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How to Buy a Bed Frame

What single piece of furniture gets eight solid hours of use every day? That's right -- your bed. Here's how to pick the perfect frame.

Photo: Mark Lund

Opt for quality materials.
Both solid hardwood and metal are good, long-lasting choices for a bed frame. Avoid anything made of particle board or held together with staples if you hope to keep it long term. Instead, look for one that’s assembled with dowels or screws.

Do an in-store inspection.
It may be embarrassing, but you should actually lie on the bed -- both of you. Make sure you’re comfortable lying down and sitting upright against the headboard together. See if getting in and out of the bed produces any awkward squeaks -- which could be a sign of poor craftsmanship.

Pick the right size.
Allow for at least two feet of space around the sides of the bed (except the head, of course). When measuring how much floor space you’ll need, don't forget to account for the headboard and frame. While mattress sizes are standardized, double-check that yours will fit into the frame you are considering.

Do a reality check.
Going bigger can be so tempting, but you probably don’t need anything larger than a queen if you’re average-sized. Remember, the smaller the bed, the bigger the room will feel.

Know your frame style options.
Yep, there are a few to pick from -- so you might need to sleep on it.

  • Canopy: a bed with a draped fabric cover supported by a four-poster frame.
  • Four poster: a bed that is recognized by four tall posts, one in each corner.
  • Sleigh: nineteenth-century design with scrolled headboard and foot board.
  • Platform: a bed with a horizontal base elevated a foot above ground.
  • Day: made to look like a sofa; usually holds a twin-sized mattress.
  • Trundle: low bed on casters that’s stored by sliding under another bed.

-- The Nest Editors

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