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Beds Buying Guide
Decorating the Bedroom: a brief guide
A Brief Guide to Decorating the Bedroom
Know the dimensions of the room, so that you can get a better idea of just how much space you will need to plan for. Take into consideration any architectural features that cannot be changed such as the window or a built-in closet.
How much do you want to spend? Don’t forget to make a budget; it will compel you to focus on priorities and help you to reach your goal.
Create a list of the bedroom furnishings you want to include. Instead of buying each piece separately, you might want to consider purchasing a bedroom set, which consists of basic groupings like a bed with matching night stand and dresser or armoire.
Do you want a full/double bed, a queen bed or a king bed? Keep in mind that the size of the room should dictate the size of the bed. A bed that is either too small or too large will spoil the general look of the bedroom.
The width of the headboard determines the overall size of the bed, for example, single, full or queen. If you are buying just the headboard, make sure that it will match your existing bed frame.
If you do want a larger bed in a small space, choose one with a simple design, like a platform bed. This will lessen the visual impact of the bed, preventing its size from overpowering the room, while allowing you a little more floor space to work with.
We tend to think of most bedroom furnishings as being neutral, but selecting the wrong color of furniture can clash with your existing color scheme. To avoid having to repaint your room or buy new curtains, make sure that your new bedroom suite will blend in with the colors currently in the room.
Proper lighting is important to the atmosphere of any bedroom. When deciding on the placement of your furniture, take full advantage of natural light, and ensure nightstands or dressers designated to hold task lighting are close to power sources.
If you want to purchase a traditional style bed, such as a sleigh bed, in metal rather than wood, choose warmer finishes that are more closely associated with traditional furnishings, like textured black, bronze, and antique white.
If you are buying furniture for your bedroom separately, choose your accessory pieces wisely, especially when decorating a room with limited space. For example, before selecting a dresser, consider whether you prefer fewer/more or smaller/larger drawers.
Many full/double beds can accommodate a queen mattress by providing an extra set of rail slots about three inches on each side of the headboard/footboard. This may leave a slight gap on either side of the mattress. However, if you use a thick comforter or heavy spread, the width discrepancy will be minimized.
Before purchasing a canopy or four poster bed, know the height of your room to prevent the posts from being too close to the ceiling, or in the case of a canopy, from blocking any overhead lighting.
If you tend to read a lot in bed or if you need additional display or storage space in your bedroom, consider selecting a bed with a bookcase headboard.
Beds like a loft bed or daybed are ideal for furnishing rooms that are small or will have a dual purpose such as a home office/guest bedroom.
Choosing a Bed for Your Master Bedroom
What Kind of Bed Do I Need?
Since you will be purchasing a bed to fit a particular mattress size, here is a brief outline of the most common mattress sizes available. Keep in mind, that while most bedroom furniture manufacturers conform to standardized measurements, they also might offer “custom” sizes, ones that are slightly smaller or larger than industry standards; before making a final decision, make sure that you will be able to buy bedding for the size of bed/mattress you have selected.
Twin beds, also known as single beds, are 39” wide and 75” long. They are a popular choice for a child’s room or a dual purpose room such as a den/guest room. The twin X-long or extra long single bed is a variation on the regular twin. It is the same width as a twin bed but is 5” longer. Because of the additional length, it is better suited for a teen or an adult when furnishing a dorm room, a teen’s bedroom or a guest room.
The double bed, also called a full bed, is 54” wide and 75” in length. For two people, the actual sleeping area for each person is 27”. It is a popular choice for a single person or a couple furnishing a smaller sized bedroom. When buying a double bed or headboard, note that many of them will be able to accommodate a queen mattress.
The queen bed is 6” wider and 5” longer than a double bed. Some manufacturers advertise “Olympic” Queen Beds that are slightly larger than the dimensions of the standard queen bed, and are generally considered to be a “custom” size. A popular choice for two people needing more sleeping room, the sleeping area of the queen bed for each person is 30”.
