Relax in this Hamptons-style swinging day bed

Build a Hamptons-style day bed perfect for whiling away a lazy afternoon.

Swinging day bed

Don’t we all love a little luxury?

And what is more luxurious than reclining on a gently swinging day bed on a lazy afternoon with a good book or your special someone.

Sound good?

If you have the location, and a day or two to spare, for just a modest outlay you can build this beautiful day bed and enjoy that kind of comfort for years to come.

Our structure was designed around a standard king single mattress, which can be sourced easily and cheaply.

This size is enough for two to stretch out on and relax in comfort.

The broad arms are ideal for resting a cuppa, glass of something fizzy, or even a snack plate.

Best of all, we employed easily obtained materials and simple construction techniques, so anyone with even moderate handyman skills and a few tools can have a go.

Woodhouse Weatherproof timber was used.

This is an engineered pine that is easy to work with, structurally very sound and will withstand whatever the elements throw at it.

It is available at your local Bunnings.

When it comes to hanging the finished day bed, you can either modify an existing structure or build a dedicated frame or pergola.

The bed itself with mattress weighs approximately 80kg. With two adults on board, this could be as much as 300kg.

We reinforced an existing awning by adding an additional beam to carry the extra weight; some knee braces were added to post-beam junctions to give extra stability to the entire structure.

If you are in any doubt about the integrity of the structure, seek advice on the design, reinforcement and bracing of the frame that will carry the new day bed.

Finally, the Suntuf polycarbonate roofing on our pergola was extended by 900mm to provide weather protection for the day bed.

This was done by extending the existing rafters with 1.8m lengths of 90 x 42 Weatherproof.

We simply lapped the first 900mm of the extension and screwed it to the existing rafters with batten screws and added an additional outside batten to fix the polycarbonate to.

A quick word on method
A quick word on method
Stuart Scott

The general method of assembling the bed was to clamp the work securely before fixing joints, and/or tack the work with glue and brads before checking for square and then fixing more securely with batten screws.

When fixing with batten screws, it is important to first drill 4.5mm pilot holes.

In some cases, particularly when fixing material close to its ends, it is also advisable to countersink the hole and drill 6mm clearance holes through the material being fixed in order to avoid splits.

Don’t overtighten the screws!

Build the day bed - Assemble the lower frame
Build the day bed - Assemble the lower frame
Stuart Scott

Cut the lower frame sections to length ensuring your cuts are square and accurate.

Loose assemble the frame and clamp the work securely, ensuring the frame is square.

Drill 4.5mm pilot holes and countersink to a depth of around 40mm before securing with two 125mm batten screws at each butt joint.

TIP After Woodhouse Weatherproof timber has been cut, it is important to refinish the exposed areas in order to maintain the integrity of the material and ensure that the structure remains weatherproof and will last for years.

Simply apply a wood preservative to the cut and then refinish with a quality wood primer.

Cut and fix the ledgers, slats and lower brace
 Cut and fix the ledgers, slats and lower brace
Stuart Scott

Cut the ledgers to length. Mark the frame 36mm below the top and fix the ledgers with 5 x 75mm batten screws after drilling 4.5mm pilot holes.

Cut seat slats to length and fix with 3 x 64mm brad nails and PVA adhesive at each end.

Flip, cut the brace, and fix lengthways down the centre to the frame ends with batten screws, and to the slats with brads and adhesive.

TIP When repeat fixing the base and back slats, cut spacer blocks to ensure your work is consistent and tidy.

Beware of accumulating errors: a few millimetres here and there can add up to glaring errors if allowed to accumulate.

Attach back posts and upper and lower supports
Attach back posts and upper and lower supports
Stuart Scott

Cut the back posts and supports to length.

Apply adhesive and tack the back posts in place square to and flush with the bottom of the frame and 140mm from the ends.

Fix the lower support with batten screws flush with posts.

Notch the upper support to fit around the posts and fix with glue and batten screws.

Check the posts are square and fix off with 2 batten screws to the lower frame and 1 screw to the lower support.

TIP When performing repetitive cutting on your drop saw, set up a stop at the required length.

Most saw stands have a mechanism that makes this quick, easy and accurate.

Hang your new day bed
Hang your new day bed
Stuart Scott

Fix a reinforcing bracket to the underside of the frame at each corner.

Drill 10mm holes through both frame and bracket 70mm and 200mm from ends.

At 70mm, insert eye bolts, and at 200mm, fix with cup head bolts.

Secure the chain to the bed with shackles.

We reinforced our existing 185 x 42mm outside beam with a second 185 x 42mm beam.

The new beam was fixed to the existing beam through 42mm spacer blocks with cup head bolts at 600mm intervals and seated to the inside of the existing posts.

The anchor points for the bed were reinforced with a T bracket front and back and an additional spacer block adjacent to the anchor points.

The T brackets were bolted through both beams with hex head bolts.

The lower hex head bolt was used to swing the bed via chain and shackles.

This assembly was further braced and reinforced with knee braces to stabilise lateral movement of the structure and keep it safe.

Dynamics and balance
Dynamics and balance
Stuart Scott

A gentle back-and-forward rocking motion is more comfortable than a side-to-side movement.

This will also be less inclined to knock into adjacent items or structures and place less strain on your supporting structures.

We set out anchor points 200mm wider at the beam than at the bed.

This has the effect of correcting any sideways movement.

When hanging, we allowed an extra chain link on the back chains, which inclines the bed slightly backwards.

This, along with a 5mm depression between slats and frame, discourages the mattress from sliding off the seat and makes the bed more comfortable for reclining on.

Some common sense is required. While eight adults may be able to squeeze onto the bed, it is not advisable to do so.

Likewise, swinging an 80kg bed with a 100kg load on board like a playground swing is likely to be dangerous and could result in possible injury.

DIY Tip: If at all uncertain about the integrity of your structure, or the steps needed to reinforce it, you must seek engineering advice.

Materials and cutting list

Handy how-to video
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