Ultimate Guide to Beds

You spend one-third of your life in bed, so why not make that place the best it can be? Choose the right components and you'll experience a rejuvenating rest that makes your days as blissful as your nights. Use this guide to find the right bed, mattress, and bedding for your room.


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Bedstead Basics

    No matter its style, size, or age, the bedstead -- the wood or metal framework consisting of headboard, footboard, rails, and slates -- is the foundation of your bedroom.

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Platform Beds

    The platform bed is the oldest style, but it's one of today's more modern choices. A platform bed is generally low to the ground, providing a cooler sleep environment than traditional designs. The simplest styles have no headboard or footboard. Platform beds are a popular choice for a clean, uncluttered look in the bedroom.

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Four-Poster Beds

    Four-posters were originally designed to hold hangings to insulate sleepers from drafts. Corner posts can be lavishly turned and decorated or plain, depending on your style preference. The soaring posts make a dramatic style statement, helping the bed create a visual center in a room.

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Tester Beds

    A tester bed, also known as a canopy bed, is a four-poster with crossbeams that connect the posts and support a straight or arched canopy, or tester, above the bed. In the past, canopies were made of solid wood, structured velvet, brocade, or lace. Today the beams are sometimes loosely draped with light fabrics. Either look brings a romantic atmosphere to the bedroom.

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Sleigh Beds

    Sleigh beds, originally called French beds, recall the curves of an old-fashioned sleigh. The high, scrolled headboards and footboards became fashionable in America around 1815 as the popularity of the French Empire style soared. The substantial frame of this bed, whether made of rich wood or metal, creates a focal point in the bedroom.

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Low-Post Beds

    Low-post beds take their name from the posts at the corners of the frame that generally do not exceed the height of the headboard or footboard. Posts are usually topped with a decorative finial. This bed suits most room sizes and design styles, from the most rustic look to an elaborate Louis XVI design.

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Daybeds

    Daybeds have split personalities. They are dressed for use as a sofa by day but include a twin-size mattress for sleeping at night. Daybeds look at home in a family room or den as well as in a bedroom. A metal or wood frame may enclose three sides. Most often used to accommodate guests, daybeds sometimes conceal a pop-up frame or drawer trundle underneath that houses another mattress.

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Upholstered Beds

    Upholstered beds are the style of choice for many designers, but it's important to keep two things in mind when selecting a bed style: room architecture and lifestyle. Good design should have a lasting quality, be it modern or traditional in its inspiration.

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Master Mattresses

    The most important element of a restful night is a quality mattress. Most experts recommend replacing your mattress every five to seven years. Finding the right mattress depends on the individual, so it's important to know the ins and outs of the different types available.

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Innerspring Mattress

    The most important element of a restful night is a quality sleep set. However, buying a mattress can be a daunting process. An innerspring mattress is found in the majority of beds available today. This mattress has hundreds of steel coils that are suspended within the core. Springs may be individually wrapped, which reduces the transfer of motion across the mattress. An insulator pad sits atop the coils and prevents the upholstery from sinking into coils. On top of the pad, a comfort level -- the outermost layer -- cushions the springs.

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Memory Foam

    Memory foam, also known as viscoelastic foam, is a chemically based foam developed by NASA. These mattresses contour to the sleeper's body, providing comfort and support. The foam can be a solid mattress core or can be used as a top layer over a more conventional innerspring base. It?s a popular material for mattress toppers, an accessory you can buy to rejuvenate an existing mattress inexpensively.

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Natural Foam

    Natural or synthetic latex foam can also form a solid core or act as a cushioning layer. Natural latex is quickly emerging as one of the hottest new mattress types because of its soft yet supportive comfort feel. Unlike memory foam, which responds to temperature and pressure, latex offers a pliable resistance that provides comfort and support all along the body. Latex has a faster response rate to changes of position. It sleeps cooler than memory foam and, as a natural substance, it's more eco-friendly. It's also naturally resistant to dust mites. Talalay latex is an excellent choice because it pours consistently and settles evenly.

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Water Beds

    Water beds have changed significantly since their introduction in the late 1960s. Today, they utilize a series of water-filled tubes beneath a cushioned top surface. Soft-side flotation beds combine the comfort and support of traditional water beds with the look of a conventional mattress and box spring. Most offer customized dual support for partners, don't need turning, and don't require heating systems.

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Air and Flotation Beds

    Air and floatation beds can be regulated to offer the type of support you want, from plush to firm. Dual controls are also available so sleepers can adjust each side to match their personal comfort level. These beds help promote natural spinal alignment and reduce uncomfortable pressure points. They can be easily adjusted as your needs change, they're lightweight, and they never need turning. Most flotation beds look like traditional innerspring mattresses and can be used with regular bed frames.

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Mattress Care

    Your mattress is a big investment, so proper care is important. A quality washable mattress pad is a must to keep it fresh and protected from stains. For the best results, buy a mattress cover from the company that makes your mattress and understand the warranty that comes with your purchase.

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Beautiful Bedding

    Dressing your bed is what makes it your own. The bedroom door is the last barrier between you and the outside world, so make the bedroom your sanctuary. A beautiful palette, a variety of textures, and attention to detail are the ingredients to success for a beautiful bed.

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Cozy Comforters

    The comforter is the focal point of your bed. So it's important to make sure it works with your design, whether it's modern, bohemian, or minimal. But remember, luxury equals comfort, so your bed should feel as nice as it looks.

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Smart Sheets

    To increase the longevity of your sheets and ensure equal wear, you should have three sets: one on the bed, one in the linen closet, and one in the wash. Bottom sheets and pillowcases should be washed twice a week and top sheets every week. Wash bed linens separately from other laundry and always use the gentle cycle.

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Pillow Perfection

    Pillows come in many sizes and types of fill. One standard pillow is usually adequate for a twin bed, two for a full-size or queen bed, and three for a king bed. Foam and down are the most common types of fill. A down pillow is a soft cushion, while a foam pillow feels firm and holds its shape.

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Pretty Throw Pillows

    Protect your favorite pillows in zippered pillow covers and pillowcases that match your sheets. Toss on accent pillows in a variety of sizes and shapes to add interest to the finished bed and provide a backrest when reading or watching television.

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