How To Replace Sleigh Bed Rails – Step by Step
A sleigh bed is a bed that’s shaped like a sleigh, with a curved headboard and footboard. The different styles of sleigh beds available include solid wood with designs that create a simple and elegant appeal, upholstered versions made of different fabrics and finishes for an elegant touch, and metal sleigh beds that suit an antique design scheme. Whether you are looking to build a new sleigh bed or restore an old one, bed rails make the sleigh bed sturdy and attractive. In this article we’ll discuss how to replace sleigh bed rails in case they’re lost in a move, broken, or when they need an upgrade.
To replace sleigh bed rails, first measure the length and width of the current rails. The length of bed rails for a queen size bed is approximately 80 inches. The width and thickness of the bed rails will vary. Next, purchase bed rails that match and attach the hooks on the ends of the bed rails to the sleigh bed. Finally, attach the center support.
What Is a Sleigh Bed?
Sleigh beds come in styles ranging from high-quality wood designs to upholstered versions with a more streamlined appeal. The advantages of sleigh beds include their sleek appearance, the variety in their styles and designs, and the elevated foot board that helps keep you cozy. The disadvantages of sleigh beds include their cost, heavy weight, and limited leg room for tall people. Read our article on different sleigh bed styles to help you figure out the type of sleigh bed you want to buy.
A sleigh bed features a curved or scrolled footboard and headboard. Sleigh beds come in traditional styles as well as more modern versions that have less bulk and will take up less space in a bedroom.
How to Replace Sleigh Bed Rails
Bed rails are used as a support because they keep the frame strong and rigid, and they prevent the mattress from slipping off the bed. Bed rails are part of the design of the sleigh bed and can be exaggerated or understated. Read our article on sleigh bed ideas to enhance your bedroom and to learn more about the various types of sleigh beds. Bed rails are often part of the design and are visible, so they need to be replaced when they get damaged.
To replace sleigh bed rails, first measure the dimensions of the current rails, then purchase bed rails that match that measurement, next attach the ends of the bed rails to the sleigh bed, and finally attach the center support.
1. Measure the Dimensions of the Current Rail’s Box Frame
The correct way to measure the rail’s dimensions is by using a measuring tape. Start by removing one side rail. Remember that the fasteners are usually on the end of each rail. The length of one rail is measured from the far top edge of the rail to the bottom edge of the rail. The width is measured from the far left edge to the far right edge of the rail. In the image below you’ll notice the different dimensions for a sleigh bed rail. You need to know the length, width, and thickness. However, other specialized dimensions may also be necessary. Call a company like GarrettSupports that focuses on making sleigh bed rails for any additional dimensions your bed might need.
2. Buy a New Bed Rail that Matches the Measured Dimensions
Now that you have the rail’s dimensions, make sure to select durable materials that can hold the weight of both the mattress and the sleeper. Sleigh beds come in a wide range of materials, including upholstery, and various metals and solid wood.
Bed rails can be made entirely of wood, which makes the bed frame heavy and hard to move, or made entirely of metal, which is lighter and has a more contemporary look. They can even be designed in upholstered finishes for a more luxurious feel in a room. This upholstered sleigh bed from Amazon comes in various colors and is the pinnacle of luxury.
In general you’ll want to choose a sleigh bed rail that matches the same material as your bed. Amazon has several bed rails that you can purchase with different finishes.
|Material||Example on Amazon||Price|
|Wooden, Dark Color||Ashley Furniture Component Sleigh Bed Rails||~$60|
|Wooden, Light Color||Ashley Furniture Catalina Bed Rails||~80|
|Metal||Malouf Metal Bed Rails with Cross-wires||~$60|
3. Attach The Ends of Each Bed Rail
If your new rails don’t come with fasteners, make sure to purchase some separately. The fasteners are on the inside of each rail and are designed to fit into slots on the bedpost, which look like keyholes.
Use screws to secure the fastener on the rails to the bedposts so that the side rails are attached to the foot and headboard of the sleigh bed. Read our article on sleigh beds versus canopy beds to find out more about their similarities and differences.
4. Attach Center Supports
Some bed frames contain side rails which are connected with middle board rails that keep the mattress from sagging in the center. Center supports add extra mattress comfort and support, and prolong the warranty of your mattress. Before purchasing center supports you should measure the width of the inner bed frame from side to side and determine the length of the center beam. This video explains how to install the center support and bed rails on a bed.
Below are examples of sleigh bed rails from amazon with their prices:
|Amazon Example Products||What Makes These Bed Rails Worth Purchasing||Price|
|Hook-On Wood Bed Rails, Queen||They are durable and made of strong wood||~$200|
|Universal Full Size Replacement Bed Rails with Claws||They come with slats/ hooks and a 5 year warranty||~$190|
|Dark Finish Bed Rails with Hooks||They provide a lifetime service policy and come with hook plates||~$180|
Should You Replace or Fix Sleigh Bed Rails?
Replacing items in your house is often easy. However, when it comes to your bed, it is more challenging to know when to purchase replacement items and fittings. Bed rails are used as a support on wooden beds, they join onto the bedpost on the front and onto a similar rail at the back. Over time, the bed rails can become worn and damaged and it becomes necessary to either fix the problem or completely replace the bed rails.
