A Sneaky Way to Save $400 on a Brand-New King-Size Bed

Image: King Size Bed
Joseph O'Connell under Creative Commons

The cost of a king-size mattress set and frame depends on the quality you want, but there is a way to pay a lot less and still get a great, brand-new bed: create your own.

That’s right, you might think it’s too much trouble, but it’s actually not all that difficult, and creating your own bed can save you hundreds of dollars.

Building Our Own Bed

My wife and I moved a couple of years ago, and we couldn’t find a decent queen-size bed for under $800 anywhere in our new hometown. Then, I had an idea.

We went to the local Big Lots store and bought two twin mattresses for $160 each, two bases on sale for $10 each and two frames for $30 each. I strapped the frames together underneath the bed so the mattresses wouldn’t separate. Our total cost came to $424 including sales tax, and instead of a queen we had a king-size bed.  (Like this idea? Click to tweet it!)

When I first mentioned the idea in a mattress store, a friendly but insistent salesperson educated me about the size of a king mattress. It is normally 80 inches long compared to 75 inches for twin mattresses. That hasn’t been a problem for us. I’m tall (6’3″), and at some point every night my feet might hang off the end just a bit, but it has never bothered me. If you want to duplicate a king-size bed as closely as possible, get two twin XLs, which are 78 or 80 inches long.

What about the crack where the two mattresses meet? That hasn’t been a problem either. With the frames tightly joined, the mattresses don’t move. But just in case the crack does bother you, I’ll give you a solution in a moment. For now, let’s go to the Big Lots website to see if this strategy still works.

How to Build Your King-Size Bed

As I write this post, the best deal Big Lots has for a king bed with bases is $800, and the frame is an additional $68. With 6% sales tax (here in Florida) the total comes to $920. That’s without a headboard, but hey, we’re trying to save money here, so we’ll skip the non-functional fancy piece of wood.

Meanwhile, Big Lots is selling the “Serta Arrington Firm Twin Mattress” for $89 and the base for $69 (alas, there is no sale on bases at the moment). Put two of each on that $68 king frame and with taxes you have this:

Twin Mattress $89

Twin Mattress $89

Box Spring $69

Box Spring $69

King Bed Frame $68

Sales Tax (6% here): $23

Total: $407

You could buy two twin frames like we did, if that costs less. I used an old belt to strap the legs of the frames together at one end, and an ace bandage at the other. You never see these because they are hidden far under the bed. For the sake of simplicity, I would probably use one king frame if I had to do this again, although two twin frames may be a stronger setup.

Buy a Little More Comfort

What if the twin mattresses are of a bit lower quality than the traditional king mattress? You have at least two ways to upgrade your creation. First, you can buy better twin mattresses for about $60 more each. You’ll still have spent hundreds of dollars less than if you bought a king-size bed.

The second solution provides more comfort and should solve the problem of the crack between the mattresses. Just buy a nice foam mattress topper. At the moment, a king-size “Slumber Solutions Supreme 4-inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper” on Overstock.com costs $99, with free shipping and no sales tax. Just looking at it makes me want to take a nap.

Add that $99 mattress topper to your $407 setup and you have a luxurious place to sleep for a new total of $506, which is still well under the current cost of $920 for the traditional king bed. In other words you can save more than $400 by making your own king-size bed — or even more if you manage to negotiate a lower price.

Your Turn: Tell us about the cheapest mattress you’ve bought and how well it has worked out for you.