Rest Easy: How to Find the Perfect Bed Frame
Your bed is where you close your day each night, and where you get plenty of restorative sleep: This is why it’s one of the most important pieces of furniture in your home. Mattresses play a big role when it comes to bedtime comfort, but your bedframe shows your style. As the most prominent furniture piece in your bedroom, a bedframe anchors your design vision and revitalizes the decor. Consider these helpful suggestions when choosing a new bedframe.
Types of Bed Frames
From low-profile platforms to efficient storage beds and tall four-posters, each frame style brings its own character and aesthetic to your bedroom. Examining the different types of bedframes and comparing what they have to offer makes it easier to start narrowing down your options. If two or more of these styles appeal to you, look for the bed that combines different features you like, such as an upholstered sleigh or a platform storage design.
Platform beds have a simple, modern style. These beds are low to the ground and support the mattress without a boxspring on a flat platform. Platform beds don’t typically have a headboard or a footboard, though you can add these pieces separately.
Low-Poster and Four-Poster
These bed frame styles have posts extending up from their four corners – low-post beds have short posts, and four-posters have tall posts. The effect can be simple or dramatic depending on post height, with low-post beds harmonizing well with your other pieces and tall four-posters serving as gorgeous focal points. These beds usually have integrated headboards and footboards. The posts themselves also contribute to the overall style of the bed; turned-post beds add retro charm with ribbed carvings and spherical finials, while a modern design might have uniform square or rectangular dimensions along the entire post.
There’s some overlap between four-poster and canopy beds. Canopies have an additional level at the top that connects the four posts, often in a rectangular shape. You can drape fabric from the top of a canopy bed for a romantic effect or to create privacy.
Sleigh beds have curved headboards and footboards that curl outward, creating a dramatic, nest-like feel for the mattress and bedding inside. They’re typically made from wood or iron in a traditional style, and their name comes from the bed frame’s overall shape resembling a horse-drawn sleigh.
These bed frames offer integrated storage systems, though the exact type you find can differ across different models. Some storage beds have shelving built into their headboards for books and other smaller items, while others have built-in drawers in their bases for storing bed linens or out-of-season clothing.
Upholstered bed frames are covered with fabric from their headboards to their feet. From leather and velvet to cotton canvas and linen, you can select from a variety of different fabrics for an upholstered bed frame.
Sizes of Bed Frames
After you select the type you love, it’s time to focus on size. Choose a bed that fits nicely in your bedroom – and leaves at least 22" of open space on each open side – to give yourself plenty of room to move around freely and create an open feeling. Size is a particularly important consideration if you’re decorating a smaller bedroom. If you don’t prefer a smaller bed size, make room for a larger bed by opting for a storage frame instead of other furniture pieces, like dressers or armoires.
To ensure your bed frame fits well in your room, assess its size by using a simple design trick. Find a measuring tape and something to use for making a temporary mark on the floor, like masking tape. Use the standard bed size measurements and mark out a rectangular outline in those dimensions over the spot where you envision placing your bed. This gives you a thorough idea of how a bed that size can work in your space, which is also helpful if you’re deciding between two different bed frame sizes, like queen and king.
Use these standard mattress sizes when measuring. Account for a 3–5 extra inches if you’re planning for a large headboard or footboard, and remember that mattresses can vary by an inch or two in either direction.
● Twin: Average width= 39" Average length= 75"
● Full: Average width= 54" Average length= 75"
● Queen: Average width= 60" Average length= 80"
● King: Average width= 76" Average length= 80"
● California King= 72" Average length= 84"
Styles of Bed Frames
Practical considerations are important, but it’s so much fun focusing on style! The visual impact of a bed frame will usually take over the room. If you already love the room’s decor, focus on bed frames that coordinate with your other furniture pieces. If you’re mixing things up a bit, why not go for a completely different look? If your existing bedroom furniture is sleek and minimal with dark-toned natural wood, you might want to focus on simple wooden platform bed styles finished with a rich, deep stain. You could also introduce some drama with a modern canopy bed style with clean lines and dramatic posts, perhaps with some metallic accents. Bed frame materials, including upholstery, wood, metal, leather and even natural materials such as wicker or seagrass, can have a major influence on your overall decor.
The aforementioned practical considerations will guide you as well. For a bed that’s lower to the ground, opt for a platform style. These frames are not only typically shorter than other styles, but they also don’t require a boxspring – which adds height to your mattress.
Platform beds aren’t your only option if you don’t plan to use a box spring; some mattresses have a foundation built in, so you can use them with any bed frame style and still enjoy effective support. Carefully research your mattress to see what kind of support it requires. Most bed frame descriptions will clearly mention box springs, describing whether one is necessary for that frame style or not. Keep in mind, too, that box springs – wood frames with steel springs spanning the depth of the structure – are traditionally used with inner-spring mattresses, while foundations – wood frames with wooden slats running the width of the structure – work well with memory foam or latex mattresses. Regardless of whether you choose a platform or another bed style, most mattresses benefit from a supportive base.
Many bed frame styles come with attached headboards, but you can purchase a headboard as a standalone piece. You can also pair a headboard with a plain platform or metal bed frame. From wood and seagrass to tufted velvet, there are many different headboard styles to choose from. Some styles are ornate, with dramatic curved lines, and others are subtler and sleeker in basic rectangular shapes.
In practical terms, a headboard provides extra support for you to lean up against while you’re in bed. You can choose between a firm, flat material such as wood, or a soft, plush material such as padded upholstery. These two different headboard categories offer style differences, but their function is also a bit different. If you like to sit up in bed without extra pillows, opt for a padded or tufted upholstered style to lean against.
When you’re choosing a headboard separately from a bed frame, check to see if the two pieces will fit together. Many headboards are designed to attach to a standard metal bed frame, but depending on the height and design of your frame, you may need to buy a headboard adapter kit to ensure a proper fit. These kits typically consist of a set of brackets and screws that install in minutes. You can also affix the headboard directly to the wall to keep it in place without attaching it directly to the frame.
Make a Restful Choice
The bed frame you choose is an expression of yourself and your lifestyle. As you shop, think not only about the elements above but also about special considerations specific to your life. For example, if you have a small dog who likes to snuggle into the covers, you may want to choose a shorter bed frame without a boxspring so your pup can easily jump onto the bed. If you live in a studio apartment, a captain’s bed storage frame can give you much needed space for storing items. Lastly, remember style – your bed should be inviting, so enjoy making it a fantastic representation of your personal style.