the saga of the clanky bed


You may recall that I was looking for bedroom decorating inspiration awhile back. Well, we ended up buying a new house that same month, rendering that particular problem moot. Now that we’ve moved, it turns out that the main issue is the the bed itself, a modern canopy that we purchased two years ago from West Elm. (We bought a king, but only the twin version is still available.) We still love how it looks, but from the beginning the sound the bed made was an issue. After, say, a night or two of sleep in the bed, the screws would loosen up and the bed would make an echoing clanking noise at the slightest movement.

So here are my questions:
1) Does anyone else have the West Elm metal canopy bed, and the same sound issues? If so, have you come up with any solutions?

2) We’re leaning toward selling the canopy bed and getting a simpler, mid-century modern-style, king-size platform bed. Any suggestions that cost under $1,000? — Mary T.

From our partners

I have heard nothing but bad things about West Elm beds. Apt. Therapy a few years ago had a lot of postings about the beds breaking. Sorry for the bad news.

Tighten the screws and sodder them, but only if you plan on never moving that bed again. Sorry I can’t be more help.

Mary T

Wow, Miranda, those comments on AT are eye-opening. If only I’d gone there before we bought this bed! Thanks for the info.

I’m going to assume you already tried this, but did locktite (the paint stuff you put on screws to keep them from vibrating out) have any effect? Or do you need to take the screws out sometimes to disassemble the bed?


Probably too late to exchange the bed altogether but I’d suggest getting new parts at the very least. I used to work at West Elm and the beds did have a lot of issues. I remember this bed- it was even wobbly the first day that we had it on the floor! They had redesigned their wooden beds by the time I was working there (about 2 yrs ago) because the original versions just kept breaking on people… soooo I guess beds aren’t their strong poing.
What I can say is that West Elm is very accommodating when it comes to replacing parts. So if your screws are not working right or anything that’s keeping the bed together is not quite perfect– you can bring it to the store and exchange it for new parts so as long as they have those parts in stock. (If you live too far away from a store then do this over the phone, though I’d highly recommend walking in to the store and chatting up a knowledgeable manager about your issues). A manager might have tips too on making the bed sturdier. After all, they field complaints every day from people like you and (should) know the product well. Especially one like this which has been on the market a few yrs.


If you decide to get a new bed, I highly recommend the Malm from Ikea. It’s very sturdy and has a great look (I also see it in high end re-designs). We got ours from craigslist for 150$ and even used, has held up really well.

Mary T

Actually, Petra, my husband did talk to them over a year ago, and they in fact told us that no, we couldn’t get replacement parts or screws; they could only sell us a new bed!


If they won’t repair/replace it, then I’d second the recommendation to try Loc-Tite on the bolts – inexpensive and it works. Two caveats: it is bright blue and dries that way, so be careful how much/where you use it lest it show; and if you disassemble the bed at some point it makes the bolts very difficult (but possible) to remove.

we have a bed very similar (not from west elm though). its in its 7th year with me. i go through phases where i want to throw it out the window. it creaks, it clanks, it does everything. it moves at the top where the canopy goes together, it moves where the top fits into the regular bed part. it moves at the bottom where the support is.

most often, i can fix the squeaking by spraying WD40 wherever things meet. most recently, we tightened the bolts w/ an allen wrench and that helped.

we’ve come to the conclusion that we’re
A) not going to be able to move the bed with us when we leave because
B) we’re going to fill the uprights with foam, so that they won’t wobble anymore where they fit into the bed
C) we’re going to weld together all parts that are wobbling where they meet.

so, this isn’t a ton of help, but try tightening and WB40, and um…not having any ‘special time’ in the bed unless its very um…controlled. =)

Mary T

This is all great info, thanks. And Jamie, congrats: I believe that is the first time “special time” may have been referenced in comments. Ha, ha! I’m going to leave that suggestion alone! : )

ok this may sound wierd and I know nothing of your bed but I would either dip the bolts in melted wax and put them back in so the wax could set OR I would use that plumbers tape that fits bolts into the bolt place.

Good Luck!


Hey Mary, I’d really recommend trying again… just walking in the store and asking for a manager. If they’re not accommodating ask for the store manager. Hold your ground, they always told us that losing a customer for life was the last thing that they wanted to do and that we should always try to make the customers happy in any way possible. And asking for new screws and parts is completely reasonable. We used to open new packages all the time and take the parts out to give to customers who had issues with their products- even things as small as lamps!


If you want a good midcentury bed, we have a great one.
It is a little more then you are looking for but I love it!
The Tate ( from Crate and Barrel is awesome. I

1) C & B has delievery and they freaking put it together! I was so surprised that they put it together, in like three minutes. (I am sure when we have to finally move it it will take hours)

2) It is sturdy as heck. We have had it over a year and not a creak or break or anything.

3) It is stylin’

4) You can have it scotch gaurded for a little extra since it is covered.

Just a tip, when we bought a mattress we also got a think called a bunke (sp?) board which ensures our warranty but also makes it a little firmer. We love firm so it is excellent.

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Use some Loctite® on the bolts, I would use the heavy duty stuff, Hope this helps.