Things To Know Before Buying A Bed


Buying a bed is one of the most substantial furniture purchases you can make–after all, the average person spends 26 years of their life sleeping–and it can also be a purchasing process that’s full of questions. Before you buy a bed, it’s important to understand the different terms used for bed types and styles, bed sizes, mattress, and bedding. Starting with knowledge of key terms will help you shop like an interior design insider.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking into consideration not just the bed frame and headboard, but the mattress as well. Whether you’re shopping for a bed for your own master bedroom, for a guest bedroom, a child’s bedroom, or any other sleep space in your home, we turned to the interior design experts on our Design Team to get the scoop on the factors to keep top of mind and the key terms to learn.

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Buying a Bed: Terms to Know

Before you make your purchasing decisions, read up on some interior design industry insider terms that will help you navigate the shopping process. Knowing exactly what each individual piece of the bed is and what its function is will help you make key choices about whether certain optional items fit into your design and into your budget.

Bed Terms:

Bunkie Board

This  is a board you use to top the bed frame before you put the mattress. It makes the mattress height higher, and it is usually required when the bed frame doesn’t have slats.
Bunkie board can be a replacement for wooden slats

Trundle Bed

A bed with an additional pull-over bed at the bottom; practical for kids who sleep in the same room where the trundle can convert into a storage for when the one child grows out of it; also great for sleepovers.

Trundle Bed

Sofa Sleeper

A sofa that converts into a bed for guests staying over.

Sofa bed

A piece of furniture that attaches to the head of a bed.


An upright panel forming the foot of a bed.

The headboard for your feet - aka Footboard
Side Rail

A rail or board along the side of a bed that connects the headboard with the footboard; in children’s bed, can refer to a rail along the side that’s higher up to prevent the child from falling out.

The longest pieces of your bed are called side rails

Platform bed

A  bed frame that offers support for any type of mattress without the need for a box spring. Platform beds used to only be a lower profiled, flat, or slatted support surface, but with the increase in foam mattress materials, platform beds have evolved from the seriously simple, to a more eclectic style that is sure to fit into anyone’s interior design.

Platform bed

Buying a Bed: Expert Advice

Once you feel comfortable with the glossary of terms for different bed components, you’ll want to make sure that you know exactly what size mattress you’re buying for (single, double, king or super king), how high you want the overall bed to be, and how the material of the bed frame will look set against the other furniture pieces in the room.

Additionally, remember that headboards can be purchased separately from footboards and side rails, but not all headboards can be used alone.

Finally: When choosing a mattress, consider that singles and doubles are typically best for kids’ rooms and guest bedrooms, whereas a king or a super king is going to work best for the master bedroom. Also note that when buying a mattress for your bed, as well as the bed itself, making eco-friendly and sustainable choices is not only great for the planet, but it’s going to be beneficial for your overall health and wellness. You sleep on your bed every night, so it makes sense that you’d want a mattress free from toxins and harmful chemicals.