The Definitive Buying Guide to Ottoman Beds

Birlea Ottoman Bed.
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Ottoman storage beds, also called ‘ottoman beds,’ have a built-in storage compartment, and you have to lift the top of the bed to access it.

Unlike divan beds, which may also have a storage compartment, you must open a drawer or slide a door across to enter the compartment. Ottoman beds work well in small bedrooms, where space is premium or handy, even if you want extra storage space.

Are you tempted to buy an ottoman bed but unsure whether to? Have you decided you want one but don’t know enough about it to pick the right one for your bedroom? Then this Bedstar Ottoman Storage Beds Buying Guide is for you.

Why buy an ottoman bed instead of a regular bed?

Ottoman beds have three main advantages to them:

1. Extra storage space

The main attraction of these beds is that they give you extra storage space. By combining a bed and storage space in one piece of furniture, ottoman beds reduce the need for additional furniture. You can make every inch of space count and use the area under your mattress efficiently. 

2. Tidy room

Ottoman beds help keep your bedroom tidy and stop dust-gathering quickly. Items underneath your bed can’t drift out from underneath it, and such is the human tendency to store more and more items away in a kind of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach. The bed occupies the space between the mattress and the box spring, which prevents items from sticking out and creates a barrier between the objects and dust. That spares you some cleaning. It’s also no secret that decluttering can reduce stress

3. Professional-looking finishes

You might think an ottoman bed’s design might choose practicality over aesthetics, but it’s not the case. Ottoman bed bases are sturdy and elegant. You can upholster them in different materials so that your bed fits a specific style for your room. They can work with a traditional interior design style or a contemporary one, depending on your chosen material and colour.

Ottoman beds and comfort

Like other beds, Ottoman beds have been designed with comfort and support in mind. They have lightweight metal frames or wooden ottoman beds with the standard features and fittings you expect from a regular bed. It’s just a question of choosing the right size and mattress.

Usually, when choosing a mattress, you’ll consider factors such as the level of firmness, how you feel about memory foam, and whether a latex or allergen-free mattress is the better option for you. You don’t need a specially tailored mattress for ottoman beds (unless you choose a bespoke bed), but some different aspects will have an impact on your decision:

Mattress weight

Ottoman beds have a hydraulic system, and the weight of your mattress can affect how easily you find it to open and close the bed. Ideally, it would be best to consider a lighter mattress than a heavier one. Traditional sprung mattresses are heavier, so you might prefer to avoid them. If you use a spring mattress, try to choose a thinner one.

Compatibility with the slats

Some mattresses need wider gaps between the slats. Others need narrower ones. The gap between slats should be approximately 7 centimetres (2.7 inches). Any wider will inflict more wear and tear on the mattress. Whether the mattress is compatible with the slats will depend on the mattress’s design and materials.

Mattress type

How do you feel about memory foam mattresses? These tend to be reasonably lightweight, suitable for the frame, and provide plenty of comfort because of the foam’s density. Even though they may be more expensive than traditional mattresses, they’re worth considering because they don’t place as much stress on the ottoman bed’s hydraulic system. They offer a good level of support, too.

Then you’ve also got to think about the size of the bed.

Silentnight Just Dream 4FT 6 Double Memory Foam Mattress.
Pictured: Silentnight Just Dream 4FT 6 Double Memory Foam Mattress (Comes rolled and boxed for easy transportation)

Ottoman beds and size

Ottomans don’t take up quite as much room as divan beds do – and you don’t have to open the drawers outwards, which means you don’t have to consider this when choosing a bed – but you still have to make sure you have enough bedroom space. Most ottoman beds come in standard sizes, so measuring your bedroom’s size and choosing the right one should be easy. 

Here is a guide to our ottoman bed sizes to help you:

Always check that the frame is the right size for the mattress. The dimensions above are standard, so you’re not likely to have any trouble in this department. Note that the frame size will also naturally dictate how much storage space there is. A smaller ottoman bed may have just one storage compartment, whereas a larger bed could have two or more.

Also, note that if you invest in a bespoke ottoman bed with a specially-sized frame, you’re setting yourself up for many expenses. Not only will you have to pay more for the bed frame, but you’ll also have to buy a bespoke mattress. Even then, the quality of the mattress may not be brilliant, and you may have to pay premium prices for a mattress that will give you a good night’s sleep.

Don’t forget about the depth of the storage space under your ottoman bed. Do you have any bulky items that may be difficult to store? Do you have lots of things to pack into the storage space? Get a good idea of the storage depth before you choose your bed.

How do ottoman storage bed bases work

Ottomans rely on pistons or, more commonly, gas struts that lift the bed’s lid. They slow the top down as we close it or lift it. Without them, an ottoman bed lid could be pretty hard to lift. 

Bed quality

Ottoman beds can be expensive, but investing in a good-quality ottoman bed from a reputable retailer is better. Quality is everything. A good-quality bed can lift 40 to 80 kilos. The bed will be easier to open or close, and the mattress’s weight won’t affect the lifting mechanism. However, if you buy a cheaply made ottoman bed, the bed may collapse under the weight.

