Jeremy Snodgrass gets a good night's sleep with Ikea bed slats - and Selwyn Smith makes makes a floor for his dinghy

Slatted bunk bases

The bunk cushion bases on my Contessa 26 were the original canvas ones – simple and effective but, over the years they had stretched and the bunks had developed a rather uncomfortable sag that was not helping a bad back.
My previous yacht had solid plywood bases under the bunk cushions, and although comfortable this arrangement wasn’t very good for ventilation or for access to the lockers beneath.
I rather fancied the idea of slatted bunk bases but the commercially available ones were off-puttingly expensive – well over £100 per bunk. However, while browsing through an IKEA catalogue I noticed that they listed slatted bed base kits. These turned out to be made of laminated beech slats, cambered to provide a degree of springiness, and with strips of linked rubber end-caps into which the slats were slotted.


The slats were easily cut to length to suit the tapering bunk, and each bunk took less than half an hour to complete.
The result is extremely comfortable bunks and well-ventilated lockers beneath. As a bonus, I can easily see what’s in the lockers by lifting the cushions. The linked slats simply lift or roll up to access the lockers.
The advertised cost was £9 for a 70cm-wide kit (80cm and 90cm-wide ones are also available), but on the day I braved a trip to IKEA I was pleased to see they were having a sale – 20% off all beds. So the grand total was £7.20 per bunk.

More uses for IKEA slats

Having been told that a slat floor was unobtainable for my old Avon inflatable, I noticed the bed slats in our local IKEA store. Priced at under £10, they looked ideal. After cutting down the slats to fit under the tubes they were given a coat of Danboline and sealed into the rubber retainers with Sikaflex. Once inflated the tubes hold the floor in place and the rubber retainers protect the dinghy material. The slats have a slight bow which forms a ‘keel’ effect if they are fitted with the bow downwards. The floor rolls up after use and can be stowed in a small space.
While at IKEA we also noticed their ‘laundry bags’. Just the job for storing the dinghy. They have a zip top, three carrying handles and mesh patches for ventilation. A snip at under £15.





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Editor’s note: Since this article was first published, Ikea no longer sell their slats with rubber ends – but you can buy the slats without the rubber bits and  aftermarket sleeves from eBay