Guide to Wood Bed Frame Styles

By Bailiegh Basham · October 25, 2019

Guide to Wood Bed Frame Styles

The 10 Types of Wood Bed Frames

When it comes to choosing the right bed frame, it’s mostly about aesthetics and space. In other words, what look are you going for, and how much room do you have to spare? 

Consider whether you want a headboard, and then decide which shape or storage options you want with it. And do you need a footboard, or would you rather have your duvet hang over the edge? And what about box springs?

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the different wooden bed frame options, and help you decide which type of bed frame you should get.

Panel Bed Frames

Panel beds are a basic box frame with a high headboard, side rails and sometimes a footboard. The rails are either along the two long sides of the mattress, or along the bottom too (if there’s no footboard). They sometimes have storage options instead of flat rails or typical footboard, and intricate details in the headboard.

Panel beds come in many styles, and each bed’s particular details will vary. Typically the headboard of a panel bed will dictate its particular design aesthetic. For example, the more intricate and ornate, the more traditional bedroom furniture style it will match. Though in their basic form, they are quite minimal and tend to be used in more modern rooms.

Style profile:

  • Headboard: Yes
  • Footboard: Sometimes
  • Mattress details: Requires a box spring—though they sometimes have wooden slats instead. Mattress can be any size from twin to king.
  • Perfect for: Variety! These beds are a basic design that can be customized to suit just about any taste.

 

Platform Bed Frames

These low-to-the-ground beds are very similar to panel beds, just without the side rails and footboard. A very basic style, they are suited for minimalist taste. Some have storage options within the bedframe—there’s plenty of extra space here since there’s no box spring needed. 

Platform beds are also synonymous with mid-century design. With sleek lines and geometric shapes, platform beds work well with other design elements of this era. 

Style profile:

  • Headboard: Usually
  • Footboard: Rarely
  • Mattress details: No box spring required. Mattress can be anything from twin to king.
  • Perfect for: Anyone looking to forego a box spring, or who enjoys a mid-century modern aesthetic. Or if your bedroom has limited space and/or low ceilings.

 

 

Upholstered Bed Frames

Upholstery can be a feature of any bed frame with a headboard or footboard. These premium fabric details add a layer of comfort and warmth to the bed. The upholstery is typically in a neutral color to complement the many bed sheet changes during its lifetime. It may be in a flat panel, include buttons or tufts, in leather, suede and a variety of other luxury fabrics. 

Upholstered beds are reserved for rooms where the bed is the true focal point. It commands attention, and deservedly so. These beds require more upkeep than standard wood bed frames, and will need to be vacuumed regularly. 

Style profile:

  • Headboard: Yes
  • Footboard: Usually
  • Mattress details: Box spring may be required depending on the bed. Mattress can be anything from twin to king.
  • Perfect for: Rooms with a modern aesthetic. Although, some upholstery fabric includes patterns to match a traditional motif.

 

Storage Bed Frames

Wooden beds with storage come in many varieties. There are beds with additional storage for decorative items within the headboard itself, but most include drawers within the platform. These drawers can be accessible from the footboard, or along the sides of the bed. With everything from one drawer for special items, to six drawers for all of your swapped-out seasonal clothing. These beds work within many aesthetics, depending on the wood stain and design of the bed frame. 

Style profile:

  • Headboard: Usually
  • Footboard: Usually
  • Mattress details: No box spring required but may be used to achieve more height. Mattress can be anything from twin to king.
  • Perfect for: Small spaces with limited storage elsewhere.

 

Sleigh Bed Frames

As the name suggests, a sleigh bed is reminiscent of Santa’s sleigh, with an outward-curved headboard. Some sleigh beds also include a footboard with a similar curve. These curves can be subtle or dramatic, depending on your design preference.

Traditionally sleigh beds are quite large, with solid wood frames, and are purposefully attention grabbing. This bed requires a large space where it is the focal point.  

Style profile:

  • Headboard: Yes
  • Footboard: Usually
  • Mattress details: Box spring may be required depending on the bed. This bed frame is usually not made for a twin size bed, so mattresses are typically from full to king.
  • Perfect for: The master bedroom. Or antique lovers with traditional bedrooms, and matching bedroom sets.

