How to Turn a Sleigh Bed Into a Porch Swing

Repurposing an old sleigh bed frame into a porch swing is a great way to bring the comfort and elegance of your bedroom to your outdoor living space. The construction process is interesting, and you’ll be eager to see the final result. You can come up with unique designs that make the porch swing an absolute show-stopper for taking naps while enjoying the airy comfortable environment. We’ll cover how to turn a sleigh bed into a porch swing in this article. 

To turn a sleigh bed into a porch swing, clear everything off the sleigh bed, dismantle its frame and decide on the porch swing dimensions. Then use the headboard to make the back of the porch swing, modify the sleigh bed box to make the base of the porch swing, use the side rails to make the porch swing arms, and add wood supports at the base to attach the rope. Next sand everything down, add the rope and attach it to the desired location, paint or stain the porch swing, and finally customize the cushions and decorations.

Repurposing old furniture is a great way to create unique statement pieces on a budget. For more ideas on remodeling old sleigh beds read our article on turning a sleigh bed into a couch

What Is a Sleigh Bed?

A sleigh bed is popular for its sturdiness, elegance, and unique shape. There are several components to a sleigh bed which include its often ornate head and footboards, as well as the side rails that add to the sleigh bed’s elegant features.

A sleigh bed is a style of bed that curves outward at the headboard and footboard, giving the bed the shape of a sleigh or sled. Sleigh beds can be manufactured using wood or metal, and can even be upholstered for a luxurious look. 

Although sleigh beds go back to the 1800s, they are timeless and work well in both traditional and contemporary design schemes. They are available in a wide variety of styles from wood, to metal, aluminum, iron, steel, and upholstered versions, all of which can be repurposed into different pieces of furniture. Read our article on sleigh bed styles to learn more about the wide variety of sleigh beds that are available. 

Repurposing a sleigh bed with unique curves and design into a porch swing can give you some amazing looks. This traditional wooden sleigh bed can be reconfigured in interesting ways to make a unique porch swing. Image from Amazon.

Before you repurpose your bed, you might also be interested in how to maximize your storage space with a sleigh bed. Make sure to check out our related guide to sleigh bed lift kits to find more information. Additionally, you may find interest in these 5 ways to modernize a sleigh bed and give it a makeover too.

Why Repurpose a Sleigh Bed into a Porch Swing? 

You can convert a sleigh bed into a fabulous porch swing and utilize the unique curves of the bed. A porch swing adds a unique touch to your home more than a traditional bench or dining banquette. Read our article on how to turn a sleigh bed into a bench for more repurposing ideas. 

Not only does it give a warm summer day mood to your home, but it also adds a whimsical element to your outdoor space. When you think of a porch swing, you can imagine yourself reading a nice book, having a cup of coffee, or enjoying a wonderful afternoon or evening with your favorite person. 

Repurposing a sleigh bed into a porch swing allows you to make use of the unique curves of an old piece of furniture, save money, and create a beautiful statement piece of furniture. 

Materials Needed to Turn a Sleigh Bed into a Porch Swing

Materials Purpose Amazon Product Example Price
Tape Measurer To take measurements before cutting any parts of the sleigh bed. Amazon Basics Self-Locking Tape Measure (5-Meters) ~$10
Jig Saw To cut curved lines and modify the side rails to make the arms of the swing.  Black+Decker Jig Saw, Smart Select, 5.0-Amp  ~$30
Screwdriver To unscrew and disassemble the components of the bed.  8 in 1 Screwdriver ~$10
Screws To attach different components together. Stainless Steel Self Tapping Screws Set 660 PCS ~$30
Nails To add more support to parts that are attached together. 600pc, Small Nail Set ~$7
Sand Paper To make the porch swing’s surfaces smooth enough without sharp edges before painting it. Fandeli Assorted Grits (80,120,220), sandpaper sheets, multipurpose for furniture, wood, metal ~$15
Wood Stain To add protection to the wood against weather and other factors that might damage it. General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Pint, Antique Brown ~$25
Paint To add a coat of colorful paint to the swing.  Wolman 360350 Outdoor Furniture Paint, 2 Pack, Colonial Red ~$25

Before we continue, maybe you’re just looking to keep your sleigh bed but add storage space to your room. If so, take a look at our article that explains how to lift up a sleigh bed to raise it to find more details. Similarly, make sure to also check out our related article answering the question, “how do you close a sleigh bed mattress gap” too.

