How to Build a Bed Rail

If you have a child or an elderly person living in your home, it may be necessary to build a bed rail for their safety. Bed rails are used to prevent falling from the bed and provide support when getting in and out of bed. The following instructions will guide you on how to build a bed rail.

How to Build a Bed Rail

Necessary Items

  • Wooden board (2×4 inches) – 4 feet long
  • Hand saw or circular saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or marker
  • Screws and drill

8 Things to Know About Bed Rails for Safety and Security

1) Prevent Falls

Falling from the bed can result in serious injuries, especially for children and older adults. Bed rails help to prevent falls by providing a barrier between the person and the edge of the bed. And if they do accidentally fall, the rail can help cushion the impact and prevent more serious injuries.

2) Provide Support

Getting in and out of bed can be difficult for some individuals, especially those with mobility issues. Bed rails provide a sturdy support to hold onto while standing or sitting on the bed, making it easier and safer for them to get up or down.

3) Adjustable Height

One of the advantages of building your own bed rail is that you can customize it to the specific height needed. This ensures maximum support and comfort for the individual using it. Like most things, the height of bed rails is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

4) Easy to Install

Building and installing a bed rail is a simple process that can be done in just a few steps. This makes it an easy DIY project for anyone, even if you have limited experience with woodworking. While there are pre-made bed rails available on the market, building your own allows you to save money and customize it to your needs.

5) Fits Any Bed Size

Adjust the Length of the Wooden Board

Whether you have a twin, full, queen, or king-sized bed, you can easily build a bed rail to fit. Simply adjust the length of the wooden board accordingly. This makes it a versatile solution for any type of bed.

6) Lightweight and Portable

One concern with adding bed rails is the potential to make the bed too heavy or difficult to move.

However, if you use a lightweight material like wood, it will only add a little weight to the bed and can easily be removed if needed. This makes it a practical option for individuals who travel frequently or move between different beds.

7) Can be Painted or Stained

While bed rails are primarily functional, they can also contribute to the overall aesthetics of the room. You can choose to paint or stain the wooden board to match the existing furniture in the room. This allows you to not only add support and safety but also improve the visual appeal of the bed.

8) Regular Maintenance is Required

Like any other furniture, bed rails also require regular maintenance to ensure they remain safe and sturdy. Inspect the screws and joints regularly to make sure they are secure, and replace any damaged or worn-out parts as needed.

Bed rails are an important safety feature for individuals who may have difficulty getting in and out of bed or are at risk of falling. By following these simple steps, you can easily build and install a bed rail to provide support, prevent falls, and improve the overall safety and security of your loved ones. Remember to regularly check and maintain the bed rail to ensure it continues to serve its purpose effectively. 

So, it is important to know the necessary items for building bed rails and also understand their benefits and maintenance requirements to keep your loved ones safe and secure.

12 Steps on How to Build a Bed Rail

Step 1: Gather Materials

The first step is to gather all the necessary materials listed above. Make sure you have everything you need before starting the project. Therefore, you won’t have to interrupt your work later on. If you still need to include any items, make a trip to the hardware store before getting started.

Step 2: Measure and Mark

Measure the length of your bed using a measuring tape. Then, mark the measurements on the wooden board with a pencil or marker. Double-check your measurements to ensure accuracy. While most bed frames have a standard length, it is always better to measure and be sure.

Step 3: Cut the Wood

Cut the Wooden Board

Using a hand saw or circular saw carefully cut the wooden board to your desired length. Remember to wear protective gear and follow safety instructions when using any tools. Double-check that the cuts are straight and accurate.

Step 4: Sand the Edges

After cutting, use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges or splinters. This will prevent injuries and make the bed rail more comfortable to use. So, take this step! And remember to wear a dust mask when sanding.

Step 5: Measure the Height

Next, measure the height of your bed from the floor to the top of the mattress. This will determine how tall your bed rail needs to be. Make sure to account for any additional padding on the mattress. While standard bed rails are typically 18 inches tall, you can customize the height to your specific needs.

