17 Types of Bed Frames (and Which One Is Best for You)

Photo:  Archi_Viz (Shutterstock)
Photo: Archi_Viz (Shutterstock)

There are a lot of considerations when it comes to improving the quality of the sleep you get, including the mattress, the environment of your bedroom, and your lifestyle choices. But one aspect of the sleep experience that often gets overlooked is the bed frame you sleep on. Choosing a bed frame is about more than just getting some shuteye, though—it’s also a piece of furniture that has to work with your space, your design taste, and the way you live your life.

There are a surprising number of choices when it comes to bed frames. Which is good news, because it means you can choose the configuration that works best for your individual needs. Here’s a rundown of the types of bed frames you can choose from—and who should consider each one.

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Photo:  olls (Shutterstock)
Photo: olls (Shutterstock)

The simplest form of bed frame is literally that: A frame that supports a box spring and a mattress. That’s it, that’s the frame—the only features these frames sometimes offer are wheels that make it easy to move around and the ability to adjust their size from twin to something larger, like a queen or king size. These are ideal for the budget-conscious because they can be found for less than $100 and will last more or less forever.


Photo:  PhotoMavenStock (Shutterstock)
Photo: PhotoMavenStock (Shutterstock)

An upholstered bed frame is a simple, basic bed frame that comes covered in fabric, leather, or any other kind of upholstery. They’re often padded and feature design flourishes like buttons or embroidery. The frames themselves aren’t complicated, but these are ideal for anyone with a specific design vision who want their bed to have a softer, more elevated look. The padding aspect also makes them a good choice if you’re the sort who constantly bumps their knees and head against the bed frame or headboard. One thing to consider is the maintenance aspect: If you don’t clean your upholstered bed regularly, it will get dusty and dirty.


Photo:  Dmitrii Pridannikov (Shutterstock)
Photo: Dmitrii Pridannikov (Shutterstock)

If you’re the type who does a lot of business in bed—reading, working, or watching screens—or someone who needs a precise calibration of their position to be able to sleep, then an adjustable bed is perfect. These motorized bed frames alow you to raise and lower the head and foot of the bed to your desired position—you can even find “split” styles that allow each person in the bed to adjust their side Independently.


Photo:  Archi_Viz (Shutterstock)
Photo: Archi_Viz (Shutterstock)

Platform bed frames don’t require a box spring—they’re designed for the mattress to sit directly on them. They’re usually a solid base as opposed to a simple frame’s open design, and are typically low to the floor with zero storage space underneath. These are ideal for folks looking for a sleek, modern look, as these beds are low profile. They’re also good for people who need a bed that is easier to get into, because platform frames are lower than traditional bed frames.


Photo:  BCFC (Shutterstock)
Photo: BCFC (Shutterstock)

The sleigh-style bed frame features an oversize headboard and footboard, often with a soft curve to one or both to give the frame the appearance of a, um, sleigh. These are usually pretty solid and imposing pieces of furniture, and are also usually made from wood and designed to have a traditional, old-school look. They’re good for extra-large bedrooms because they will fill the space. They are not good for very tall people, because the boards at each end can be restrictive.


Photo:  Archi_Viz (Shutterstock)
Photo: Archi_Viz (Shutterstock)

The classic Murphy bed is the old-school space-saver you still find in small apartments. The bed frame folds out of the wall (or a built-in like a storage unit or book shelf), allowing the room to host a bed that would be too large if it had to sit there permanently. Murphy beds are also perfect for anyone lacking a dedicated guest room, or who is using their guest room as a home office or workout room—the bed can be folded up most of the time, but easily deployed when friends or family come to stay. They’re also perfect for studio apartments, where flex space is a necessity.


Photo:  BCFC (Shutterstock)
Photo: BCFC (Shutterstock)

A poster bed has 2 or 4 “posts” that go up to the ceiling, sometimes with connecting rails between them to form a cube (which technically makes it a canopy bed, but the difference is nominal), and sometimes with the ability to hang or drape fabric from them. The bed frame itself is typically pretty simple, because all the drama is in the way the posts pull the eye up and make the bed feel imposing and grand. These beds are perfect for anyone looking for a wow moment in their bedroom design, and can also enhance privacy and quiet if you hang heavy fabric around it to block light and noise.


Photo:  PixHound (Shutterstock)
Photo: PixHound (Shutterstock)

A traditional Japanese bed frame style, the Tatami is a platform-style bed frame that sits very low to the floor. It’s kind of a compromise between sleeping on a traditional Tatami mat on the floor and a raised bed frame. They’re sleek and minimalist, so they’re ideal for a modern or industrial design style (or, of course, a Japanese-influenced design).


