Wooden beds are a little more expensive, but they’re worth it. They have a timeless quality and bring warmth to a bedroom, with the wood’s natural appearance giving the room tremendous character.
One of the truly marvellous things about a wooden bed is that if you feel your bed or bedroom looks tired, you can freshen it up by giving your bed a fresh paint job.
Best of all, wooden beds don’t need the unreasonable amounts of aftercare you might expect when you pay for good quality. Follow a simple cleaning schedule, and your wooden bed will reward with years of faithful service.
If all these perks sound right up your street, this guide to wooden beds is for you. We’ll look at the types of wood manufacturers use, the different styles of wooden beds you can find at Bedstar, what to consider when buying a wooden bed, how to look after your new bed, and how to get rid of your old one. We start with different wood types.
Different types of wood used for bed frames
Choosing a wooden bed frame is a design question because you want strong wood for your bed frame. That’s because the finish enhances your bedroom’s overall look and feel. Below are some of the woods manufacturers use a lot to make bed frames:
Mahogany is expensive, high-quality, reddish-brown wood with few knots or defects. Mahogany is finely grained and durable and refuses to shrink, swell, or warp, making it the wood of choice for high-end furniture manufacturing. It darkens with time, taking on a gorgeous shine. Unfortunately, not all trade-in mahogany is legal, so if you buy a bed made from this wood, always check it comes from an approved source.
Pine is a popular wood for bed frames and is a joy to work with. It’s softwood and wasn’t too expensive. There are two types of pine: yellow pine and white pine. White pine is versatile, easy to glue, and offers an excellent finish, handling staining and painting well. It’s also not prone to cracking. Yellow pine is more complex, has a straight grain, and is common in construction and structural work.
Oak is a prevalent wood for making bed frames and, like pine, comes in two types: white oak and red. One of the best things about the white oak is its sheer resilience. It can withstand moisture, making it a superb choice for outdoor furniture. Another reason is that it can handle any attacks from insects and fungi. Red oak, meanwhile, has a similar grain to white wood and a pinkish tone. However, it’s more likely to shrink. Manufacturers often use it to make flooring, cabinets, desks, and chairs.
Oak is a grainy, strong hardwood. It’s durable and less expensive than some other hardwoods. The grain gives it a distinctive look and offers an excellent finish. The only con is that the oak wood stain sometimes darkens, creating an unwanted two-tone look over time.
Walnut is rich brown, durable, and resistant to decay to last a lifetime. This strong wood has a generally straight but slightly irregular grain. Walnut also only experiences minimal shrinkage and is resistant to warping. These rigid properties make it more expensive, not to mention a marvellous wood, and the wood’s colour can add real drama to a room. Dark walnut may lighten over time, so keeping the wood out of direct sunlight is best to protect the finish.
Different styles of wooden bed
On our wooden bed page, you’ll find various styles of beds. We offer beds in pine and oak, hardwood, and softwood. You’ll find:
- Standard wooden beds. These are elegant and have a traditional feel and various foot ends (high, low, or no footboard). The headboards are either slatted or panelled (you can find out more about headboards in our handy headboard buying guide).
- Wooden beds that have storage. Some of our beds, such as the ottoman beds and beds with drawers, have storage space. They’re perfect in small bedrooms where you want to make the most of every inch of space. You can keep bedding, clothing, or other items under the bed and free up space in the bedroom.
- Wooden bunk beds and day beds. These are another handy option if you need two sleeping children or have guests but don’t have the space to accommodate two beds permanently.
- Wooden cabin beds. These are useful if you’re short on space. They can save a little money by incorporating other furniture bits into the overall unit, such as a desk or a cupboard.
Different types of wooden slats
Wooden beds will have slats and a series of connected bars across the frame to provide the mattress base. Ideally, these slats should be around 2.8 inches apart and no more. Any further apart, and the slats will damage the mattress. Slates tend to be cheaper than box springs and, by allowing the air to flow more freely from your head to your toes, can preserve the mattress, too.
The slats on the bed can be sprung slatted. Their upward curve allows them to act like springs. Often, they’re made from birch wood or poplar wood. They bend downwards when you lie on the bed and return to their original shape when you get up.
This makes these slats more mattress-friendly and the bed more comfortable.
The other type of slat is a solid slat. They have a good, even distribution of pressure and offer a firm feel. You can pair the slats with a firm mattress to reinforce this support. Note that solid slats will be a little harder on your mattress. They don’t adjust to the weight on the mattress in the way that sprung slats do.
What to look for when buying a wooden bed base
Unfortunately, life isn’t as simple as just picking the first wooden bedstead you see. There are several things to consider before you go ahead and order that gorgeous new bed! Below are some aspects to keep in mind when you buy that brand-new wooden bed frame:
Is it the right time to be buying a new bed? This isn’t just in terms of your budget and how much money you must spend, but also the bed itself. If the bed shows signs of ageing or starts to crack or creak, it’s time to consider replacing it. It would be best to replace your mattress every 7 or 8 years.