Step 6: Cut Support Pieces

Using the remaining wooden board, cut two identical pieces that will serve as the support for the bed rail. Make sure they are at least 2 inches shorter than your desired height to allow room for attaching them later on.

Step 7: Sand the Support Pieces

Just like in step 4, sand down any rough edges or splinters on the support pieces. This will prevent injuries and make them more comfortable to handle. Because these pieces are smaller, you can use sandpaper or an electric sander for a quicker and easier job.

Step 8: Drill Holes

Drill Holes in the Support Pieces

Using a drill with the appropriate bit, drill holes in the support pieces where they will attach to the bed frame. Make sure the holes are evenly spaced and centered on the piece. You can use a ruler or measuring tape to ensure accuracy.

Step 9: Attach the Support Pieces

Using screws, attach the support pieces to the main bed rail board. Make sure they are securely attached and aligned with the pre-drilled holes. These support pieces will provide extra stability and strength to the bed rail.

Step 10: Add Foam Padding

For added comfort, you can choose to add foam padding to the bed rail. Cut a piece of foam to match the size of your bed rail and attach it using adhesive or by wrapping it tightly with fabric. While this step is optional, it can make a big difference in the comfort of the bed rail.

Step 11: Paint or Stain

If you choose to paint or stain your bed rail, now is the time to do so. Make sure to follow all instructions and allow proper drying time before installing the bed rail on your bed frame. And remember to protect your work area and wear protective gear while painting or staining.

Step 12: Install the Bed Rail

Place the Rail Between the Mattress

Finally, it is time to install the bed rail on your bed frame. Place the rail between the mattress and box spring, adjusting it to your desired height. Make sure it is securely attached to the support pieces and test its stability before using it. And that’s it!

You now have a custom-built bed rail to provide support and safety for yourself or your loved ones.

Following these 12 steps on how to build a bed rail, you can easily build and install a bed rail in just a few hours. Remember to regularly check and maintain the bed rail to ensure its effectiveness and safety.

With this simple DIY project, you can improve the overall safety and security of your bedroom and give yourself peace of mind.  So, why wait? Gather your materials and get started on building a bed rail today! 

8 Things to Avoid When Building a Bed Rail

1. Using Weak or Low-quality Materials

When building a bed rail, it is crucial to use strong and sturdy materials that can support the weight and movement of an individual. Avoid using weak or low-quality wood that may break or warp over time. This could compromise the safety and effectiveness of the bed rail.

2. Not Measuring Accurately

Incorrect measurements can lead to a poorly fitting bed rail or one that needs to be longer to provide adequate support. Always measure multiple times and double-check your measurements before cutting any materials.

3. Skipping Sanding

Sanding the edges and surfaces of the bed rail not only makes it more comfortable but also prevents injuries from rough edges or splinters. Take advantage of this step! It only takes a few minutes and can make a big difference.

4. Not Drilling Properly

Properly drilling holes in the support pieces is crucial for the stability and strength of the bed rail. Make sure to use the correct bit size and evenly space out the holes for maximum effectiveness. While it may be tempting to skip this step, it is essential for the overall quality of the bed rail.

5. Ignoring Safety Precautions

Always wear protective gear such as safety glasses and a dust mask when using tools or working with materials. Follow all safety instructions for the tools you are using to prevent accidents and injuries.

6. Using Incorrect Hardware

Weak Screws Can Compromise the Stability

It is important to use the correct screws and other hardware when building a bed rail. Using too short or weak screws can compromise the stability and safety of the rail. When in doubt, ask for assistance at your local hardware store.

7. Not Testing the Stability

Before using the bed rail, make sure to test its stability by pushing and pulling on it from different angles. If it feels wobbly or unstable, reinforce it with additional screws or support pieces. This step is crucial for ensuring your safety or that of a loved one using the bed rail.

8. Forgetting to Protect Your Work Area

When painting or staining your bed rail, remember to protect your work area with drop cloths or newspaper. This will prevent any spills or stains on your floors or furniture.

