After struggling to easily find the right items to furnish her own apartment, Kuldea Co-Founder, Deirdre Mc Gettrick, was inspired to create an online platform to make home shopping as straightforward, efficient and fulfilling as possible. Here, she talks about the different types of bed that are available and shares some of the tops tips she picked up when deciding which would be best for her new home.
“The centre- piece of any bedroom, the bed is one of the most significant furniture purchases you are likely to make. As well as setting the style of your bedroom, it is one that needs huge consideration in terms of its practicality – it is estimated that we spend up to a third of our lives in bed, so getting it right from a comfort point of view is really important.
When I was going through the process of buying a new bed for my compact London apartment, I quickly realised that finding the perfect match takes time, energy and thought, because it’s something that will live with you, relax you and support you for many years to come.
Whether for master bedrooms, spare rooms or children’s rooms, in wood, metal, upholstery or leather, with or without storage, the options can be limitless. But with a clear approach and careful planning, you can find the bed that’s best for you.
The general rule of thumb is to buy the biggest bed you can fit into your bedroom. The larger the bed, the more room you (and your sleeping partner) have to move in the night without disturbing each other or compromising your comfort. Remember, size does not only mean the width but also the length of the bed, which should ideally be about 10-15cms longer than the tallest sleeper.
Remember to leave enough space around the bed to easily get in and out of the room and to allow for opening windows, cupboards and doors, and to fit bedside tables.
In the UK, bed sizes are measured according to the size of the mattress they hold, which is a standard measurement. However, the actual dimensions of the bed frames can vary according to their shape and style; a common mistake is to use the measurements of the mattress for the required space, but you should always go by the bed frame dimensions when assessing the size as they will vary from frame to frame, and almost always be slightly larger than the mattress dimensions.
Typical UK bed dimensions:
Source – The UK Sleep Council
Note – metric and imperial measurements may not be exact equivalents
The type of base
Not only will the type of base you go for have an influence on your level of comfort, it does a huge amount to set the style of your room, as well as providing the levels of functionality you need.
In addition to size, key things to consider when choosing your bed base are:
- The look of your room – are you going for a contemporary, rustic, minimalist, retro, country, coastal, mid-century, Shaker, Scandinavian or boutique glam theme for your bedroom? Make sure your bed style compliments other pieces of bedroom furniture and the overall décor of your room, and doesn’t clash or look disjointed.
- Is the base part of a furniture set? – if you are furnishing a room from scratch, a bed that has other matching pieces available such as bedside tables, wardrobes, dressing tables and chest of drawers could help you to easily achieve a stylish and seamless look.
- How much storage do you need? – if you have a very small room, a bed with drawers or a lift-up ottoman style will have maximum capacity, but divan styles are essentially a block so can be pretty imposing on a small space. A bedstead doesn’t have integrated storage, but storage boxes can be placed underneath it.
- Is your bedroom multi-purpose? – if the bedroom also has another use, such as a play room or office, day beds, futons, sofa beds or trundle beds are a great way to introduce highly multifunctional furniture that is adaptable to your needs.
- Can you get the base in to position? – check if the base disassembles for easy delivery, especially if your bedroom is tricky to access.
Divans are one of the most popular styles of base. They are essentially an upholstered box, usually fitted with castors for mobility. These days there are many beautifully tailored and upholstered bases with matching headboards offered in a range of colours and fabrics.
Divans can be sprung, with a series of coils that act as a shock absorber and help to maintain the durability of the mattress, or solid with hardboard top, which is generally firmer and more cost effective.
Many divans are available with drawers or lift up ottoman style storage underneath – great if you are tight on space.
Bedsteads come in a vast array of styles from traditional classics to more modern designs and are available in wood, metal, plastics, upholstered or any combination of these. The frame is on legs to create space beneath which looks spacious and airy and can be used for storage, although sometimes bedsteads take up more room due to posts, side-rails, headboards and foot-ends.
Your choice will largely be an aesthetic one but bear in mind mattress support. This could be fixed or sprung slats or a metal grid or rigid woven wire. It is also possible to have a fully sprung bed base (with the same benefits as a divan) inside.
Bunk, cabin and trundle beds
Bunk beds and cabin beds are a popular option for children. They are fun as well as practical and space-saving, and the upwards design maximises floor space. Bunks offer two beds, whereas cabin beds sleep one and have integrated storage underneath, often with a desk, book shelves or play area. The upper-level mattress is accessible by a ladder, and a raised frame ensures safety all around.
Trundle beds are very popular in kids and teen bedrooms, due to there being two beds in one. This is an excellent space saving option as the bottom bed can stay tucked away until a guest needs to use it. It’s not as bulky as a bunk bed and it is suitable enough for even the smallest spaces.
