Your Dream Bedroom: Styles for your Sanctuary
When we talk about bed styles and construction, we’re not talking about the mattress & box spring. The bed frame is what holds the bed off the floor and adds a decorative touch. Every bed will have a similar structure, with vertical posts raising to frame a headboard & footboard and supporting a system of rails & slats, which then in turn hold the mattress set. Of course, there are some variations on this basic model, like platform beds, day beds, or bunk beds. The details added to this basic structural frame will determine the style of the bed.
Slats & Spindles
Spindles & slats are common additions to the basic bed structure. Rounded spindles & flattened slats fit into horizontal strips that stretch between the vertical posts to create the headboard and footboard. The design & spacing of the spindles & slats will vary to create a wide variety of styles.
Tapered spindles and turned vertical supports give this bed a country look
Flat slats are very common in mission-style furniture
Because spindle & slat beds have open space in the headboard & footboard, they are typically more economical and less heavy, due to the decreased amount of wood used. However, if you’re the type to sit against your headboard, perhaps while reading or watching TV in bed, this style may not be your most comfortable option. While flat slats are more comfortable than round spindles, either style may create pressure points. Another consideration is cleaning – some people don’t want to spend their time cleaning between each individual piece of wood.
If, instead of slats or spindles, the open space between the structural posts is filled with thin sheets of wood, the bed is called a panel bed. Usually, additional supports will be added, creating two or three panels on the headboard & footboard. The panels can be raised or flat, rectilinear or curved.
A simple flat-paneled headboard with beaded detailing
Curved raised panels, turned posts, and warm cherry wood give this bed a very traditional look
Panel bed styles can be very versatile, with the ability to add detailed shapes and alternative materials. Mirrors, glass, and even tin can be used in place of wood panels.
A leaded mirror adds an unexpected element to this transitional style
Just as the name suggests, a sleigh bed resembles the traditional horse-drawn transport through snowy fields. Although the term originally referred to a bed with even headboard and footboard height, now it is used to describe any bed with a curved headboard.
A simple sleigh bed with curved headboard & footboard
The structure is just like the other bed styles discussed so far, only with the vertical posts curving, and the headboard & footboard following suit. Sleigh beds can also be slats, spindles, or panels.
Flat slats on a curved sleigh shape
Sleigh beds can be a great option for those who like to sit against the headboard. The curve creates a comfortable shape to lean against. The big disadvantage to sleigh beds is that they tend to take up a lot of extra space. While mattresses sizes are standardized, the wooden bed frame can add up to a foot in width and length. The curves on a sleigh bed add significantly to the length. One way to minimize the additional space is to choose a sleigh bed with a low footboard.
A sleigh bed with a low footboard to minimize the space used
Poster & Canopy Beds
On some beds, the structural vertical posts extend high above the bed, or are turned or carved in intricate patterns. When these posts become the focal point instead of simple structure, the bed is considered a poster bed. Often best suited for a traditional home, poster beds often feature scalloped headboards or pediments.
Turned finials & a scalloped headboard give this oak bed a country look
Reeded posts & pediment headboard give a regal style
Sometimes, the posts extend high above the bed to support a frame for hanging curtains. This is called a canopy bed. Traditionally used to hang heavy curtains for warmth before modern heating systems, canopy beds are now often more decorative than functional. It is not uncommon to see a canopy bed hung with sheers, which tends to give a coastal look, or with no curtains at all, which tends to give a more contemporary look.
The clean lines & simple shapes of this canopy bed will work in many transitional or contemporary bedrooms
Striking finials and tin panels add drama and create a focal point
Upholstered beds have been growing in popularity for the past several years. Upholstered beds are often based off a panel bed, with the wood panel replaced with soft fabric or leather. These beds offer increased comfort for anyone who likes to sit in bed to read, watch TV, and so on. They work well in transitional and contemporary rooms.
Fabric upholstered panels can add style to a room