The Ultimate Bed Buying Guide 2020

Bed Frame / Bed Base Buying Guide

Everyone knows how it feels to get home worn out and exhausted after a long and difficult day, with the delightful anticipation of a relaxing evening ahead, followed by getting into a cosy bed, and snuggling down for the night. It feels like heaven to get into bed, slip under crisp clean sheets, lay your head on a sumptuously soft pillow, maybe read a few pages of your latest novel, before drifting off into a deep slumber. A good night sleep, recharging your batteries to 100%, is something to never be taken for granted. Whether you are young or old it is definitely one of life’s most pleasurable pursuits. But to maximise your chances of the most dreamy of nights there are so many things to get right. Room, ambience, bedding, pre-bed rituals and very importantly, a comfortable bed. But what to look for in a bed, and what are the pros and cons for the different types of beds available? To help you whittle down the choices when selecting a new bed, we've put together this detailed guide. There is a wide variety and number of beds available, you need to consider what’s right for you and you needs.

Bed Frames / Slatted Beds

A bed frame to place a mattress on is typically a slatted bed frame. The frame of the bed itself hardly needs a description, it is a frame like any other, resting on legs most often, elevating it from the floor. Wooden slats or planks are fixed horizontally to the bed frame, quite often with rubber holders or fixtures to keep them secure and in place. There are two slatted bed base types, a sprung slatted bed base where the slats are curved and flexible, and a fixed slatted bed base where the slats are straight and fixed. Beds with fixed and inflexible slats are less common in Europe, being more popular in Asia. Be it a bed frame with sprung slats or otherwise, slatted bed bases give your mattress great ventilation, which is particularly important in hotter climates and in summer months.

Sprung slatted bed bases provide your back with good support and spread pressure uniformly across your body, which is good for circulation. The closer the slats are put to each other, the greater the support offered. The advantage of this is two-fold. Firstly, when you sleep on the bed, you get better support, and secondly, the extra support helps to increase the life span of your mattress-minimising wear and tear. Given that mattresses can be as expensive, if not more expensive than the bed frame itself, this a feature to be welcomed. 

Visually, bed frames come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and guises. Typical materials for making bed frames include wood, all types of wood, metal, and even upholstered bed frames.

Divan Beds

Probably the most common choice of bed is a divan bed. They are probably so common and so popular as they provide good value for money (it’s possible to get very cost effective divan beds). They also quite often provide either drawers or storage space, another important feature, aiding their popularity. 

Divan bases are constructed with either castors or sturdy legs and a lightweight timber frame covered in fabric. Two kinds of divan base are most common; platform base and base with a sprung edge. Platform divans provide the mattress with a strong and stable foundation, while sprung edge divans have an extra layer of springs for a weaker support base built into the top of the timber frame. If you want to make your bed the main feature of your bedroom, perhaps a divan bed is not the best option. It is not that they are ugly, not at all, but they are quite unassuming. Definitely a good option for your guest bedroom, or a bedroom where the additional storage a divan can provide is welcomed.

Storage Beds

In a bedroom, storage beds are ideal when extra storage space is needed. A range of options for storage are available. As mentioned above, divan beds often have the option of a drawer (or multiple drawers depending on the size of the bed), as opposed to just a seemingly solid base. The more premium option however is the ottoman style storage bed, where either the foot-end or the side of the bed can be raised from the mattress base, revealing a large storage compartment the full size of the bed beneath.

Not only is the ottoman storage bed hard to beat in the storage stakes, it’s also the more premium option as mentioned, but they also tend to be the most aesthetically attractive, often combining beautiful and uncompromising designs with very practical storage space.

Day Beds

Because of their versatility, day beds are very popular. Increasing popularity in current times however has meant that day bed sales are through the roof right now. No matter what shape your day bed takes should you choose to purchase one, it should be enjoyed for its comfort and versatility making optimal use of a confined and multi-functional space.

