Customizing an Antique Bed

I’m currently, slowly working on our younger daughter’s bedroom. I’ll be sure to share the design board soon but today I wanted to show you how I customized a facebook marketplace find to work in her space.

Side note: I just started a new Instagram community where I’m diving deeper behind the scenes of projects, coaching, encouraging and even shopping marketplace in the group members’ area! There’s so much to find on marketplace. Come join us!

We are switching her from a twin bed to a full bed so I looked on marketplace for about a week to find one we wanted. This is the listing I found:

headboard listing photo: cut down an antique bed to work in a kids spacefoot board listing photo: cut down an antique bed to work in a kids space

I asked the seller if she’d be willing to take less and ended up buying it for $100. It’s beautiful, solid and one of a kind. I loved the headboard but I don’t always like a footboard because it can make a room feel visually smaller. The spindles and dark wood stop your eye from moving through a space and can make the bed feel more imposing. Plus, it’s something for her to pull on and hang off of…recipe for disaster. : ) So, I decided to cut down the footboard to keep those things from happening. I used a pull saw (like this one) and cut horizontally, as straight as I could, in these 4 places.

where I made the cuts to curtomize the bed

pardon this screen grab from my Instagram stories. I get so excited and forget to take pictures. #badblogger

pull saw for spindle cuts

Once I made the 4 cuts it was time to attach the top finials to the bottom of the footboard. The finials on the head and foot of the bed will still match, making it look seamless and not modified. (you can see in the picture below, where it’s just an unfinished edge.

before attaching top finial

I cut a dowel about 1.5- 2″ long to help attach the footboard and the finial.

dowel to attached finial to bed

Find a drill bit that is similar in size. You want a really tight fit so make sure the drill bit isn’t bigger than the dowel you’re using.

Drill as close to the center of the circle as possible on both the footboard and the top finial. Drilling a pilot hole with a small bit or punch helps.

drill hole in bed and finial

Squeeze some wood glue into the hole you just drilled and wipe some on the dowel. I had to use a hammer to get the dowel tightly into the hole.

glue and place dowel

Glue the dowel and hole in the top finial as well as the bare surface of the wood on both sides. Wood glue is magical and works wonders but only if there’s good contact and enough glue.

clamp to dry

From there, I clamped it tightly and let it dry for around 24 hours before I removed the clamps again.

I wanted the bed to still look old and have its original, aged character so I just sanded it down a little bit and ordered some Restor-a-Finish to see what it would look like.

before restor-a-finish after restor-a-finish

Pretty good, huh?

before and after of cut down footboard from facebook marketplace

I love that the footboard is now just tall enough to cover her mattress and still have its original charm.

The bed isn’t in her room yet but I’ll be sure to post pictures once it is. We still need to cut slats and buy a mattress but I think it’ll be a sweet addition in her finished room.

For other kids’ spaces see the playroom at our last house here.

And our big kid’s room makeover here.

Thanks for reading, friends!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.