Beds Buying Guide

Like the sofa and dining table, the bed is a signature piece of furniture in your home. Without it, a bedroom is just ... a room. To choose a bed that performs its important practical function of supporting the sleeper and also conveys a bit of personal style, check out these tips.

Types of Beds

Types of Beds

From the beginning of time, creatures have desired a comfortable spot to rest their bodies at the end of the day. And humans are no exception. We started with a pile of hides in the corner of the cave, improved to the straw-stuffed mattresses of pioneer cabins, and today have ample choices that suit our sleeping whims as well as our spaces—from elegant four-posters in spacious master suites to hideaway beds in cramped studio apartments. Read on for a definitive list of all the bed types. Please note: You can read more about air beds, canopy beds, futon beds, headboards, poster beds, sleigh beds, and toddler beds in additional in-depth buying guides.

Air Beds

Ideal for guests, an air bed can be folded and stored until needed, then blown up with a pump or hair dryer to turn any space into a sleeping spot. They come in twin, full, queen, and king sizes, and also have features such as foldable frames, extra layers to boost them closer to real-bed height, and valves for accelerated deflation.

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Bed Frames

Sold with most mattress sets for about $50, metal bed frames serve several functions. They boost the mattress and box spring to a height more comfortable for easing into bed, creating storage space under the bed in the process. They also have casters, which make moving the bed easier. And finally, the bed frame can support a separate headboard, which attaches to the head end of the frame.

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Bunk Beds

Most kids covet bunk beds at some point in their childhood. Designed for sibling sleeping arrangements, bunk beds also turn into imaginative forts, space shuttles, and tree houses. Made from metal or wood, the twin-size stacked beds have options such as removable ladders, protective side rails, and even a larger bottom bed for additional sleepers. Some bunks also come with add-on accessories such as lamps, desks, and curtains.

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Canopy Beds

A canopy bed can be exotic and romantic. It's a wood or metal bed with four posts at the corners that support additional framework for a fabric canopy. The framework might be permanently attached or removable. The canopy or bed dressings also may come with the bed.

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Captain's Beds

With origins in the tight quarters of sailing ships, captain's beds are designed with ample drawers underneath the mattress. They combine the bed with the dresser into one space-saving piece of furniture.

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Cribs

These beds with high sides and a specific mattress size are designed for babies and toddlers. They conform to exacting standards designed to protect the health and safety of children. You can buy cribs at furniture stores, as well as specialty children's product retailers.

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OffSpring
$358.99 $341.04

Drawer box fully finished and clear coated eliminating tears and snags on clothing English dovetail drawer construction Full exten...sion roller drawer glides No MDF or particle board Handmade in North America read more

OffSpring
$355.26 $337.50

Drawer box fully finished and clear coated eliminating tears and snags on clothing English dovetail drawer construction Full exten...sion roller drawer glides No MDF or particle board Handmade in North America read more

OffSpring
$358.12 $340.21

Drawer box fully finished and clear coated eliminating tears and snags on clothing English dovetail drawer construction Full exten...sion roller drawer glides No MDF or particle board Handmade in North America read more

OffSpring
$88.11 $87.70

Drawer box fully finished and clear coated eliminating tears and snags on clothing English dovetail drawer construction Full exten...sion roller drawer glides No MDF or particle board Handmade in North America read more

Daybeds

Daybeds are a style of bed that serves two functions. With three high sides that mimic the back and arms of a sofa, the bed is a sitting spot by day and a bed at night. Always twin-size, these beds can be made of metal or wood and come in nearly any style, from traditional to modern.

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Folding Beds

Folding beds are unique to small-space living. These beds fold up into a wall cupboard or another piece of furniture, such as a sofa. The mattresses are thin enough to be folded and stored. There is no box spring, but there may be a platform of springs for the mattress to rest upon.

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Futon Beds

Designed to perform as both a sitting and sleeping spot, futon beds are popular in multifunction spaces such as guest rooms and dorms. Traditionally, futons came from the Japanese culture, but they have been adopted around the world to suit any decorating style. The futon pad folds lengthwise down the middle, and the frame adjusts to prop up one side, forming a sofa seat and back. At night, the frame and pad lay flat like a bed. Perfect for small spaces, most futons are full- or queen-size.

