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Bed Buying Guide: 12 Tips For Choosing a Bed

According to our recent consumer survey, it takes on average 42 hours to find your perfect bed. We want to save you time and make the process of finding your perfect bed simple with our bed buying guide.

ufurnish.com Bed Buying Guide

1. Do you need a new bed?
2. What bed size should you choose?
3. What are the different kinds of beds?
4. Getting the bed base right.
5. Choosing a bed frame.
6. Consider comfort.
7. Do you need extra bed storage?
8. What colour goes with your bedroom?
9. Consider your overall bedroom space.
10. Think about the placement of your bed.
11. Embrace the beauty of natural materials.
12. Shop smartly.

1. Do you need a new bed?

The most obvious starting point is to consider if you need a new bed. Some of the most common reasons for purchasing a new bed include when you move home, when you change the decor of your bedroom, when you create a new bedroom within your home or when you require a larger bed for your needs. Whereas it's more common to replace a mattress every 7 years a bed can certainly last far longer. Making the right purchase from the beginning will mean that you won’t need to worry about replacing your bed. Choose a bed that will serve your needs and that isn’t based on the current ‘in’ style. It can be tempting to choose a bed that fits with the latest trends but you need to ask yourself if that electric blue velvet bed will stand the test of time?

2. What bed size should you choose?

Now that you’ve decided it's time to purchase a new bed the first consideration is what size it should be. When choosing your new bed you want to make sure that your feet won’t be dangling over the edge! Purchase a bed that is at least 10cm longer than the tallest person who will be sleeping in the bed to guarantee a comfortable sleep. A standard UK double is 6ft 3 inches in length while a UK king-sized bed and super king are both 6ft 6 inches long. When it comes to width bear in mind if you will be sharing your bed. We would recommend choosing a king-size or above which offer 5 feet or more in width to provide both you and your partner the most space to get comfortable.

3. What are the different kinds of beds?

The list of bed options is endless but some of the most popular include divan, ottoman, sleigh, upholstered, day bed, wooden, tv bed, French style, mid sleeper and bunk.

Divan -  One of the most popular options, a divan is simply a base made of two parts joined together with a bracket. Divans are hugely versatile, available in a range of colour and upholstery options as well as sizes. However, as they are flush with the floor you can end up losing storage space underneath your bed unless they have some kind of built-in storage.

Ottoman - Ottoman style beds allow you to easily lift your mattress to reveal a hidden storage space underneath. This style of bed is great for smaller rooms thanks to their ample storage space and are simple to lift without disturbing your bedding.

Sleigh - Sleigh beds resemble the shape of a traditional sleigh with a large, wide headboard that curves outwards towards the top and a larger footboard than most other beds with a similar curved design. This style of bed works well in a vintage style bedroom but with new upholstered and leather styles available it can certainly work in a more contemporary space also. As these beds can be quite large they are best suited to larger bedrooms.

Upholstered - An upholstered bed is essentially a bed frame that's been covered in a soft material. These can often feature buttons, studs or seams to create a specific style. The great thing about an upholstered bed is that there are so many colour and material options that there's one to suit practically all style bedrooms.

Day bed - A day bed is a sofa by day and an extra sleeping space by night. This style of bed is perfect for guests or children’s sleepovers and typically features a single mattress.

Wooden bed - Wooden bed frames come in a wide range of styles and are hugely versatile. A timeless material that is robust and long-lasting, a wooden bed is sure to last the test of time.

TV bed - A TV bed contains a higher than usual footboard that discreetly hides a TV screen inside. The TV can be revealed either manually or with the push of a button and give you the experience of watching all your favourite shows from bed without the need for an additional sideboard or TV stand in your bedroom.

French style bed - Antique French style beds have become hugely popular. They are a hugely stylish addition to a bedroom and work particularly well in open and light-filled rooms to show off their style best.

Mid-sleeper - Mid sleepers are ideal for a growing child’s bedroom, offering a bed between a standard single and a high sleeper bed. They provide great space underneath the bed for storage or a desk and provide the novelty of a ladder to bed but the safety of a bed at head height.

Bunk - Bunk beds work great for children who share a bedroom. Taking up only the same amount of floor space as a single bed but with the benefit of sleeping two people. Many have the option to be separated into two single beds as your children or your space grows.

4. Getting the bed base right

Now that we’ve provided an overview of the different types of beds available it’s important to discuss the various types of bed bases. There are 4 main bed bases:

Divan bases
Slatted bases
Ottoman bases
Electric bases

As mentioned above, divan bases are one of the most popular bed base options. They provide an even, consistent surface for your mattress to sit on. Essentially a wooden box that is covered with padding and then upholstered a divan can be found with a spring in it or with a platform top. A sprung edge divan will even out the strain placed on your mattress while a platform top has a solid top with no moving parts providing a slightly firmer surface for your mattress to sit on. 

Slatted bases contain slats that sit approximately 2 inches apart to support the mattress above and to keep body weight evenly distributed. Slatted bases are a great choice for those looking for strong, consistent back support but over time they may weaken particularly if they are made from wood so may require replacing. There are two types of slats - solid slats and sprung slats. Solid slats offer a firmer experience while sprung slats give a more cushioned support.

