Bed Frames – The Complete Buying Guide

When you’re looking for a bed frame, you don’t have to choose between comfort and practicality the way you sometimes have to if you’re buying new clothes. Today, manufacturers give you plenty of options when you’re choosing a bed frame so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. 

Choosing a bed can be easier than you think. In this Bedstar Bed Frame Buyer’s Guide, we look at when to replace your bed, the different types of bed frames, box springs and bed frame materials. We also provide some tips on how to buy the right bed for you. We start with knowing when to replace your frame.

Knowing when to replace your bed frame

Your bed frame works hard. It’s one of the pieces of furniture you use the most and endures some real wear and tear. You need to keep an eye on your bed frame and check it’s still fit for its purpose. If not, your bed could give you a bad night’s sleep. Worse still, it could cause you an injury.

Here are some signs you need to replace your bed frame:

  • Despite replacing your mattress, you still don’t get the support you need.
  • The bed creaks or makes crunching noises when you move.
  • The slats are warped or broken.
  • There’s split wood in the frame, or the slats have cracks in them (the bed could be about to cave in).
  • Fixings in the frame are bent, loose or twisted.
  • You’ve got your best night’s sleep on another bed recently.
  • You feel sore and unrefreshed when you wake up.

If you spot any of these signs when using your bed, then it’s time to go bed hunting!

Types of Bed Frames

Variety is the spice of life – and bed frames are no different. You can purchase different types of bed frames, depending on your needs. Here are the most common ones:

Divan beds

Divans are the most simple style of bed available. They’re affordable and also very popular. You can purchase divans that have pocket springs in the base or that have a firmer platform top. You could also add a headboard and footboard to them as desired. Some divan beds come with storage options and are useful if you don’t have much space in the bedroom.

Not sure if this is the right type of bed for you? Read our detailed divan beds guide so you can decide more easily.

Divan Bed Frame.


A bedstead has a slatted bed frame rather than a platform top. They consist of a base, legs and a headboard. You can find them in a variety of styles, from traditional pine through to luxurious four-poster beds. Bedsteads are more expensive than divan beds; however, placing items under the bed can really disturb the room’s aesthetics. 

Storage beds

You don’t have to be a genius to know that storage beds have storage options built into them. A storage bed can be a divan with storage drawers with sliding doors or drawers that you open out, or it can be an ottoman bed, the base of which you lift from the front or the side.

If you have a small bedroom, a storage bed is useful. You can see some of the different storage options that a storage bed provides in our short guide to storage beds’ evolution and design.

Sofa beds

Sofa beds work well in a guest room or in any room where you won’t be using the sofa as a bed every day. They’re compact, flexible and you can fold them back into a sofa when you’ve finished using them. They’re like the Transformers of beds!

However, if you don’t want a full sofa bed, you may prefer a guest bed, which you either pull out from the main bed or fold out (and up) like a camping bed. 

Bunk beds

Bunk beds need very little explanation. They’re double-decker style beds and are terrific if you don’t have much space. These are mainly beds for children.

If you’re using them for adults, you should check the weight limit. You can find out more about buying bunk beds in our guide to choosing the perfect children’s bunk bed.

Adjustable beds

An adjustable bed is a bed in which you can adjust the position to get the support you need. The perception has long been that they’re for the elderly and people who have mobility issues, but some people buy them because of the comfort and health benefits they offer.

Basically, you don’t have to be old to buy an adjustable bed! If you’re thinking of buying an adjustable bed, you can find out more about how to do so in our complete guide to adjustable beds.

Slatted bed bases

It’s not just the bed frame that is different, but also the base of the bed itself. A lot of bases have slats that go across the bed upon which you lay the mattress.

There are two types of slatted bed base:

Solid slatted bed frame

Solid bed slats are firm but inflexible. Often bed manufacturers will make them out of wood such as pine — or sometimes out of metals such as steel — and the slats will be screwed to the bed or fixed to it somehow.

If you’re looking for a firmer level of support, solid slatted bases are a good option and you can pair them together with a firm mattress. 

Sprung slatted bed frame

The slats on a sprung slatted bed base are made from (beech) plywood, making them stronger, and they’re slightly curved upwards. Their curved nature makes them more flexible.

They act like a spring, and the frame adapts to your movements when you’re in bed, so you’ll enjoy a more cushioned feel from the bed. Sprung slats are also much easier on your mattress because of their design, allowing it to last longer.

Note that the slats on a bed should be no further apart than just under 3 inches (7.6 cm). Any wider and the slats will damage the mattress. 