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Headboards

Though not necessary to get a good night's sleep, a headboard is helpful if you want to read in bed or sit up to watch TV or work on a computer. Typically wood or metal (though they can also be upholstered), headboards attach to the metal bed frame holding up the box spring and mattress.

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Iron Beds

Iron beds are a classic style of bed that can have any look, from historical to modern. Designed with spindles at the head and foot of the bed, iron beds are airy and open. You can find them in any finish, from brass to nickel to black and even bright colors.

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Loft Beds

In a compact room that has just one sleeper, a loft bed is a good choice. It looks like a bunk bed without the lower bed. A desk or dresser may fit into the space under the elevated mattress, or the space might be left open for seating. You can buy loft beds in any style, material, and finish. Or if you are a cash-strapped college student, you can make one from lumber. Most loft beds are twin-size and come with protective side rails and ladders.

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Low-Profile Beds

Whereas some beds are designed for drama and presence, low-profile beds are floor-hugging and minimal. Usually in a modern style, these beds may not have box springs, headboards, or frames to elevate them in any way.

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Murphy/Wall Beds

Named for its inventor, William Lawrence Murphy, this bed tilts up and disappears into a closet or wall cupboard. Murphy designed the bed more than a century ago in the tight confines of his San Francisco apartment. The bed can turn any room into a bedroom, because the mattress hides away in the day, then drops down at night thanks to a special hinge.

Platform Beds

Simple and sleek, platform beds eliminate some of the layers and extra furniture of a typical bed-and-mattress scenario. Usually made from wood in a contemporary style, a platform bed elevates the mattress off the floor and is designed to hold just the mattress without a box spring. Fewer layers make for a streamlined look in the bedroom. The platform bed may have additional built-in features, such as storage drawers or cubbies, lighting, and nightstands.

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Poster Beds

The poster bed is a traditional and historical style of bed. It was developed when bedrooms were voluminous, cold spaces, and sleepers needed curtains for privacy and draft control. Four posts extend upward from the corners of the bed and hold aloft a frame for hanging bed curtains. Today's poster beds may or may not have the frame or bed curtains draped from it. Many poster beds simply feature the four elegant wood posts, which may be simple in design or intricately carved, depending on the style of the bed.

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Rollaway Beds

Common sights in hotels and inns, rollaway beds do just what their name implies: They fold up and roll away. The wheeled metal frame has hinges on the sides, and the mattress is thin and flexible enough to bend in half.

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Sleigh Beds

Sleigh beds are popular and attractive beds that have prominence in the bedroom, thanks to their large footprint and hefty proportions. Fashioned from wood, the head- and footboards splay out, which gives the entire bed the look of a horse-drawn sleigh.

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Storage Beds

Encompassing a variety of bed types, storage beds include any bed with built-in drawers, cubbies, or nightstands. They are intended to eliminate extra furniture pieces that store spare clothes, bedding, or sundries.

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Toddler Beds

Sized for little bodies, toddler beds offer a bridge for children who are tempted to climb out of their cribs but are not ready for a vast adult-size bed. Low to the ground, toddler beds are easy to scamper in and out of and pose little risk of the child falling to the floor.

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$49.99

The Doc is in with the Disney Doc McStuffins 4-Piece Toddler Bed Set. The fun, colorful set includes the Doc herself and her frien...ds. It fits a standard size 28" x 52" crib mattress. read more