Step 1. Clear Everything Off the Sleigh Bed

The following steps are a general guideline for turning a sleigh bed into a porch swing. For more detailed steps, go to the CatherineCole blog.

First, you need to remove all pillows and bedding from the sleigh bed. Strip off all the bed linen, then lift and remove the mattress. Store everything neatly away until you need to use them on the porch swing, or elsewhere. These mattress covers will help protect your mattress from dust and moisture during storage. 

Step 2. Dismantle the Sleigh Bed Frame 

Now that you see only the slats and the frame, it is time to dismantle the side rails. If the side rails are attached to the headboard and footboard with screws, use a screwdriver to remove the screws, nuts, or bolts. However, if the rails are connected with brackets that hook into the bottom inside of the headboard and the footboard, then lift one bedpost and position the weight of the bed on a block to push the brackets loose. Read our article on how to correctly disassemble a sleigh bed so that you don’t accidentally damage the pieces as you detach them. 

Now that you have detached the side rails, the head and footboards will be separated from the bed frame and you can start the repurposing process. You will need the side rails as well as the head and footboards to form the swing. The side rails will be used to create the arm swings while the sleigh bed box will be used to create the seat. The headboard will be used to create the backrest of the swing. 

Step 3. Decide on Your Porch Swing Dimensions

Sleigh bed length and width dimensions are about the same as other beds. However, sleigh bed headboards are larger and can range from 20” to 72” tall.  King size sleigh bed dimensions are typically 84.5-inches by 84-inches by 54-inches.  Read our guide to sleigh bed dimensions for more information about the height and width of various sleigh beds.

The length and width of the porch swing’s base will be the same as the size of your sleigh bed. However, you can still modify the dimensions of the porch swing to smaller sizes. To decide on the dimensions of the porch swing, you will also need to consider the dimensions of the outdoor space where you plan to place the swing.   

Step 4. Use the Headboard to Make the Back of the Porch Swing

If the head and footboards are attached to the side rails via screws, simply use your drill or screwdriver to remove the screws and detach the headboard. If the headboard is attached with both screws and glue, then you need to heat the glue with a hairdryer or heat gun, without causing damage to the finish. After unscrewing the headboard and footboard from the bed frame, use a jigsaw to cut the bedposts off the headboard and finally use the headboard to make the back of the porch swing.     

To turn a sleigh bed into a porch swing, first detach the headboard from the side rails.Detach the headboard from the side rails and cut off the bedposts to use the headboard to form the backrest of a porch swing. Image Source: Catherinecole.

Step 5. Modify the Sleigh Bed Box to Make the Base of the Porch Swing 

Now, you can build the base of the porch swing and modify its dimensions to your liking. The wider the base, the greater the available seating space. Use wood screws and strong wood glue to attach the base to the headboard. Make sure the base is secure and strong enough to support the weight of several seated people. 

Use the sleigh bed box as the base of the porch swingThe sleigh bed box serves as the seat of the porch swing. Image Source: Catherinecole.

Step 6. Use the Side Rails to Make the Porch Swing Arms

Use the side rails of your bed to make the porch swing arms. Read our article on replacing sleigh bedside rails to learn more about the types of side rails and their methods of attachment. The shape of the arms can vary depending on your choices and preferences. Attach the arms to both the back and the base and make sure they are firmly attached. The width of the armrests should equal the depth that you want the seat part to be. 

Turn the sleigh bed side rails into the arms of the porch swing The arms of the swing porch are attached to the base and backrest of the porch swing. Image from Catherinecole.

Step 7. Add Wood Supports at the Base to Attach the Rope

Use extra pieces of wood for the base of the porch swing, so that the hanging ropes have a strong place on which they can be anchored. Make sure the wood supports are well secured before adding the ropes because the whole structure depends on them. This video from Young House Love explains how to hang a porch swing, and what hanging hardware you will need. 

Attach the swing to your porch roof using strong ropeWood supports are attached to the base to help add the rope to the porch swing. Image from Catherinecole.

Step 8. Sand Everything Down 

Use sandpaper to sand down all surfaces and make sure they have no edges or bumps to give it a polished look. Use an electric sander for a smooth finish. 