A day bed may not be as well-known as other bed styles, but this little gem of the bedroom furniture world should not be ignored. At its heart a day bed is a space saving solution. More often than not, the dimensions of a day bed are that of a standard single UK or European single bed, requiring a standard single UK mattress. They can of course differ in size, so it’s important to check the exact measurements to avoid getting a mattress that does not appropriately fit the base.

Trundle Beds

Have you ever used a trundle bed when you were an infant, perhaps at a sleepover? Bunk beds often take up too much space and, whilst uncommon, they can pose a danger to your child should they fall out of the top bunk whilst asleep. A trundle bed is a good alternative, and a good solution to this dilemma. A trundle bed is a low bed, typically on wheels, that you store under the bed frame of the main bed. During the day, you can hide the lower bed and mattress away under the main bed frame, taking it out then when required for use. Trundle beds offer additional sleep accommodation This technique maximises both floor and wall space. Some trundles remain low to the ground at all times, relative to the main bed. Whilst others may pop up to a comparable height once removed from under the main bed. Trundle beds are primarily used by children and are ideal for visiting family and friends, or two children occasionally sharing a room.

Bear in mind that if you're thinking of buying a trundle bed, plan to spend a little bit more than you'd spend for a twin or full-size bed, because instead of one, you're buying a bed frame with two places to sleep. Obviously, to fill this room, you'll still need another mattress, but because it mostly hides under the standard bed frame, you're going to have restrictions on how thick that mattress can be.

Sofa Beds

Sofa beds are a great choice, offering a versatile piece of furniture for your home if you are looking for a multi-purpose bed for visitors or occasional use. They are available in a variety of designs, colours and sizes and are suitable for use in a guest room or as a working sofa in your lounge, that can easily be transformed into a bed as and when required.

Foam mattresses may provide adequate support if the sofa bed is for visitors, or for occasional use. However, consider switching to a pocket spring mattress for extra support and comfort if you are looking to use your sofa bed more frequently.

Air Beds

For accommodating guests staying over when cost is the main priority, air beds provide a space-efficient alternative that is hard to beat from a low-cost perspective. When the bed is required, they are fast and easy to inflate, but compact to pack up and store away. Air beds are a convenient and comfortable choice.

Sleigh Beds

A sleigh bed is, as the name implies, a bed that looks similar to a sled or sleigh. The curved or scrolled foot and headboard are its most prominent style characteristics. Sleigh beds are made out of wood more often than not, and they also tend to be very heavy pieces of furniture.

In spite of their rugged and heavy construction, a sleigh bed often appears to have a delicate and feminine look. Whilst quite often constructed exclusively from wood, it's not uncommon to have an upholstered sleigh bed frame. When it comes to sleigh beds, there are all kinds of style variants available. Aesthetically, some sleigh beds have prominent and very classical curves, while others are simpler and more contemporary. 

Four Poster Beds

A four poster bed is a bed with four vertical columns, one in each corner, that support an upper panel, typically rectangular in shape. To allow curtains to be pulled around the bed, this panel will also have usually rails. Four poster beds that date back to at least the 16th century or even earlier. Many of these very early four poster beds were made from thick oak wood and were extremely ornate.

The design of the four poster bed was arrived at for very practical reasons. Centuries ago when first conceived, bedrooms would have been draughty and cold, particularly at night, closing the curtains around the bed helped keep occupants warm and protected from the cold. The curtains also helped to give the sleepers privacy, as servants and bodyguards often slept in the same room, especially in the case of royalty. In medieval times, and until the 18th century, beds were items of furniture upon which great figures and royalty made public appearances and kept court, so they were designed to impress. A four poster bed with an imposing backboard and upper panel made it possible to view and hang expensive fabrics and heraldic decoration for all to see.

Bunk Beds

A bunk bed is a type of bed in which one (or more) bed frames is stacked on top of another, allowing the floor space normally needed by only one to occupy two or more beds. Bunk beds are often seen on trains and ferries, army barracks, hostels, college dormitories, and of course in children’s bedrooms.