Find out more about sprung slats in the video below:

What is a Sprung Slatted Bed Base |

Box springs

While researching and reading about beds, you’ve probably come across the term ‘box spring’. This isn’t really a spring, but more of a supportive square or a foundation that raises your mattress. Up until the year 2000, box springs used to have heavy gauge coils in them. Today, they tend to be solid, supportive squares that match the size of the mattress. 

What is a platform bed?

Platform beds often don’t need box springs, and they tend to be large but lower than standard beds. These types of bed are an option for people with bad backs.

Platform bed.

Bed frame sizes

Generally, bed frames come in a range of sizes, from small singles through to king-size beds. Here’s a quick rundown of our sizes:

  • Small single (75 x 190 centimetres / 29.5 x 74.8 inches).
  • Single (90 x 190 centimetres / 35.4 x 74.8 inches).
  • Small double (120 x 190 centimetres / 47.2 x 74.8 inches).
  • Double (135 x 190 centimetres / 53.1 x 74.8 inches).
  • King size (150 x 200 centimetres /  59 x 78.7 inches).
  • Super king size (180 x 200 centimetres / 70.8  x 78.7 inches).

When you are choosing your bed, think about the size of your bedroom. You do not want the bed to dominate every single inch of space.

Neither do you want it to look lost because the room is too large? If you are choosing a mattress, add on 2 to 5 inches (5 to 12.7 centimetres).

This allows you to accommodate for the bed frame and any special features it may have such as drawers, shelves or upholstery.

When it comes to choosing the right size bed, an important factor to consider would be how much space the person or persons will need.

If you have children, you can be sure they will want to climb into the bed and snuggle up beside you or your partner.

Bed frame materials

When it comes to bed frames, you have a choice of materials:

  • Wood, which is versatile and can work with modern and traditional looks.
  • Metal, which works with more contemporary interiors, but can also work with traditional ones.
  • Upholstered, such as velvet, crushed velvet and leather, which convey an extra sense of warmth and luxury.

You can find out more about the different bed frame materials in our short guide to each type of frame.

Tips for buying a bed frame

If only you could walk into a bed retailer and buy the first bed frame on which you clamped your eyes. There are several things to consider, so here are some tips for choosing your bed frame:

Measure the room and the bed

Measure the size of your bedroom (and the bed). You can place your mattress on the floor to get an idea of how much space the bed would occupy. As mentioned, add a few inches for the frame.

If the bed is going to dominate all the space, choose a smaller one. You could go for a metal bed, under which you could store belongings on the floor, or a storage one, such as a divan bed with drawers or an ottoman bed, which has built-in storage options.

Remember the size of the mattress

Choosing your bed frame will be easier if you already have a mattress that is serving you the way you would like it to.

If you already have your mattress, you will need a bed frame that is the correct size for your mattress. There should be enough space readily available to manoeuvre around your bedroom comfortably.

Depending on the style of the frame, the dimensions of some bed frames will be larger. You will need to allow a few extra inches when considering buying a wooden bed frame or upholstered bed frame.

However, a divan bed without a headboard is more inclined to have dimensions which accommodate the mattress completely. 

Of course, there are lots of different mattresses to choose from, so why not check out our size guide and see which size would be the best for your bed?

Think about the bed frames height and bulkiness

A taller bed frame will require a higher ceiling, but think about your own health and mobility, too. If the bed is too low, it can lead to back pain because getting out of bed will be uncomfortable on your joints, whereas if it’s too high, jumping out of bed each morning will also create pain in the joints in the long run.

To gauge whether your bed is a suitable height, sit on the edge of the bed. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your knees should be in line with your hips.

If they are above your hips, your bed is too low. A bed or around 24 inches (60 centimetres) high would be the right height. If you are elderly or have trouble with your joints.

A higher bed would be the better option. In the long run, it can have less impact than a lower one when this is the case.

Make sure the bed frame is compatible with the décor and style

Choosing the right bed frame is not just about practicality. The aesthetics have got to be right. Metal frames or wooden frames, with clean lines, will make your bedroom look more modern.

Wooden bed frames, with lots of cushions and a decent quilt, will give it a more traditional esthetic look. Remember that the bed is the centrepiece of any bedroom, so the frame must be in keeping with the overall design of the room.

Thinking about doubling up

A guest bedroom with a trundle is worth considering if your children like to have sleepovers. Trundle beds or day beds are useful if you would rather keep your spare room free for other purposes.

Final thoughts

Buying a bed frame deserves some consideration. Not only have you got to take into account practical issues such as comfort, size and space, but also ones such as style.

Considering the right material is important and can influence the price a bed may cost. Other factors could be how easy it is to maintain, durability and quality.

The good news is that you do not have to choose comfort over style, nor style over comfort. The design of bed frames today allows you to enjoy both. When it comes to choosing a bed, the world really is your oyster.

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