Installing an Affordable Adjustable Bed on an RV
The absolute BEST thing we did on board our class A motorhome (with NO SLIDES!) to increase space was to replace the existing queen sized mattress and its storage base with an adjustable wall-hugger bed-frame and a foam mattress. We weren’t sure about buying a mattress online, sight unseen, firmness unchecked, but we took a leap and nearly a year later, we can honestly say, we’re so glad we did! We got a great deal – less than half the price quoted by certain companies who say they discount mattresses – AND our adjustable bed base purchase was delivered quickly through regular old Amazon Prime delivery service. No tying our mattress or base to the roof or paying extra for delivery and setup!
Below we’ll show you how we removed the built-in plywood bed base in the RV bedroom, installed the new adjustable bed base and put the bedroom back together with more space, storage under the bed, and a better flow around the room, which also doubles as our two-person office. Oh, by the way – this post contains affiliate links through which we earn money to help pay for our travels so if you click a link, be advised. 😀
Replacing the Original RV Bed with an Adjustable Bedan efficient liveaboard, work aboard office space) and the bed which was flanked by two uneven nightstands – one 8″ wide and the other 21″ wide (the one on the right is under the stack of pillows). The corian ledge alongside the closet extended past the edge of the engine hump (which is at the base of that cavernous closet), and was less than 12″ from the side of the bed. The ginormous headboard (which became a desk surface in our office) blocked most of the window, and the day/night shade was locked into an always night position. Pffft! I like to see the sun rise sometimes in the morning, or watch a lightning storm overhead.
Because neither one of us is overly tall and we don’t mind snuggling up at night, we decided that for our purposes, a full or double sized bed (53″ x 75″) would work just as well for us as a queen sized bed (60″ x 80″), and would give us more room to maneuver and would also make the bedroom, which was going to house a LOT of stuff along with the office, feel less claustrophobic. We had the freedom to change bed sizes partially because we were already committed to replacing the flooring, plus it would also save us money on both the cost of the adjustable base and the replacement mattress, not to mention the ongoing cost of sheets, blankets and other bedding.
Removing the Bed Base
Below you can see that the base of the bed on the RV was made of heavy plywood and a welded steel frame. The platform on which the mattress rested had a hydraulic lift so that the space underneath could be accessed. A couple of things we had to work around: the bus transfer switch is located under the bed, and there is an electrical run from the front of the bus to the back along the floor under the headboard area that both had to be accommodated. Also, unfortunately, we found that the prior owners did not re-carpet under the bed when they replaced the RV carpet, so new flooring was added to our list. Cha-ching. Sigh. Even more reason to save money by buying our RV bedroom makeover splurges online.
Using a couple of pry bars and a hammer or two, we delighted our neighbors with the sounds of deconstruction for most of a Saturday afternoon. The massive steel frame was passed along to a fellow RVer and the plywood was sent to the recycling yard. The carpet was well and truly trash. 😉 Underneath the carpet, we found dozens and dozens of carpet tacks and staples that had to be removed one by one with a pair of vice grips and or a small prybar.
Installing Carpet and Managing Electrical
Once the carpet was up, the bed base was brought in to make sure the housing for the heavy duty electrical for the transfer switch would fit between the legs of the bed. Because of the narrower base, the transfer switch parts had to be gently rearranged and then a
plywood housing was built around all the electrical so that it would be protected and out of sight under the bed. Even with all this under the bed, we have space for out of season clothing storage in four storage boxes underneath.
Then…finally, it was time to lay down carpet padding, tack strips and new carpet. We went to a local flooring store, and chose a beautiful deep red loop carpet with a very subtle dot pattern – I love it! It covers not only the floor, but also the sides and top of the desk area (the engine hump) and lends rich color to the room (can you tell which color is my favorite? It’s certainly not brown!). We vacuum almost daily and it’s not showing any signs of wear a year later.
Installing the Adjustable Bed Base
The adjustable bed base itself came almost fully assembled in its box as delivered via UPS by Amazon.com. There was a hardware pack that included a metal bar that holds the mattress in place at the foot end, the remote, instructions, braces to attach a headboard and the hardware to go with it and our choice of 7″ legs or 11″ legs – we went with the shorter and simply screwed them into the four corners – easy peasy! Instructions are easy to follow and in several languages. The only reason I couldn’t have done this myself is that it’s big enough to need two people to carry it, but really – it couldn’t have been simpler to set up.
Once we had the legs attached, we flipped it over, plugged the bed in (this is where I realize that I wish we’d had a dedicated outlet for the bed installed under the bed, but oh, well…), topped it with our new memory foam mattress and we were ready to flop. Because there was concern about the bed moving if there was a sudden stop while driving we had donut-shaped “plates” made from plywood (spray-painted black) that fit around the legs and can be screwed down to the plywood subfloor, but because of the snug fit around the electrical transfer box under the bed, there’s been no movement.
Adjustable, Wall-Hugger Bed Base – Video
One year later, we’re thrilled with our choices and how much more room and flexibility we have with the adjustable bed. We can sit up and read, relax in a “zero-gravity” position that’s heaven for my back, or lie flat to sleep. Read our review of our natural memory foam mattress (now that we’ve slept on it), and find out what affordable adjustable bed we found online.