Converting a full headboard into a queen bed is easy! Find out how to use a queen sized mattress with a full sized headboard without damaging the headboard… the perfect solution for a full sized antique bed!
As a certified nerd, I love family history. Between my husband and me, we have farmers, lawyers, factory workers, small business owners, geologists, teachers… and that only goes back a couple of generations. But one thing they almost all had in common (and of which I am the glorious beneficiary) is they passed down beautiful furniture. Our home is now filled with vintage and antique furniture that has been in the family for at least 2 if not 3-4 generations.
One recent gift from my in-laws was an antique bedroom set that had belonged to my husband’s great aunt. It’s a beautiful American farmhouse style bed. An antique double bed. And – as much as I love antique furniture and appreciate my in-laws giving it to us, I’m afraid a full size mattress is not in the cards.
The style, though, was perfect for the ranch house. Primitive, simple, a little elegant (not to mention free and a family piece 😉 ), so I hated to let it go to waste. I also didn’t want to damage the 150 year old bed, though. Fortunately, my father and I came up with a brilliant solution..
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Converting a Full to a Queen
Custom full to queen converters do exist (usually with iron bed extensions over the bed rails), but I wanted something simpler. An obvious option for converting a full-sized bed into a queen is to attach the headboard to the wall and use a basic metal or wood queen bed frame in front of it.
But the problem with this solution is two fold. First, the bed might tend to slide away from the headboard (something that drives me crazy). Second, unless you get really creative with strapping, that requires damaging the full-sized headboard. With this beautiful antique bed, we didn’t want to drill any holes into the bed frame.
Instead, we purchased this inexpensive wooden platform bed and made a simple wooden clamp in order to secure the headboard. The difference in width was so small that the headboard looks like it was made for the bed.
GET THE LOOK:
Since the original bed had a headboard and footboard, we actually were able to use the footboard as a little headboard in our attic bedroom which has lower ceilings. We have stored the side rails and preserved the antique in its entirety, which was important to my husband.
How to convert an antique full bed into a queen
- full sized headboard
- wooden queen sized platform frame (or something similar)
- 2×4 lumber (scraps may be enough)
- 1×4 lumber (scaps may be enough)
- wood screws
- 7″ carriage bolt (or longer, if needed) with washer and nut
I think it sometimes helps to have an end goal in mind before you begin. This is what the u-shaped clamp you will be building looks like, and all the details are below!
How to make a wood pressure clamp to attach a queen size bed frame to a full size headboard without damaging the headboard:
- Measure and cut
Place your bed frame up against the headboard and measure the combined width of the bed frame leg and the headboard leg. Subtract 1/4″ and cut two 2×4 pieces (one for each clamp) to that length. For example, our frame leg and headboard leg combined was 5 3/4″, so we cut two pieces of 2×4 to 5 1/2″.
Cut four (two for each clamp) 6″ 1×4 pieces.
- Assemble in a U
Using wood screws, attach two of your 1×4 pieces into the ends of one 2×4 pieces to create a U. Repeat for second set.
- Drill and insert the tension bolt
Approximately 1″ from the 2×4, drill two holes through the center of the 1×4 pieces. Place the carriage bolt through the holes (this is why you might need one longer than 7″ if your measurement in step 1 was wider than mine). Secure the washer nut on the opposite end. Repeat for second clamp.
- Slide the clamp onto the legs
This may take two people. Ensure that your headboard is vertical, then slide the bed frame up against the headboard. Slide the clamp from the inside (so it is not visible) over both legs. Tighten the nut on the tension bolt until the headboard is secure. Repeat for second side.
- Add mattress and make bed
Now that the headboard is secure, make your bed as usual! I suggest a fuller duvet or blanket in order to hang down at the footboard and cover the mattress and box springs. Another good tip for making beds without footboards look beautiful is to use a fitted sheet on your box spring so that it looks more finished.
The clamps are truly hidden from sight, and the inch or so difference between the bed frame and headboard is basically invisible.
We have now been using these beds for about a year at Little Pax Ranch, and I haven’t even had to tighten the tension bolt (though that is obviously an option if you start to feel any wobble!), I’m so thankful we were able to create something that didn’t damage this antique bed, and even more thankful we get to enjoy not just one but two beautiful headboards!
If you have a full-sized antique headboard (and psst… Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace are wonderful places to find these, usually for much less than queen-sized beds)… consider upgrading to a queen! 🙂
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