How to Choose the Best Bed Frame

Modern bedroom with neutral bed frame and headboard

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A bed frame anchors the focal point of your bedroom while serving a functional role. It supports your mattress and makes for a comfortable, stable bed. Most people invest time and research into choosing a mattress, but selecting the right type of bed frame for your mattress and decor style is important as well.

While the individual options for a bed frame are virtually endless, there are 7 primary types of bed frames to choose from. When setting up a bedroom, start by considering the space you have available, the features you need, and any style or cost considerations you have. Learn more about where, when, and how to buy a bed frame in this article.

Before Replacing Your Bed Frame

Before purchasing a new bed frame, it is important to stop and consider what you want the bed frame to accomplish. For example, some bed frames can change the way your mattress feels, making it firmer or more rigid. Others keep the bed close to the ground or provide additional storage. Bed frame styles greatly impact how the bed frame looks and performs. 

It is also important to consider the type of mattress you have or are thinking of purchasing. Some mattresses require box springs in order to be properly supported, so you would want to be sure your chosen bed frame can properly support your mattress. 

Buying Considerations for Bed Frames

Available Space and Room Layout 

Most bed frames correspond in size to conventional mattress sizes, like twin, full, queen, and king. However, different styles of bed frames can vary in size, making it crucial to consider your room space and layout before making the snap decision to buy that luxurious canopy bed. Though elegant, a canopy bed frame, for example, requires open space and tall ceilings to properly fit in a space. Cramming one into a small apartment will not only look cramped but take away precious space. 

Whether you are looking for streamlined, space-saving options or large, statement-making bed frames, there is a style for you. It is crucial to consider this before purchasing the first frame that suits your fancy. 


Bed frames are most often made from wood or metal. Wood frames create a sturdy surface for a mattress, but can also be very heavy. They require more upkeep and are at a greater risk for scuffs and marks. Metal frames are usually lightweight and extremely durable. They are less prone to dents, though they may squeak. Metal frames are often seen in more modern or contemporary interior design styles, which means they may be more challenging to integrate into other styles, like a traditional bedroom.

Another option is an upholstered bed frame. These consist of a wood or metal frame covered in fabric. Upholstered bed frames offer a warm, cozy feeling, though they require more upkeep, such as vacuuming and dusting. They are also susceptible to fading, snags, or ripping. 


While some bed frames are stripped down to just the basics, others are equipped with unique and useful features. Some features, such as wheels, storage areas, or USB ports, are focused on functionality. Others, such as upholstery, headboards, or wood detailing are focused on visual appeal and style. Therefore, both the use and desired style of your bed frame are important things to consider before purchasing. 

Types of Bed Frames

Frame Only

This is the simplest bed frame style and it's often made of sturdy metal, perhaps with wheels for easier mobility but few additional features. It's a great option for mattresses that require box springs.

Pick a frame-only option if you want to keep your bed frame as streamlined as possible. Because the entire bed frame is hidden under the mattress, frame-only bed frames do not take up any unnecessary room. In addition, this type of bed frame often is the most budget-friendly; expect to spend about $100 or less.

Four-Poster Bed

A traditional type of bed frame, the four-poster bed has tall posts rising from each corner, with a horizontal brace connecting each post at the top. Closely related to the four-poster bed is a canopy bed frame, which is similarly constructed but has fabric draped around and over the posts of the frame. This type of bed frame is typically seen in rooms with high ceilings, since the tall design can make a small room feel cramped.

Platform Bed

One of the most popular styles of bed frames, a platform bed is a simple, modern way to support your mattress. This type of bed frame offers a solid or slatted wooden surface on which to place your mattress. The upside is the fact that no box spring is required; the downside is that the solid support also translates into a firmer feel when you lie on the mattress.

Platform bed frames are great for small rooms or apartments, or for anyone looking to keep their space minimal and clean. Keep in mind that some mattresses, like memory foam, will require the use of a platform bed for consistent, even support.

Bunk Bed

Bunk beds are two beds stacked on top of each other, giving you double the sleeping space for the same amount of floor space. While bunk beds with twin-size bed frames are the most common option, it's not the only size available. You can find this type of bed frame for a full, or even queen-size mattresses. The frames with the highest weight ratings are usually made from solid wood, but metal and MDF frames are common as well. Check the weight capacity and keep in mind whether children or adults will be using this bed when you consider which option to buy.

Bunk beds are perfect for anyone looking to sleep multiple people in a small space. Kids’ rooms or vacation homes are ideal places to choose bunk bed frames. Keep in mind that some bunk bed frames are also reconfigurable, allowing you to transition from a bunk layout to two freestanding beds.

Sleigh Bed

Another bed frame with a traditional design is the sleigh bed. As the name suggests, the shape and proportions of the bed resemble a sleigh, with a prominent headboard, footboard, and side rails.