The standard king bed is also known as the eastern king bed. The width is 76" and the length is 80”. It is the widest standard sized bed available; it not easily moved upstairs or through narrow, winding hallways. The sleeping area per person is the same as for a twin bed.
The California king bed, also referred to as the western king bed, is 72” wide and 84” in length. It is the longest standard sized bed available; total sleeping area for one person is 36”. Both the standard king and California king bed sets come with one mattress and two half-width box springs to make moving the bed more manageable; still, it can’t be moved easily, especially by just one person.
What Type of Bed should I select?
Sleigh beds are characterized by elegant, curving lines and a distinctive, romantic feel. Because the style is so eye-catching, there are some things to consider. The height of a wood sleigh headboard determines how prominent the bed will be in the context of the room. If you want it to be the focal point of your bedroom, choose a taller headboard/footboard; if you want the feel of a sleigh bed but without the impact of showpiece furniture, select a shorter headboard. When shopping for a metal sleigh bed, pay attention to the style and finish. Since metal is more closely associated with contemporary rather than traditional style, consider the room’s décor and match your choice accordingly.
The four poster bed, since it first appeared in the Middle Ages, continues to be a popular style choice today. They make a dramatic statement because they draw the eye into the center of the room. They are characterized by four posts at each corner; they can be of equal or varying height and can be tall or short, short defined as the post being 3 feet high. A pencil bed is a type of four poster, named for its tall, thin, tapered posts. The most commonly used material for four poster beds is wood, but metal is also a popular. To add texture to your bedroom select a four poster bed that uses both metal and wood for added visual effect.
The canopy bed is essentially a four poster bed with a covering. Canopies can be made of a variety of materials, including fabric, wood and even roped wire detailing. To soften the dramatic appearance of the four poster bed, select a fabric canopy with a border frill or one with draped swatches. Formal canopies can include curtain panels that can be closed or left open, making the bed into a room within a room. But less elaborate canopy beds can also add a touch of elegance and a sense of intimacy to any bedroom. A canopy frame can be added to most four poster beds where the posts of the bed are of equal height. When purchasing a canopy bed, check to see if the material is or is not included; some manufacturers will not include the covering, allowing you the option of matching the canopy to your curtains, bedding or color scheme.
Because platform beds are simple in form, they were once considered a solely modern design. Due to their popularity, they are now available in a variety of styles ranging from country to traditional. Platform beds require just a regular innerspring mattress or a futon mattress, eliminating the need for a box spring, which makes them economical. Since the bed is generally not as high as a standard bed, using a platform bed as the focal point will make the room appear larger and more spacious.
Panel beds have headboards and footboards that are usually all of one piece, without spindles or slats, and are straight up and down, so that they can stand flat against the wall. Panel detailing is mostly vertical, but can also be horizontal. As a variation on the typical panel bed, some types do include decorative slats that allow you to partially see through the headboard. Panel beds can incorporate architectural details like metal lattice work above wood paneling. Other common architectural features used in panel beds are shaped moldings, raised panels, inset panels and the popular arched tri-panel design.
When Buying a Bed, What Kind of Material Should I Choose?
A bed made from real wood is produced of timber. Timber is the wood of trees cut and prepared for use as bedroom furniture. Hardwoods are woods from trees that lose their leaves in autumn, such as oak, walnut and maple. Softwoods are woods from trees that do not shed their leaves, like pines or cedars. The terms "hardwood" and "softwood" do not refer to the actual strength the wood.
Asian hardwoods, also referred to as parawoods, rubberwoods or tropical hardwoods are from Southeast Asia. Originally from the Amazon region, the seeds were transported to England in the mid-1800’s for germination, and the seedlings were then sent to Malaysia where they were planted permanently, resulting in the name Asian hardwood. Furniture made from these hardwoods is considered to be ecologically friendly because before the tree is harvested, it was used to produce rubber for approximately 30 years. A four poster bed made from Asian hardwood is rich in texture and style.
