DIY Modern IKEA Bed Hack

When we were putting finishing touches on the remodel of our master bedroom, we realized it was time for us to get a new bed. We had been using the same wooden sleigh bed I had since I was 16, and although it was beautiful, the bulkiness of our old bedroom furniture dwarfed the look of our new bedroom. So I started looking around online and kept coming back to the IKEA Gjora bed frame. I loved the simple lines and versatility and felt like it was ALMOST perfect, but I needed to figure out a way to make a headboard. I just didn't love the idea of setting pillows against a bare wall and knew it would look slick hacked.

So we did the headboard project and I posted it on Instagram, without a tutorial. And then I got a BUNCH of people asking me for instructions on how to make one themselves. So this is my attempt at remembering our exact steps. As always, feel free to reach out to me via the comments section about questions and we'll do our best to answer them.


IKEA Gjora bed in a Queen along with the bed spring.

3/4 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. Birch plywood from Home Depot (make sure you look through their selection and pick one with a grain pattern that you like).

Matte water-based polyurethane 

Four (two per side) 90°4-hole Angle brackets - We used 2-hole angle brackets for ours, but I couldn't find the exact bracket we used online, but this is close. 


The measurements will be different if you are using a full or queen sized bed, but we found 30" was a good height for our queen sized bed. We removed the horizontal bar from the tall side that came with the Gjora bed off to give it a more streamlined look.

Since this DIY is slightly more complex, I made the diagram below to show you how we determined the measurements for ours. Because the posts taper at the top, your bottom width and top width are going to be different. Measure the bottom width and the width 30" up from there.

Determine the height of your headboard (H). Measure the width between the posts at the bottom (W1) and then measure the width between the posts at your aforementioned height (W2). Cut your plywood into a rectangle that measures H” x W2”. Mark a midpoint (X) on the bottom of your piece. Divide W1 in half and measure out from your midpoint in both directions to mark the starting point of your cuts. Use a straight edge to mark a line between those points and the top corners (the dotted lines). Using a circular saw, carefully cut off the excess pieces.

Sand all the edges and finish the wood with a matte water-based poly. Lightly sand with a fine grit sandpaper between each coat. We used three coats and ended up polying the entire bed with the waterbased poly to give it a more uniform look.

To connect the board to the posts, use the angle brackets. It was helpful for us to bend them slightly to go around the curvature of the post. We used three on each side.
IKEA Gjora Bed Hack Headboard Diagram

Here's a photo of the back of the headboard with the brackets in use. You can see how the angle bracket has been bent slightly to fit nicely around the curve of the post. This can be done easily with plier and a little elbow grease.

And here's a close up of the finished headboard. You can see it has a really nice grain and compliments the light birch of the Gjora bed. Putting a water-based polyurethane over the entire bed and headboard really brought the entire look together and gave it more of a professional finish.

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