Adding a Slat Bed to the RV

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Often times, an RV mattress is just a hunk of foam on top of a plywood slab.  It’s not too hard to do better.  A slatted bed is one solution, and I show you how to add curved slats in this video.


There are two main reasons to add bed slats to your RV’s mattress:

  1. They provide sprung support underneath the mattress (sort of like a box spring).
  2. They allow for ventilation and airflow underneath the mattress.

Bed slats aren’t the only way to accomplish these, but they’re about the easiest.  Now, in the video, you’ll see that we already had the Froli Sleep System installed in Lance.  It accomplished these same two objectives.

But while I was happy with the comfort and airflow of the Froli, I wasn’t at all happy with how it snagged our sheets and blankets every single night.  Also, our style of Froli would suffer from springs popping off and getting lost on the regular – and when your bed is four feet in the air, getting down to chase an errant spring isn’t a whole lot of fun.  These things eventually sounded the death knell for our Froli, and so the first step in this process was removing it.

The rest of the process you can see in the video.

The Stuff I Used

The bed slats I used were just from Ikea.  They were these:

LURÖY Slatted bed base, Queen

One word of caution about these though.  If you live near an Ikea and can get in to get them… go for it.  If you have to order them online, beware.  Though they were in stock at the nearest Ikea, I was given a delivery estimate a full month away.  I figured that was a mistake – because nothing takes a month anymore.  And besides – nobody charges your card until your order ships.  Except Ikea.  Who then sat on my order for 27 days.  On the 28th day, they processed my order and shipped the slats 2-day FedEx.

So basically, if you don’t mind giving an interest-free short-term loan to a giant corporation, go right ahead and order them online.  Don’t ask them for an interest-free short-term loan of your own, though.

I tried to call Ikea to get them to expedite my order at around day 15, since they already had my money.  But their customer service was not taking calls “Due to COVID-19 .”  Which sounds reasonable, until you realize that Ikea is from Sweden… THE ONE COUNTRY IN THE WORLD THAT COMPLETELY IGNORED COVID-19.

Anyway, though I like the bed slats, I’m a little miffed at Ikea.  If you want to go this route, I highly recommend buying them in person to avoid becoming Sweden’s unwitting bail out fund.

Oh – and the plastic pry tools.  I’m not sure if these are the exact ones I have, but they sure are close:

GLISTON 5pcs Auto Trim Removal Tool Car Pry Tool Kit, Door Panel Clip Removal Set for Vehicle Dash Radio Audio Installer

I highly recommend these tools.  They come in handy more times than you might think, and at 7 bucks, you can’t really go wrong.

Anyway, that’s all for now.  Let me know if you try the bed slats!



James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.

    19 thoughts on “Adding a Slat Bed to the RV

    1. Cathy Gutowsky

      Hi! I have a question on the rear bed in the 59G. Can two adults sleep comfortably in the bed? Thanks!

    2. DavidR

      We did the same thing to replace just the box spring in our bed at home. Worked out very well. IKEA’s “curb-side-Pick-up” service just wasn’t happening until they partnered up with another provider with many, many more locations. We respectfully declined to use their delivery partner, not because of the extra couple of dollars in service fees, but because they are still, inexplicably, using the same transport company that failed to deliver our kitchen cabinets six times in a row (a clerk told us we hold the record for missed deliveries). We think the order is still on one of their trucks a year later and they are just driving it around the city as a make-work programme.

    3. Serge dery

      Hi James and Stefany.
      It’s your fault! Yesterday i saw your video in the morning. By 4 pm the slats were installed in our RV. We love it! thanks for this great idea. We have a safari condo (unicorn…) Promaster XL-Flex. The platform under our foam mattress is made of metal. It gets cold underneath the mattress in cold weather. Now with the air space in between, no more direct contact and makes everything more comfortable.
      Again thanks for the idea! Love your mods and great videography Stefany.

    4. John Cariotto

      It doesn’t seem so long ago that you two were very excited about getting an RV with the Froli system. Sorry it didn’t meet your expectations long term.

      You have a very capable videographer. The camera work is very professional.

      1. Stefany

        I’m currently eating up your praise for the videographer, thanks John! But hey, to clarify, the Froli is actually a good system I’d confidently recommend. It does what it’s intended to do (unlike awnings ahem) by providing both bed comfort and air flow. Our only beef is that the bed in Lance is so high AND it’s so very hard to make, so the Froli’s would drive us a little batty snagging on the sheets and thwarting our efforts. A small complaint, and if it were normal times James wouldn’t have bothered swapping them for slats. But like he said in the vid, he was bored, he can, it’s fun. 😉

    5. Terry Landis

      I installed some of those IKEA slats in a van build murphy bed a few years ago and we found that the ribbing held them together but also allowed movement and that the slats did indeed spring down or move especially for those parts of the body that concentrate weight more like the. back and hips. I think what you did was defeat the spring part and make the bed a bit stiffer then these slats would have provided. I wonder if you could have secured the screws into a slotted hole in the slats allowing movement which allows spring as the slot extends on compression. Love your shop, it’s a dream shop…..

      1. James - Post author

        Well, I like a firm bed, so I doubt I’ll notice. But it would have been interesting to try some slotted holes in the slats.
        For the slotted holes to work, I would have needed to leave a little room on the sides where the slats fit in the rails.

    6. Will

      Lord almighty, that shop is evidence that someone has an obsessive personality. Stef, I feel for you. 🙂

    7. Ted

      Not sure if Shaper Tools offer any significant advantage over other CNC routers….. But they sure are fun to drool over 🙂

    8. Shaun Simpkins

      Well, Stef had me thinking you were cloning the Solis slat bed in wood…dang. But useful. I want to Boldtify the beds in our KL with IKEA slats and a frame top…but that means redoing the structure of the platform. I’ve just been underwhelmed with the 1″ Frolis. Maybe the 2″ Frolis are better, but they are really snaggy and annoying. Frame-and-slat beds make so much more sense.

      Question: you screwed down the slats. I get that they have to stay put because the bed folds up, but normally slats are free to move and are usually trapped at each end in a pocket or bear against a ledge. IKEA also sells the LONSET – which uses this resilient pocket idea. Did screwing the slats in stiffen them?

      1. James - Post author

        Honestly, it was the snagginess of the Frolis that did them in. They were pretty comfortable. (We had the larger ones though.)

        Screwing the slats in did stiffen them a bit. Not so much that it was a problem though. The bed really isn’t big enough to get a lot of slat movement anyways.
        Considering just about any slats you get will need to be cut to fit onto an RV bed, you’d probably need to snip the ribbon in any case, so you’ll need to do *something* to keep them in place.

        Anyways, I’m happy with the result. Can’t wait to put it to a longer term test!

    9. craig wiesner

      Hi James,

      I found that the Frolis snagged on the bottom of my mattress and was starting to rip the cloth every time I folded and unfolded the bed so I took them out. The slates look great, but I didn’t see you fold and unfold to see how the mattress slid on them. Do they snag at all? I should also mention that I leave the bedding on adding weight, and fold up almost every day while camping.

      1. James - Post author

        You’re right, I didn’t show it, but the folding of the bed is WAY easier with the slats than the Frolis.
        An additional benefit of the slats is that they are shorter than the Frolis by about an inch, so there’s just generally more room. Combine that with no snaggy “fingers”, and everything slides around much easier now.
        (We keep our bedding on the bed all the time, too!)


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