Engineered woods are processed by using heat and pressure to glue wood fibers together. One type of engineered wood is medium density fiberboard or MDF. MDF is more affordable than solid wood, but just as strong and durable. If you want bedroom furniture that is easy to care for while having the look and feel of real wood, select a platform bed or headboard made of MDF and a combination of veneers or laminates; the MDF will give the piece of furniture strength and the veneers or laminates will allow for easy cleaning.
Laminates are produced by pressing layers of plastic, metal or wood together, then sealing them with a thermosetting resin. The synthetic material is then applied to a frame made of an engineered wood such as They are commonly used to make home furnishings because they are durable, easy to care for and economical. Since laminates don’t fade and have no grain, they are easier to match when adding additional pieces to your original bedroom set.
Wood veneers are created by a similar process as in the making of laminates. Thin slices of real wood are glued to the piece of furniture using heat and pressure. Since it can be applied to any smooth, flat surface, this is a popular material for ready-to-assemble bedroom furniture like a panel bed. Since it is not as expensive to manufacture, it also gives furniture the texture and appearance of genuine solid woods, while keeping costs down.
Considered to be the most durable material for furniture, solid wood furnishings are constructed from wood cut from the trunks of trees like pine, mahogany or oak and are more expensive than engineered wood products. If your budget allows for a sleigh bed made of solid wood, it will be something that you will prize for years to come. Should you want to add a dresser, nightstand or armoire at some time in the future, keep in mind that solid wood furniture may be more difficult to match to your bed, even if produced by the same manufacturer, due to factors like wood density and variations in how the finish was applied.
Metals are a popular material for beds because of their strength and luster. Alloys refer to metals made by combining two or more elements. Generally speaking, pure metals tend to be too soft, too brittle or chemically reactive. The purpose of creating an alloy is to make the metal stronger and more stable. Because most all metal beds are subject to the effects of time and oxidization, choose one with a durable finish that is either moisture or rust resistant.
What Style of Bed Should I Select?
There are some types of beds, like the sleigh bed and the four poster bed that we immediately identify with the traditional style because of their silk finishes, graceful curves and flowing lines. Traditional styles are inspired by the fashions, trends and social customs of the past, ranging from the elaborate fussiness of Victorian times to the less complicated ideals reflected in Colonial, French Country and Neo-Classical designs. It is probably for this reason that traditional-style pieces like an armoire or vanity can make a room feel informal or formal, depending on the time period that has been used as the source of inspiration.
Largely associated with contemporary architectural design, a modern style bed is characterized by its geometric, minimalist feel. Typical materials for modern bedroom furnishings are metal, glass, plastics and woods with lighter or natural finishes.
Contemporary bedroom furniture is known for its simplicity of line, shape and form. Emerging from the second half of the 20th century, contemporary style reflects traditional and casual styles, but is more subtle and understated, underplaying the ornate lines and rich textures of the more traditional. Geometric forms are often softened by rounded corners. By merging natural elements with bold color, a contemporary bedroom set mixes well with a variety of other styles.
Casual style minimizes elaborate detail, while featuring textured elements like clean lines, underscored by leather or metal accents. Additional elements such as rectangular insets and softly curved corners and legs contribute to the overall casual feel. This style of furniture tends to be larger in scale, emphasizing comfort and utility. A platform bed in the casual style is ideal for those who want their bedroom to posses the comfortable, relaxed look of contemporary but infused with traditional warmth.
Simple style is even more pared down and leaner than casual furniture. Characterized by clean, uncomplicated lines, casual furnishings are inviting, warm and comfortable. Finishes are generally lighter than traditional furniture. If you would like to decorate your bedroom using a mix of styles, simple style furnishings such as a nightstand and dresser, are ideal as one of the choices, since they possess minimal individual design elements that don’t fight the eye for attention.
Country furniture combines more formal traditional stylings with rustic charm, and are recognized for being comfortable, cozy and welcoming. They contain a distinctive period flavor like Colonial, French Country or Mission. Country style furnishings are almost always constructed of wood, ranging from light to medium finishes. Some of the more common types of finishes are grainy, painted or distressed. Country furniture can include whimsical details like hand-painted stenciling, hand-carved insets and soft, graceful curves.