Deciding on Daybed Size
I wanted the daybed to be as long as possible but still be able to use the dining table and place our beagles kennel between them. This gave me a max length of 68”. For width we are limited by the slide out width. I want to keep the daybed completely inside the slide area so I went with a width of 37”.
Height is the tricky one as I’m not sure at this point what the exact thickness of the mattress will be. I went with 16 1/2” for this daybed base. It will give us plenty of storage underneath and hopefully won’t be too tall. If it does end up too tall I can always cut it down a bit. Easier to take material off if too tall than put it on if too short.
Building the Basic Box
First step was to build myself a basic rectangle box as the core of the daybed structure. I decide to use cheap ½ inch plywood. It is relatively light weight and easy to work with. Weight is a big issue as I’m trying to keep this daybed very close to the same weight of the sofa it is replacing.
I will be covering the plywood with a decorative material down the road so at this point looks don’t matter. I used a cordless skill saw to cut out 5 pieces. The back and front measuring 68” x 16”, sides measuring 36” x 16” and the top at 68” X 37”.
I then cut four fir 2″ x 2″s to 14 ½ inches for each corner and two 67 inch ones for placement at the top front and back of my box. Next I used 1 ½ inch wood screws to secure the pieces together.
Frame and Slides for the Large Drawer
The sofa bed we are replacing had a large pull out drawer under it. We absolutely love the feature and is a great place to store shoes. The drawer was actually built very well so all I needed to do was built in the support structure. First I cut out a hole in the front panel big enough for the drawer.
I decide to use a couple more pieces of the ½ inch plywood, anchored with more 2”x 2”s and with 1”x 4” boards on them to attach the drawer slides to. The plywood drawer walls would also help support the daybed top and divide the storage areas inside.
Getting all the measurements right was a little tricky but I managed with the help of the old sofa bed frame as a guide. I also added a 2”x 2” cross member to stiffen up the drawer frame area and add even more support to the daybed top.
Adding a Bottom
For the bottom of the RV daybed I’ve use inexpensive 1/8” white paneling. I stapled it in place to the plywood frame. This helps strengthens the box frame and gives me a nice surface to the bottom of my storage compartments.
Hinge for the Daybed Lid
To allow us to easily open up the RV daybed I added a steel (with nickel finish) piano hinge running the full length of it at the back. With a piano hinge I can get away with using short ½” wood screws and since there will be so many it will still be strong enough to handle the weight of the large lid. I bought two 36” hinges and had to cut a few inches off one of them.
Installed Brass Drawer Catches
The sofa bed drawer previously had no catches and could slide out during rough or curvy RV trips. This eventually damaged the original drawer slides. During one particularly bumpy trip one of them actually lost all its ball bearings.
So, on this build I added two drawer catches to secure it in place when we are under way. They are a brass double steel ball type and make a pleasing click when they snap place. Hopefully they will do the job, if not I’ll add a further mechanism to lock it in place for travel.
RV Daybed Material List:
- 3 – 4’ by 8’ sheets of ½ inch plywood
- 3 – Fir 2”x 2”s
- 1 – 8’ Fir 1”x 4”
- Wood screws – ½” and 1 1/2 “
- Two 36” nickel plated piano hinges
- 3 – 4’ by 2’ sheets of 1/8th inch paneling
- 2 – 22 Inch drawer slides
- 2 – brass double ball drawer catches
Finishing Up the Custom Daybed
Now that I have the basic structure and functions in place most of the remaining work will be making the box look pretty and adding our mattress and cushions. I also have to figure out what I want to do about keeping the lid up when accessing the under bed storage areas. I’m thinking about a pair of furniture gas springs like those used in our RVs under bed storage. Stay tuned for more in this summer RV renovation series.