Use a sander to give the swing a smooth finishAn electric sander will help you achieve a smooth finish so that you have a blemish-free surface to paint or stain. Image Source: Amazon.

Step 9. Add the Rope and Attach It to Your Desired Location

The tricky part about a porch swing is hanging it, especially when it is very heavy. Choose a thick hemp rope like this one from Amazon for safety reasons and so it doesn’t rot. Use metal eye-hooks and attach them to the front and back of the base, or buy a porch swing hanging kit. While hanging the swing, have one person hold the bench one inch higher than you actually want it while the other person ties the knot at the top. 

A porch swing with a rope The rope suspends the seat of the porch swing. Image Source: Pinterest.

Step 10. (Optional) Paint or Stain Your Porch Swing

Paint the porch swing an interesting color to create a focal point. Since sleigh beds can match almost any room style, you can choose a color that matches the other outdoor furniture. 

Acrylic or oil-based paints work best for everyday wooden beds. These paints harden over time and are resistant to scuff marks. You can also use chalk paint and a foam paint roller to reduce paint streaks. Apply wax to protect the porch swing against weather conditions, debris, and water.   

You can also add different types of finishes after painting your sleigh bed like glossy or satin paint to give the swing an attractive luster. 

After you turn a sleigh bed into a porch swing, paint it to give it a modern touchThe porch swing is painted after being sanded down. Image from Catherinecode.

Step 11. Customize the Cushions and Decorations to Your Liking

Choose colorful throw pillows that are square, rectangular, or round-shaped and stack them to dress up the porch swing. Cushions and decorations are a great way to provide a cozy and comfortable atmosphere. You can also place a folded quilt on the swing to be loosely draped over your shoulders or legs on cooler nights. 

Customize your porch swingA beautifully decorated porch swing attached to the ceiling of the front porch or backyard. Image from Pinterest.

You can find more ways to repurpose a sleigh bed by reading our related article too. Be sure to check it out!

Where to Place Your Porch Swing 

Porch swings are versatile pieces of outdoor furniture that can fit any outdoor space, whether they are installed on a covered patio, or hung from the branch of a large tree.

A porch swing can be attached to a tree, or to the ceiling of your porch or outdoor deck. It can also be attached to a free-standing canopy or coupled with a DIY stand for a unique look.

Attach it to a Tree

Attaching the porch swing to a tree will add a wonderful touch to your garden. Make sure you choose a suitable branch that is at least 10 inches in diameter and 15 feet off the ground. Opt for hardwood trees rather than fruit trees that are prone to branch breaks. Choose a sturdy rope that is thick and strong enough to support the weight of two adults. Polyester and jute ropes are the best for their strength and durability. Make sure that the ground around the porch swing is grass-covered and free of rocks and debris for safety reasons.   

Attach a porch swing to a treeA porch swing attached to a tree is always the source of happy memories. Image Source: Pinterest.

Attach it to Your Ceiling 

Hanging a swing from a concrete ceiling is a bit more tedious than hanging one on a tree branch. First, find a solid ceiling joint with proper support on which to mount the swing, otherwise, the swing can pull the ceiling boards down. Next, drill holes and use suitable lag bolts to attach the mounting. Once the mount is installed, attach the swing and double-check the ropes to ensure it is secure. 

Attach a porch swing to the ceiling of the porchA porch swing attached to a ceiling adds a little extra adventure into your living space. Image Source: Pinterest.com.

Attach it to a Canopy

Attaching a porch swing to a canopy is ideal for homes that don’t have a covered porch. The canopy offers protection from direct sunlight and rain. Make sure that the material you select matches your swing, and is waterproof and fade resistant. 

Use a canopy with a porch swingA porch swing attached to a canopy is both stylish and practical. Image Source: Pinterest.

Attach it to a DIY Stand

Hanging a porch swing to a DIY stand will look cheerful in a garden or backyard. You don’t have to hang the porch swing to ceiling joints when you can simply build a wooden stand and place it wherever you want. Choose cedar or other weather-resistant planks to create the stand. This video explains how to build a sturdy a-frame for a porch swing. Or simply buy a metal frame.

Attach a porch swing to a DIY stand or use a metal frame kit.A porch swing attached to a stand is the perfect daydreaming spot in a garden. Image from gina-michele.