In almost every bedroom in the world, you will find one piece of essential furniture; bed frames. From twin size to king size, from the ultra cheap to the uber expensive, from metal to wood, the bed frame is usually the central piece of furniture in our bedrooms.
With the bed being the predominant focal point in our bedrooms, we want to ensure that it looks good, will be durable and it is something we can enjoy.
When shopping for bed frames, there are a few pointers to keep in mind to ensure that you will continue to enjoy your bed for many years into the future.
Buying a Bed Frame: Suggestions on How to Choose a Bed
A bed is a very personal thing, we all have our own needs and preferences. I can’t make the decision for you but we can give you some ideas to think about when choosing. Note that if you have any medical condition you should first consult your doctor.
If you choose a good quality bed it should last between eight and ten years. Most beds on the market are probably due for a change after ten years. At the very least consider changing the mattress.
Buying a second hand bed might seem like a bargain – but it probably isn’t. Not only is it likely to be worn down, it may harbor dust mites or other pests. An old bed might not meet current safety standards. Yes, you can get a bargain buying second hand but is it worth the risk?
What Size of Bed?
In general you should choose the biggest bed you can afford that will fit your bedroom. Many beds sold as “doubles” are barely large enough for two people to sleep together. Just an extra six inches of width can make a huge difference to the comfort of you and your partner.
That said, the bed obviously has to fit the bedroom. Remember to leave enough space to easily get in and out of the room and to allow for opening windows, cupboards and closets. Don’t forget that you’ll also need to open the bedroom door! It sounds silly, but it’s an easy mistake to make.
If you have time, a good idea is to draw out a plan of your bedroom and use scale cardboard cutouts to try out different bed sizes. Who knows, you might even decide to reorganize the bedroom totally.
Bed sizes vary between countries – see the bed size charts for the widely accepted standards but be aware that not every manufacturer sticks to them.
Bed & Mattress Sizes
Over the years a number of standard bed sizes have been developed. Unfortunately they’re not completely “standard”!
For a start the standards vary around the world. Not only are the names of bed sizes sometimes different but even beds and mattresses with the same name can have different sizes. This can be important when – for example – buying bed linen on-line.
Even within a single country different manufacturers interpret the “standard” bed sizes differently. Some might shave a couple of inches off to reduce cost, others add a little for comfort. Those few inches can make a lot of difference.
Beds are usually labelled according to the dimensions of the mattress – the actual bed might be a little wider and/or longer. Check this when planning you bedroom. Obviously bed linen will be significantly larger than the standard mattress size and again some manufacturers are more generous than others.
The Queen Size bed is, as the name suggests, positioned in the market between the full/double bed and the King size. The term is rarely used in the UK.
This size is the most popular US buying choice for two adults, though many people still find it barely adequate.
“Standard” bed and mattress sizes vary. You should always check before buying, but usually the US dimensions for a Queen size bed/matress are 60″ x 80″. That provides just 30″ x 80″ of space per person.
The meaning of “King Size” varies according to country. In the USA, a King Size Bed is larger than a Queen Size. However a UK “King Size” bed is about the same as an American Queen Size! These differences are especially important when buying bed linen etc online.
Regardless of country, the King Size bed and mattress gives more space per person the the more common Queen Size (USA) or Double (UK).
“Standard” bed and mattress sizes vary. You should always check before buying, but usually the dimensions for a King size bed/matress are:
|USA||76″ x 80″||38″ x 80″ per person|
|UK||60″ x 78″||30″ x 78″ per person|
The tables below give common interpretations of the “standard” sizes. Use these size charts as a guideline, but always check the exact dimensions before you buy.
There are two charts on this page: US Bed Sizes and UK Bed Sizes.
