What are the Different Kinds of Bed Frames?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Bed frames support mattresses or the foundations or box springs underneath a mattress. In all, they should provide total stability for the rest of the bed. There are several types of bed frames as well as significant cost variation among different types.

Wood platform bed with mattress supports.
Wood platform bed with mattress supports.

The simplest bed frame is made of metal, and sits on low wheels or casters. This type of frame usually comes in twin/full, queen and king sizes. On metal king size frames, the width of the bed requires center support, so these usually have a metal strip in the middle of the frame to provide that extra support. Each side of the frame, in any size, has slightly raised edges with an inch or two (2.54-5.08 cm) of metal support to keep the mattress from slipping off the frame.

Some bed frames feature pull-out drawers.
Some bed frames feature pull-out drawers.

The advantage of metal frames is mainly cost. Frequently mattress stores include one with the purchase of a new mattress. Even king size bed frames of this type are usually less than $50 US dollars (USD). Twin frames are often less than $20 USD. It is also sometimes possible to attach a head or footboard to the metal frame.

Some wooden bed frames are constructed on similar principles to the very basic metal styles. These may also only feature support around the edges of the mattress. The principle differences are that most wooden frames are not on casters or wheels, and instead are on legs, which can make the bed when completely assembled much higher, and provide extra storage under the bed.

Wooden frames of this type can feature a variety of head and footboards attached to the frame. Variants include the four-poster and the sleigh bed. Occasionally a wooden bed frame adds additional support with slats of wood that run perpendicular to each long side of the frame. Bunkbeds frequently feature slats as well.

Another style is the platform frame, which consists of a long box-like platform that completely supports the mattress or box springs. Actually, platform beds are often used with only a mattress, since the support of the wood beneath the mattress is frequently adequate. Certain beds, like those made of memory foam don’t feature a foundation or box spring and are best adapted for platform bed frames. You do lose out on under the bed storage with this type of frame, since it is frequently supported on all sides with wood that runs the length of the frame and lends more height to the bed.

Waterbeds require a type of platform bed frame that normally has much higher edges. These are less common since waterbeds are no longer as popular as they were in earlier decades. Another variant on the platform frame is the captain’s bed, often a good choice for kids. Captain’s bed frames often feature useful drawers underneath the bed for storage.

Size and cost are two key considerations when shopping for a bed frame and mattress.
Size and cost are two key considerations when shopping for a bed frame and mattress.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


Different beds and bed frames are suitable for different people. Some people will be more suited to a wooden frame while others may prefer either a leather or metal frame. If you want to browse at bed frames so you can find the right one for you, it may be worth taking a look at the range of frames online.


@ GiraffeEars- What your daughter has is called a trundle bed frame. They are great for saving space, and make a great option for an office or small room. You can find them in daybed forms as well as platform configurations.

Another space saving bed system is a loft bed frame. These types of bed frames raise the bed above the ground by about four to five feet, allowing you to utilize the space underneath the bed. My son has a loft bed, and he has made the underneath his own personal reading fort. I suppose you could also put a desk or a small sofa underneath if it were an older kid lived in the room.


My wife bought my daughter this great platform bed that has a second bed that rolls out from underneath it. We live in a small condominium so this is a very convenient, space saving feature. When she has friends over, or we invite guests to stay with us, it creates an extra place for people to sleep. We can keep the bed completely made, and just slide it out like a drawer when people show up. Much better than a fold out couch and it doesn't affect the seating situation in our little living room.


I have a great wood platform bed frame that has plenty of storage. The frame has drawers that are built into the base directly under the bed. There are also shelves that slide out of the side of the headboard that allow us to store our books, medicines, etc.

The platform bed is great because it is consistently the same firmness, and never sags in the middle. Platform beds are also great for tall or large people because they do not have restricting footboards, and for the resistance to sagging I mentioned earlier. We have had ours for years, and it still looks and sleeps like new.

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