are placed, and also into the side of the bed frame. The cabinets are also trimmed out with pre-primed 1 x 3s.

Supports for side panel and shelves for the built-in cabinets.Then, we used 1/2″ plywood for the shelves and faced them with 1-1/4″ pre-primed boards made from ripping down 1 x 3s. The cabinet on the left side of the bed got an extra shelf to accommodate the sink and faucet for the kitchenette. A platform was added later for the mini-fridge.

built-in kitchenette in a cabinet

The doors were also made from 3/4″  birch plywood. The X-detail on the doors was made by ripping down 1/4″ luan into 2″ strips. The edges of the luan need to be sanded well before you apply them with wood glue and a pneumatic stapler. X-detail on farmhouse style cabinet doors made with 14 inch luan
 We used European hinges to hang the doors.
european hinges
diy built in trundle bed for a tiny guest house
The door covering the trundle was made out of 1/2″ plywood and trimmed out with 1/4″ luan to make it look like it has a couple drawers.Cover for pop-up trundle bed that looks like shake style drawers
 Jason added a board along the back of the trundle door to keep the plywood from bowing over time.
 Magnetic latches keep it closed.
magnetic latch for the trundle bed cover
The last step was painting everything in Alabaster white by Sherwin Williams.
How to make your own built in trundle bed and cabinets dimensions
The kitchenette holds everything you’d need if you get snowed in a day or two. Who am I kidding? We live in South Carolina.
The Cottage Guest Shed Reveal the kitchenette
In case you’re wondering, the sink gets water through a garden hose hook up outside and drains down to a portable gray water tank on wheels underneath the cottage.
The most asked question is “where’s the toilet?”. The closet on the right side of the bed is where we’ve installed a composting toilet. We’ve been a slave to the budget but a toilet was a must-have. We’ll follow up with a video tour of the cottage showing all the details of the room including how we made this closet function as a mini bathroom.
the cottage guest shed closet 2
If you’d like to see the built-in being made in time-lapse, skip over to the four-minute mark in this video. And be sure to check out the links below to see the rest of the projects that went into making our guest cottage!
If you love built-in beds as much as me, I’m betting you’ll love these made from stock kitchen cabinets from my oldest son’s room:
How to make a built in bed using stock kitchen cabinets
How to make a built-in trundle bed and cabinets for $300. This room gives me ideas for my own cute little tiny house!

Catch up on all the Modern Farmhouse Cottage Guest Shed Projects here:

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  1. What about a/c and heat? What was used for that. I apologize if y’all answered this in a video but I haven’t watched them all as of yet.
    Thank You.

    1. Hi Kristina,

      Thanks for stopping by! Eventually, we’ll put in a mini-split for heating and air. The ones we’re looking at are about $600-700 on Amazon and can be controlled with a phone app. Since my step-daughter stays in her cottage one or 2 nights a week, we’ve been using a portable air conditioner that vents outside through the wall. We store the AC unit in the basement when summer is over and use a space heater in the winter. I think the mini-split will be more energy efficient but we already had the portable ac unit before we remodeled the shed so we’re just waiting on it to kick the bucket. 🙂

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