Thuma Bed alternative: $150 Ikea crushes $900 Thuma

I have the ultimate alternative if you want a bed that is stronger and cheaper than the Thuma. No Ikea bed is going to kick the easy-to-assemble king’s butt without a little help, and that is what we did with one piece of plywood.

You can save $750 if you can cut a piece of plywood and have an hour to dedicate to this project. Think of it this way; Do you want to make $750 per hour to have a super strong bed that will last a lifetime?”

I agree, it is a no-brainer. Will it look as good as the Thuma? No. And you can take pride in your work and show it off to your family and friends.

Thuma Bed alternative comparison had Thuma Bed winning six to four, but the modified Ikea Tarva won the more important categories including 12 times cheaper, strength, company history, and customer service. Thuma’s better for assembly, ecologically friendly, joinery, color options, appearance, and weight capacity.

I came up with 4 other Thuma Bed alternatives seen here that you will find interesting.

Comparing Thuma and Ikea’s advantages and disadvantages

This sure seems like a David versus Goliath comparison and once I started to write this section I realized that David is a fierce competitor.

Thuma vs Ikea summary

Company historyIkea
Customer serviceIkea
Color optionsThuma
Weight capacityThuma

Thuma Bed advantages

The Thuma Bed is a top-selling platform foundation that is built in Vietnam and shipped to the US. I have a more in-depth review in my Thuma Bed review here. The advantages include:

  • Very strong: it has very strong legs, frame, and slats. 
  • Easy assembly: there are no fasteners! The design uses Japanese joinery methods so the frames simply slide into the legs
  • Ecologically friendly: the wood is rubber tree and they utilize small pieces of wood leftover from other manufacturing processes. 
  • Strong joinery: Japanese joinery design for where the frames meet the legs do not require fasteners and is very strong. The small pieces of rubber tree wood are finger-joined with structural adhesive for very strong rails and reduce sagging.
  • Available in three colors.
  • Available with a pillowboard or a headboard.
  • Appearance: This is a very attractive piece of furniture, especially with the headboard option.

Thuma Bed Disadvantages

  • Expensive: The twin model costs $895 and the queen-size is $1,195. And if you want a headboard like the Ikea Tarva has??? Well, that costs an extra $300 for a twin and $795 for a queen-size headboard! You can buy about TWELEVE Ikea Tarva beds on steroids with that money!
  • Lack of customer service: See my thoughts about this and if this bed is worth the price here. The company does not have an actual office and emails and phone calls usually go unanswered.
  • Weight capacity: I doubt a structural engineer ran an analysis to determine the correct load-bearing capacity. Perhaps I will hire one to do exactly that. The claimed rated weight capacity is listed as 1,500 lb, but how can all bed sizes have the exact same rating? They are all different designs, some with longer and shorter spans.

    Anyway, 1,500 lb is not a very high weight capacity. I have seen some models rated as high as 5,000 lb, but I question some of those too.
  • Company age: Many companies in the mattress and bed industry have a habit of starting a business, spending a ton of money on marketing, and disappearing a few years later once the warranty claims start pouring in. Thuma is a relatively new company in this industry.
  • Company trust: New company, no real store or office, poor customer service, ‘nuff said.

Modified Ikea bed advantages

  • Cheap: I love cheap products that perform well, so this advantage easily goes to the cheaper option here. Considering you can buy this bed and the lumber and plywood about 12 times for the price of one Thuma with a headboard…well, a no-brainer.
  • Very strong: I am guessing, based on my experience, that the modified Ikea bed is as strong as the Thuma Bed. If there is interest in this comparison between the two platform foundations I may hire a structural engineer to do an analysis of both models.
  • Company age: Ikea is a clear winner here as they have been around for many decades and have stores in many countries around the world. I spend winters in Thailand in a remote village in a remote province and I ordered the Tarva from the Bangkok store and it was delivered a couple of days later.
  • Company trust: Ikea is a clear winner here, no need to dive into the details as I am sure everyone understands this advantage.
  • Easy to assemble, but not nearly as easy as placing puzzle pieces together without tools like its competitor.

Modified Ikea bed disadvantages

  • Terrible assembly instructions: I am a carpenter and I made a couple of mistakes while assembling this bed frame. And yes, before you ask I actually DID try to follow the instructions. But how good can instructions be if there is not one single WORD? There are only crude diagrams for you to follow.

