Make an Outdoor Bed Swing
An outdoor swing bed lets you enjoy the comfort of a soft bed while taking in the fresh air of the outdoors. We at Pottery Barn are happy to share how you can make your own outdoor swing bed to enjoy on summer days and nights to come.
DIY Swing Bed Pallet Frame
If you’re using a standard 39" by 78" twin mattress for your cushioning layer, start with two standard-sized 40” by 48” pallets. This creates a frame that sticks out on the edges to give you a place to mount the hanging hardware later on. Make sure the pallets are in good condition to reduce the amount of effort required in turning them into a swinging bed frame. Position the pallets down flat, side-by-side on a work table or on the ground, so the 48" sides are touching, making the total dimensions 48" by 80".
Sizing the frame of your swinging bed to hold a traditional-size mattress makes it easier to find blankets or a comforter that’ll fit well when you want to cover up and take a nap outside on a lazy afternoon. Your favorite soft sheets should fit with no need for additional alterations.
Support for the Pallet Frame
Gather three 86" long two-by-fours. Run the two-by-fours inside the two-outer edges and one up the center, with 3” sticking out on the ends. Use long screws that go through the pallet and the two-by-fours to secure the supports. Fill in gaps between the top pallet slats with half-inch thick boards that fit between the top boards of the pallet. Drill 1" holes in the two-by-fours that are close to the pallet. Then, tie long, heavy rope or chain through each hole to hang the frame on beams, or thick branches, that are strong enough to support the frame. Sand and stain the frame to match your other outdoor furniture for an elevated touch.
Extra Features to Consider Adding
It’s perfectly okay to use the pallet framed bed swing just as it is at this point, but there are some options to consider. You may want to add a back rail and arms that let the bed double as a wide, bohemian style swing. If you want to add these features, cut the boards to size, drill the holes to join the back and arms to the pallet frame. Then use lag bolts and nuts to secure the extra pieces to the frame. Hang sparkling string lights or wrap foliage around the rope or chain for an extra punch of color.
Tips for Making the Bed
Choose bedding in earthy tones and throw pillows in shocks of color. Put the sheets, pillowcases, blankets and comforter on the way you would on any bed. Then position the throw pillows on top of the regular bed pillows or against the arms and backrest.
How to Make a Swing Bed from a Trampoline
If you prefer a round outdoor bed, a trampoline makes a great frame. Measure the distance from the point where you plan to tie the swing bed to the ground, and add a couple feet to tie the rope at the top. Tie the rope to the edge of the trampoline almost all the way around. Leave a gap about four feet wide on one side. Gather the loose rope ends in the center and tie them in one tight loop around the branch, or frame, you’re using to suspend the swinging bed. Drape fabric over the ropes for a dreamy, tented effect and put a round mattress inside. You can also position a fluffy duvet inside in lieu of a mattress.
A Few Extra Tips for Your Hanging Outdoor Bed
Make sure the rope or chain you use to hang up your bed has a load limit that is heavy enough to support the pallet and the weight of those who will be lounge on the swing bed. Also, if using a branch, watch to see how much it bows when the weight is applied. Test the branch in question by suspending a heavy item from it before making the bed. If you expect rain, fasten a tarp or shower curtain over the mattress to protect it from the elements.