How to Choose the Perfect Bed to Complete Your Bedroom
It’s the centrepiece of a room where you’ll spend lots of your time, but selecting a bed is no easy feat. The perfect bed isn’t just the ticket to an incredible sleep, but it’ll also be the thing that ties your bedroom together stylistically – the focal point that establishes the tone for the rest of your decor.
So, if you’re thinking about purchasing a new bed, there’s more to it than a cushy mattress. Consider everything from the headboard to your bedding and linens as a step towards curating an idyllic and dreamy place to sleep. Sound easier said than done? You’re right, but with a few handy design tools up your sleeve, and some valuable knowledge from our experts, you’ll be ready to take on the challenge. Keep reading to get started on your journey to discovering the right bed for you and your space.
What to consider when buying a new bed
Like we’ve already established, purchasing a bed is a huge step, whether you’re starting from scratch in a new home or are replacing an old faithful with an exciting upgrade. There are a few elements to be considered, including the actual bed frame or bed head-bed base combo, as well as styling factors like your bedding and decor items, including throw pillows and blankets. Let’s start with the foundations – the bed itself.
Deciding on your format
First things first, you’ll want to decide whether you’re going for an all-in-one bed frame, or whether you prefer a bed base and bed head combination. Each of these have their pros and cons, but here’s a quick wrap-up of each that should help you make your decision.
A bed frame is one piece, which means that you’ll only have to click ‘add to cart’ once, and hey presto – your perfect bed, sorted! They’re extremely convenient in terms of instant styling, and ensure that you aren’t scrambling as you try to make two pieces work together aesthetically. But, on the other hand, they do have a certain rigidity that some people – possibly the more experienced interior lovers amongst us – aren’t convinced by. You’ll have less choice and will need to be very sure that you’re happy with your bed, as taking apart and modifying bed frames is difficult. They’re also harder to move, so if you live a nomadic lifestyle, you might prefer to build your bed out of multiple pieces.
That takes us to the alternative, the bed head and bed base combo. What’s good about this option is that it’s adaptable – you can select the ideal bed head and the right bed base and pair them together, usually with ease. It gives the creative and agile decorator a way to tick all of the boxes, combining (for instance) a soft and comfortable fabric bed head with a sturdy wooden base. However, this also creates double the work, both throughout the purchasing process and as you assemble the items in your home. You’ll need to triple-check that there’s an easy and stable way to pair the two pieces together, whether that’s simply by using the bed base and mattress to anchor your headboard to the wall, or by getting innovative with the tools.
Picking a headboard
If you’ve decided to combine a bed head with a bed base to create a beautiful place to catch some ZZZs, then your first step is deciding on the right headboard. This should almost always take precedence over selecting a bed base, as the bed head will be the focal piece of the room and is likely to be more intricate or eye-catching than the base, which is partially hidden by your bedding.
There are two common types of bed head – wooden and upholstered. Just like many other elements you’ll have to consider throughout the bed-buying process, there are upsides and downsides; pluses and minuses. It’s all about working out what suits you, your style and your unique living and family situation, so keep these in your mind as you decide.
Wooden bed frames are versatile, durable and make a bold statement that can be tailored to your own individual design tendencies. They’ll last an age if you take care of them well (like you would any other wooden piece, with regular dusting and polishing) and often are adaptable enough to transcend trends. However, keep in mind that if you like to lean back in bed with a book, to do some work or to watch your favourite show, then you might need to rethink your choice of wooden headboard – or at least invest in some European-style cushions to rest your head against. Wooden pieces are also heavy, which means they’ll be harder to move or shift if necessary.
With a range of wood tones, shapes and styles available, there’s something for everyone. A rattan bed head will suit a room with relaxed, coastal influences, whereas a walnut bedhead with gold accents is the perfect fit to complement a mid century modern look. As we always recommend, look to the influences and elements that are already present in your other furniture and decor pieces, and find ways to translate them into your new purchase.
On the other hand, you’ve got the option of an upholstered bed head. They’re softer, both in look and physical feel, and give your bedroom a cosy yet chic look. Upholstered headboards are great if you spend a lot of time propped up in bed, as they present an instantaneous place to rest your head and chill out in the mornings and of a night. You’ve got a huge range of materials at your fingertips, too, including velvet, linen, cotton, boucle and even leather, which makes an upholstered bed head just as versatile a choice as a wooden one.
Something to keep in mind if you’re considering an upholstered bed head is how easily you’ll be able to clean it. Depending on the colour, fabric can show scuffs and stains much more easily, and requires more care as a result. If you’re concerned about marks, perhaps it’s worth opting for a darker colour, or instead selecting a wooden piece.
The last thing to evaluate when picking out a headboard is size. You’ll want to ensure that it’s not just the appropriate width for your mattress and bed base, but that it’s the right height. Measure from where the headboard element starts to the top and use this figure to inform whether it’s the right choice for you – a too-tall piece will look awkward, whereas a piece that falls short will create discomfort when you’re resting up against it in bed.
Choosing a bed base
With a beautiful headboard ready to go, it’s time to talk bed bases. They're arguably not as crucial visually as the bed head, but functionally, are a key thing to consider, as they'll be responsible for supporting your weight every night for years to come.
There are a few types of bed base around, including those that are flat to the floor, bed bases with legs, and pieces that incorporate a ‘footboard’, AKA an extension of the base that creates a place for the feet to rest. Where a piece that’s flat to the floor might not look as chic, it’s your best option for stability and structural integrity, as it will completely support the mattress, your bedding, and you! Many bed bases in this style are very simplistic, but if you’re willing to spend a little more, you’ll be able to find something that really suits your aesthetic. Otherwise, use your bedding and a valance, bed wrap or bed skirt to help it look chic and tie everything together.