Disney
$59.99

Set your sweetie's heart a flutter with the Disney Minnie Mouse Hearts & Bows 4-Piece Toddler Bedding Set! This toddler-sized set ...includes a quilted comforter, fitted bottom sheet, flat top sheet, and standard size pillowcase. The quilted comforter features pretty Minnie Mouse in her iconic pink polka dot dress, heels, and hair bow against a pink background with hearts and bows in shades of pink, purple, turquoise, and white, with Minnie's little friend Cuckoo-Local. Turn the comforter back to reveal a white fitted sheet with a pretty pattern of turquoise, purple, pink, and bows and a pink flat sheet featuring Minnie in a variety of poses amidst giant hearts and hair bows . A double-sided pillow case features Minnie and her ducky-pal Daisy on a pretty purple background on one side and a popping pattern of pink hearts and bows on the other. All pieces of the Disney Minnie Mouse Hearts & Bows 4-Piece Toddler Bedding Set are designed to fit a standard size toddler/crib mattress (28" x 52") and all fabric is made of 100% super-soft Polyester Microfiber. read more

DaVinci
$59.00

Dimensions: 51.88W x 1D x 13.5H in.. Converts crib to a toddler bed. Sturdy pine wood construction. Comes in your choice of availa...ble finish. Provides safe sleeping for toddlers. Designed to provide a safe sleeping area for your toddler, the DaVinci Toddler Bed Conversion Kit converts DaVinci cribs to toddler beds. Made of sturdy pine wood construction, this kit comes in your choice of available finish. Color: Gray. read more

Ubabub
$99.00

Dimensions: 52.28L x 11.81W x 1.77H in.. Constructed from American Poplar hardwood. Non-toxic walnut finish. Functions with Ubabub... Nifty Clear or Nifty Timber convertible crib. Easy assembly. Easily transform your baby's crib to the perfect toddler bed with the Ubabub Toddler Bed Conversion Kit. This kit works with the Ubabub Nifty Timber or Nifty Clear convertible cribs to create a safe and sturdy bed for your growing kiddo. The durable wood and non-toxic walnut finish allows this kit to match the cribs' contemporary designs. read more

Trundle Beds

A trundle is a spare mattress in a drawerlike compartment that slides underneath a regular bed. Many times trundles are sold with matching beds, but you can buy trundles for a bed you already own. When not in use, the trundle hides away under the bed.

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Waterbed Frames

A waterbed is a distinct type of bed that uses a water-filled mattress. The frame has high padded sides to contain the ballooning sides of the mattress. The base of the bed is very sturdy and ample, because the weight of the mattress is considerable.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

Whether you are picking a new bed for your own bedroom, a child's room, or a guest space, you'll have to consider the size of the room and the sleeper's needs. Will your ceiling height accommodate the posts on the poster bed you have your eye on? Does your son have lots of friends sleep over and need extra sleeping spots? These are the kinds of questions we'll help you ask and answer on the way to purchasing the right bed.

Air Beds

With extra features come extra costs, but they may be worth it. For example, electric pumps work much more quickly than manual pumps. Covers that have memory foam or flocking, a fuzzy textured top, prevent the squeaky noises that come from sleeping on smooth vinyl. Does the ability to control the firmness of the mattress matter? Some air beds are equipped with valves the sleeper can adjust. And finally, does the sleeper have limited mobility? Grandma and Grandpa will likely be more comfortable on a double-high mattress that comes close to real-bed height. Before you purchase an air bed, check to see if it includes a pump and a storage case, which are nice basic features.

Bed Frames

Sturdiness is key with a bed frame, which is charged with supporting a heavy box-spring-and-mattress set. Make sure the casters are large and up to the job of moving the mattress set. And if carrying a bed frame up to a third-floor space is necessary, look for one that folds or comes apart into manageable pieces.

Canopy Beds

When you buy a canopy bed, take note of your ceiling height and any ceiling features such as molding, beams, or fans. The bed might fit, but make sure there are several inches to spare so it doesn't look crammed in. Work around or remove the ceiling fan if you have one. And make sure the canopy frame lets you easily remove the canopy or curtains for washing.

Captain's Beds

Check the construction of both pieces of furniture a captain's bed is meant to combine: the bed and the dresser. Is the bed frame well made and sturdy? Do the drawers underneath slide out easily and accommodate your clothes and bedding?

Cribs

Safety is the main concern when purchasing a crib. Over the years, standards have been written and revised to make these beds as safe as possible. It's important to buy the bed from a reputable retailer. Please read our separate buying guide for more information and considerations specific to cribs.

