When you consider you spend over a third of your day in bed, why shouldn’t your bed be a place that expresses your personal style? Ask any pro and they’ll tell you a bed should be more than just a necessity. Not only a physical base for your bed (aka: the mattress), a bed frame can also provide stylistic guidance for the rest of your bedroom’s design scheme. Which brings us to: buying a bed frame. Although no small task, a plethora of bed frame options makes it easy to find one that feels custom tailored to you. Here, get to know six classic bed frame styles.


Photo by Sarah Dorio

Before You Shop

While the actual styles of bed frames can vary for from simple to ornate, glam and contemporary to antique traditional, most bed frames will fall under some general categories: panel, platform, canopy, sleigh, trundle, or captain’s. When you’re shopping for a bed frame, make sure to consider things like dimensions and practicality. How much space do you plan on allotting to your bed? Do you have plans to store items under the bed, or do you need a bed with built in storage? There are a lot of questions to ask, so take it slow and don’t be afraid to take a risk!

Panel Bed

One of the most basic types of bed frames is the panel bed. Panel beds have a large headboard and sometimes a footboard connected by side rails. These beds are often elevated, creating a gap between the bed and the floor The height of the boards and the base of the bed are designed to accommodate and support both a mattress and a mattress foundation (aka: boxspring). Since a panel bed is such a simple structure, the style possibilities are endless, and you can easily match this type of bed frame with other contemporary or traditional bedroom furniture.

Sleigh Bed

Sorry, Santa Claus won’t come bearing presents on this bed, but that’s not to say a sleigh bed doesn’t give gifts all its own. The sleigh bed is essentially a fancier version of the panel bed, with curved or scrolled head and footboards that resemble a sleigh. It’s a sleek and sturdy option typically made out of wood, though modern versions also use iron and steel. You may even be able to find some upholstered, tufted options. Unlike the platform bed, the tall footboard on a sleigh bed very clearly defines the boundaries between the bed and the rest of the room.

Photo by Matt Read / Design by Pierce and Ward

Platform Bed

The panel bed’s cousin, the platform bed, forgoes the mattress foundation and features an inset base that cradles the mattress. As a result, a platform bed shorter and closer to the floor, so keep this in mind if you’re someone who prefers a tall bed. A platform bed tends to be more on the minimalist side, creating a contemporary look that allows attention to be drawn to other aspects of the room. As a bonus, a platform bed allows you to save money on a box spring (cha-ching!).

Trundle Bed

If you have kiddos who love sleepovers, a trundle bed can be a great space-saving alternative to traditional bunk beds. A trundle bed is a low bed with wheels that can be tucked underneath the bed frame of the main bed. When it’s not in use, a trundle can be stored out of the way, keeping your space neat and tidy. While trundle beds do come in full and queen sizes, they’re most often made in smaller sizes like twins to especially accommodate children’s rooms.

Photo by John Merkl

Canopy Bed

A time-tested classic: the dreamy canopy bed. There’s just something about this soaring bed frame that feels incredibly luxurious and special. While traditional canopy beds may have more ornate frames, modern styles have streamlined the design to match minimalist trends. Canopy beds can easily be dressed up or down, by adding curtains on the frame to enclose the bed or leaving the bed frame bare fore a more architectural look. These are also great options for rooms with tall ceilings as a way to add more vertical interest.

Captain’s Bed

A captain bed is perfect for smaller rooms where space is at a premium. Like a captain’s bed on a ship, this structure features extensive storage space underneath and may also have a shelving system in place of the headboard. The captain’s bed is typically made in twin or full sizes, so they’re great options for children’s rooms and dorms. That said, they can easily be transformed into more sophisticated pieces for adults who harbor major organizational goals as well.

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August 13, 2019

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