How to Buy a Bed Frame: 10 Questions To Answer


During my research, I was shocked to learn how many options and types of bed frames there are available to buy these days. There is an option for every possible situation and budget and I will share what I have learned below.

You should buy a bed frame that meets your budget, storage, DIY abilities, price range, existing or new mattress, size of the room, age of children, and bedroom decor needs.

Questions to help you decide include:

  • What size do you need today and in the future (is it for a child)? A twin might be fine today for your preteen son but in a few years?
  • What is your budget? Cheap minimalist bed frames start around $100 and go up to $875ish for a Thuma for example (read my review of the beautiful wood 1,500 lb capacity bed here.
  • Wood or metal?
  • Do you want a headboard or a footboard? Do you like wood, metal, wrought iron, or upholstery.
  • Do you want a heavy-duty bed frame or is a light-duty adequate? The budget may dictate your options here, but there are a few cheap heavy-duty frames available. There are also DIY options too such as one made with pallets and you can check out my DIY Pallet Bed Frame article here.
  • Do you have a box spring or only a mattress? This will help determine the height and will eliminate many models immediately.
  • Do you plan to only use a memory foam mattress on the bed frame? If so, you will need a model with the gaps between the slats to be 3″ or less.
  • Do you need additional storage in the bedroom? Captain’s beds are a great idea with storage underneath the bed frame and in the headboard.
  • Do you need extra beds? Consider bunk beds and trundle beds (a mattress slides out from underneath).
  • How heavy are you and your partner? Don’t have a partner now? Well, you might in the future. If heavy then consider bed frames with center support rails and several center legs. Also, more than four legs on each corner is a good idea.

If you are a tall person you should consider purchasing a California King foundation and mattress as they are 4″ longer than a standard bed frame mattress. These are also 4″ more narrow than a standard King so the overall square footage of bed real estate is similar between the two.

Who is The Bed For Today and in 5 Years?

Is the bed for you, your children, or a guest room? Quest rooms seldom require a king or California king bed. Children certainly don’t require a king either, but I see many people buying king beds for the children because their bedrooms are so cavernous.

People are building homes as large as they can afford, not as large as they require. Gotta keep up with the neighbors, family, and friends!

If it is for children you must remember that mattresses are replaced on average every eight years. What age will your child be in eight years? Or will your child be employed in another state, province, or country in a few years? Will the bed is used as a guest room, or an upgrade for a younger sibling?

Do You Need Under Bed Storage?

Is your house bursting at the seams with things? Have a storage unit for stuff? The car hasn’t fit in the garage since the first year after you moved in? Well, then a platform bed frame is for you with 14″ of storage under the standard size and 17″ under the high versions.

Under-bed storage is a perfect place for storage bins filled with Christmas decorations, off-season clothes, clothes for when you are skinny, clothes for when you a less than skinny (I am a yo-yo too).

Did Coronavirus Kill Your Bed Budget? DIY Bed Frame and Mattress <$100

There are many DIY bed frame options using pallets or lumber to save some money. You can also make your own mattress if you have access to a few materials. A complete bed frame and mattress can be built for less than $100 and you can choose any size for your design. An easy and cheap DIY mattress option is bags filled with material such as:

  • Fill polypropylene bags with sand, rice husk, straw, or packing peanuts
  • Fill the 30″ x 14″ bags to about 30% – 50% full
  • Roll up the top of the bag a few turns
  • Use a large needle or anything piece of metal to thread the top with string or twine
  • Place the bags flat on the pallets or other DIY bed frame
  • Cover the feedbags with a 2″ foam mattress topper
  • Cover all with a microfiber waterproof topper or similar

Bed Frame Purchasing Analysis

What is your bed frame budget?

Price ranges are typically: (USD)

  1. Under $50
  2. $51 – $100
  3. $101 – $150
  4. $151 – $200
  5. $201+

Bed Frames Under $50

The options at this price range are less than the higher-priced bed frames as manufacturers get creative with new designs and functionality. There are still many options to choose from including:

The Standard Bed Frame: The simple old school metal bed frame has:

  • rails that support a box spring mattress, which is required.
  • adjustable cross rails, usually, to fit double, queen, and king box spring and mattress.
  • Castors, usually, to protect the floor and make it easier to move while vacuuming.
  • single-center cross brace that is in two pieces and joints in the center with the rails overlapping for increased strength and fastened with two pins slid into rail slots.
  • brackets on each end of the rails for fastening headboards and footboards.
  • Simple functionality that can last for centuries as it is made with steel.
  • These bed frames weigh between 20 and 30 pounds (9 and 13 kilograms).

Bedframes Under $100

The Platform Bed Frame: Newer design and has many benefits and features including:

  • usually lighter than the standard.
  • no castors
  • no tools required for some models as the legs fold into the base.
  • can fold up for more compact shipping and storage.
  • can have a metal mesh or metal grid on top to allow a mattress without a box spring to save money and space.
  • more storage underneath with many models providing 17” (42cm) of clearance for storage bins.
  • headboard brackets may be purchased separately.
  • queen and king size usually comes as two units and can also be used for two twin beds. But they are not adjustable so if you buy a queen you will not be able to upgrade to a king in eight years without purchasing a new bed frame.
  • these bed frames usually weigh between 30 and 40 pounds (13 and 18 kilograms).

Bed Frames Under $200

Headboard platform beds come in many price ranges but there is a large variety available for under $200. These platform beds have the same features as listed above and have a basic metal or upholstered headboard.

Bed Frames $200+

Bed frames in this price range can be beautiful furniture that can match the bedroom decor. There are more storage options available in this price range including built-in storage with:

  • drawers under the bed frame on each side
  • drawers under the bed frame in the foot of the frame
  • shelf storage in the header

Bed Frames over $1,000

This price range includes beautiful works of art, such as one shown below for the bargain price of $4,700. If this is in your budget I would guess that you are not reading this on my website, but rather discussing it with your interior decorator.

DIY Bed Frames

DIY bed frames are only limited by your imagination and your DIY abilities. There are many creative people who have crafted beautiful and inexpensive foundations for their mattresses including this amazing beer bottle bed frame.

Wood pallet bed frame DIY project can be as simple as painting or staining the pallets and tossing them on the floor and poof, done. Well, throw a mattress on top and you are good to go.

If you want to build an $80 pallet mattress in about 60 minutes check out my article here.

If you want to build one with lumber follow the steps and materials list in my article here.

Scott Boyd

A semi-retired workaholic in Thailand is a challenge. It is too hot to keep building adobe and earthbag buildings so a new project was needed. I became interested in bed frames after purchasing a bamboo bed frame from a local supplier here and I learned there is little information about them on the Internet. So now I spend my days researching, testing, and reporting my findings to help others while having an occasional beer and istening to 60s and 70s B side rock, blues, and much more.

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