When you buy a new mattress, there’s a good chance that the furniture store will offer a free bed frame with your purchase. And there’s a good chance that you might be using said bed frame, which is likely a basic adjustable, metal frame, without a headboard or footboard.

Although such a bed frame is an affordable and functional option, it’s not exactly the most stylish option. And when you’re ready to upgrade your bedroom, one of the first things you’ll want is an actual bed frame — a “grownup” one if you will. But as you start comparing your options, you’ll quickly realize that there are literally dozens of different options, at every price range.

Before you give up and just deal with the boring metal frame, or overspend on a dramatic bed that would make the Kardashians proud, there are a few things to know about buying a bed frame. When you know where to start, and what to look for, you can make a decision that will look great in your room and last for years to come.

What to Consider When Buying a New Bed Frame

When you go shopping for a new bed, there are a few points that you need to consider (beyond your budget): Materials, size and height, your mattress style and weight, mattress style, and special features. It might sound like a lot, but making choices in each of these categories can help you narrow down your options more easily.


From metal to wood, plastic to fabric, there are limitless options for bed frame materials. The best choice comes down to your personal style and the style of your bedroom. Wood bed frames are classic and can be everything from rustic to modern. A metal bed frame can be industrial or farmhouse chic, where a fiberglass or composite frame provides a modern style.

Size and Height

Choosing the right size bed frame for your mattress is obviously an important consideration, but you should also consider the overall size of the bed with the frame, headboard, and footboard if it has one. The bed frame can make your overall bed size significantly larger than your mattress, and the bed that fits in your room just fine with a simple metal frame will take up more space when the frame is replaced with a large four-poster frame.

The height of your bed with the new frame should also be considered. A platform bed, for instance, may be lower than what you’re accustomed to (unless you’ve been sleeping with your mattress on the floor), and if you have knee or back problems, squatting down to get into bed might prove problematic. At the same time, a bed with a taller profile — a mattress and box spring on top of an elevated frame or loft-style frame — could be harder to climb in and out of and challenging if you have mobility issues.

If you do opt for a bed frame with posts or a canopy, don’t forget to measure the height of your ceilings as well. Even if the bed fits, if there isn’t enough clearance, the room may feel like it’s closing in on you.

Your Mattress Type

If you’re used to sleeping on a traditional mattress, you’ve probably placed it on top of a box spring, a structured foundation made from fabric-covered wood or metal slats and springs. If you choose a platform style bed frame, you don’t need a box spring, which means the bed will be lower. Platform beds can accommodate all types of mattresses, including innerspring, memory foam, and hybrid.

Not all mattresses require the use of a box spring, though, and in some cases, a traditional box spring isn’t going to support the mattress enough and potentially lead to damage, not to mention discomfort. Memory foam mattresses need more support underneath, in the form of a platform or a bed frame with narrowly spaced slats to fully support the weight. Slats should never be more than 2.5 inches apart; anything more than that will damage your mattress.

Special Features

Once you’ve narrowed down the type of bed frame you want, think about whether you want any special features. Storage is one sought after feature; it could be in the form of drawers underneath the mattress or shelves or cabinets in the headboard. Or you may wish to invest in an adjustable frame that allows you to elevate your head or legs for more comfort. Not all bed frames can accommodate special features, but they are worth considering to make your bed exactly how you want it.

With the wide variety of bed frames available on the market, there’s no need to sleep on a boring metal frame or worse, the floor. Take some time to explore your options and narrow down your preferences, and you’ll have a stylish and comfortable bedroom.