Photo:  Studio Light and Shade (Shutterstock)
Photo: Studio Light and Shade (Shutterstock)

We tend to think of Futons as the cheap beds we slept on in our first college apartment, but these Japanese-style bed frames are a good alternative to the sofa bed. Their folding action makes them a bit easier to use, and they’re typically pretty affordable while being lighter and easier to move around than your typical sofa beds. Plus, futon mattresses tend to be thicker and more comfortable than the thin, squashed mattress you’ll find in a typical sofa bed.


Photo:  LN_PHOTO (Shutterstock)
Photo: LN_PHOTO (Shutterstock)

Another solution for maximizing guest space, the trundle bed is a hidden, secret extra bed under the main bed. When you have an extra guest, you just pull the second mattress out from under like a drawer. Trundle beds are best-suited for kids because they are typically twin-sized and very low to the floor, and they’re ideal for smaller guest rooms where you need the ability to sleep four or more people but can’t squeeze in extra beds.


Photo:  Mayuree Moonhirun (Shutterstock)
Photo: Mayuree Moonhirun (Shutterstock)

The old school bunk bed continues to be a staple of the bed-frame world. Bunk beds are usually associated with kids, but they’re also ideal for guest rooms in smaller homes because of their efficient design. Available in a huge variety of styles, bunk beds are traditionally twin-sized because the whole point is to save space—but you can find them in larger sizes, even queens. These are ideal for anyone who needs to double or even quadruple the number of people they can host in a bedroom.


Photo:  KeetawatPhotography (Shutterstock)
Photo: KeetawatPhotography (Shutterstock)

A divan bed frame is a a base designed to have a mattress sit directly on top of it. Usually the base is hollow, upholstered, and often has storage drawers built into it. They tend to be pretty firm, because the mattress sits on a solid base, but their main advantage is the storage bit: They make for ideal hidden storage in any bedroom.


Photo:  Wirestock Creators (Shutterstock)
Photo: Wirestock Creators (Shutterstock)

Ottoman bed frames are similar to divan frames in that they’re hollow and offer plenty of extra storage. The difference is that instead of drawers in the base, ottoman bed frames lift up like a storage ottoman to reveal a hollow space in the base. These are ideal for anyone who needs extra storage that isn’t ideally suited for drawers or dusty boxes under a bed frame.


Photo:  Followtheflow (Shutterstock)
Photo: Followtheflow (Shutterstock)

Maybe you don’t want a dull old bed frame at all. Hammocks can be set up indoors as well as outdoors, and offers a comfortable place to sleep that gently rocks you as you drift off. They’re also pretty economical space-wise and keep your floor clear for extra storage or other uses. Just be certain that when installing your hammock you attach it to studs in your walls (or rafters in your ceiling) and that it’s rated for the weight it’s going to have to handle.


Photo:  LarsZ (Shutterstock)
Photo: LarsZ (Shutterstock)

While technically the mattress and not the frame, a waterbed is still a distinct kind of bed. The waterbed might seem like a cheesy holdover from the 1970s, but they still make them and people still sleep on them. Waterbeds can be incredibly comfortable because they can be filled to just about any firmness, the sensation of floating can be very relaxing, and the water can be easily heated to make your bed the perfect temperature for a cozy night.

Sofa bed

Photo:  New Africa (Shutterstock)
Photo: New Africa (Shutterstock)

The most practical and affordable way to transform a common area in your house into a temporary guest room, the venerable sofa bed looks and acts like a regular sofa in your living room or rec room until its needed—then it unfolds into a large bed. Sofa beds have a reputation for not being great beds or sofas, however, so their main selling point is the conversion factor combined with looking like a traditional sofa as opposed to a futon. They’re ideal for anyone who needs a flexible guest bed option.


Photo:  mariesacha (Shutterstock)
Photo: mariesacha (Shutterstock)

A daybed is a hybrid piece of furniture that can actually be several different things at once. They usually have frames on the side and back, giving it a sort-of sofa-ish appearance, but they’re typically smaller than a sofa. They’re usually fairly substantial pieces, and they don’t fold out or otherwise transform. This makes them a more elegant choice than a sofa bed or a futon for a flex space. Their compact design also means they can act as an extra bed in many rooms—especially since they can also be used as a sitting area or reading nook when not in used as a bed.

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