Ottoman bases contain a hidden compartment for storage. Good quality ottoman bases are known to last the test of time providing you with practicality and comfort for a long time to come.

Electric bases otherwise known as adjustable bed bases provide you with the comfort of being able to adjust the angle of your bed so that you can comfortably sit up to read or watch TV or to aid you in getting in and out of bed. These bases work with the majority of mattress types including memory foam and latex but are not compatible with innerspring mattresses.

5. Choosing a bed frame

Now that you know the different types of beds available to you, how do you go about choosing the right bed frame for you?

Do you already love your current mattress? If so then the size of this mattress will be the first factor to bear in mind. If you’re starting from scratch including purchasing a new mattress then your options increase.

How much space do you have? Ideally, you’ll need about 2 to 3 feet on either side and at the end of your bed to give you enough space to move freely. Measure your bedroom prior to making a commitment and remember that the headboard and footboard will add an extra few inches.

What base is best suited to your needs? If you require additional storage then an ottoman base is the perfect choice. If you’re looking to accommodate a growing child then a mid-sleeper offers an excellent solution or if you’re looking for a traditional, hardwearing bed base then opt for the well-known divan.

What style are you hoping to achieve? When it comes to choosing the most dominant piece of furniture in your bedroom you’ll want to make sure that it fits with the overall aesthetic of your bedroom and will last the test of time. Although it can be tempting to purchase a statement bed in an unusual style or colour you need to consider the lifetime of this style. What will happen if you decide to paint the walls a new colour or decide to change up the decor of your bedroom?

6. Consider comfort

Do you like to sit up in bed to read or watch tv? If so then we’d highly recommend an upholstered bed which will provide an extra layer of comfort and softness while you sit up. Metal and wood are extremely long-lasting materials but can be less than comfortable to lean against or to stub your toe on in the middle of the night!

7. Do you need extra bed storage?

If you couldn't already tell, we’re huge advocates of ottoman beds. Their practical and stylish features make them a firm favourite. However, they’re not the only option when it comes to bed storage. Beds with drawers are another popular choice as are high sleepers for younger children. 

If you live in a small space, lack adequate storage space or are just not a fan of clutter then a storage bed is an ideal solution. They also make a great option for guest bedrooms allowing you to store spare bedding until your guests arrive.

Storage beds are a brilliant addition to a child’s bedroom allowing them to store their toys away or as is the case with high sleepers allowing them to fit a compact desk or play area underneath without taking up any additional floor space.

8. What colour goes with your bedroom?

The colour options available to you are endless! Whether you opt for wood, metal, upholstered or otherwise, it can be quite overwhelming trying to find the perfect colour.
Some of the most popular overall bedroom colour schemes include neutrals, pastels, greens, greys and more recently blacks and navys. However, by choosing a neutral bed frame colour you can achieve a specific colour scheme far more cheaply with your choice of bedding and accessories as the seasons change.

Opt for a white, light wood or rattan bed frame to achieve a neutral look or feature a grey upholstered bed to nail the luxe look. If you’re opting for darker colours in your bedroom such as the recent black or navy trends then choose a slightly lighter bed frame to bring a bit of brightness to the space and so you can change up your decor more easily over time.

9. Consider your overall bedroom space

Your bed is often one of the first purchases made for your new bedroom but take time to consider what other items will be joining it to ensure you’ve chosen the right size of bed for your space. If you’re planning on using your bedroom as a dressing room space you’ll need to consider where your dressing table will be positioned in relation to your bed. If you have a separate dressing room then you can afford to size up slightly when choosing your bed.

You’ll also need to consider the access points to your home to make sure you can get your beautiful bed into your home. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than choosing your perfect bed to find it won’t come through your front door!

10. Think about the placement of your bed

The location of your bed and the direction it faces plays a huge part in your sleep experience. Placing your bed by the radiator will prove uncomfortable while also blocking the heat from circulating. If you live in an apartment then think about which wall is quietest and position your bed accordingly. There are numerous traditions and logic for having your bed in a specific location but really the right location for your bed is the one in which you feel most comfortable. 

11. Embrace the beauty of natural materials

Wood remains one of the most common bed frame materials but it's important that when buying a wooden bed the company you are purchasing from sources its wood from sustainable and regulated forests. People often believe that softwood is the best environmental choice but it is far less durable than hardwood with knots that make it challenging to carve into intricate details. If your heart is set on a wooden bed then look for hardwoods that are sustainably sourced and sleep soundly knowing that you’ve made the right decision.

12. Shop smartly

The final consideration when choosing your new bed is to research the returns policy, delivery and warranty. You may find that you’re just not happy with the bed in your space, you may want somebody to assemble it for you and you’ll want to make sure that you’re covered should anything go wrong with your purchase.

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Our passionate and dedicated team at ufurnish.com love all things home interiors. Everyday they bring inspiration and insight to the home furnishing market.

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