If you’ve decided to purchase a solid hardwood bed for your home, you can choose between many different beautiful designs. Slats and panels (or combinations of the two) are common styles to see in headboards and footboards. As we’ve talked about before, Amish craftsmen are always looking to perfect their representations of traditional designs, while also innovating very unique modern styles. Traditional looks and modern designs will all be made with the same level of excellent craftsmanship. What you might not know, though, is that you have choices beyond just the basic look of a bed frame.
Slats or platform?
One of the most basic choices you get to make about the construction of your bed determines how your mattress will sit on the frame. The most common option is for the frame to have four or more slats running across the width of the piece, attached to the bed rails with brackets or a similar kind of joinery. These slats each have a foot on the bottom to provide added support in the middle of your bed. Your box spring and mattress sit right on top of the slats, hiding them completely from view. If you don’t have a box spring, your bed can be made with extra slats (sometimes up to ten or twelve), so that the mattress will be fully supported with just the slats.
Folks who don’t have a box spring can also choose to have the bed made as a platform. This simply means that there’s a sheet of plywood placed between the bed rails to support your mattress instead of the slats. If you have an extra-thick or extra-thin mattress, take into consideration how high you want your bed to be. The standard dimensions for a bed put your box spring about 10” off the ground. If you’re working with a platform bed, and your mattress is especially thin, you may want to customize the frame of your bed to be a little taller than that so you don’t have to stoop down too far to climb into bed. If you’ve got a big box spring and a big mattress, you might want to customize your bed frame to be a little shorter so it’s not too tall overall. This is especially good to keep in mind if you’re thinking about a storage platform.
Adding drawers to your bed
If you’re tight on space, or if you just have a lot of stuff to store, a storage platform could be a huge help in organizing your bedroom. Any bed style can be made as a storage platform, so you can still be sure to get exactly the style you want. Platforms can be made with drawers of varying dimensions on one, two, or three sides. You can have one or two rows of drawers on each side, too; that can provide as much storage space as a chest of drawers. Think of it as a bed and a dresser all wrapped up into one piece. The good news is that a storage platform can be much more cost-efficient than a bed and a dresser would be. Most storage platforms extend all the way down to the floor (which means you don’t have to worry about getting the vacuum cleaner underneath). Some pieces can be made with drawers and still have the bed set up on feet, if you prefer that look. If a storage platform isn’t quite what you want, but you still do want some drawers in your bed, perhaps a storage headboard is the solution for you.
There are several headboard styles which incorporate shelves, drawers, and compartments into the front or sides of the piece. Some even have a built-in mirror or light. This is a great option for adding some storage to a small space without making the bed seem too massive for a little room. Think of this as a bed and two nightstands all wrapped up into one piece.
What if my bedroom is huge?
If you have a spacious master bedroom in your home, wonderful! There are some very attractive options for wall units that extend beyond and atop your headboard. These pieces are usually a combination of bookcases and drawers, sometimes with a mirror or a light, which frame the edges of your bed. This provides plenty of storage, and also looks quite striking in a larger space. If you’re worried about things looking un-tidy, you can have your wall unit made with doors (like an armoire). If you want to display your collection of photographs or books, the piece can be made with open shelving.
What if my bedroom is tiny?
If you’re tight on space, there are many great options to create a perfect fit for you. As we talked about before, you might benefit from a storage headboard or a small storage platform. If you’re worried about the bed frame looking too imposing for your small space, you may want to choose a low footboard. Every bed style can be made with a low footboard, which sits at about the level of the side rails instead of sticking up over the mattress. This can give even a king-sized bed a smaller scale. If you like, we can also shorten most headboard styles too (though this is not a standard option for most builders). And lastly, bear in mind that all beds (even storage platforms) come apart into several pieces and will be assembled inside your bedroom.
What if I have a bed lift, or a non-standard mattress?
If you’re working with a bed of an unusual size, make sure to bring in the dimensions of your mattress when you get ready to order a bed frame. If you have a bed lift, or some other structure that sits on the ground, the bed slats can be left out of the design to make space for your mattress. If your mattress is extra tall or wide, those dimensions will be taken into account when your bed is built.
Other furniture for the bedroom
In our next blog post, we’ll be talking about chests of drawers, nightstands, dressers, armoires, and other pieces for the bedroom. We’ll go into detail about the construction and function of solid hardwood drawer boxes, explain why those dovetailed edges are so significant, and talk about different options for drawer glides.