Sleigh beds look exactly how they sound, like a sleigh! These have scrolled head and footboards and can be made from a variety of materials, or can be upholstered featuring cushioning and opulent fabrics such as velvet. Traditional sleigh beds have an antique, French style to them, but the design has been adapted in recent years to feature a contemporary twist, and many work well with a modern, vintage or shabby chic decor scheme. Known for their grandeur and elaborateness, they are a large piece so generally look best in bigger rooms, and the low, sweeping sides often mean there is limited, if any, storage space.
Day beds and futons
Day beds and futons come in different designs and serve many purposes, and are essentially a bed and sofa in one. You can sleep, lounge, recline, and sit on them and they are popular in guest rooms because of their multipurpose use. They come in a variety of frames, such as metal and wood, and you can interchange the mattress to suite your specific comfort needs
The multifunctional design of a day bed is ideal for small homes – once decorated with a range of throws and cushions, day beds work brilliantly in a living room or den as a sofa, but the mattress underneath can then pull out to make an extra bed as needed.
The mattress is the heart of your bed and, I believe, the part of the purchase you should spend most time and money on.
Nothing affects your daily performance more than sleep, and the secret of having a restorative night’s rest is the combination of the mattress and bed base you choose. Always remember that a ‘bed’ is a mattress and a base working together, you should not consider them in isolation and should ideally always try them together.
I found the selection of mattresses available rather bewildering with a seemingly endless choice. There are orthopaedic mattresses for those with back problems, hypoallergenic mattresses for allergy sufferers, pocket-sprung and memory foam mattresses; ultimately, your own needs and comfort should make the final decision on your perfect mattress.
- A good mattress should support all parts of your body so that the spine’s natural curvature is retained, and your head, shoulders and feet are properly aligned.
- Trying beds out in-store can be the best way to whittle down what the best option for you will be; you can then always check online for good deals once you have a specification in mind.
- Try mattresses of varying firmness, from soft to firm, to find out which one feels best for your weight and body shape.
- If you’re looking for a double bed for two, bring your partner along with you to try out potential purchases together. Individuals have different tastes, so there may have to be some compromise along the way!
- Temperature is another factor to consider; everybody has a different idea of their ideal sleeping temperature. Different fillings, such as natural materials for example, can be cooler than memory foam mattresses which tend to retain heat.
- If you do buy them separately, double check the dimensions of your chosen mattress to make sure it actually fits the base!
Once you have decided on the style, size, type of base and mattress specification there are still some more practical factors to consider – and I have learnt from experience that these can easily be overlooked, but can cause a headache in the long-run if ignored!
- Delivery time – firstly, check the lead time. If you are desperate for your new bed to arrive, perhaps in time for guests coming to stay or to coincide with moving house, make sure your delivery deadline can be met without delay. Also find out if the retailer offers flexible, convenient delivery time slots.
- Getting it in place – plan the route from the entrance of your home to your bedroom. Is there sufficient space for manoeuvrability through doorways and up stairs? Whilst mattresses are more flexible, bed bases aren’t, so check if it comes in parts or can be easily disassembled to carry to your bedroom.
- Check the guarantees – especially important if the bed has electrical or movable parts, or if you’re buying online without trying it. You may find that in reality, the mattress you have chosen really isn’t comfortable, or you may still have sizing issues once the bed base is delivered. These things happen, but making sure you are clear as to the retailer’s policy will give you greater flexibility and peace of mind.
- Remember allergies – if you know the mattress will be used by a sleeper with allergies or specific sensitivities, double check the filling for its hypoallergenic properties to avoid irritations.
- Responsible disposal of your old bed – this often isn’t as easy as you might think. Ask the retailer you’re buying your new bed from if it will pick up your old one when they deliver; some may charge extra to do this. You can ask your council to collect; there is usually a fee for this service, but in most cases the mattress will be recycled where possible rather than ending up as landfill. Most household tips take mattresses and beds but they may also incur a fee if classed as a bulky item, and you’ll need transport large enough to get it there.
- Keep track of the age of your mattress – the lifespan of a mattress can be affected by several factors such as how frequently it is used, physical changes in the sleepers who use it and how regularly it is cleaned. Generally, the UK Sleep Council recommends changing your mattress every 7-8 years or sooner if it shows visible wear and tear, or starts causing you recurrent discomfort or aches and pains.
Now you are armed with the main considerations you need to make when choosing your new bed, check out our huge selection of beds and mattresses, or browse our wide range of bedroom furniture for more inspiration and ideas.