Four poles are employed to support the upper bunk, one at each corner of the lower bunk. Sometimes the upper bunk is held aloft by a more robust our elaborate wooden frame. To prevent the sleeper on the upper bunk from falling out, a guard rail is usually in place. A ladder incorporated into the overall design is commonly used to reach the top bunk. The top bunk of a bunk bed is not recommended for children under six years of age because of the need for a ladder and the height of the upper bunk.

A loft bed is an elevated bed similar to a bunk bed, the difference being it is without lower bed, featuring only one elevated bed. These provides for free floor space under the bed for additional furniture often integrated, such as a desk or shelving.

Camp Beds

A camp bed, or cot as it’s known in North America, is a thin , lightweight, portable bed used in situations where it is impractical to use larger permanent beds. This bed's primary benefit is its portability and compactness. In general, camp beds are used by armies or organisations, in tourism, and in emergency situations where victims need to find lodging quickly, often in temporary settings and where space is at a premium.

Camp beds typically consist of a foldable lightweight frame of wood or metal, covered with canvas, linen or nylon.

Headboard Buying Guide

A headboard can play a significant role in your bedroom's overall style and aesthetic. So it is worth taking the time and effort to select the right one for you and your room. We have put together a headboard buying guide on how to pick the right headboard for your bedroom, together with some tips, to help you with your decision.

It's important that you understand your habits and requirements before getting started, such a how big your bedroom is, if you need a headboard that matches other elements of your overall bedroom design, how much are you willing to spend, and so on. Answering these questions will assist you in choosing the right headroom for you and your room.

Upholstered Headboards

Upholstered headboards have a tremendous versatility, as they come in a wide variety of fabrics like leather, cotton, velvet, and linen. This makes a headboard of upholstered fabric a perfect choice when it comes to finishing your bedroom in the perfect look you seek to achieve. They also come in most types, including simple, column, tufted, and sleigh.

Wooden Headboards

Wooden headboards are amongst the most common, they can be both cost effective and practical. If you want a traditional or modern look, they have endless styling possibilities to fit your bedroom. Wooden headboards can be found with carvings, straight lines or curved lines. In colour or painted, they can also feature a natural wood effect. Wooden headboards are very sturdy, and if you go for solid hardwood, like oak, walnut or maple, they will last for decades.

Metal and Iron Headboards

Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, iron headboards are flexible, can with many different styles, whether you're looking to achieve an antique, classical or modern look. The choice of design is big, and you can choose between a scroll design or a simple modern look. You can also choose between a finish that is painted or something more natural. Like wooden headboards, perhaps even more so, iron headboards are sturdy and can last for years and years. To avail of that to its fullest extent is important if at all possible to opt for a style that won’t quickly date.

Headboard Shapes

Headboards range from simple to elaborate, in a variety of shapes and styles. Each form brings meaning and style with it.

Simple / Plain Headboards

Simple headboards are the easiest kind of headboard that you can get. If you are looking to add a simple, inoffensive, modern and clean look to your bedroom, these headboards are just what you need. In upholstery, and wooden materials, you can get them.

Panel Headboards

A step up from a completely plain headboard, we have panel headboards. With equal sized panels combined together in a rectangular frame, to form their overall shape. Panel headboards are fantastic for adding a bit of drama to the decor of your bedroom. They are available upholstered in all sorts of different fabrics, they are also available in various types of wood.

Bookcase Headboards

Bookcase headboards combine a practical storage solution, whilst adding a touch of style and class to a bedroom. Bookcase headboards offer an excellent storage system for bedrooms where space is at a premium, and other small spaces, such as children’s bedrooms. They add functional storage space that can be used for everything and anything, not just books. They are especially practical if you do not have the space in the bedroom in question to accommodate bedside unit or bedside table. Most common in wood, it is possible to also get upholstered headboards, or headboards that combine elements of both wood and upholstery.

