The Parts of a Bed

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You spend an average of six to eight hours of your day asleep, so why not make sure your sleeping spot is the best spot in the house? Good sleep starts with a good bed, and understanding the parts of a bed can help you pick the style that's best for your beauty rest.


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Traditional Panel Bed Frame

The traditional bed frame has four legs and a base of bed rails or perimeter rails that connect the legs. Cross rails or a center mattress support rail hold the mattress in place. The cross rails or slats are made of either metal or wood depending on the rest of the frame material. King sized panel bed frames may have an additional center leg, but most panel bed frames have just four.


Platform Bed Frame

A platform bed has a flat surface that the mattress rests on instead of slats or rails. Like the traditional panel bed, a base of perimeter rails connect all four legs and the platform surface. The benefit of a platform bed is that it does not require a box spring under the mattress. A traditional panel bed frame requires a box spring to protect the mattress from uneven weight distribution when resting on the slats. Platform beds can also have storage drawers or cupboards in the base.



The headboard is a decorative piece that is either built into the bed frame or attaches to the side rails of the bed frame with bolts. A headboard can protect the wall behind the bed from abrasions or dirt and offers a backing for pillows. Some headboards double as storage and have built-in shelves, lighting or drawers.



The footboard can be built into the frame, as well. Some beds only have headboards and no footboards. Those who are taller than average may not prefer a bed with a footboard. The footboard is decorative and functional as it prevents bedding from sliding off the bottom of the bed.


Hook-On Rails

This refers to a bed that is made of a headboard, footboard and side rails. The four legs that support the bed are n the headboard and footboard. Hook-on side rails connect the two large pieces with special hooks that slide into place to build the bed.

Canopy and Posters

The posts that frame the four corners of a bed are called posters and can support a decorative canopy over the bed. Canopy beds have a metal or wooden frame that connects to the posts and can be draped with sheer fabrics or heavy bed curtains. A poster bed will simply have decorative posts that are attached to the frame, or that extend from the headboard and footboard (meaning, no draping).


Waterbeds, Daybeds, Futons and Sofa Beds

Though the style is not as popular as it once was when it debuted in the 1970s, you can still find waterbeds for sale. A waterbed is a specialty built padded bed frame that contains a water-filled mattress. The frame and mattress are combined to hold and store the weight of the water and protect the sleeping surface from punctures.

A daybed is a sofa-bed hybrid which is usually twin-sized. It's the perfect piece for smaller rooms, offices or guest rooms. Daybed frames are higher and may have space underneath for storage or a trundle bed (a small, wheeled bed that can rise and lock to make the twin a king-sized sleeping space). Futons and sofa beds are used primarily for sitting, but can unfold to create a bed. If you're looking for something less traditional and more compact, one of these is a good option.