Build your own family bed

family bed led preview

When we had prepared the children's room of our daughter including wardrobe and own bed, we assumed at that time that she would also sleep there. After some time, however, we noticed, as many parents before us have, that this was simply not the time yet. Be it through thirst, hunger, toothache or night scare, something is always there and sleeping through was out of the question. Therefore we decided to build a big family bed, where everyone has enough space, because the little mouse sleeps in our bed anyway. In addition, the birth of our second daughter was imminent - once again offspring and this time we knew what to expect! (or not really) 😉

Table of contents:

Do it yourself project: Building a family bed

The plan is for us to add one extra bed on the left and one on the right to our existing box spring bed.  This creates a large sleeping landscape, a huge family bed, with a lying surface of approx. 4 x 2 metres. If you are already there, I thought to myself, you could light up the whole thing with LED-Strips, install a sound system (among other things with the favourite playlist for the children) and make it operable via app and smartphone. From the idea, a beautiful huge family bed was created, along with these construction instructions. There wasn't a fixed budget for this DIY project - at the end of the day I don't think you should save on mattress and slatted frame, especially regarding comfort, health and restful sleep. Especially since mattresses no longer necessarily cost the world, depending on the design.

AmazonFor our family bed we needed the following materials:
Wood (pine) for the frame and cladding, clear varnish to seal the wood, sandpaper in various thicknesses, screws and washers in rough quantities (always buy more than you think you need!), 24-28 angles, felt gliders, 2x mattress (90x200) and a matching slatted frame.

Various tools are also required. These include a line saw (possibly a circular saw if you don't have the wood cut to size in a DIY store), a drill, a cordless screwdriver, a sanding machine/belt grinder.

Since I later set circular openings (decoration + lighting) at the head and foot part, I still needed Plexiglass, a hot glue gun as well as a suitable drill ring attachment for the drill. There were plenty of inspirations and ideas - thanks to Google and Instagram. As you can see from the instructions here, it is possible to build a huge, stable and beautiful family bed with the simplest means.

Construction of the family bed

Build family bed frameFirst the bed frame was constructed.

Simply connect the boards and angles with several screws.

Since I had underestimated the number of screws, I had to break off in the middle of building the bed and drive to the DIY store again. That's annoying - so I can only advise you to buy enough building material in advance!

The bolting of the frame was done quickly and so the bed took shape. The next step was to pull in a long strut on the inside of each side and screw it on to the slatted frame. Don't save with the screws and don't forget the washers. Later I placed 2 angles on each side to give the support even more stability. If a child decides to jump wildly in bed, everything stays together.

familybed holder slatted frameOn the underside of the bed box I glued felt gliders around the bed at a distance of 20-30cm. So the floor should be protected a little if you have to move the bed for example vacuuming and so on..

family bed frameSo far so good! In the next step I put the slatted frame into the bed frame to check if everything fits and is stable.

The previous steps up to here had to be repeated again for the other side, because we wanted to get the same extension on the left and right side of the box spring bed.

The only difference is that the left and right sides of the bed box are reversed or mirrored, so that the high side of the bed is on the outside.

Now the two bed boxes incl. brackets for the slatted frame were ready. Further we went with the headboard and the boarding. Since our box spring bed (like most such beds) has a large headboard, I also had to bridge a good part (approx. 10cm) of our add-on beds to the wall.

For this I simply sawed a suitable board for each side and drilled a few holes with the drill bit. This was then sanded and sealed with toy clear varnish just like the entire bed frame. On the backside of the two boards I glued the plexiglass with hot glue.

family-bed headboard plexiglassSuch a board was then mounted with angles to the headboard of the bed box. The left side of the family bed including the headboard looks like this.

So the whole thing can be illuminated later from below, the children can't throw anything in and at the same time it serves as decoration for the whole look.

In the next step I had to bridge another 12cm on the right side to the window. Also for this I cut a suitable board again and fixed it with iron angles.

family bed side frameThe practical side effect here is that the whole thing is so stable that the children can use the cladding as a platform to take a look through the window front onto the balcony and into the world outside.

Finally I soldered an Arduino, a WLAN module (ESP8266) with a LED-Strip and programmed a small app for my iPhone and iPad to control the light. So you can adjust and pre-program countless colors. A nice gimmick...

Information and details about the flashing of the ESP8266 WLAN chip and further suggestions for the technical implementation can be found in the category Do-It-Yourself here in my blog!

family bed - led-strip

Build your own WLAN remote control for LED Strip

A detailed contribution on the implementation of lighting and control via app and WLAN remote control from the 3D printer will surely follow here in the blog at ! However, I would like to give at least a rough insight at this point, how such a thing can be realized relatively easily.