Weight limitations

Regarding weight restrictions, always check the manufacturer’s guidance about how much weight you can place on the bed and the weight of the items you can store. Some ottomans have a ‘floating’ storage base and will only handle so much weight. Others have a boarded base, or the items sit directly on the floor, which saves you from worrying about the weight of the things you wish to put under your bed. 

Ottoman Bed strength

When you’re choosing an ottoman bed, please find out the strength of the pistons themselves. These will determine the weight of the mattress that the bed can lift and how easily you can lift the platform top of the bed. There’s no standardised version like pocket springs, so it pays to know the pistons’ strength. A basic ottoman bed base is likely to have lower gauge pistons and won’t be able to lift heavier mattresses, so check the weight of your mattress before you buy the bed.

Here are the kind of measures, in Newtons (n) and the number of gas pistons, you should be looking for when you’re choosing your ottoman bed:

  • 4x 600n for a side-lift ottoman.
  • 4x 800n on an end-lift divan ottoman bed.
  • 2x 900n on a double bedstead ottoman.
  • 2x 1100n on a kingsize.
  • 2x 1350n on a super kingsize.

Strut quality is essential, too. Solid brackets will join advanced gas struts and pistons to the base with at least two screws. Most likely, there will be four screws joining them. 

Beware of plastic hinges and plastic struts. These aren’t likely to support the weight of your mattress. Not only this, but the lid could also come down while you’re accessing the storage compartment of the bed.

Styles of ottoman storage beds

Ottoman beds have two main styles of frame, and beds open in one of two main ways. They also have different bases.

Divan vs. ottoman bedstead frames

Ottoman beds can come as a single bedstead if smaller (but some large ones may also do so). More oversized ottomans are more likely to come in a divan style, which means two blocks make up the bed. This makes the bed easier to transport. 

Foot opening vs. side opening

You have to think of how you’re using your bedroom and how you’ll access the storage because your ottoman bed will open in two different ways: either from the end of the bed or from the side of it. Think about the space in your room and where the bed will go. A side-opening bed is handy if you’re only going to be able to access the bed from one side of the room. They’re also helpful for small rooms with premium space, and opening the bed from the front would be difficult.

Ottoman Beds.

Slatted bases or board bases

Ottoman bases can be (sprung) slatted or boarded. Sprung slats are better than standard slats because they’re more gentle on your mattress. The slats are curved and act like springs, returning to their original position when you get up from the bed and functioning as a shock absorber when you climb on it. This makes the bed more comfortable. Note that beds with sprung slatted bases can be more expensive than beds with (platform) boarded bases.

Rigid slats, as the name implies, have no flexibility. They’ll likely be further apart than on flexible models. The wider the gaps between the slats, the more wear and tear they’ll inflict on the mattress. A lot of manufacturers recommend specific spacings that especially suit their mattresses. Check these before you buy a new mattress. They’ll likely vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Beds with platform boards may be cheaper, but they’re also firmer and lend more support. Some ottoman platform boards are ventilated so air can come up through the base and the mattress.

Additional features and styling

The storage space may be the star feature of an ottoman bed, but there’s more to this type of bed than just the storage. They also have regular bed features; you can style your bed to suit your taste.

Aspire Chesterfield Sleigh Ottoman Bed Frame.
Pictured: Aspire Chesterfield Sleigh Ottoman Bed Frame. (4′ 6 Double Priced at only £449 *Half price offer)

Upholstering ottoman beds

As Bedstar’s Director of Digital Marketing, Jonathan Stalker, pointed out earlier this year, bed buyers are as concerned about interior design as they are about beds’ practicality, and manufacturers have recognised this. This is no different in the case of ottoman beds, and you can upholster your bed frame in a range of materials, such as faux leather, fabric, and, for that ultimate luxurious touch, (crushed) velvet. 

Safety features

The gas struts of an ottoman bed serve as a safety feature. They prevent the top of the ottoman bed from flying up and coming down too fast. You can also access the storage compartments more safely.

Birlea Phoenix Wooden Ottoman Bed - Oak.
Pictured: Hinge mechanism from the Birlea Phoenix Wooden Ottoman Bed – Oak

If not sprung slatted, the ottoman base often has a non-slip top and will keep the mattress in place. Mattresses will be heavy to lift initially, but you don’t have to worry about this once the struts jump into action. On side-opening beds, one side of the frame tends to be slightly higher so that the mattress stays firmly in place when you open it.

Final considerations

Ottoman beds allow you to store away items and keep your room free of clutter, which is good for your mental health. You don’t have to sacrifice aesthetic value either; you can keep the room tidy and still have an elegant-looking bed, thanks to gorgeous materials such as crushed velvet and faux leather.

Depending on its size, an ottoman bed can cost as little as £305 (or less if there’s an offer. ) and go up to more than £2000.

Remember that it’s important to invest in a good-quality bed that supports your mattress and consider how it will work within your bedroom to choose the best ottoman storage bed.

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