Daybeds

To turn a daybed into a proper and comfortable sofa, you'll need to prop it with several pillows and bolsters, which are cylinder-shape pillows. Pick large, supportive, cushionlike pillows to fill out the depth of the bed and serve as a backrest. These pillows will have to be removed at night to make room for sleeping.

Folding Beds

When you purchase a folding bed, you are likely purchasing the storage furniture as well. Check that the mechanism and hinges used in folding and unfolding the mattress are sturdy and strong.

Futon Beds

For hygiene and to prolong the longevity of your futon mattress, purchase a removable and washable cover. Also test the mechanism that raises and lowers half of the bed to turn it into a sofa. The mechanism should be easy to operate and durable enough for the frequent wear and tear it will receive.

Headboards

Some headboards come with bed frames, and some are sold separately but intended to mount to a metal bed frame you already have. In the second case, check the mounting instructions to make sure you have the hardware and tools needed to secure the headboard in place.

Iron Beds

A low-maintenance and sturdy bed style, an iron bed is meant to last for the ages. Check the finish for consistency. Painted metal beds can get scratched, so purchase a small bottle of touch-up paint if possible. If you are purchasing a brass bed, which tends to tarnish, make sure you know how to clean and polish it.

Loft Beds

Safety is key with a loft bed. Make sure the joints don't wobble loosely, the hardware tightens securely, and the crossbars that support the mattress are spaced no more than 6 inches apart. If the bedroom has a ceiling fan, you'll need to position the bed far away from it or remove the fan entirely. Finally, consider what other function you want to gain by elevating the mattress. If you need study space, for example, place a desk underneath.

Low-Profile Beds

Since you are doing away with the box spring, make sure the bed will firmly support your mattress.

Murphy/Wall Beds

With a Murphy bed, the mattress is attached to a bed frame that has springs. You can purchase the mattress directly from the manufacturer, or buy one yourself that exactly fits the specifications of the wall cabinet and bed frame. Measure carefully to ensure that the wall cabinet will fit your space and that the bed, when dropped down for sleeping, will fit in the room.

Platform Beds

The sleek look of a platform bed is appealing in a modern-style bedroom. Choose furniture, lighting, and linens with complementary contemporary designs.

Poster Beds

Because poster beds take up a lot of vertical space in a room, you'll need to be sure your bedroom can accommodate not just the assembled bed (is the ceiling high enough for the posts?), but the assembly process as well, since the bed will need to be erected in the room.

Rollaway Beds

If you desire a comfortable extra bed that is about the size of a twin mattress, a rollaway might be for you. You simply need the storage space when it's not in use. The folded bed is not as compact as a deflated air bed, and it doesn't slide under a bed the way a trundle does. It stores best in a closet with a cover to keep off dust.

Sleigh Beds

These beds can be painted or stained in a variety of finishes, so be sure to check the quality of the finish. And the overall proportions of a sleigh bed can vary widely from one style to another, so take stock of the measurements on the showroom floor, then make sure your bedroom can accommodate it.

Storage Beds

Before you shop for a storage bed, take stock of the specific items you want to store. If it's extra bedding, for example, measure the folded comforter. Then use the measurements to determine what kind of drawer, cubby, or shelf unit you need in the bed.

Toddler Beds

As with any child's product, take note of recall information about the toddler bed you are considering. Then assess its overall safety: Is the paint finish lead-free? Are there extra pieces that could break off and become choking hazards? Is the bed low to the floor so your son or daughter won't get injured from a fall? Finally, you'll have to purchase special bedding for the toddler-size mattress, which you can find at specialty children's retailers.

Trundle Beds

Access to the trundle bed is the most important consideration before purchasing one. If the two beds are not sold as a set, will your regular bed accommodate the trundle underneath? Does the trundle slide out easily on hefty, stable casters? Are you sliding it over carpet or an area rug, which may hinder it?

Waterbed Frames

When you purchase a waterbed, you'll need to consider its weight and girth. These beds are not good in temporary living situations, because they are heavy and difficult to install. Also, you need an adequate source of water close to the bed for filling and refilling, as needed.

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