|Choosing a Bed
- Take careful measurements of your bedroom before purchasing
a bed. Keep in mind that you will need about two feet on both
sides for easy bed-making, and that heavy bedding, such as a down
comforter, can add several inches to the size of your bed.
- Consider the height of the tallest person who will be sleeping
in the bed, and add three to four inches to determine how much
length you will need. Remember that standard twin- and full-sized
beds are five inches shorter (as well as several inches narrower)
than a standard queen or king.
- Think about the way you use your bed, and the things you do
there. Do you read nightly? Then look for a headboard that is
supportive and comfortable, and pillows that will prop you accordingly.
- Seek out a bed that is stable and solid in construction. Look
underneath the bed, where you can see some clues as to how it
has been made. If it’s a wooden bed, be sure that the legs
and head are bolted, which will avoid friction and secure the
bed’s position on the floor.
- Choose a style that fits your personality. Follow your fancy,
whether it leads you to a gauzy, romantic canopy or an elegant
sleigh bed with carved woodwork.
How well do you know your beds? Learn the names of these popular
California King Bed: A bed size that is narrower
and longer than the standard king. While the California king measures
72" by 84", a standard king is 76" by 80".
Daybed: A twin-sized bed that, when positioned
lengthwise against a wall and backed with throw pillows, can be
converted into a sofa or chaise lounge.
Four-Poster Bed: A bed with posts at each corner.
When these posts are tall and of equal height, they can support
Pencil Post Bed: Similar to a four-poster bed,
it is a bed with tall, tapered posts of equal height, and was widely
popular in America from about 1690 to 1850.
Sleigh Bed: A bed resembling the shape of a sleigh,
with a high, scrolled headboard and a slightly lower, scrolled footboard.
A mid-19th century favorite, this American Empire-style bed continues
to delight today.
- King: A standard king is 72" by 80".
- Queen: A standard queen is 60" by 80".
- Full: A standard full is 48" by 72".
- Twin: A standard twin is 36" by 72".
To Spring, or Not To Spring
Do you need a box spring for your bed? Before you purchase one,
be sure to ask your furniture dealer whether or not your bed requires
one. Keep in mind that mattresses have grown fatter and more sumptuous
over the years, measuring from 8” to up to 19” thick.
While it was once standard to place a box spring underneath a mattress
for support, a mattress alone works quite well with many contemporary
Some things simply never go out of style, and that is just the case
with the four-poster bed. Since its debut in Europe in the late
Middle Ages, this delightful, adaptable bed has remained a favorite.
Just as 14th- and 15th-century four-posters – with their elegant
turned posts and elaborate canopies – were prized as heirlooms,
the finest examples of contemporary versions are as highly valued
Interior designers are drawn to the inexhaustible versatility of
the canopied four-poster bed, which can take on a different look
according to one’s mood, or at various times of the year.
For summer, designers suggest using a light, translucent gauze or
airy linen canopy, which harnesses the sunlight and captures the
spirit of the season. For winter, a rich velvet or chenille canopy
imparts plush warmth. The posts are also charming without canopies,
as they assume a spare, sculptural air.
Keep these tips in mind if you plan to purchase a four-poster bed.
- Know the height of your bedroom and avoid posts that will get
too close to the ceiling or lights. You’ll need some “breathing
space” above the posts.
- If you would like to adorn the bed with a canopy, choose one
with posts of equal height, and with bars or grilles strong enough
to support the material of your choice.
- Consider buying a swing-arm lamp, which you can pull into a
curtain-draped bed, creating a room-within-a-room effect.