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Bed Buying Guide + Types of Beds

The bed is the focal point of your bedroom decor, so getting it right is the most important step to creating a restful retreat. With so many options available, you’ll want to consider size, style and a few other design elements to select the perfect bed for your space.

Bed Types

First things first: The basic style of your bed should fit with your decorating preferences to achieve a cohesive look. Some of the most popular styles include the following:

  • Canopy Beds: These traditional bedsteads include a tall frame originally designed to hold curtains that kept heat around sleepers. Today they provide architectural good looks and high style — just be sure to measure your ceiling height so that you know it fits.
  • Platform Beds: Platform beds offer modern styling that eliminates the footboard. They look best with bunky boards or low-profile box springs to accentuate their sleek, horizontal lines. These are on-trend styles that look great in contemporary homes.
  • Traditional Beds: Traditional bedsteads feature a headboard, footboard and side rails for a classic look that works well with a standard box spring. They are available in a wide range of materials and work well in transitional decor as well as in rooms inspired by a historical era.

Here are some more popular bed types; the best type of bed for you will come down to space needs (do you need a sleeker profile for a smaller space?) and your own personal style. Each of the types of bed frames below come in standard bed sizes for kids and adults’ rooms alike.

  • Bunk bed: An icon of shared kids rooms, this is the only type that requires literal “climbing into bed!”
  • Futon: One of the more unusual types of bed frames, this is essentially a sofa that folds out into a bed. Thanks to the two-in-one functionality, it’s the kind of design that makes small space living a breeze.
  • Panel/platform bed: Panel and platform beds are the more common beds – they look like what you picture when you picture a bed. Four legs, and usually a sideboard, footboard and headboard, define the look.
  • Storage bed: A storage bed is a panel/platform bed, but instead of the bottom of the bed ending where the mattress platform ends, it extends to the floor; the area between the floor and mattress contains drawers for storage.
  • Sleigh bed: One of the more different types of beds, a sleigh bed is a panel/platform bed that curves like a sleigh – a traditional design that adds instant character to any space.

Bed Materials

Next, consider what you’d like your bed to made out of:
Wood: By far the most popular material, wood beds can be stained or painted in any color. Because wood is such a versatile material, these beds can sport clean lines or curved headboards with molding and carvings for accents.
Metal: Metal beds offer clean lines and work well in modern or industrial spaces as well as in eclectic, "shabby chic" rooms. They are also highly durable.
Fabric Upholstery: Though the bedframe itself is made of wood or metal, upholstered beds are covered with padding and wrapped in fabric for a plush finish. The are often tufted for a plump, quilted look.

Bed Sizes

All beds are sized to hold standard mattresses. The dimensions below are for the mattresses; you’ll need to add a few inches on all sides to account for the bed frame itself. Consider the number of sleepers as well as the height of each sleeper to choose the most comfortable bed:

  • Twin: 38" x 75", sleeps one
  • XL Twin: 38" x 80", sleeps one
  • Full: 53" x75", sleeps one or two
  • Queen: 60" x 80", sleeps two
  • King: 76" x 80", sleeps two
  • California King: 72" x 84", sleeps two

Choosing the Right Headboard

As you narrow down your bed selections, take the time to consider what kind of headboard you prefer. To do this, think about what you do most often in bed. If you tend to collapse into bed and fall directly to sleep after a long day, a wood or metal headboard will work well for you. You can feel free to select a headboard with slats or open grillwork, as you won’t spend much time leaning against it.

If you prefer to sit up in bed to read or watch TV, however, you may prefer an upholstered headboard. These padded options will prop you up in comfort, allowing you to feel as though you’re sitting on a soft couch. A solid wood headboard is a good alternative, as long as you invest in extra cushions to soften the back.

Beds for Small Spaces

If you’re outfitting a small bedroom, storage beds can help you make the most of your space. These styles come with built-in drawers for extra storage space under your mattress, making it easier to live without a bulky dresser.

You’ll also want to carefully measure your room before choosing which size bed you want for a small space. Remember that Twin- and Full-size beds are several inches shorter than other mattresses and can save valuable space.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.