Sleigh Headboards

We’ve talked about sleigh beds, it is also possible to simply get a sleigh headboard, turning what is an otherwise standard looking bed into something altogether more luxurious.   Adding visual appeal in abundance to your bedroom, sleigh headboards are available in a range of materials and finishes, including wood and upholstery.  

Tufted Headboards

Tufted headboards are designed to create depth and dimension with a soft synthetic foam backing that integrates a series of buttons or stitches around the headboard. To suit any theme you have in mind, these headboards are available in a wide range of upholstered fabrics. The cushion padding makes them perfect if you're looking for a soft headboard to lean your head against. They are also perfect for comfort, and if you sit down in bed reading or watching television, we recommend them.

Headboard Sizes

When you purchase your headboard, size is a significant factor to take into account. Naturally you will need to match the size of the headboard to the size of your bed, be it double, king size or whatever. But you will also need to consider beyond that what’s an appropriate size headboard for the room. For example, you could go for a high headboard for a bedroom with a high ceiling to match with the portion of the room. Selecting a small headboard would probably look out of proportion in a large and expansive room. Not only do you need to consider the size of the room, you should also keep in mind your size, or more specifically your height. If you are sitting up in bed, which you are guaranteed to do at least some of the time, you’ll want to ensure the headboard is sufficiently high to cushion your head whilst in that position.

Mattress Buying Guide

Whether you plan on buying your mattress online or on the high street  we’ve put together all the information you need to know to make the best choice for your needs. Whether you’re looking to spend a little or a lot we take you through every nook and cranny of the mattress buying process so that you can sleep soundly having made the right decision.

Open Spring Mattress

Open spring, open coil or continuous coil mattresses, as they are also know, are made from one long and continuous piece of metal wire that has been coiled to form or create several springs to cover the entire bed area. To preserve the shape of the mattress and to provide structure, there is also an additional boundary rod or wire. Since the sides are machine-stitched rather than hand stitched, they are lighter than over mattress types, which makes them easier to switch from side to side. Open spring mattresses are a great value for money choice. They aren’t necessarily the most supportive option available on the market, so for that reasons we would recommend open spring mattresses as more appropriate for guest rooms where they are used only rarely, or for beds for children who not exert much pressure on the mattress so support is really a non-issue. 

Pocket Spring Mattresses

Pocket spring mattresses are a step up. They are more luxurious because they are made of thin, individual springs housed in their own fabric pocket. This ensures each spring has the freedom to move separately and independently, making them more comfortable and more supportive than the cheaper open spring mattress.

Depending on your preference and choice, you can opt for a pocket spring mattress that is soft, firm, or somewhere in between. Thanks to their construction, pocket spring mattresses are very breathable, much more breathable than memory foam or latex mattresses. This makes them a good choice all year round, but particularly during hotter summer months and particularly if you tend to get hot during the night.

Pocket spring mattresses can be heavy and difficult to move. This isn’t a problem necessarily as generally there’s no reason to move a mattress frequently, but when you do move it you’re likely to need some help in doing so. Pocket spring mattresses can be packed with natural materials that can agitate allergies, such as lambswool. This is something to be conscious of and taking into consideration if you suffer from allergies or asthma.

Pocket spring mattresses are a particularly good choice if it’s a bed for two people you’re after. The separate pocket springs will accommodate the various needs and weights of the two people better than an open spring mattress reducing the risk of you rolling into your partner in the middle of the night.

Bed In A Box

These mattresses, a real game changer in the world of sleep have revolutionised the way many people purchase beds, well at least purchase mattresses. Casper one of the first bed in a box businesses was introduced in the UK in 2016 and has seen other brands such as Simba and Leesa follow suit in its success. The bed in a box name refers to the method of delivery, these mattresses are ordered online and arrive within days, avoiding the painful task of visiting the mattress shops and waiting several weeks for delivery.