This type of bed frame is large by design and usually made of wood. This translates into a heavy bed that is quite heavy and difficult to move around. It also tends to be one of the more expensive types of bed frames. However, it has timeless appeal, especially for enthusiasts of traditional bedroom design.

Adjustable Bed

Adjustable beds provide a motorized base for your mattress, enabling you to raise the head or foot of the bed on demand. The bed itself is usually fairly simple by design and offers platform-like support for the mattress of your choice. Most people choose an adjustable bed because they want the comfort of having their head and shoulders or feet elevated.

Trundle Bed

The trundle bed frame offers a pull-out mattress, which stores underneath the bed and is available when needed. It's a popular pick for a child's room or guest space, since the design of the frame requires a thin profile mattress. The design options for a trundle bed vary considerably, as do frame materials. This means that you have plenty of options when it comes to the price point and look of this type of bed frame.


The cost of a bed frame greatly varies depending on the style of the bed frame. A simple, frame-only bed is usually around $100, depending on the size you need. A platform bed may be anywhere from $200 for a simple version to $1,500 for a sleek, modern furniture piece. More traditional bed frames made of wood, like a four-poster or sleigh bed, can be anywhere from $400 to $4,000, depending on the make and materials.

If you are looking to save the most when purchasing bed frames, an ideal time is during holiday sales or at the end of the year. Sales during these time periods may feature bed frames that have been marked down considerably.

How to Choose a Bed Frame

With so many options available, it can be a bit confusing to know which bed frame you should purchase. But by considering a few key things, you can easily narrow down which bed frame best suits your needs and wants.

What Position Do You Sleep in?

How you prefer to sleep will impact what kind of bed frame you choose. This is because different bed frames change the way your bed feels. Do you like to sleep on your side or your stomach? A platform bed may not be your best pick, since these beds make mattresses firmer. Do you enjoy loose-fitted blankets or being able to freely move your feet on and off the bed? A sleigh bed may look lovely, but its capped design may hinder movement and would not be the best choice for a very tall individual. 

Who Will Be Using This Bed?

The primary user of the bed frame is an important thing to consider as well. Bunk beds are ideal for cabins and kids’ rooms, but they have to be accessible to the people using them. If your guests have trouble climbing ladders, then bunk beds are not the best choice, even if they do sleep more people. A trundle bed may not provide as much support, but it wouldn’t be a problem if it was in a guest room that was only used once or twice a year.

Health issues or mobility issues also dictate what bed frame is best for your home. For example, if a frame is too high, it can be hard to climb into and if a frame is too low it can be hard to come down to depending on one's height and ability. An adjustable bed might be the best option if you need to sleep with your head or feet elevated.

How Much Space Does the Room Have?

When choosing a bed frame, you should consider the size of your room. In a large space, a four-poster or sleigh bed frame would look stunning. In a small space, these same beds can look overwhelming or crammed. If you are concerned about saving space, you may want to consider a platform bed, a frame-only bed, or a bed frame with built-in storage.  

Where to Shop

Bed frames can be bought online or in-store. Whether you shop online or at your local store, take measurements beforehand to be sure the bed frame will fit in your desired location. Some brands also come with a warranty, so it is a good idea to check into that and understand what the warranty entails and for how long. 

Buying In-Store

When looking in-store, make sure to check the materials that the bed frame is made from. Is it wood, metal, or wrapped in fabric? Some stores have bed frames assembled so you can see the finished product. When this is available, take full advantage by giving the bed frame a thorough visual inspection. It is also a good idea to see how much assembly is required and if the tools are included.  

Buying Online

As with shopping in-store, it is always important to take measurements of your space before buying. Read the description thoroughly. Take note of the materials used, how much assembly is required, and whether you will need to pay shipping fees. Consider what the return policy is and whether you will need to pay return shipping, especially since bed frames can be bulky or heavy to ship.

Where to Buy a Bed Frame 

Bed frames can be found in many stores. The best places to buy a bed frame include mattress stores, home stores, and department or furniture stores. Common retailers include Macy’s, The Home Depot, Target, Walmart, or your local mattress or furniture store. Common online retailers include Wayfair, Overstock, Amazon, or other similar home stores. 

  • How much bigger is a bed frame than a mattress?

    A bed frame can be several inches larger than a mattress, though this depends on the style of bed frame chosen. A frame-only bed frame, for example, will be only slightly larger than the mattress. On the other hand, a sleigh bed or some types of platform beds will be larger than the dimensions of the mattress because of its unique details. 

  • Do bed frames fit all mattress types?

    Though you may be able to fit any mattress on your bed frame, some mattresses are better suited to certain types of bed frames. It is important to ask your mattress manufacturer what kind of bed frame best accommodates your type of mattress and whether it will need a box spring or not.  

  • How tall is a standard bed frame?

    The average bed frame is around 12 to 16 inches tall. When a mattress is placed on top, the total height allows the sleeper to sit comfortably on the bed and place their feet on the floor. However, different bed frames have different heights, and some are higher or lower by design.