US Bed & Mattress Sizes
|Name||Width||Length||Space per person||Comments|
|Twin / Single||39″||75″||39″ x 75″||Small, so easy to fit in. Often used for guest rooms.|
|Twin Extra Long||39″||80″||39″ x 80″||Bed linen can be hard to find|
|Full / Double||54″||75″||27″ x 75″||Barely wide enough for two adults|
|Queen||60″||80″||30″ x 80″||The Queen size bed is the most popular choice for two adults, but is still too small for some|
|King||76″||80″||38″ x 80″||The King size bed is a good buying option for those who find the Queen too small|
|California King||72″||84″||36″ x 84″||The California King is narrower but longer than a standard King size bed|
UK Bed & Mattress Sizes
The range of British bed sizes is smaller than that of the US – and British beds themselves are usually smaller then their US version with the same name.
|Name||Width||Length||Space per person||Comments|
|Single Bed||36″||75″||36″ x 75″||Small, so easy to fit in. Often used for guest rooms.|
|Double Bed||54″||75″||27″ x 75″||Barely wide enough for two adults – yet still surprisingly common in the UK|
|King Bed||60″||78″||30″ x 78″||Same width but slightly shorter than the American Queen size|
|Super King Bed||72″||78″||36″ x 78″|
Types of Bed
Remember that there are a wide variety of beds available apart from the “traditional” style. Some of them are introduced on the bed types pages on this site. Maybe it’s time for something really radical!
Under Bed Storage
Many beds nowadays come with underbed storage. This costs a little extra but can drastically increase the storage space available in a small bedroom. This is another instance where your bedroom plan will be useful; there’s no point having a large under bed drawer if you can’t open it because it’s up against a wall.
Try It Out
Despite all the obvious advantages of buying online, traditional shops do still offer two valuable advantages: one is personal advice, the other is the opportunity to try out the bed or mattress and really tell what it feels like.
If buying from a shop, make sure to take advantage of the ability to try it out. Don’t just sit on the edge and bounce up and down, actually lay down and stay there for ten minutes or more. If the store doesn’t like you doing this then they’re in the wrong business – take your money to a different store.
To go with the bed, check out the page on buying a mattress.
If you have limited bedroom space or are looking for an occasional bed for visitors, there are several space saving options available.
Invest in Quality
I can’t say this too often: you spend a third of your life in bed. Don’t skimp, buy the best bed you can sensibly afford. This is probably the best bed buying advice I can give.
For a bed frame to be durable, it has to be properly constructed.
While wooden bed frames can be very sturdy and offer amazing attention to detail in their construction, it is far too often the case that the lower priced models are poorly crafted.
In many cases, an expensive metal bed frame can be purchased for less than the cost of a low end wooden frame. For most people, choosing metal bed frames is the economical choice because these sturdy bed frames can be obtained at a much lower price.
Whether you opt for the metal or the wooden bed frames, be sure to carefully inspect all joints to make sure they fit together smoothly, are of sufficient strength to handle weight and that the bed frame does not allow for a great deal of movement when you shake the frame.
This is the area where wooden bed frame models often win out over metal bed frames. While the metal frames are usually less expensive and more ruggedly built, the trade off is the fact that they are cold and often unattractive.
A wooden bed frame can give a sense of style, elegance and warmth to a room while a metal bed frame tends to present more of a clinical or modern experience.
In the end, it is a matter of personal tastes so look for bed frames that suit your particular sense of style.
What Features Does the Bed Frame Offer?
Depending upon the room and your personal needs, you may want a bed with added features.
- Bed frames with storage are wonderful additions to small rooms because they eliminate the need for dressers or closets.
- Canopy beds can add a look of elegance to your little girls bedroom or a guest room.
- A frame with bed rails may be the perfect choice for a child who tends to roll out of bed.
All of these features can add value to your bed and they should be considered when shopping for a new frame for your bedroom.
What’s the Cost?
Price is that word that no one wants to think about when it comes to bedroom furniture. We all know that quality costs more initially but it is the better value in the long run.
Still, we have to live within our budgets so here are a few pointers for saving money on your bedroom furniture purchases.
Always compare prices and make sure you are comparing identical products.
Platform bed frames at one store may be much more expensive than the same frame at another store. Check the prices at several locations and make sure you are getting the best price.
Opt for bedroom sets when you can afford it.
If you purchase your bed frame, along with the mattress, dressers and nightstands, you can sometimes save thousands of dollars compared to what you would have spent buying the items separately.
Bigger is Better
Bigger is better… most of the time.
If you anticipate that you might want a larger bed at some point in the future,( For example, your toddler just started sleeping in their own bed at age four), then you might want to get the larger sized bed now.
In the example given, the child would quickly outgrow the toddler bed frame or bunk bed and you would be shopping for twin bed frames within a couple of years.
By anticipating your future needs and purchasing bed frames to match them, you save money because you won’t have to make a new purchase before the old frame has outlived it’s usefulness.