Danish Coffin Bed

My first One Day Build.

creator: x14km2d | build: 2021-11-24 | update: 2021-12-26


As a young child I was in Denmark and looked at old bunkers on the beach, which are slowly swallowed up by the sea. On the first evening in the cottage I looked at the Danish bed, which was so much different than at home. It looked like a simple wooden box and had a simple board instead of a slatted frame. There were no buttons or zippers on the duvet cover and pillow. I liked the bed because of its simple shape and functionality.

For months I was looking for a suitable new bed, but mostly I didn’t like the design or it was simply too expensive for me. I don’t like lacquer foils and cheap pressed wood. The smell is important and the colour of the glaze. I like naturalness, functionality and a robust construction. When I came back from a shopping trip I saw my neighbour putting an old wooden cupboard in front of the door, which he wanted to throw away. Within a few seconds I saw the complete picture of a finished bed in my mind’s eye. I briefly called my roomate and it came down into the yard. After a few minutes the bed stood in my room. Now I only had to rebuild it.


So many materials we do not need. the bed, A steel angle, a hand circular saw, pencil, drill and screws. Maybe in a little wood glue and the wooden boards. With this we can convert the cabinet into a bed.


Before you start a project, you should always get an exact picture of the current situation. How is the material screwed together? If wood glue was used or parts are very tightly glued. What kind of screwdrivers do I use etc.? Also you should make a plan in your head, how you want to proceed. On the photo below you can see the wooden board which was once designed as a shelf inside the cabinet. Since the bottom was a little broken, I simply moved this board down.

These screws are very easy to unscrew. I left them in the wood but did not use them anymore. They are as only to the decoration, so that in the wood no ugly holes are to be seen. I liked these wooden feet very much and I wanted to use them again. Fortunately they could be unscrewed very easily. All in all I noticed during the inspection how easy the cabinet was to assemble. The first step was to remove the thin back wall from the cupboard. In many places I could simply push out the small nails with my hand. Sometimes a nail did not want to be loosened and I had to help with flat pliers. I put the back wall aside if I wanted to reuse it towards the end of the project.

Here I am testing which hexagon socket wrench I have to use to remove one side of the bottom side. Before I can remove the floorboard, I have to remove the feet. There were also some wooden duds on these, which I put aside if I can still use them later. If you are working on an upcycling project you should throw as little away as possible. Most of the materials for my projects come from previous projects that were left over. If you look at my documentation you can see that very well.

Now I can loosen the screws on the ground, because as I explained some sales before I want to put the wooden plate from the middle down. To get the plate out of the middle I have to bend both side walls a little bit apart. At this point you have to be careful that nothing breaks off. Listen carefully and when you hear the wood crack stop the process of the bending. Broken wood or connectors are always difficult to repair. On each side of the wooden board there are two wood dowels and two metal screws. We will not use these and will only work with the dowels.

We take the screws and drill out of the side walls. It is always good to have paper and pens close at hand. Here you can see some notes I made. Since I have to drill the holes for the dowel again, I wrote down the distances, so that I can mark the later suitably. Here I clamped the plate from the middle between the two side walls. In the background you can see the slightly broken wall of the floor. This wall will be screwed on again later. The middle plate covers the broken parts. With a screwdriver I set a light mark up to where the plate goes, so that I can measure the places where I have to drill the holes. Of course you can also use a pencil, but it was just out of my reach.

The black ring on the drill head is there so I know how to drill. Unfortunately these fall off again and again and it is better if you just put some tape on the spot. You put the drill head into the old holes and make the mark where the wood ends. This way you don’t have to drill through the complete wood plate. Now the actual floor comes to the end again. This end will stand later at the wall and will not be visible any more. This will save us additional material. The bottom is screwed on again. Since it looked a bit loose to me, I screwed in two extra screws to make it a bit more stable.

For the floor of the bed I decided to use spruce wood, which is cheap but still smells good. Altogether I had to saw only one plate in the length. On both plates I marked the marking with an iron angle. A simple ruler or a straight piece of wood is also sufficient. After inserting the bottom boards, I drew up to where I can screw in the screws without damaging the outer walls of the side walls. Since these boards are not visible later, you can draw the lines a little thicker. At the first try I wanted to drill the holes, but the wood splintered. I simply screwed in the screws with a cordless screwdriver, which worked much better.

After I had screwed on all the floor boards, I could screw on the feet. I also chose spruce wood because it is easy to work with. Since the boards were too bright for me, I took the back wall and cut it to fit into the shape. So it looked more uniform again and as if it was a real bed.


After I finished the bed, my roommate came by and looked at the finished project. the first thing he said was that the bed looks like a Dollar store coffin. I joked that if I was to die in this bed, all he had to do was put a lid on it and he could put it down on the street. So I got the name danish coffin bed. A design homage to my childhood, danish design and functionalism. Its atypical shape makes it look out of place in my room.

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