Bed Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong Bed

Choosing the right bed is more than a matter of practicality, because there are many types of beds available, and you want to find one that suits your personal style and needs. From practical storage beds to modern platform beds, there are many different bed styles to consider as you determine how to buy a bed.

>> Who is the bed for?

Because different types of beds might be more appealing to one person than to another, it is helpful to start by thinking about who the bed is for.


If you are looking for a bed for a child, then consider whether the bed size needs to accommodate the child's growth. If the child is anywhere from a toddler to middle schooler, it is advisable to plan for growth. If the child is well into his or her teens, growth is a less critical consideration.

Another thing to think about when deciding how to buy a bed for a child is that younger children are often more comfortable in a small bed, for example, a twin or full-size bed. Trundle day beds, bunk beds and character beds are popular with younger children, whereas traditional or modern beds tend to be popular with older children.

Solo adult
When shopping for a bed for a solo adult, choose which bed to buy based on your preferences. Queen size or king size beds are popular with adults because they provide plenty of room to stretch out and they can accommodate children, pets and guests. Sleek platform beds and practical storage beds are ideal for an adult bed.

A couple

As you consider how to buy a bed for a couple, take the preferences of both people into account. Style is often as important as comfort. The bed should appeal to both partners as well as reflect your mutual style. Most couples prefer the largest sizes, such as queen, king or California king.

>> What type of design is most appealing?

Once you have determined who the bed is for, consider the wide array of bed designs as you decide how to buy a bed. One way to think about it is to decide whether you prefer a traditional, luxurious or modern look. In addition, consider if you need practical features, such as built-in storage or a multi-purpose design.

Traditional beds typically have a headboard and sometimes a footboard. They might be made of metal or wood, crafted in a sleigh bed style or various other designs. Styling tends to be subtle, except for sleigh beds, which usually have curved footboards so the bed resembles the shape of an open sleigh. Traditional beds are the most basic bed styles.

If you are interested in a luxurious bed, you might look at canopy beds, upholstered beds or four-post beds. Canopy beds are popular for children, but sometimes adults like them too. They are structured to lay a fabric canopy across the top, creating a romantic or fairytale-like decor. Upholstered beds often have soft and luxurious fabric finishes, and there are few hard edges. A four-post bed has a post at each corner, and can be very impressive looking.

Platform beds go well with modern decor. They have a low, sleek profile and come with or without headboards. Some upholstered beds also feature a sleek, low profile that works well with modern decor. Both styles are available with built-in storage.

If you are looking for a space-maximizing bed, consider storage beds with built-in drawers and cabinets. Folding beds such as daybeds, futons and cots are other space-saving options. If you are looking to outfit a spare room with a bed, but do not want to turn it into a bedroom, then a folding bed might be the best bed to buy.

>> Do you want a unique, multi-purpose bed?

As you ponder how to buy a bed for a child, consider that there are styles specifically designed to meet the needs of children. The following bed designs may also work well for adults living in tight spaces, such as studio apartments, or people living in shared housing, such as college residences.

Description Ideal for Noteworthy Features Bunk beds Two beds stacked one atop another Children who share a room or single children who have friends sleep over Might have a full-size bed (often called "twin over full") on the bottom or be able to convert to two separate beds. Loft beds Elevated bed with space beneath for a desk or storage; many variations Children, students, solo adults in tight living quarters Desk and/or storage are sometimes built in. Look for unique features like slides, steps, built-in futons or bunk beds or an L-shaped configuration that accommodates three or more sleepers. Tent beds Bed includes tent-like covering Young children Tent beds are most popular with very young children too big for a crib but not ready for an adult-size bed Day bed Merges the design features of a couch and a bed Children, guest rooms Some daybeds are trundle beds, or they might fold out to convert to a larger bed Futon Special mattress on a folding frame Guest rooms, as household furn iture A versatile design that functions equally well as a couch or a bed. Most designs take only seconds to fold out. >> What size is best for you?

Another important consideration as you look at beds is choosing from the bed sizes available. As you decide which bed to buy, also consider whether the bed might host guests such as pets and children. If so, you might prefer a larger size. • Children: twin, twin XL, full • Tweens/teens: twinXL, full, queen • Solo adults: full, queen, king • Couples: queen, king, California king

>> Do you need a box spring?

Many bed designs include a box spring to support the mattress and prevent it from sagging. Most often, you need a box spring for a traditional bed with an open frame. If a bed has a solid bottom, such as a platform bed, you probably do not need a box spring.

>> Do you need under-bed access?

Another point to consider as you determine how to buy a bed is whether under-bed access and storage are important. Different types of beds offer different levels of under-bed access, ranging from none to several feet. Platform beds often have no access, whereas traditional beds often have ground clearance of about a foot and loft beds offer several feet of under-bed access.

Under-bed access maximizes space by allowing you to tuck possessions under the bed. The advantage of no access is that there is no need to clean underneath the bed.

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