    This is disappointing because I have experience assembling Ikea kitchens for clients in the past the instructions were the best I had ever used.
  • Leg and frame connection strength: The design is perfectly adequate for a cheap model, but the advantage certainly goes to the one with the Japanese joinery design. There are only two points of contact (two bolts) that hold each leg to the frame. I am not even sure I should include it here as a disadvantage, please let me know your thoughts below in the comment section.
  • Leg strength: It is not easy to modify the legs without making them look ugly, so we are leaving them as they are designed. This makes the legs the weak point in this design and construction.

Thuma Bed alternative winner: Ikea Tarva with plywood and 2x4s

I purchased the Ikea Tarva to test and review while spending the winter in Thailand. You can read the Tarva review here. It was much stronger than I thought it would be after we tried to break it lol.

336.9 lb and only one quarter of an inch sag
336.9 lb and only one-quarter of an inch sag before making the wood rails stronger

How to modify an Ikea bed for a stronger Thuma Bed alternative

Materials needed

  • Ikea Tarva bed frame (I bought a twin, but if you have a full-size there is enough material here to work. If you have a queen or king you can simply buy two sheets of plywood and two or three more 2x4s).
  • One sheet of ¾ ‘ or ⅞” plywood. You can purchase plywood with a hardwood veneer to improve the looks of the modified bed.
  • Five 2×4 lumber.
  • 2” wood screws with tapered head

Tools needed

  • Saw. This can be a handsaw, circular saw, reciprocating, or even a chainsaw haha. If you use a chainsaw I recommend assembling the plywood pieces with the ROUGH cut edges hidden under the Ikea pine frame lol.
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight edge: A four-foot level, hockey stick, broom handle, or anything straight and long (No, not that!).
  • Pencil
  • Drill

Step 1

Buy the Tarva bed. If there isn’t an Ikea store near you they will ship it to your door.

Buy the plywood, 2×4 lumber, and screws. You can rent a van from Home Depot if you don’t have a truck or a friend with one.

Step 2

Assemble the Tarva bed frame. I assembled one and wrote an article here of the assembly with tips, photos, and videos that should be helpful.

Step 3

Cut the plywood 75” long by 32” wide.

Scott cutting plywood with circular saw
Scott cutting plywood with a circular saw

Step 4

Measure and cut the 2x4s for the two side rails at 75”. Install these onto the inside of the side rails and butt up to the legs. Install them up to the underside of the metal slat bracket to provide additional support to that flimsy metal support bracket.

Step 5

Cut two more 2x4s at 32” length. Attach these to the inside of the headboard and footboard frame rails at the same height as the 2x4s on the side rails.

Make sure that all 2x4s butt tightly up to the legs as this makes the legs stronger. 

Step 6

Now install three 2” screws on a 45-degree angle through each 2×4 end and penetrate through the Ikea bed leg. There are eight ends so this requires 24 screws. Make sure to not countersink the screws so far that they protrude through the legs and create a hazard.

Step 7

Cut five 2x4s to 32” lengths and install them as slats for the platform base. Each base support rests on the metal slat support bracket and frame rail 2x4s.

Install two starting 4” from the headboard and footboard ends of the bed. Evenly space the remaining three (or slightly fewer gaps at the torso location since that is the heaviest body part).

Use two screws at each end of the 2×4 slats.

You can see our biggest bed in Thailand DIY PVC 13-foot wide behemoth here.

2x6 umber and 7/8 plywood adds much strength
2×6 lumber and 7/8 plywood add much strength.

Step 8

Cut one 2×4 at 68”.

Flip the frame upside down.

Install the 2×4 in the center of the frame so it runs from the headboard to the footboard.

Fasten this lumber to each 2×4 slat with four screws into each cross member (5 cross-members so 20 screws in total).

Step 9

Cut two 2x4s 12” long. These are going to be legs for the center support beam that you just installed.

Install these 24” from the headboard and the footboard. Install the screws through the top of the 2×4 face into the edge of the center support bracket.

Step 10

Install the plywood base on the 2×4 slats and fasten with two screws at the edges into the slats. 

Install two screws into each slat every 8”. This small gap between screws reduces the chance of noises, so don’t be cheap and use all those screws so you don’t hear squeaking all night.


I choose the cheaper Ikea Tarva with the modifications. If you have a fat investment portfolio I am sure you are going to be happier with the easy-to-assemble Thuma Bed.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section, please.

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