It is also important to properly dispose of any materials used during the project to keep your workspace clean and safe.  Overall, building a bed rail is a simple and rewarding DIY project that can improve the safety and comfort of your bedroom.

Just remember to follow these steps and avoid common mistakes for a successful and effective end result.  So go ahead, build your own bed rail, and enjoy peace of mind knowing you have taken an important step towards creating a safer sleeping environment.

8 Additional Tips for Bed Rail Safety

1. Regularly Check and Maintain the Bed Rail

Just like any other piece of furniture, it is important to regularly check and maintain your bed rail for its effectiveness and safety. Inspect the screws and support pieces for any signs of wear or damage and replace them if necessary.

2. Adjust as Needed

As we age or our abilities change, our bed rail needs may also change. Be sure to regularly adjust the height and position of the bed rail to best suit your needs. As a caregiver, this is especially important for monitoring the safety and comfort of your loved one.

3. Be Mindful of Weight Limits

Bed Rails Have Weight Limits

Before using a bed rail, make sure it can support the weight of the person who will be using it. Most bed rails have weight limits, so be sure to check before purchasing or building one. Therefore, it may be necessary to have different bed rails for different individuals.

4. Educate Yourself on Proper Use

It is important to educate yourself and others on the proper use of a bed rail. This includes knowing how to properly install it, adjust it, and use it for maximum safety and effectiveness. Be sure to read any instructions and follow all safety guidelines.

5. Keep the Area Around the Bed Clear

To prevent tripping hazards, make sure the area around the bed rail is clear of any clutter or objects. This will also make it easier for individuals to get in and out of bed safely. So, be sure to keep the path to and around the bed clear at all times.

6. Consider Using Padding

For added safety and comfort, consider using padding along the bed rail. This can prevent injuries from bumping into the rail or provide a more comfortable surface to lean against. Just make sure the padding is securely attached and does not compromise the stability of the bed rail.

7. Don’t Forget About Bedside Tables

If you have a bedside table next to the bed, make sure it is securely attached and won’t tip over if someone leans on the bed rail. This can provide additional support and stability for individuals using the rail.

8. Seek Professional Help if Needed

If building or installing a bed rail seems too challenging or overwhelming, feel free to seek professional help. There are many resources available for finding and installing bed rails that meet your specific needs. Your safety and peace of mind is worth the investment.

A bed rail can be a valuable addition to any bedroom, providing support and protection for individuals of all ages. By following these tips on how to build a bed rail and taking proper precautions, you can ensure the safety and effectiveness of your bed rail for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use a Bed Rail on Any Bed?

It is important to make sure your bed frame and mattress are compatible with the type of bed rail you plan to use. Some bed rails may only be suitable for certain types of beds, such as platform or adjustable beds. It is best to consult with the manufacturer or a professional before purchasing or installing a bed rail.

How Do I Know What Type of Bed Rail to Use?

Height Adjustments, and Compatibility With Your Bed

There are various types of bed rails available, each with its own features and benefits. It is important to consider factors such as weight limits, height adjustments, and compatibility with your bed before selecting a bed rail. You can also consult with a medical professional or occupational therapist for recommendations based on your specific needs.

Can I Build My Own Bed Rail?

Yes, you can build your own bed rail as long as you have the proper materials and follow safety precautions. However, it is important to keep in mind that DIY bed rails may not be as sturdy or durable as those purchased from a reputable manufacturer.

So, it is important to use caution and regularly check and maintain your DIY bed rail for safety.  Lastly, if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to seek professional help. Your safety and the safety of those around you should always be the top priority when building or using a bed rail. 


Bed rails provide an important safety measure for individuals who may have difficulty getting in and out of bed or need something to hold onto while sleeping.

By following these tips on how to build a bed rail, you can ensure the effectiveness and safety of your bed rail for a comfortable and secure night’s sleep.

Always remember to regularly check and maintain your bed rail, adjust as needed, educate yourself on proper use, and seek professional help if needed. With these precautions in mind, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you have taken an important step towards creating a safer sleeping environment.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

Leave a Comment