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Bed Frames 101 - All You Need To Know About Beds

The bed is something we take for granted. Although many people around the world cannot afford bed frame and mattress, a bed is something they have from their first to last day of the life in most of the developed parts of the world.

The bed is something we take for granted. Although many people around the world cannot afford bed frame and mattress, a bed is something they have from their first to last day of the life in most of the developed parts of the world. Over the course of a lifetime, each of us will change a lot of bed frames.

First it will be a cot bed, then maybe a bunk bed or a loft bed, and then as adults we will choose a bed frame according to needs and desires. When it comes to how comfortable our bed is, usually everyone thinks of the mattress, not realizing that the bed frame is almost equally important. If you don’t believe us, try putting a mattress on the floor and then on a high quality bed frame.

After that, it will be clear to you how big the difference in performance is when the bed frame provides support and stability. A mattress without a bed frame cannot be stable enough and will not be able to give you even 50% of the expected performance.

That is why we often fail to appropriate its importance, as well as to think about what kinds of beds exist and how they have developed throughout history, from ancient times all the way to flamboyant Renaissance era and modern times. At the beginning of human history, they made a bed from materials available in nature, more similar to how animals do it.

As new materials were found and processing progressed, so did the beds become more complex and more comfortable. Today you can find dozens of different types of beds made from a variety of materials. We from The Sleep Advisors have done our best to highlight everything you need to know about bed frames.

Table of Contents
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    The history of bed frames & bedroom

    While you may think that the appearance of bed frames and bedrooms was simultaneous, this was certainly not the case. The first bed frames were made several hundred thousand years ago, while bedrooms became common only a few hundred years ago. Until then, only the nobility and the richest people had the bedrooms in their villas and palaces while lower class didn’t have separate bedroom.

    An image of an ancient bed.

    The oldest bed frame known to the mankind

    Two years ago, a several hundred thousand years old bed was found, or more precisely something between beds and bedding made of plants. It was most likely made during the Old Stone Age, and the goal was a clean and insect-free place to sleep. This changed the previous opinion that the first bed was created tens of thousands of years ago. When we talk about animals, apes started making nests more than 20 million years ago.

    The ancient Egypt

    Ancient Egypt, one of the oldest developed civilizations, is associated with the appearance of the first raised beds, similar to those we use today. They realized that it was better to sleep raised from the floor, both to avoid the cold, and to avoid rodents and snakes. Wooden bed frames were the most popular , but nobles used ones made of gold and other precious metals.

    The ancient Rome

    Ancient Rome is a civilization that was centuries ahead of other civilizations at the time, so they had aqueducts and roads that some countries do not have today. In the time of ancient Rome, the bed had already become commonplace, and mattresses were used, usually made of feather. The poorest still slept on the floor, but now the middle class also had wooden beds, not just the richest members of Roman society. Richest members had velvet bed frames and bed frames decorated with diamonds.

    An image of the Ancient Rome bedroom.

    The Middle Ages

    The medieval period lasted for about 10 centuries, and many call it the Dark Ages because it was in many ways more backward than ancient Rome and of course than the Renaissance that followed. During the Middle Ages the rich slept on beds made of solid wood, gold and diamonds, while the serfs and other poor slept on makeshift beds full of insects.

    An image of the Middle age bed & bedroom design

    The Renaissance

    Beginning in Italy, the Renaissance was a golden age for Europe. After many dark centuries, life for humans became easier because in the Renaissance man was the measure of all things. Beds and furniture in general were no longer just functional, but also a work of art, not only by adding gold, but also by ornaments. Canopy beds became most popular during the Renaissance.

    An image of the Renaissance bed design.

    The 18th century

    During the 18th century, the functionality of the bed again became more important than the style, so the metal bed frames became the thing in 18th century. Cotton became the main material for mattresses and pillows, instead of feather. What has changed significantly during the 18th century was the bedroom, which became common in all homes, not just in palaces. Almost everyone had room made just for rest and sleep.

    An image of 18th century style bed.

    The 19th century

    The Industrial Revolution, which began in the late 18th century and continued into the 19th century, led to mass production. That is why the trend of producing simpler beds than those during the Renaissance continued. Also, the beds have become cheaper and even more affordable. During the 19th century metal bedsprings were invented, which was a huge milestone in the sleep industry.

    An image of the 19th century bed design.

    The 20th century

    The 20th century was the most fruitful time in history for bed frames. Most of the types of bed frames that we still use today have appeared on the market. Also, many new materials are invented, such as memory foam. The quality of sleep improved significantly during the 20th century due to new mattresses and beds. During the 20th century, it became common everywhere in the world to have a bedroom and a bed, except in tribes that still live as they did thousands of years ago.

    an image of the 20th century bed.

    The 21st century

    Today we live in an era when dozens of different types of mattresses and beds are available to us. Advances in material processing and production, as well as new medical knowledge have led to the equal use of new materials such as foam and natural materials – bamboo, wool, cotton, feather and others. It is exciting to think about what will appear on the sleep market by the end of the decade and by the end of the century.

