Ottoman storage beds, also referred to as ‘ottoman beds,’ are beds with 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 have to pull open a drawer or slide a door across to get into the compartment. Ottoman beds work well in small bedrooms, where space is at a premium, or are handy even if you want a little extra storage space in your home.
Feeling tempted to buy an ottoman bed, but not quite sure whether to? Decided you definitely want one but don’t know enough about them 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 extra furniture. You can make every inch of space count and use the space under your mattress efficiently.
2. Tidy room
Ottoman beds help you to keep your bedroom tidy and stop dust-gathering as easily. 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 bed and the box spring, which prevents items from sticking out and creates a barrier between the items and dust. That spares you some cleaning. It’s also no secret that decluttering can reduce stress.
3. Professional-looking finishes
You might think that 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 in with a specific style for your room. They can work with a traditional interior design style or a contemporary one, depending on the material and colour you choose.
Ottoman beds and comfort
Ottoman beds, like other beds, have been designed with comfort and support in mind. They have lightweight metal frames (or wooden ones) so that they’re strong and come with the traditional features and fittings you’d expect of a regular bed. It’s just a question of choosing the right size and the right mattress.
Normally, when you’re 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 there are some different aspects that will have an impact on your decision:
Ottoman beds have a hydraulic system, and the weight of your mattress can affect how easy you find it to open and close the bed. Ideally, it would be best if you considered going for a lighter mattress than a heavier one. Traditional sprung mattresses tend to be heavier, so you might prefer to avoid them. If you do decide to 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.
How do you feel about memory foam mattresses? These tend to be fairly lightweight, which is good for the frame and provides 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.
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 it should be easy enough to measure up your bedroom’s size and choose the right ottoman bed for you.
Here is a guide to our ottoman bed sizes to help you:
- Small single (75cm x 190cm / 2 ft 6 inch)
- Single (90cm x 190cm / 3ft)
- Small double (120cm x 190cm / 4 ft)
- Double (135cm x 190cm / 4 ft 6 inch)
- Kingsize (150cm x 200cm / 5 ft)
- Superking (180cm x 200cm / 6ft)
Always check that the frame is the right size for the mattress. The sizes above are standard, so you’re not likely to have any trouble in this department. Note that the frame size will also dictate how much storage space there is, naturally. A smaller ottoman bed may have just one storage compartment, whereas a larger bed could have two or more.
Note, too, that if you invest in a bespoke ottoman bed that has a specially sized frame, you’re setting yourself up for lots of expense. 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 ottoman storage bed bases work
Ottomans rely on pistons or, more commonly, gas struts that lift the lid of the bed up. They slow the lid down as we close it or lift it. Without them, an ottoman bed lid could be quite hard to lift.
Ottoman beds can be expensive, but it’s better to invest in a good-quality ottoman bed from a reputable retailer. 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. If you buy a cheaply made ottoman bed, however, the bed may collapse under the weight.
When it comes to 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 in it. 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 worrying about the weight of the items you wish to put under your bed.
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. Like pocket springs, there’s no standardised version, so it really 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 important, 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 they’re smaller (but some large ones may also do so). Larger 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 one of 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 useful for small rooms, where space is at a premium, and it would not be easy to open the bed from the front.
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 on the cheaper side, but they’re also firmer and lend more support. Some ottoman platform boards are ventilated so that 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 come with regular beds’ features, too, and you can style your bed to suit your tastes.
Upholstering ottoman beds
As Bedstar’s Director of Digital Marketing, Jonathan Stalker, pointed out in an interview earlier this year, bed buyers are 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.
The gas struts of an ottoman bed serve as a safety feature. They prevent the top of the ottoman bed from flying up and from coming down too fast. You can also access the storage compartments more safely.
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 anymore 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.
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 will support your mattress and considers how your bed will work within your bedroom to choose the best ottoman storage bed for you.