The first time I found myself wanting to purchase a new bed I had my worldview thoroughly rearranged.
Why, you ask?
Because while I knew that there was a good selections of mattresses to chose from, I had previously thought that there were maybe a handful of types of bed frames around, and that purchasing a bed was hardly any more than going to a store and pointing at some bed whose look I liked.
And while basically this notion isn’t too far off the truth (always pick a bed whose look appeals to you!), there was a way broader selection of frame types to chose from than I could have imagined in my wildest dreams.
In order to help you navigate the process of buying a new bed and to allwo you to talk to your salesman on an equal level of knowledge, we have curated a list of the most common types of bed frames for you.
While we are certain we have picked out the major players in the field, there will always be hybrids popping up. Trends, particularly when it comes to beds, tend to come and go, but the selection below should equip you with all the basic knowledge you need to make an informed (and stress-free!) purchase!
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A platform bed is, generally speaking, a bed frame that is in some way elevated from the ground.
Traditionally, this kind of bed frame rests on four legs, as in the picture above, but there are also floating varieties around.
Platform beds do not require, and actually discourage from using, box springs, so you’ll only need a (plain) mattress to go along with your frame and you’re good to go.
The panel bed frame gets its name from the “panel” that forms the elevated headboard.
Usually, this type of frame is structurally similar to a platform bed, with the notable distinction of having a headboard.
The headboard itself can be either be done in panels of plain wood, or -in a more contemporary style- come with upholstery.
Once you have taken a look at the picture above, it’s easy to see where the sleigh bed frame gets its name from.
Typically, the scrolled head and foot boards are made from sturdy wood. These days, however, there also are more modern interpretations done in metal and chromes, or covered with fabric readily available.
The sleigh bed is a very classic type of bed frame, but its unique design has stood the test of time and is sure to stick around for yet a long time to come.
Poster bed frames are as varied as they are beautiful, and are widely available in both classic and contemporary forms.
The four poster bed frame is probably the most commonly known variety of the poster beds.
It features four sturdy poles, or post(er)s, of equal length and can also come with a canopy or drapes.
The main difference between a classic four poster and a pencil poster bed frame lies in the posts themselves.
In general, a pencil poster bed has less substantial posts that oftentimes feature some kinds of decorations or carvings.
Traditionally, the pencil poster bed of the 1700s -its birthdate- had some kind of pointed tip on top of the individual posts (hence: pencil). These days, the tips can be made of other shapes, but they are still easily discernible and set off from the rest of the pole.
The low poster bed frame, as its name suggests, sports four low poles.
Said poles are noticeably shorter than their relatives on both the classic four poster and the pencil poster, but can come in either style.
Low poster beds are the more commonly encountered type of poster beds these days.
The half poster bed is a combination of two differently sized pairs of posts. Either, the head posts can be full sized and the foot posts low sized, or the head posts are low and the foot posts are only hinted at.
This combination of different sized poles makes the half poster a more modern variety of poster beds that look great in any contemporary bedroom without losing their classic charm.
Canopy beds are very similar to four poster beds, particularly once you consider poster beds with canopies and/or drapes.
There is, however, a fairly easy way to spot the difference: where poster beds have four separate poles, the canopy bed frame has its poles interconnected by horizontal beams, forming a frame (or canopy).
This frame may be left unadorned, as in our example, but is traditionally used to drape the fabric of the actual canopy across.
Additionally, you might encounter drapes on canopy beds, which give the bed frame yet another layer of the often coveted fairy-tale (or Harry Potter dorm) look.
Divan beds are the perfect solution for small spaces.
Typically, a divan bed frame comes with one or more drawers in the base that offer a lot of additional storage space.
Another plus of the divan bed is its upholstered headboard that allows for incredible comfortable lounging while reading or watching TV.
Originating from Japan, the futon bed in its original form actually doesn’t have a bed frame, but basically is a mattress (oftentimes thin enough to be rolled up for storage) placed on the floor.
Western adaptions of this bed, however, do come with a bed frame. Typically, this frame is made out of plain wood and does hardly more than slightly elevate the mattress off the floor.
In the western version the mattress tends to be a good deal thicker and softer as well, since the futon bed is not targeted at stowing it away throughout the daytime hours when a bed frame is involved.
Futon Sofa Bed
The futon sofa bed is a variant of the futon bed that comes without a classic bed frame. However, since once could argue that the slatted frame that makes up the sofa base doubles as bed frame, we decided to include the futon sofa in our collection.