Usually compressed and rolled into a packet, you unravel the mattress and within a few hours, it will be ready to use. Usually they are made of foam or a blend of memory foam and springs.

Most bed in a box companies offer an sleep guarantee, such as test it for 100 nights and if not satisfied you can have your money back. Most also offer options of soft, medium and firm mattresses. And it goes without saying that they are typically available in a range of sizes.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Around since the 1970s, there more modern mattresses are made of memory foam, which is a mouldable material with hypo-allergenic properties that also reacts to temperature and weight.

This ensures that it can mould to your body’s form, absorb your weight, and alleviate pressure on your joints. Not everyone likes this form of mattress, they can create a sinking sensation as you settle in, they can also get pretty warm as they’re not as breathable as sprung mattresses.

Where they excel though is for those who need help or suffer from a sore back, as it will maintain posture and horizontally align your spine when sleeping on your side. Given that they’re hypo-allergenic they’re also a good choice for allergy and asthma sufferers.

Latex Mattresses

These mattresses are filled with latex foam, which despite what many people think, is a particularly breathable material allowing for good air circulation. So for that reason they’re a good choice to stop you overheating in the middle of the night.

Latex mattresses are highly robust which means you’ll get a good number of years our of one before you’ll need to replace it.  Latex is an all-natural material made from the sap of the rubber tree and like memory foam mattresses they are a good choice for those suffering from allergies as they’re naturally resistant to mould and dust mites.

They are probably most suited to those who favour a firm sleep as latex can be quite firm to sleep on. If you do opt for a latex mattress do spend the money on getting a good quality one, it is worth it as cheaper ones can sag over time. 

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses are designed to provide a more balanced sleeping experience by drawing from a variety of materials that traditionally include memory foam, latex and pocket springs.

They also come with a pocket-sprung base and a top layer of memory foam, offering both comfort and support by responding to the shape of your body, alleviating aches and pains.

Continuous Coil Mattresses

A continuous coil mattress is a common budget choice, made of a single looped wire, while an open coil mattress is a common budget choice, made of a single looped wire, while an open coil mattress is made of single springs fixed together with one wire. These are considerably cheaper than other styles of mattresses, but he advised that the risk of these mattresses wearing out and sagging easily comes with the attractive price tag. As they are built as one unit, these mattresses often move around a lot with you as you sleep, so if you or your partner tosses and turns in the night, we would recommend that you explore other choices.

Mattress Firmness

The way your mattress is firm will impact how well you sleep. Your sleeping position, height and weight will depend on the type of firmness you need. For clarity what’s best for you’re here depending on what sort of sleeper you are.

Soft: For soft mattresses, side sleepers or those who shift positions during the night are better suited. This is because the way you sleep already relieves tension from your back, so you want to mould the mattress to the natural position of your body.

Medium: This is better for individuals who sleep on their back because you need extra lower back support, which is provided by this firm of firmness.

Firm: This type of mattress is perfect for those who are over 15 stone or suffer from back problems while sleeping on their front. This is because, without allowing you to fall into it while you sleep, it will keep your back in a reasonably relaxed and secure position, which can cause lower back pain.

Caring For Your Mattress

When you take delivery of your mattress having purchased it, make sure you let it air for at least four hours before making up the bed. This will remove any damp or cold smells created during storage.

Over the course of the life of your mattress you should air it regularly by leaving it stripped for a couple of hours before making it up again. If your mattress is one that allows it, remember to periodically turn it. This helps avoid the development of uneven dips in the mattress.

It will also help keep your mattress clean by using a mattress protector prolonging its life. This will prevent any stains or dirt from damaging it. This is put in place before your bed linen (and mattress topper if used) is put in place.

You should try to replace your mattress every 8 to 10 years. This is not only for hygiene purposes, but because over time it can soften, reducing the utility it offers you. It’s time for a change if you feel tired when you wake up or find that you sleep better in other beds.