Replace sleigh bed rails to quickly fix broken, lost, or warped bed rails. Replacement rails are also useful when the bed no longer matches bedroom design. Fix sleigh bed rails to save money, to replace loose and old screws holding the fasteners, or when the color and finishing of the rails wears off. Do not try to fix a bed rail with cracks, replace it instead.
When to Replace Sleigh Bed Rails
If your sleigh bed rails are really old, damaged, broken, or can no longer hold weight, then consider replacing them. Creaks are usually the first sign that your bed rails are old and might need replacing. Replacing rails will save you a lot of time especially if you are not familiar with wood-work or metal-work techniques.
If you find cracks, splits, or irregularities in the rails, it means that the rails are no longer safe and need to be replaced. In that case, make sure to replace the rails to prevent the sleigh bed from collapsing over time. This article from Informit discusses the safety of adequate bed rails.
Consider replacing the bed rails if you’ve redecorated your bedroom and the bed no longer matches the new decor. Replacing the rails would cost less than buying a whole new sleigh bed. Keep in mind that buying new rails can be expensive and require accurate measuring so that the bed rails fit the sleigh bed.
When to Fix Sleigh Bed Rails
Sometimes, sleigh bed rails need repair instead of replacement. If you see scratches on the bed rails, then fix them by applying some new paint and lacquer. Some simple cracks can be fixed by applying strong glue and spreading it around the cracks however, the general recommendation is to replace cracked bed rails. Check with the manufacturer of your sleigh bed if you need more details and advice on whether to fix or replace the sleigh bed rails. Leave any glue that you use to fix cracks to dry overnight. STLbeds, a manufacturer of beds and bed rails, discusses more details about fixing bed rails here.
If the bed rails have extensive damage to the surface due to humidity, sunlight, or the finish is wearing off, then you can sand the rails and spray them with coats of lacquer to give them a fresh look. You can use a spray lacquer like this one from Amazon, or a water-based lacquer like this one.
Check the screws holding the fasteners to the bed rails to make sure they haven’t loosened over time, if they are loose you can fix the issue by replacing the screws and securing the fasteners. Having the proper tools and correctly sized attachment to fasten bolts is important when undertaking a bed repair. We recommend this 25 piece bolt fastener set from Amazon for all those household repairs.
If you're still looking to buy a sleigh bed, make sure to take a look at our sleigh bed height guide that will help you find the right bed for your room and your needs. Do you think a sleigh bed is too big for your space? Take a look at 6 ways to use sleigh beds in a small apartment too.
Types of Sleigh Bed Rails - Some That Can Save You Time During Sleigh Bed Rail Replacement
When replacing the rails of a sleigh bed, you may be unaware of the variety of options available. From bolt on sleigh bed rails to bed rails with hooks, we discuss different types of sleigh bed rails that will save you time during sleigh bed rails replacement.
Types of sleigh bed rails include bolt on sleigh bed rails, bed rails with hooks, and antique wooden bed rails.
1. Bolt on Sleigh Bed Rails
Bolt on sleigh bed rails connect to a headboard and footboard to create a sturdy frame for your bed. The rails provide support with bolt-on connection brackets to accommodate most bolts on headboards and footboards.
Bolt on Sleigh Bed Rails are different from the hook-on bed rails because they are not as easy to install. However, they tend to be more stable. At least three holes need to be drilled on the thinnest surface of the rails. For extra stability add screws on the side of the bed rails.
2. Bed Rails with Hooks
Hook on bed rails have hooks on the end of the rails that slide into the head and footboard and usually slide down into grooves in the headboard and footboard, which securely locks the bed rail in place.
They work best on wooden bed frames. Try to find rails that already have hooks inserted in them to save time when replacing the rails.
If you can’t find bed rails with hooks already attached then you can buy these catch and hook plates from Amazon to make your own bed rails with hooks.
3. Antique Wooden Bed Rails
Antique wooden bed rails are rare and expensive sleigh bed rail replacements. Generally, you’ll need to buy these directly from a manufacturer, especially if they have intricate carvings.
Modern versions of the classic wooden bed rails are just as durable but quite heavy so it will take a couple of people to move the bed and replace the rails without damaging either the bed or the rails.
If you're interested, make sure to also read our related article on how to replace a sleigh bed footboard too.
Does a Sleigh Bed Need a Boxspring? It Might Depend on Your Bed Rails
A box spring is a sturdy surface that people tend to put underneath their mattress to add an extra layer of support, extra height, or to even out weight distribution. If your sleigh bed rails come with a center support and allow for slats to be placed on the bed rails, make sure that the slats are spaced properly.
Sleigh beds with weak slats or very few slats and no center support need a box spring. Generally, if the slats are more than 2 inches apart, then the mattress will sag in between the gaps and deteriorate faster.
If your sleigh bed comes with a foundation support board, then the outer bed frame edges and the central base are enough to provide all the support needed to support the mattress properly without a box spring. Read our article to find out more about when your sleigh bed needs a box spring.