By Ande Waggener
How do you choose a bed style? First, you need to know your options. Second, you need to know what each option has to offer. Will it meet your needs? Is it a good fit for the size of your room? Does it match your interior design motif?
If you’re sighing in frustration because you don’t have time to research the answers to all of those questions, you’re in the right place. Below, you’ll find a list of the seven most common bed styles and a discussion of how they suit various lifestyles and rooms.
Headboards and Frames
This type of bed is the most basic and least expensive of the various bed styles. It’s a two-part bed. It has a basic metal frame for your mattress and box spring, and it has a separate headboard. This bed style has no side rails, and there’s nothing at the foot of the bed.
If your budget is tight, this bed style is an ideal option. You can just purchase the metal frame, and then you can do a DIY project to make your own headboard. If you love the DIY headboard, you’re good to go. If you want to upgrade down the road, you can buy a standalone headboard. Headboards for this type of bed can be installed in three ways: mounted to the wall, mounted to the bed frame, or unmounted (freestanding).
This type of bed will fit into any size room. If your room is small, the lack of side rails and footboard will make the room seem bigger. If your room is big, you can “expand” the bed to fit the room by adding a chest, some chairs, or a small loveseat at the end of the bed.
Because of the nearly infinite variety of headboard styles, you can make or buy, this bed style gives you the most leeway in your design. It will fit into any interior design scheme, from traditional to modern.
Headboards and Footboards
Just a bit more substantial and expensive than the headboard only bed, a bed with a headboard and footboard is just as the name suggests. It consists of a frame, a headboard, and a footboard. The headboard and footboard “match,” in that they obviously go together; however, the headboard is generally bigger than the footboard.
The look of this type of bed depends on the materials used for the headboard and footboard. Generally, clean and simple lines will match a more modern style, More details, be they in wood, metal, or other materials, will better suit a traditional, rustic, or country cottage design style.
A sleigh bed is a distinct bed design with a headboard, side rails, and generally, a footboard as well. Sleigh beds are usually made of wood. They get their name from the curved shape of the headboard and footboard, which brings to mind an old-fashioned sleigh.
Because they tend to be large and have substantial visual weight, sleigh beds belong in medium to large bedrooms. They also are most at home in traditional, rustic, or country-style rooms. If you have a sleigh bed, you’ll want other significant wood furniture in the room to balance your space.
A four-poster bed is one of the most historic bed styles. Wood four-poster beds date back to the 16th century. So named for the four decorative posts that jut upward from each of the bed’s corners, this type of bed sometimes has a headboard only and sometimes has a short footboard as well.
Although sleek modern versions of a four poster are available, the most common four-poster beds have more vintage styling, with carved accents and decorative finials at the top of the posts. The height of the posts varies from being just a bit higher than the mattress to being almost ceiling height.
Because of the vertical visual impact of these beds, they don’t work all that well in small rooms. You don’t have to have a high ceiling to pull off this look, but you do need some space. A four-poster bed will make a small room feel cramped and cluttered. On the other hand, if your room feels too big, a four poster will work magic to make the room feel cozier and more inviting.
Canopy beds may be the most romantic of the bed styles. Often associated with young girls’ rooms or at least feminine styling, a canopy bed actually can work well for anyone, male or female, young or old.
Kind of like the big brother of the four poster bed, a canopy bed has the same kind of posts; however, it also has beams to connect those posts. A canopy bed can stand on its own, but it often gets styling help from fabric. The classic canopy bed has fabric either draped over the bed or simply hung like curtains from the crossbeams. It’s this fabric addition that gives the canopy bed its romantic character. However, if romance isn’t the look you want, you can give a canopy bed a modern makeover by either leaving off the fabric or by using simple, crisp fabrics with a more organic nature.
Because of their almost grand presence, canopy beds look best in larger bedrooms with tall ceilings. However, if you loved making blanket caves when you were a kid, you may enjoy having a canopy bed in a small room. It makes for an appealing getaway.
Often used in the mid-century modern design style, the platform bed is a tidy bed style for people who like their spaces clean and orderly. Just as its name states, the platform bed is a platform on which a mattress sits. Instead of putting your mattress on a box spring, you put your mattress directly on wood slats.
These beds are usually made of wood, and they usually have a headboard but no footboard. Platform beds can be simple wood frames with “feet,” or they can have solid side rails as well. One of the most useful and attractive types of platform beds is a platform storage bed, which has drawers built in.
What is a daybed? A daybed is a twin-sized bed that’s designed to place against the wall. Most daybeds have headboards and footboards as well as one sideboard, which is the wall side of the bed. A daybed stands out among the types of beds for small rooms because not only are they smaller, they have dual functionality … they’re a bed by night, but they become a sofa by day.
Because of this bed/sofa twofer, daybeds are ideal beds for children’s rooms or teenage girls’ rooms. They also are a fine choice for a small guest room or a home office/guest room combo. Tucked against the wall, they leave small rooms open for a feeling of spaciousness and ease of use. And they provide a great hang-out spot.
Daybeds come in a variety of styles and materials so there’s at least one that can fit your home’s design scheme.
So that’s Bed Styles 101. Armed with the basics about these seven styles, you can now make wise choices about what bed will suit your perfect bedroom.
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