When you’re ready to rest, it’s easier to relax and unwind when you’re sleeping on the right bed. And because we know style preference varies by sleeper, our bed buying guide can make the selection process easier. Get inside information and specifics that matter just as much as comfort for a restful night’s sleep.
How to Choose the Right Bed
A bed just doesn’t look like a bed until that mattress is off the floor and cradled within a quality frame. A headboard, footboard, and frame gives a bed structure, presence, and personality. There are many different types of beds for your design aesthetic, room size, and living situation. Take time to consider these factors before you buy, so you are pleased with your purchase for years to come.
Different Types of Beds
Here are a few examples of the most popular bed designs, including buying tips and pros and cons of each bed type:
The most common because it’s so beautifully versatile, platform beds have a fairly straightforward look featuring a low-sitting, solid base. From sleek and minimalistic to bold and creative, the platform bed is a mid-century inspired masterpiece. Its low profile has a headboard with either a solid base or ornamental legs. The platform bed does not require a box spring. Wooden slats or an interlaced foundation are customary and support a mattress only.
Though budget-friendly and comfy, a platform isn’t for everyone, particularly if physical limitations exist. Most have heavy frames or a lack of space beneath the low frame. Minimal drawbacks aside, this option is visually simple and works well in small spaces or open floor plans. This is a basic flat, firm, and stable structure that looks as sturdy as it feels.
A classic bed with flourish, sleigh beds feature curved or scrolled boards for an enchanting look inspired by 19th century French sleighs. This is an ideal choice of someone who appreciates classic, antique style.
The shape offers a high back and raised footboard. Sleigh beds come in solid wood and upholstered designs. Taller sleepers might find the raised foot base a bit constraining. Sleigh beds made of high-quality solid wood are heavier, while upholstered models are slightly lighter.
For more durability, choose a wood frame instead of metal. Modern, open bedrooms or those with unique interior architecture like exposed wood beams or ornate molding are perfect spaces for this type of bed.
Available in wood, metal, or an upholstered design, the panel bed includes a headboard and footboard in one piece (some models have headboard-only varieties). These designs are great for bed placement flat against the wall. The panel detailing is usually vertical and can include slats, raised panels, and inset panels. Wide side panels partially or fully conceal the box spring but not the mattress.
Styles of panel beds also include wicker, upholstery, metal rods, and wood slat models. Panel beds are usually higher than a platform bed and have a classic, traditional look. However, the need for a box spring, frame, and rails will also impact your budget.
Poster beds, also called four-post beds, have an elegant bed frame that feature corner columns often with elaborate carvings and finial details for a truly majestic look. The posts usually have varying heights and there’s also an option to include a canopy if you choose.
Poster beds mainly have a headboard and no footboard. Most are made from oak or other sturdy woods. Heights vary by style, often ranging from slight clearance of the mattress to near ceiling height, which may pose a problem for rooms with limited ceiling clearance.
With a beautifully crafted bed frame, the canopy bed takes the ornate four-poster bed and adds connecting crossbeams ready to be dressed up with lavish fabric for a more dramatic presentation. For romantics, a canopy bed is a fitting backdrop for decorative fabric that can be closed or left open at leisure.
Given their size, canopy beds are great focal points in lofty spaces with high ceilings. They’re prone to collecting dust on the canopy, which, by the way, can be a fun temptation for household pets if the fabric drapes on the floor.
Adjustable beds (also called power beds or power bases) adjust to different levels for comfort or medical necessity. Today’s designs are quite the improvement over traditional adjustable beds because they easily move from upright to lounge to a flat position as needed. This proves helpful when you need extra head, neck, or lumbar support to watch TV, read, or relax.
Couples rejoice! Adjustability is usually on each side of the bed, and it’s ideal to relieve pain, combat snoring, and improve sleep quality. Remember that this type of bed requires a compatible mattress and available electrical outlet. Adjustable beds can be pricey and vary in terms of motor quality, too.
When space matters, consider a Murphy bed. Its space-saving design makes the Murphy bed the hero of a studio apartment or shared space. These beds have a hinged frame, allowing them to fold neatly into a wall when not in use. Some models even come with shelves, built-in storage units, and nightstands.
Unlike a sofa bed, there are no cushions, sheets, or comforter storage issues to deal with. Murphy beds with shelving give you added storage space, and they’re a lower-cost alternative to sleeper sofas.
Bunk beds are essentially two stacked beds. Each offers flexibility to add and remove bed frames on a whim. Kid-friendly, sleepover faves, and ultimate space savers, they feature trendy styles like:
- Loft: A raised bed with stairs and a workspace below
- Trundle: A traditional bunk bed with a pull-out trundle bed under the lower mattress
- Futon: A bed that transitions from a couch into a sleeping space
- L-Shaped: An “L” shape sleeper in futon or standard bed design
However, bunk beds aren’t just for kids. They’re great choices for a dorm room, guest room, or studio apartment. Read our Loft Beds for Adults Buying Guide for helpful tips.
