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.
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.
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 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.
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.