Under-Bed Storage Box
Those few inches of empty space under the bed are a great place to store extra pillows, sheets, blankets, and off-season clothing such as sweaters. Martha and style editor Tom Tamborello transform an Ikea under-bed storage box into an elegant piece that will look attractive under any bed.
The box is covered with a textured grass-cloth wall covering, made of woven strands of grass attached to a paper backing. The corners of the box are covered in strips of leather, which not only look nice but also decrease the likelihood that the box will damage the legs of your bed. The leather is attached to the wood with shoemaker's glue, a strong type of rubber cement -- when you use it, make sure to work in a well-ventilated space.
To keep dust out, Martha and Tom fashion a canvas cover, which they attach to the corners of the box with large snap fasteners from a marine-supply store. Then they insert a piece of cedar plywood into the bottom of the box because its fresh scent deters moths.
You can also make your own under-bed storage box out of an orphan drawer: Use the same technique to decorate and cover the drawer, then attach wheels to the bottom.
- Prefabricated under-bed storage box
- Wallpaper primer
- Tape measure
- Grass-cloth wallpaper
- Wallpaper adhesive
- Pieces of wooden lattice
- Oak tag or thick construction paper
- Utility knife
- Shoemaker's glue
- Small brush
- Sewing machine
- 4 large snap fasteners
- Snap-installation tool (comes with snap fasteners)
- Cedar plywood, cut to fit bottom of box
Assemble the under-bed storage box according to manufacturer's instructions, but don't add the wheels yet. With a paintbrush, apply a coat of wallpaper primer to all surfaces of the box except the inside bottom. Allow to dry for at least 2 hours.
Measure the inside length and outside height of box. Cut two pieces of grass-cloth wall covering to dimensions that equal the inside length by twice the outside height of the box. (Since you won't be covering the corners of the box, you don't need to worry about its outside length. And since the grass cloth will wrap around the underside of the box about an inch, you don't need to adjust for the shorter inside height.)
Measure the inside width of the box, and cut two more pieces of grass cloth equal to the inside width by twice the outside height of the box.
Apply a thin layer of wallpaper adhesive to one side of the box, inside and out. Starting from the inside, carefully lay down one of the pieces of grass cloth cut to fit that side. Make sure it's lined up properly and tightly wrapped around the top edges and bottom edge (where it will curve around about an inch) of the box. Smooth the surface with your hand. Repeat with the three remaining sides, making sure that the pattern in the grass cloth runs in the same direction on all the sides.
Place pieces of wooden lattice on both sides of the top edges of the box, and apply clamps until the glue dries.
Measure the outside height of the box and the thickness of its edge. Cut a rectangular strip of oak tag or thick construction paper 2 inches longer than the height and 2 inches wider than the edge; this will be your template for cutting strips of leather for the corners. Measure 1 inch from each end of the template, and cut a wide notch, or chevron, down to that point. Lay the template on the leather, and trace around its edges with a utility knife; use the same template to cut three more corner strips.
Apply a thin layer of shoemaker's glue with a small brush to the corners of the box. Wait at least 5 minutes or up to about 4 hours (check label instructions) for the glue to be ready. Then fold the leather corner strips over the corners of the box, folding the V-shaped ends together to make neat mitered corners at top and bottom. Trim off any excess leather at the corners with a utility knife.
Cut out a piece of canvas to the exterior dimensions of your box plus 3 extra inches in both width and length. Machine-sew a neat 1-inch hem around the edge of the canvas.
Stretch the canvas over all four corners of the box. At each corner, poke a small hole with an awl and a hammer. Put the post of the snap fastener through the canvas where you've poked it with the awl, and place the stud on top of it. Using the snap-installation tool, hammer the post until it is firmly attached to the stud. Repeat with the three remaining snaps.
Screw the bottom part of the snap into the corner of the box where you've already made an indentation with the awl; repeat with three remaining corners.
Attach the wheels to the bottom of the box according to manufacturer's instructions.
Insert a piece of cedar plywood into the bottom of the box. The cedar doesn't need to be fastened down, since you may want to remove it later so you can sand it to reactivate its scent.