The futon sofa is a bit closer to the original idea of the futon bed in that it is designed to be stowed away for the day. In this case, the stowing away translates to making use of the mattress as sofa cushion.
The futon sofa bed is the perfect solution when space is scarce, or when you’re looking for a guest bed, but don’t have a dedicated guest room to spare.
Basically, all you have to do to transform your sofa into a comfortable bed is to unfold both mattress and slatted frame, and you’re all set for the night.
The ottoman bed is actually very similar to the divan bed, but differs in how to access the storage space.
Where the divan bed comes with drawers, the storage space in the ottoman bed frame is hidden beneath the mattress itself.
To access the space beneath, you simply lift up the top part of the bed frame that is hinged for ease of use.
A TV bed frame is characterised by its head- and foot boards.
While the only notable feature of the headboard is that it typically is upholstered and soft enough to make lounging back against it very comfortable, the footboard is where the magic happens.
The elevated footboard is where the TV bed frame gets its name from – inside the high walls, there is a flat screen hidden.
The TV itself can be elevated upwards and retracted with the press of a button, and many TV bed frames additionally offer storage spaces for DVD players, game consoles and the like.
Trundle bed frames have a second “bed” hidden in a drawer beneath the original mattress.
Usually, trundle beds are a staple of kid’s and teen’s bedrooms, since they allow for two kids to share one room without loosing a lot of playing space for two separate beds, or because they make spontaneous sleepovers so much easier.
However, you should not rule out thinking about getting a trundle bed for the master bedroom, either. Particularly if you have small children, or plan to start a family in the future, it might be a great idea to have a second bed ready at the drop of a hat for when your kids wake up from nightmares or come down with some illness and want to be near you.
Loft beds are a great way to make the most of little space, and therefore are a great solution for studio apartments or dorm rooms.
Basically, a loft bed is a bed frame with very high legs. High enough to fit things like desks, sofas, wardrobes, and the like beneath your sleeping space.
Since requirements for a loft bed can differ vastly from one room to the next, there really is no set way of how high up the mattress might be, or how large the bed itself is.
As the name suggests, the storage bed frame offers a lot of storage space.
Typically, this is achieved by a drawers set into the sides of the frame. Some variants additionally have drawers set into the foot board, and/or come with a headboard that doubles as book shelf.
Strictly speaking, there is little structural difference between a divan bed and a storage bed, except for (maybe) the size of the bed itself and the headboard (though storage beds can come with upholstered and padded headboards as well).
Adjustable bed frames typically are seen as something for ill or motion challenged people.
That, however, is far from true.
While there definitely are advantages of adjustable beds that benefit people who have to spend a lot of time in bed, or who deal with chronic pain or illnesses that can be helped by sleeping with certain parts of your body being elevated, adjustable bed frames offer just as much comfort for the ‘healthy’ user.
Among others, one of the main benefits of adjustable bed frames is the absolute pleasure of reading or watching TV in bed with the head of your mattress comfortably elevated.
Folding Bed / Murphy (Wall) Bed
Folding beds are another great way of making the most of available space.
Typically, folding beds can be tilted up to ‘disappear’ into a kind of wall panelling or cupboard when not in use. More modern forms incorporate sofas and shelves that double as base of the bed.
This type of bed is also known as Murphy (wall) bed.
Pull Out Sofa
The pull out sofa is one of the easiest ways to make sure you’ll never be short of space to put up friends or family members for the night.
Style-wise, there are as many variants as there are sofa types, and you will most certainly find your preferred sofa-style in a pull-out set-up.
Day beds are yet another type of bed frame that serve as a seat by day and can be easily transformed into a bed at night (or for a comfortable daytime nap).
Typically, day beds are characterised by their solid, un-padded arms and back, and a thick, soft mattress that doubles as sofa cushion. Day beds oftentimes need the use of a wealth of cushions to make the frame comfortable for daytime lounging.
We usually think of children’s bedrooms or cramped college dorms when bunk beds are mentioned. And typically, we also envision small single-beds that are hell to sleep on once you’ve learned to enjoy the merits of twin-sized or larger beds.
The good news: these days, you can get comfortable, space-y bunk beds that also look stylish and grown-up.
And some types of bunk beds also offer a lot of additional storage space – and who doesn’t need that?