Multipurpose in every way, a daybed functions as a bed, couch, or chaise lounge for a living or guest room. Frames are commonly twin-sized in combinations of wood or metal. Daybeds may also come with storage trundles, side rails, or armrests.
One consideration is the need for a supportive back wall, as it’s harder to create a “back” of pillows if they don’t have anything to rest against. But if you haven’t looked at daybeds lately, take a peek. You may be surprised at the range of beautiful and trendy daybed styles available.
The Daybed Buying Guide will walk you through a variety of daybed styles and features.
Selecting a Bed Design Style
Bed frame designs come in a wide range of styles from traditional to contemporary. With so many options available, you can easily outfit your guest room in farmhouse chic or turn your master bedroom into a mid-century modern retreat. Don’t know the difference? Just like that fluffy comforter, we’ve got you covered:
Generally flaunts wooden construction with crown molding and turned or carved legs for a decorative touch. This style’s enduring quality will complement a larger variety of other home furnishings so even as you update the rest of your décor as years go by, your traditional bed will always tie the room together.
Make a statement with cool metallic and weathered finishes. The industrial style hides nothing, emphasizing every pronounced piece of its construction so as to catch the eye and excite the imagination. Think sharp lines and abrupt mechanical connections paired with luxurious linens. It’s a look that perfectly pairs the elegant with the rustic.
Rustic or reclaimed styles depict a country or cabin-inspired design consisting of lighter woods and distressed details for a rugged, antiqued appearance that radiates both warmth and character.
Few looks are as refreshing as the seaside bedroom. Crisp white linens and nautical décor in colors matching soft sand and cool waters make every trip to a coastal bedroom feel like a relaxing retreat.
Delicate details and distressed finishes make up the vintage-inspired farmhouse motif that adds undeniable cottage comfort to any bedroom.
Mid-century style puts function over frills, but novelty abounds with fun geometric shapes, organic curves, and soothing, clean lines.
Mission or Shaker-inspired pieces are defined by their exposed carpentry, hardy oak, and rich stained finishes. Distinguished by simple Craftsman design and materials, a good Mission piece showcases expert hand craftsmanship.
Contemporary bedroom décor marries traditional and modern aesthetics to create something that’s timelessly tailored, yet fashion-forward with neutral-hued linens, lavish finishes, and fetching accents.
Standard Bed Sizes
The last thing you want is cramped quarters that will restrict your body’s natural shift during sleep or, worse, have you falling out of bed and onto the floor. So before you buy, you’ll want to consider your room’s shape and available space, if you sleep alone or not, and the size of other furniture that’s going in the room. Lastly, make sure to measure door openings to ensure your bed will fit into your home come delivery day. The most popular bed sizes are as follows:
- Twin – 39 x 75 inches
- Twin XL – 39 x 80 inches
- Full/Double – 54 x 75 inches
- Queen – 60 x 80 inches
- King – 76 x 80 inches
- California King – 72 x 84 inches
Popular Bed Materials
For every bed design, style, and size, you’ll also have a choice of materials. The best bed material for your space will depend on your room’s aesthetic as well as the maintenance and durability you prefer. For example, a solid wood or metal bed can be nearly maintenance free, while an upholstered or leather bed can require cleaning and conditioning. You’ll also want to consider if you are matching the bed to a dresser or other furnishings, and how the bed’s material will coordinate with the rest of the room.
Scroll through these different bed materials to get an idea of the different options for your new bedroom furniture:
Bed Ideas for Small Spaces
Short on space? Whether you need a bed for an apartment or a guest room, it’s important to maximize your space. Large, bulky beds may not fit in the space or be practical for your home. In these cases you may want to consider buying a bed that does double duty as extra seating, offers storage, or has space for extra sleepers.
To learn more about space-saving bed options, check out these buying guides to help you in your shopping journey:
Planning for Your New Bed
You can assemble a frame with everyday tools, so don’t worry about the setup that comes with more elaborate designs. Just select one that’s durable, dependable, and showcases a style to match your taste.
Designing or refurbishing your bedroom does not have to be overly expensive if you do it correctly. That’s why it’s important to have a budget plan in mind before you start buying pieces of bedroom furniture to complement your style. Buying your dream bed and then not being able to afford the amazing bedding is disappointing. Keep in mind your overall budget and the cost of the items (including all of the decorative elements) before starting, to ensure you have the right pieces at the right price.
If it’s been a few years since you replaced your mattress, now may be a good time to upgrade it as well. Read How to Choose a Mattress to learn the ins and outs of mattress shopping, including some options that may be new to you.
Eclectic, boho, transitional, or traditional — there’s a bed for all decorating themes and personal styles. Now that you have a clear understanding of your options, what’s next? Choosing the bed that fulfills all your wants and needs. Follow the tips in this bed shopping guide and you’ll be on your way to sweet dreams.
Want to learn more? Read these related bedroom furnishing guides:
- See what’s on trend. Read Master Bedroom Furniture & Design Trends for fresh ideas.
- Undecided on a foundation? Read Platform Bed vs. Box Springs: How to Choose.
- Add the finishing touch with our Bed Pillow Buying Guide: How to Choose Your Perfect Pillow.