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How to Make a Cheap King Size Bed

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We made a cheap king size bed. I'll get to just how cheap it was in a moment, but first... the rest of the story.

We moved to Naples Florida recently (2012), and we rented an apartment while shopping for a condo. We left all our furniture behind in Colorado, and planned to camp out in the apartment until we bought a place. We didn't want to move furniture twice, after all (from the store to the apartment and then to the condo). But sleeping on our foam pads got old after six weeks, so it was time to get a bed.

We discovered that while many things cost the same or even less than where we had lived in Colorado (fruits and vegetables are less, for example), furniture cost more than we had ever seen anywhere else -- and we have moved around the country quite a bit over the years. New items here are substantially more than in most areas, and used furniture is shockingly expensive. Even a broken-down ten-year-old dining table can cost $500 in a thrift store. This was going to be a real test of our theory that it's cheaper to sell everything and replace it rather than move it across the country.

In any case, even if they were much less expensive, mattresses are not something we will buy used. So we started going to various stores and learned that a decent, comfortable queen-size mattress like the nice one we had bought for $450 in Colorado three years earlier would cost between $800 and $1,600 here in Naples. The nicer ones were much more. Of course, taxes and bed frames were not included.

Then I had an idea. What if we bought two twin beds and put them together to create one king-size bed? A sales lady at one mattress store confirmed that this can be done. In fact, because of the need to move them through narrow halls and doorways, the bases or box springs for a king bed are almost always two twin-sized ones. They are twin longs, though, which definitely cost more.

Finally, forty-five minutes from where we were living, we discovered the only place in town with cheap furniture that was of reasonable quality: Big Lots. They even had a queen-size mattress like the one we left behind for $560. That was just 24% more than the price we paid in Colorado. Then I made the real discovery...

Big Lots had a deal going, which ended the day I went there intending to finally buy something (lucky timing). If I bought a Serta twin mattress they would sell the base for just $10 instead of the usual $100. The basic $110 mattresses were pretty thin looking, so I went with the plush $160 ones. Two of these plus two $10 bases and we had a king-size bed for $360 including sales tax. I even managed to stuff all four pieces into our little Suzuki hatchback or on the roof (two inside and two out) in order to get them home all at once and save the cost of having them delivered.

The frames (basic metal ones) cost around $30 each. I strapped the frames together so the two halves of our bed would not roll apart, and after several months now we haven't had a problem. We put regular king-size sheets over the two parts. A regular twin mattress is normally 36 inches wide and 75 inches long. King mattresses are normally between 72 and 76 inches wide, and are 80 to 84 inches long. We ended up with a total size of 72 inches wide by 75 inches long. I'm a tall guy and I haven't had a problem with the length.

I haven't had a problem with the bed at all. In fact, my wife and I both agree that it is the most comfortable bed we've had. The fact that it is actually made from two mattresses means there is less transfer of motion when we roll around at night, so we wake each other up less often. The extra space, compared to our previous queen bed, means the cats don't crowd us as much. The crack in the middle is barely noticed unless you put an elbow down right between the two mattresses.

This, then, is how you make a cheap king size bed. If we had gone with the cheaper mattresses it would have been just $240 (plus taxes and the frames). As it was we spent a little over $420 with the frames, versus at least a $1,300 for any other king-size bed we had seen. Even if the bases were not on sale we would have spent half as much in this way.



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