    An image of the 21st century bed and bedroom design.

    What is the difference between a bed and a bed frame?

    Generally speaking, there is no difference between a bed and a bed frame. Bed, bed frame, bedstead and platform are just some of the names for the furniture which we put the mattress on and sleep on it. There are beds that you use without a mattress. Beds can vary in many characteristics, and how you name it is up to you.

    What are the bed/bed frame sizes?

    Bed frame sizes are generally established dimensions so when you mention single bed frames, we already have the dimensions in our head. However, sizes vary between different countries or parts of the world. So you will often find UK, USA and EU sizes on the market. The most common sizes are Single, Double, King and Super King. There are many other variations of these sizes, for example Small Single, Small Double, Queen, Twin and so on. Make sure to find right bed frame for you. 

    What are the 8 main types of beds?

    The market is flooded with sleep products, including bed frames. There are so many different types of beds, that we had to thought out which are main types and which are just differently designed. Following 8 are the main types of our choice.

    Platform

    The platform bed frame has the highest maximum weight limit of all bed frames, because the sturdy platform is placed directly on the floor, which affects stability. Platform beds are usually bulky and without headboard.

    An image of Nectar Platform Bed Frame in a bedroom.

    Ottoman

    At first glance, the ottoman bed looks like a divan bed, but the ottoman bed always has storage underneath. It is very useful because it gives you extra storage space that you can easily reach thanks to the gas-lift hydraulic system. Ottomans is often referred to as storage bed but there can also be standard bed frames that come with storage drawers which gives additional space. You can also check our buyer’s guide on the best ottoman beds.

    an image of Direct Furniture Suppliers 4ft white ottoman

    Divan

    There are divan bed frames with storage, usually drawers on the side, but you can also find divan beds without storage. They are very comfortable because divan beds are stable, and the headboard makes watching TV and reading book very pleasant.

    An image of Silentnight Mirapocket Latex 1400 2-Drawer Divan Bed

    Standard

    Standard bed frame is usually bed frame without storage and sometimes without headboard, made of solid wood. However, this varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. The standard frames are often used in ample space where you don’t need to save every centimeter.

    An image of standard bed frame.

    Box spring

    Box spring is a very simple bed frame that resembles a platform bed frame. Also, the box spring frame has coils that provide support and prevent motion transfer.

    An image of box spring bed with a mattress.

    Simple

    As the name suggests, a simple bed frame has only the basics – a place for a mattress and legs. There is no headboard or footboard. The advantages of a simple bed frame are price and customizability.

    Adjustable

    Adjustable beds were first used in hospitals and then in homes. They are very useful because you can adjust any position you want, whether for sleeping or just resting. Some adjustable beds come with remote control, and some others you will need to be adjusted manually.

    An image of Adjustable bed in a bedroom.

    Upholstered

    You can find upholstered bed frame with only the headboard and / or footboard upholstered, while some other upholstered bed frames are fully upholstered. This gives the bed a sophisticated look.

    An image of upholstered bed in a bedroom.

    What are the different bed designs?

    These were the main types, but these main types come in many different designs. You should keep in mind that some types and designs are not suitable for every room, nor for every mattress.

    Panel

    The panel bed has a decorated headboard and footboard, which usually includes woodcuts, upholstery and other decorations such as paintings on the panels. They can come without those as well and can be found in versions without the footboard, depending on the design. 

    An image of a panel bed design.

    Sleigh

    Sleigh bed frame looks old-fashioned because it has a specific shape. Headboards and footboards are made to look like a sleigh, hence the name. This type of bed often has additional decorations to make it look even more attractive and it is very popular in recent years.

    An image of sleigh bed design.

    Slat

    A slat bed can be made of wood or metal. In both cases you will see vertical or horizontal slats as headboard and / or footboard. It fits well with the Scandinavian and vintage interior design.

    An image of slat bed design.

    Open-frame

    Open-frame bed is very popular because it can fit in virtually any interior, including industrial and traditional. Headboard and footboard are open, and not made of solid wood but open-frame bed is usually metal bed frame.

    An image of open bed frame design.

    Storage

    Storage beds come in a few different types. Ottoman beds are certainly the most popular type of storage beds, but divan beds, bunk beds and other types of multifunctional furniture may also have storage space. Sleepers who have small bedrooms often benefit from storage beds.

    an image of a storage space under the bed

    Murphy

    Murphy bed was created in the 60’s with the growing need for multifunctional furniture that does not take up to much of floor space. This type of bed is often called a wall bed, and can be horizontal or vertical.

    An image of murphy bed design.

    Canopy

    Canopy beds have been popular for centuries since stylish bed frames are always wanted, and today you can find contemporary and traditional canopy beds. Contemporary canopy bed usually has straight lines, while traditional canopy bed is ornate. It can give you extra privacy. 