Meanwhile, a bed base with legs looks gorgeous, and complements a modern, Scandinavian or mid century modern style depending on colour and aesthetic. However, they’re a little less sturdy, so you’ll need to ensure whichever piece you choose is designed to take the weight of whoever’s sleeping on it – and that it can be adhered or attached to the bed head in a failsafe way.
Whatever style of bed base you choose, it’s important that it works for your own household needs. Ask yourself: Does this base support the weight of who’s sleeping in the bed? Does it complement the other pieces in the room? How about the bed head – do the two items mesh together well? Is it the right height to facilitate comfortable sleep the way I like it, and does it fit physically with my mattress? Considering each of these things throughout the buying process will guarantee you’re able to get wear out of your new bed base, and that a peaceful night’s sleep is an everyday occurrence.
Selecting a bed frame
If you’ve decided, on the other hand, to go the bed frame route, your decisions will be condensed into one. However, it’s just as important to find the right fit here than it is when working with multiple pieces. There’s a huge range of bed frame styles out there on the market, from traditional wrought-iron beds that evoke old world charm, to soft, padded beauties, rustic wooden configurations and even innovative space-savers. So, let’s explore a few things that’ll guide you through this selection process.
Just like finding the right bed head and bed base, you’ll need to think about aesthetics, and whether the bed itself suits your needs. Because bed frames have a built-in headboard, the same principles of comfort apply. But, you’ll also need to think about size more closely when purchasing an all-in-one bed frame, as they’re inherently configured to suit a specific mattress size and can’t be mixed and matched. Be sure to really eye off those measurements, including elevation and headboard height, before you bite the bullet on a new bed frame.
One of the most fantastic things about modern bed frames is their penchant for storage! More and more beds are incorporating storage elements these days, making them a perfect pick for apartment living, the spatially-challenged, or simply those who need lots of space to stash away their cherished items. Gaslift beds are pretty and practical options if you’re looking to increase the storage in your bedroom – they lift up at the base to reveal a huge amount of room, ideal for tucking away blankets, storage boxes, linens, clothing and more. They’re no bulkier than a traditional bed, so no one will be any the wiser!
Finding the right mattress
With the bed’s structure itself down-pat, it’s time to go to the mattresses, as they say in The Godfather (or You’ve Got Mail, depending on who you ask). If you’re upgrading your bed from scratch, then this will be a crucial part of the process. Finding the right mattress involves a few factors, including size, firmness and materials – let’s talk them through.
The size itself shouldn’t require too much thought, as it’ll be one of the six traditional dimensions on offer (single, king single, double, queen, king and super/California king). However, some mattresses vary in height, so you’ll want to quickly measure from the slats of your bed base or frame and roughly mark out how high your mattress will sit if this is something you’re concerned about. Of course, there’s no right or wrong height, but some prefer to sleep closer to or further away from the ground – it’s all personal preference!
With size out of the way, material and format are also something to mull over. Are you looking for a basic spring-loaded deal, or do you prefer a luxe memory foam? You’ve also got coils, hybrid mattresses, latex… the list goes on. Throughout this process, it’s crucial that you do your own research and discover which type of mattress suits not just your preferences, but your budget, needs and sleep style. The same thing goes for firmness – it’s all up to you, but you’ve got to take a holistic view to make a sustainable choice. If you’re feeling unsure, head to a mattress store in person and give a few options a test drive!
Sourcing the perfect bedding and decor
With everything else locked and loaded, the last step is the fun part – styling! Your bed is a huge opportunity (both figuratively and literally!) to express your unique style in your bedroom, and creating something that looks good is bound to translate into feeling good.
Starting with bedding and linens, you’ll pick out sheets and a bedspread or quilt cover. So, what’s the difference? Well, a bedspread (also known as a comforter) doesn’t require a quilt insert, meaning you can dress up your bed and transform the space in one simple step. However, these are traditionally thinner and more suited to the summer months or those who like to add warmth to their bed in other ways, with blankets and so on. On the other hand, a quilt cover (AKA doona cover) requires an insert purchased separately. This gives you more flexibility, as you can purchase a whole range of quilts, including extra-warm, summer-friendly and hypoallergenic, allowing you to switch it up as necessary.
When it comes to the design of your bed, there are so many gorgeous options – and they seem to keep on coming practically every day! This is your chance to really express your own personal style and reflect other elements of the room to create a beautiful and cohesive look. Consider pulling out accent colours from the room and splashing them across the bed to make a bold statement, or using neutrals to draw the eye to a particular focal point. Patterns and textures are also on the table, with trends from boucle to gingham making their way onto our beds.
The final step is adding those final touches; the accents that can make a bed feel warm and inviting. Consider a throw blanket at the foot of the bed for warmth, a touch of colour or texture, and some more versatility. Cushions and pillows give the bed a cosy feel and are must-haves if you like to sit up in bed to work, read or watch television. Some might prefer traditional, small cushions whereas others will love a large, overstuffed European pillow to prop themselves up as they relax. Be sure to play with these elements and try different arrangements and colour schemes until you feel as if your bed looks like a welcoming paradise – yes, that’s the benchmark!
The process of buying a bed is undeniably full of decisions, but it doesn’t have to be complicated – in fact, it’s full of fun and many an opportunity to really show off what makes your style and point of view unique. Start out with the bed itself, and then move onto the practicalities before topping it off with the stylish stuff!
Of course, if you don’t know where to start on your bed-buying journey, right here’s a pretty good place – our wide range of chic and expertly constructed beds has something for everyone. Shop at Brosa and take home one of our 1,000+ furniture and homewares styles with Australia-wide delivery, flexible payment options and more right at your fingertips.