A lovely wooden, king-sized bed may look the part in your head, but what about in practice? If you push all your furniture against the walls, how much space will it leave for the bed? More importantly, how much will there be between the furniture and the edge of the bed? You don’t want to have to squeeze past everything.
One neat little trick is to measure the bed’s size with a tape measure and lay newspaper across the floor. This gives you a basic physical idea of how much space the bed will take. Remember that if you buy a new headboard, the headboard will add to the bed’s length, so account for this as well.
The bed height is another important consideration. You don’t want your bed to be low or too high. If you’re going to end up jumping out of bed, you could end up damaging your knees in the long run. The bed may also be too difficult to climb onto. You should be able to sit on the bed, with your feet firmly on the floor, and push yourself off the bed to stand up. Your knees should be level with your hips. If they’re higher or lower, the bed is the wrong height for you.
Style and finish
Think about the design of your bedroom and how you want the bed to look within it. What colour are your walls? Does your bedroom have a particular theme? From what materials are the furniture items already in your room made? It’s a good idea for your bed to be made from the same wood as your furniture to coordinate things effectively.
Consider, too, the aesthetic of the bed versus the practicality. Oak is a popular choice. As time goes on, it looks better and better. It’s rustic looking and can last for decades. It also works well in modern and traditional settings.
Pine is packed with character, versatile, and cheaper than oak. Pine also contributes well to repainting; painting the frame can freshen up your bedroom quickly. You can also work easier with the finishes by waxing them differently to achieve a different look.
You must budget when buying a bed because it has to work with the other furniture in your bedroom and the room’s design. If you believe in a more expensive bed, tailor the rest of the room to it (or vice versa). A mahogany bed, for instance, might not look very good against a room full of oak furniture. Don’t rule out if you like a bed, but the price falls outside your budget. We offer flexible finance options so you can buy your bed and pay in instalments.
Looking after your new wooden bed
Like so many other things, the more care you take of your bed, the longer it will last. Below are some tips on caring for a wooden bed so you can get the best out of it:
Clean your wooden bed regularly
Set up a regular schedule to keep your wooden bed clean. Cleaning the bed isn’t hard. Polish it regularly to maintain the shine level. To protect the wood, avoid saturating the cloth. Avoid using rough cleaning cloths to prevent damaging the paint on the wood.
Keep your bed out of direct sunlight.
You don’t want the sun to fade your lovely new bed! Don’t place your bed in direct sunlight. If you can’t avoid it, fit some blinds in your room or close the curtains to keep the sun off the frame. Avoid applying any harsh heat to the structure as well. This means keeping it away from radiators so the heat doesn’t weaken the veneer.
Apply Beeswax every six months.
Polishing your bed frame with Beeswax, a valuable by-product of beekeeping and honey, will protect the finish. Beeswax feeds and nourishes wood. The substance works its way into the untreated wood grain and provides a waterproof coating, giving the wood a durable barrier and a natural shine. Even if you or the bed manufacturer have already treated or vanished the frame, the Beeswax will add that protective layer to keep the wood looking healthy.
If the wood splits or breaks, you should hire a professional to fix it. This is for safety reasons.
Getting rid of your old bed
What about your old bed?
There are various ways to get rid of it, but you should ensure you’re disposing of it responsibly. Breaking down your old bed and burning it can be dangerous and terrible for the environment, whereas dumping your bed in the street, in someone else’s skip without asking, or on any land licensed to receive rubbish is illegal.
Instead, you can take action below:
- Check if the bed retailer offers a removal and disposal service
- Ask your local council to collect your old bed
- Take your bed to a recycling centre
- Donate your old bed.
- Sell your old bed (although you should be careful it’s in good condition for this)
If you dump a mattress or other rubbish illegally, a practice known as “fly-tipping,” you could face a hefty penalty. In our handy guide to mattress recycling, you can learn more about getting rid of your mattress responsibly and about fly-tipping and fly-tipping fines.
Final thoughts on buying a wooden bed
Ultimately, wood is timeless. More often than not, it will look good in your bedroom. Depending on the type of wood you choose, you’ll enjoy flexibility in coordinating your bed with the rest of the room. For instance, wood, such as pine, is highly versatile, and if you want to breathe new life into a tired bedroom, you can pick up a paintbrush, paint your bed a different colour or refresh the current colour.
Besides their versatility and sense of timelessness, wooden bed frames offer quality, which is why they’re more expensive. Their quality may be good, but this doesn’t mean they take significant amounts of looking after. Some simple regular cleaning, plus slightly less frequent but regular extra maintenance, will keep your bed in shape for years. Take good care of your bed, and it will serve you well.