    An image of canopy bed design.

    Four poster

    Four poster beds are highly similar to canopy beds, with the difference that four poster beds come with 4 posts that are interconnected. The posts enable you to attach drapes/curtains to add more privacy.

    An image of a four poster bed in a bedroom.

    Daybed

    Daybeds are great example of bedroom furniture and they are usually more comfortable to sit than to lie down because they are shorter than regular beds but they can be good for power nap.

    an image of Dunelm Jessica Daybed With Underbed

    Futon

    In Japan, the Futon is a bedding / mattress that is placed directly on the floor, while in the Western world, the Futon can be 2 in 1, couch and bed.

    an image of Metro Wooden Folding Guest Futon Brown Mattress

    Convertible

    Convertible bed is a great choice for a guest room or if you do not have a guest room then for the living room, because within minute you can turn the sofa into a full size bed.

    An image of convertible sofa bed design.

    Bunk bed

    Bunk bed is a favourite of both parents and kids. Bunk beds are ideal for all those who have two children and live in a smaller space.

    an image of Strictly Beds & Bunks with sprung mattress

    Loft

    The difference between a loft and a bunk bed is that the loft bed has just one bed and work space or lounge underneath, depending on what you need. It can be used both by children and adults.

    An image of loft bed design.

    Trundle

    Trundle bed is perfect bed frame for sleepovers. One bed is folded under another and you can easily unfold it when your child has a guest.

    An image of trundle bed design.

    Bed frame sizes

    Most bed frames come in the standard dimensions that we encounter all the time. These include (though not limited to) :

    • Single
    • Small Single
    • Small Double
    • Double
    • Small Double
    • Queen
    • King
    • Super King.

    Top bed frame brands you should know about

    Bed frames, like mattresses, pillows, toppers or other sleeping gear, come from the different brands. Depending on your preferences, budget and location, you can opt for some of the best bed frame brands you can find on the UK market.

    What is the best material for bed frames?

    This is a matter of a personal preference, though we can confirm that the metal bed frames offer the best durability. No worries – if you want durability, you will be able to find a lot of different designs for metal bed frames. the most popular materials for bed frames are:

    • Wood
    • Metal
    • Leather
    • Upholstery 
    • Velvet.

    Each of these materials has its own pros and cons, so you need to consider your needs and wishes and then compare them to the basic attributes of these materials. 

    Are bed frames adjustable?

    Whether bed frames are adjustable or not depends on the characteristics of the particular bed frame. In addition to the already mentioned adjustable beds, some other types of bed frames such as metal frames can also be adjustable. Those made of solid wood in most cases are not adjustable.

    What bed frames do work with adjustable bases?

    Many bed frames fit with adjustable bases, but you need to check this before you buy. Bed frames that are slightly wider than average can be an even better choice if you want to use adjustable base.

    Are bed frames universal?

    It can be said that bed frames are universal. There are differences in sizes between the UK and the EU, but generally these are the same types of bed frames suitable for mattresses which are also universal. In 99% of cases, the mattress and bed frame of the same size will have identical dimensions.

    An image of a bed in a bedroom.

    The height of bed frame is, somewhat, standardized measure that is the same for all beds. Still, some beds might have different heights – meaning you should measure the height carefully to know whether the height is right for you.

    What bed frames don’t squeak?

    The type of bed frame is not the only thing that matters when we talk about whether the bed is noisy or not, but we should pay attention to the material and craftsmanship too. Generally, wooden bed frames are quiet, but this is true for solid wood only. Particleboard will start to squeak much faster than the metal frame.

    As for the bed frame type, the platform beds don’t squeak because they do not have many parts and are very stable in general. Still, we have a guide for fixing a squeaky bed, so make sure you read before you start fixing your bed frame.

    Why are bed frames slatted?

    Not all bed frames are slatted, but it is a very popular option because slats give support to the mattress. Also, slats distribute weight evenly which is very important for sleeping comfort and length of service life.

    An image of slat bed design.

    Can bed frames be recycled?

    What material is the bed frame made of? If it is made of any recyclable material, then the bed frame can be recycled and vice versa. Today, recycling is advancing and it is possible to recycle many materials that were not suitable for recycling before.

    It is important that we take care of our environment, and recycling is one of the most important things. So when you buy a bed frame consider whether you will be able to recycle it.

    How to get rid of bed frame and box spring?

    There are several ways to get rid of bed frame and box spring. Many sleep companies offer a removal service when they deliver a new bed frame to you and this is an ideal option.

    If this option is not available, check to see if it is possible for a recycling company to come to you and take care of the bed frame. There is also the possibility that you take the bed frame to a recycling factory. The worst thing you can do is just throw it away.

    How to find the best bed frames?

    Finding the best bed frames is not that easy, especially f you are a complete beginner when it comes to beds and related terminology. Luckily, The Sleep Advisors have made the thorough buyer’s guide on the best bed frames so so you can find your ideal bed.

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