For many of us, the word “bed” invokes more than an image of a mattress. We also picture bedding, pillows, and maybe most of all, the frame that supports the mattress. A bed frame not only helps to determine how a bed looks, but how its components function. A mattress on a platform frame may have a different feel from one on a sleigh bed, while frames constructed from materials such as metal or wood will have their own unique attributes.
Bed frames come in a wide variety of styles, materials, and price ranges. With so many frames to choose from, how do you decide which one is best for you? Below are my top five picks for queen bed frames, the most popular size with most buyers. I tested frames in a number of different categories to help you find the perfect model for your sleep needs and personal style.
Zinus Shalini Upholstered Diamond Stitched Platform Bed
My choice for editor’s pick is the Zinus Shalini Diamond Stitched Platform Bed. This charcoal gray platform bed is upholstered in a classic diamond button pattern and includes wooden slats and legs in a dark stain. The clearance between this frame and the floor is 7 inches, leaving plenty of room for standard-size underbed storage boxes. The bed comes ready to assemble.
- Looks sharp. With its modern-classic aesthetic and clean lines, the Shalini platform bed is a head turner. My two year-old memory foam mattress and simple white bedding looked fresh and new on this frame, a testament to the thought the design folks at Zinus put into this model
- Easy-to-assemble. I put this frame together using the tools that came with it in about 40 minutes
- Price. The Shalini is not only sturdy and attractive, it’s a bargain
- Durability. One of the headboard buttons felt a little loose after a week of use, which could be a durability issue over the long term
- Low to the floor. Folks who need a higher bed frame due to mobility issues or personal preference may want to look for a higher profile option
This Zinus bed frame's 7 inch clearance leaves plenty of room for standard-size underbed storage boxes.
Best Faux Leather
DHP Dakota Upholstered Platform Bed with Storage Drawers
My pick for best faux leather bed frame goes to the DHP Dakota Faux Leather Bed Frame. This sleek frame gives me trendy retro vibes and the urge to spend all day under the covers. Made from wood and metal with vinyl fabric, the Dakota comes in black, white, or brown. This bed also includes four handleless drawers for easy and convenient storage.
- Comfort. I found the cushioned headboard to be a nice, plush place to lean back against at the end of a long day
- Chic. I tested the white version of this bed, which gave my room a stylish look without overpowering my minimalist decor
- Easy instructions. This bed was fairly simple to put together even with the underbed storage drawers
- Cost. Chic comes at a price, even if the leather is faux. Expect to shell out a bit more for this bed frame than you might for one made of other types of fabric
- Drawer system. Sliding the drawers in and out felt a bit clunky, something to be aware of if you use your underbed storage frequently
The DHP Dakota Upholstered Platform Bed gives me trendy retro vibes and the urge to spend all day under the covers.
Best for Style
Classic Brands Mornington Upholstered Platform Bed
My nod for best style in the queen bed frame category goes to the Classic Brands Mornington Upholstered Platform Bed. This tufted medium-gray bed is designed to be used with a mattress alone and doesn’t require a box spring. The Mornington is also available in a light oatmeal beige and comes in full, queen, and king sizes. This frame includes all parts, tools, and instructions.
- Design. The Classic Brands Mornington is a chic combination of modern and classic. The tufted headboard felt well-padded and solid and was especially comfortable during long reading binges
- Quality. From the upholstery to the pine slats to the assembly instructions, the Mornington felt well-made and smartly designed
- Quiet. If you like an upholstered bed that doesn’t squeak or creak, this one is worth a close look
- Not for really heavy folks. This bed supports a total of 700 pounds, so keep that in mind if you and your partner are above average weight
- Hefty box. Bringing it inside probably won’t be a one-person job
The Classic Brands Mornington Upholstered Platform Bed is designed to be used with a mattress alone and doesn’t require a box spring.
Home Life Premiere Classics Tall Headboard Platform Bed
My choice for best bargain is the Home Premiere Classics Tall Headboard Platform Bed. What makes it a bargain? It doesn’t look like one. This riveted upholstered bed frame is upholstered in a silvery-gray linen and has a stylish traditional appearance. The Home Premiere Platform bed can be purchased in twin-king sizes and comes with a 5-year warranty.
- Substantial. This bed has a weighty, solid look and feel. The Home Life Premiere Platform will be the focal point of any bedroom — it certainly was in mine
- Upholstery. I was particularly impressed by the silver rivets, which give the bed a classically elegant vibe
- Legs. Many bed frames in this price range skip over details such as leg design. Not the Home Life Premiere Platform bed, whose attractively carved legs give the frame a nice finishing touch
- Width. This frame was a bit wide for my mattress, which left about an inch of open slat space on one side. Be sure to measure your mattress carefully to make sure it will fit this frame snugly
- Low to the floor. Though the headboard is tall, this frame is fairly low profile and close to the ground. It may not be the best choice for those who prefer a higher bed
The Home Life Premiere bed frame is upholstered in a silvery-gray linen for a stylish traditional appearance.