 

Cannonball Bed Frames

These beds are immediately recognizable once you know to look for the ball-shaped tops of the bed posts. Aside from this, cannonball bed frames typically include headboards with symmetrical curves and ornate cut-outs. The footboard is usually a smaller-scale version of the headboard. 

This bed frame is very clearly old-worldly, yet timeless. It could be mixed into a modern room to add softness to a too-industrial motif, or just as easily fit into an 1800s bedroom set.

Style profile:

  • Headboard: Yes
  • Footboard: Usually
  • Mattress details: Box spring may be required depending on the bed. Mattress can be anything from twin to king.
  • Perfect for: Anyone who wants to add dainty charm to a traditional style room, whether it be French Country or Victorian inspired.


 

Canopy Bed Frames

Canopy beds are defined by their four posts with connective beams and/or decorative drapery. These beds include high bed posts at the four corners of the bed, with fabric hung over, and typically draping down the sides of the bed. This is usually combined with a matching bedskirt.

The drapes can vary in color and fabric, depending on whether the style of the room is more victorian, royal or ethereal. It can be as luxurious or as whimsical as you choose.

Style profile:

  • Headboard: Yes
  • Footboard: Yes
  • Mattress details: Box spring may be required depending on the bed. This bed frame is usually not made for a twin size bed, so mattresses are typically from full to king.
  • Perfect for: Master bedrooms, with a nod to classic styles, or for dramatic flair.

 

Four-poster Bed Frames

An ornate and traditional design style that includes a headboard, footboard and 4 high posts on the bed’s 4 corners. These posts can be as simple or as decorative as you’d like. Four-poster beds are generally large and commanding.

Four-poster beds have the same initial concept of the canopy bed, but are updated for more modern needs. Our bedrooms aren’t as drafty as they once were, so we don’t need the canopy or curtains to keep us warm (that’s what duvets are for). But we still have a love for traditional design—enter, the four-poster bed. The 4 posts we love remain, but without the upkeep of the canopy drapes.

Style profile:

  • Headboard: Yes
  • Footboard: Yes
  • Mattress details: Box spring may be required depending on the bed. This bed frame is usually not made for a twin size bed, so mattresses are typically from full to king.
  • Perfect for: Master bedrooms, and for a luxurious aesthetic.

 

Murphy Bed Frames

When not in use, a murphy bed can be folded up vertically against the wall, into a beautiful wood frame or even bookcase. This folding bed is a great option for small bedrooms, or for an extra sleeping space in a spare room. 

Murphy beds were named after their inventor, William Lawrence Murphy. He wanted an option to make his studio apartment a welcome place for guests, without his bed in full view. Now these beds vary from simple frames to elaborate decorative pieces.

Style profile:

  • Headboard: No
  • Footboard: No
  • Mattress details: This frame requires a mattress around 10” or thinner, with no box spring. Usually a full to king sized mattress.
  • Perfect for: Small spaces, a guest room or an extra bed in the office.

 

Bunk Bed Frames

Bunk beds are a two-tier sleeping solution, and the bed frame comes in many varieties. Typically the top bunk is a twin bed frame, with either a twin, or full mattress on the bottom bunk. A ladder or steps are also required to make it easy to reach the top bunk. Another option is a  trundle bed. In this case, the top bunk would be a normal twin bed or daybed, and a second bed frame is wheeled out from underneath. 

Bunk beds are traditionally used in kids rooms because they’re quite whimsical in nature, and make sharing a room in a small space much easier. Some bunk beds even have storage solutions built into the bed frames for even more clever space-saving.

Style profile:

  • Headboards: Usually 
  • Footboard: Sometimes
  • Mattress details: Always a twin mattress on the top bunk, and sometimes a full or queen on the bottom bunk. No box spring is usually required.
  • Perfect for: A child’s room, or a room likely to have multiple guests in a smaller space.


Once you pick the type of bed you love, see it in a matching bedroom set. Or start to customize its look with dozens of stain varieties, from light oak to dark cherry.