AmazonAs already mentioned, the LEDs are switched via an Arduino. The Arduino is connected to an ESP8266 WLAN module which in my case listens on port 10005 and receives data or my control codes via the user datagram protocol (short UDP). Such a control code for the LED lighting looks like this:

In principle, each control code consists of 4 parts, each is separated by a semicolon. If you send this string to my Arduino he knows that I want to switch on the LEDs, in this example only red (255, full power). Green and blue remain zero. In this way, you can easily create several constants for single predefined colors. For example red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and another constant to switch everything on or off.

const char* CMD_RED = "led;255;0;0";
const char* CMD_GREEN = "led;0;255;0";
const char* CMD_BLUE = "led;0;0;255";
const char* CMD_CYAN = "led;0;255;255";
const char* CMD_MAGENTA = "led;255;0;255";

const char* CMD_ON = "led;255;255;255"; //all on
const char* CMD_OFF = "led;0;0;0"; //all off

I have thought about the following for the WLAN remote control. I need an on/off switch and a button to be able to click through all predefined colors. So if you press the button on the remote control for the first time, the LED bar should switch on completely, i.e. send CMD_ON. The next keypress switches red, click again blue, green, cyan, magenta and last but not least the LED switches off completely (CMD_OFF).

The code for this project uses the ESP8266Wifi library and should look something like this:

#include <ESP8266WiFi.h>

#include "WiFiUdp.h"

const char* ssid = "MYWLAN";
const char* password = "MY_WLAN_PASSWORD";
const char* host = "";

const char* CMD_RED = "led;255;0;0";
const char* CMD_GREEN = "led;0;255;0";
const char* CMD_BLUE = "led;0;0;255";
const char* CMD_CYAN = "led;0;255;255";
const char* CMD_MAGENTA = "led;255;0;255";

const char* CMD_ON = "led;255;255;255";
const char* CMD_OFF = "led;0;0;0";

char packetBuffer[255];
unsigned int udpPort = 10005;
WiFiUDP Udp;

const int pin_button = 2;

void setup() {

Serial.print("Connecting to ");


WiFi.begin(ssid, password);

while (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED) {

Serial.println("WiFi connected");
Serial.println("IP address: ");

Serial.print("UDP Port opened: "); Serial.println(udpPort);

pinMode(pin_button, INPUT_PULLUP);
Serial.println("PinMode INPUT_PULLUP - Button active!");;

void loop()
static int iCount = 0;

if (digitalRead(pin_button) == LOW)
Serial.print("Button pressed! Sending Cmd "); Serial.println(iCount);

Udp.beginPacket(host, udpPort);
switch (iCount)
case 0:
Udp.write(CMD_ON); break;
case 1:
Udp.write(CMD_RED); break;
case 2:
Udp.write(CMD_GREEN); break;
case 3:
Udp.write(CMD_BLUE); break;
case 4:
Udp.write(CMD_CYAN); break;
case 5:
Udp.write(CMD_MAGENTA); break;
case 6:
Udp.write(CMD_OFF); break;

if (iCount>6)
iCount = 0;


Take for example a ESP8266-ESP01, an on/off switch, a push button and a lithium-ion battery with 3.7V voltage (the ESP8266-ESP01 works with 3.3V). In addition you need some cables and if necessary terminals as well as two 1kOhm resistors. First you flash the ESP01 as described here with the program code shown above.

The circuit for the LED Strip WLAN remote control

The positive terminal of the battery is connected to the on/off switch, and from there it goes to the VCC and CH_PD PIN of the ESP01 WLAN chip.


Whereby you set a 1k Ohm resistor before CH_PD. The GND (ground pin) of the ESP01 is connected to the negative pole of the battery. Now you only need to connect the push button with a 1kOhm resistor to the negative pole of the battery and the other end to the GPIO2 of the WLAN module. The whole thing should look like this:

esp8266 wlan rc circuit / wiringI soldered this circuit with a soldering iron and fixed all interfaces with hot glue and isolated them at the same time. Now all I needed was a housing for the technology. So you have to measure everything - especially the size of the battery defines the size of the later case.

WLAN RC Case - 3D PrinterI designed a simple box with a lid into which everything fits exactly.

There are 2 openings in the top. A lock for the power switch, which separates the battery from everything else, as well as an opening for the push button.

The case was then printed with the 3D printer and PLA filament. After that insert the components.

The WLAN remote control for my LED strips looks like this when assembled:

esp8266 LED WLAN RemoteControlYou are welcome to send me your ideas, photos and comments and I will present them here as well. Comments, praise and constructive criticism are also welcome. Have fun by building your own and custom made family bed! 😉

Author: Sascha from

Author: Sascha

Some words about myself. My name is Sascha - i'm in my mid-30s and a software developer and martial artist from germany. Besides programming and martial arts some of my interests and hobbies are cooking, fitness and hearing loud heavy metal music. :D

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