How We Picked
What you need in a bed frame depends on how you’ll use it, what feels comfortable to you, and your own personal style. There are a few essentials to keep in mind when you’re on the hunt for the perfect bed frame:
Common types of bed frames include:
- Panel: A panel bed is typically made using flat wood panels for the head and footboards. Side rails capable of supporting a mattress and base are other features of panel beds, which tend to be on the taller side when compared with other types of frames
- Platform: Platform beds are one of the most popular frame options because they don’t require a box spring or foundation. Most platform beds include wood, metal, or heavy-duty plastic slats as well as slat reinforcement bars for larger sizes such as queen and king. Some platform models come equipped with underbed storage drawers, a great option for folks who need a little extra space
- Canopy: A canopy bed features 4 posts linked to an overhead frame that may be used to hang fabric, drapery, or mosquito netting. Though many older canopy beds were made of elaborately carved wood and other traditional styles, modern canopy frames often have clean, contemporary lines
- Four-Poster: Four-poster beds are not linked to an overhead canopy. These frames are distinguished by four tall posts, whereas the posts of low-poster beds are shorter. The post of half-poster beds are taller at the head and shorter at the foot of the bed
- Sleigh: Sleigh beds are so named because of the curved sleigh-shape of the head and footboards. Sleigh beds have a more traditional look and are typically made from wood
The primary materials used in bed frames are wood and/or metal, as well as foam and fabric in upholstered models. When buying a bed frame, know the materials used by the manufacturer, how they typically perform, and how long they can be expected to last.
The most common woods used in bed frames are:
- Pine – A soft wood used in frames and slats. Light in color with a knotty appearance that gives a bed frame a distinctive look
- Maple – A durable, medium-to-hard wood that can be stained easily. Naturally light in color
- Oak – A durable and very hard wood used in higher-quality furnishings
- Beech – A light-colored medium-to-hard wood often used to make chairs and toys
- Mahogany – A strong, reddish-brown wood that may be used in more expensive bed frames
- Laminates and veneers – Thin layers of higher quality or more attractive woods over fiberboard or other less expensive materials
Metal may be used in bed frames for components such as bolts, slats, rails, or for the head and footboards. The most common metals used in bed frames are:
- Steel – Steel is often used in components such as rails and feet and may be used in head and footboards, as well
- Wrought iron – Wrought iron beds typically have curved head and footboards and a unique, traditional look
- Iron – Black metal such as iron may be used in bed frame rails and parts
Foams and fabrics have become popular materials in bed frames, which are often upholstered for comfort and style. Common upholstery materials include:
- Poly foam – Poly foam is a synthetic, spongy material used for cushioning. This type of foam is often less expensive than other foams
- Memory foam – Memory foam is responsive to heat and pressure and tends to have more sinkage than poly foam. Memory foam may be more expensive than poly foam but is typically more durable
- Polyester – Polyester is often used to make headboard and side rail upholstery, and is typically less expensive than natural fabrics
- Velvet – Velvet made from cotton and/or polyester has become a popular fabric for headboards. It typically has a soft feel and an elegant look
- Leather – Both natural and faux leather are durable but may be scratched or torn. Faux leather has a similar look but may not wear as well as natural leather, which can acquire an appealingly distressed look over time
Bed frames are typically best suited for particular types of mattresses. For example, a platform bed frame is appropriate for use with a mattress without a foundation or box spring. A frame without slats will require a foundation in order to support the mattress.
Know how tall your mattress should be to fit properly in your new bed frame. A low-profile mattress may not be high enough for some frames, leaving gaps at the head and footboards. Other bed frames are designed for a lower profile mattress that won’t hide too much of the frame or prevent leaning back against the headboard comfortably.
If you’re still not sure which bed frame is best for you, consider the following tips:
- Take measurements – Measure the size of your room and your mattress (and box spring, if you use one) before deciding on a bed frame. Make sure it will fit in your bedroom with space to walk around on at least two sides. The right bed frame should also fully accommodate the width and length of your mattress
- Don’t forget height – Many a bed frame buyer has set up their new purchase only to realize it feels too low or too high. Check out bed frames in stores before buying if you’re unsure which height is best for you
- Keep style in mind – A bed is often the center of attention in a bedroom, so make sure it fits with your personal aesthetic. If you like a warmer, more traditional look, you may want to opt for a wood frame in a sleigh or canopy shape. Modern minimalists might prefer leather, simple fabrics, or metal
Should I buy my bed frame or mattress first?
Because a mattress is important for healthy sleep, I typically recommend that you choose the right mattress for your needs and sleeping position and then select a suitable bed frame.
Can bed frames be returned?
Like any furniture item, some can and some can’t. Be sure to understand the terms and conditions of the warranty and return and exchange policies before purchasing. Most mattresses have a generous return policy, but this may not be the case with your choice of bed frame.
Can I put my mattress on the floor?
Putting a mattress on the floor is generally not good for your mattress. Most mattresses last longer with air circulation, which prevents the buildup of mold and moisture. Slats and bed frames allow for healthy circulation, whereas a floor does not.
Last Word From Sleepopolis
A bed frame can be an important furniture purchase that adds to your home’s aesthetic and lasts for many years. When shopping for a bed frame, let your personal style and sleep needs be your guide. Know the materials used to make the frame and how they can be expected to perform over time. Choose a frame that works with your existing mattress and bedding to maximize your comfort and help you enjoy healthy sleep.