What Is A Platform Bed?

Platform bed

The search for an aesthetically pleasing yet supportive base for your mattress continues. And here is a suitable candidate: the platform bed. You may have an idea about what it looks like. But for those who are asking “What is a platform bed?”, this guide has got all the details for you.

For a start, a platform bed is a low-profile bed frame made of any material–often wood or metal–that is sturdy enough to lift and support a mattress. Aside from its components, it also varies in its style and surface. These factors should tell you that it is not just about the looks but also the functionality.

Are you even more curious now? Get to know the platform bed for everything that it is. You know, the good, the bad, and the pretty. Dip into the Table of Contents to see if any section interests you. Or read the entire thing as we lay it down for you.

What Is A Platform Bed?

A platform bed is a standalone bed frame for mattress support. It has a lower profile than that of traditional bed frames and foundations. Its precise craftsmanship and simplicity of materials define the modern platform bed. A slatted or lattice structure makes up its base. And usually, the material used for this and the side panels are wood or metal. 

It’s often chosen for its contemporary style. Especially how it leaves some vertical space to make a small room look less cramped.

You can add a headboard and a footboard depending on the design of your room. Some platform beds also come with storage compartments below. The typical elevation of this bed frame is 12 inches. And most models do not need a box spring. But some allow you to use one with your mattress for added height. Whatever your need is, there are various styles to choose from.

With all the options available, you should be able to identify the most basic qualities of a platform bed. Knowing these can help you narrow down your choices. It starts with an understanding of the types, surfaces, and materials of platform beds. See which among these aligns with your needs and preferences.

All of these will be the focus of this guide moving forward. Read on.

Types of Platform Bed

No Clearance/Solid Platform Bed

This type of platform bed has no room or “clearance” below it. You can easily tell it apart from the others because you can see a solid base taking up space underneath. It mainly serves design and durability purposes, as it can look stylish and sturdy at the same time.

In some cases, the base is not entirely enclosed. Instead, it comes with built-in drawers for storing objects like linens, curtains, and other bedroom necessities. In other situations, you can find a platform bed with very little clearance. But it is not enough to slip items through the gap. Pay attention to this detail if you’re in search of a more practical solution to maximizing your space.

Floating Platform Bed

Platform bed

When a flat frame is placed on a recessed pedestal base or recessed leg structure, it is called a floating platform bed. It is named so because the design gives the illusion that the bed is floating. If you’re thinking, “Will that be able to handle my mattress?” The answer is yes. It’s built to match or outdo the support provided by traditional bed frames.

Its visual appeal is in line with contemporary trends in bedroom furniture design. This makes it easy for you to mix and match this type with headboards, nightstands, and the likes. It’s totally going to rock the clean and uncluttered look. The only downside is that it doesn’t have clearance underneath.

Storage Platform Bed

A storage platform bed includes drawers where you can pile and organize linens or pieces of clothing. It provides you with additional closet space if you have a small bedroom. Usually, the storage space is integrated into the design, so you have a cohesive look. The bed may also require a thin mattress to maintain a less cramped style.

You can also come across a model with enough clearance for you to slip some bins. This can be good for tiny spaces. But you’ll have to be more creative and resourceful when storing stuff underbed. Cleaning the area regularly is also a must in this regard. Overall, the platform bed with storage functionality allows you to maximize spots in your bedroom.

Headboard & Footboard Platform Bed

Like the classic panel beds, platform beds can be furnished with headboards and footboards as well. This feature is initially outside the construction of platform beds. But as modern trends influence newer designs, it is now possible to attach a headboard and/or a footboard to your platform bed. In this case, a box spring can cover up these elements so it is not necessary.

You can shop for a platform bed frame bundled with headboard and footboard, or by the bed and boards separately. Either way, you should find how easily the bed adapts to the boards. You can also create your own headboard/footboard if you’re feeling adventurous.

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Surface Selections 

Slatted

The surface of the platform bed can be composed of rows of slats lined together to support the mattress. These slats are spaced in different ways to deliver various levels of support and breathability. An ideal gap between the slats would be 3 inches or less. But you can find up to 6 inches of space between the rows depending on the thickness and width of the slats.

Slat platform beds are recommended for all-foam mattresses. The slats are commonly made of wood. Metal, plastic, or composite material can be used as well. For a stronger base, go for a rigid slat system (fixed) as opposed to a flex one. This is flat and has no give. Flexed slats, on the other hand, look bowed to adjust to the weight of the mattress and sleeper.

Metal

Function comes first where a platform bed with a metal surface is concerned. The support is similar to that of a slat platform bed. But the construction may not always be the most visually appealing. The main purpose of this surface is to handle traditional, usually innerspring, mattresses. It is also sturdy enough to support thicker and firmer models. Need a box spring? You can put one on this surface.

Metal platform beds typically derive their strength and stability from a steel base supported by secondary wire or steel. Cold-rolled steel is the most durable metal available as of writing. Some models come in several color options, including a transparent finish, making it easier to match it with the color scheme of your bedroom.

Solid

Once upon a time, platform beds were only known for their solid surface. A solid-surface was what differentiated platform beds from other bed frames and foundations. Fast forward to today and solid platform beds are still a reliable structure. 

This kind of surface is the most durable, although it’s the least breathable. There are some holes in the surface for ventilation. But if your mattress is a notorious heat trap, you should think twice about settling for this option.

Like slats, the solid area can be made of wood, metal, plastic, or composite material. Because of its construction, there’s usually no need to add a box spring to the bed. You can lay the mattress directly on its surface. Of course, make an exception if your mattress manufacturer requires that you use a box spring together with your mattress. 

Materials

Metal

The use of metal makes it possible for platform beds to be durable and to endure the test of time. A metal model can also be the perfect centerpiece for a modern, minimalist, or industrial style. As mentioned above, it comes in different finishes, so you have some flexibility to mix and match. Further, it will not stain or fade, unlike upholstery or wood.

A good brand and model should be able to offer you sturdy support without the noise, creaking, and sagging. You can use it for a long time without worrying about wear. What about when you decide to redesign your room? Well, you can opt to repaint your steel platform bed instead of buying a new one.

Upholstery

Upholstery is the kind of material that can instantly elevate any style. This is why it’s often used in furniture, including platform beds. The base is still made of wood, steel, or a combination of both. Wrapping it up could be any textiles chosen by the manufacturer. Velvet seems to be a popular choice. Leather, faux leather, linen, and vinyl follow. Pick one that goes well with your room’s interior.

As it is, upholstered platform beds look sophisticated and modern. Yet, it is important to check the quality of the fabric/s woven into the structure to ensure support and longevity. You should also take some precautions, such as keeping the bed frame away from direct sunlight. This is to prevent the upholstery from fading quickly.

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Wood

The common and favored material for platform beds is no less than wood. This component can be applied to any design, making it a versatile choice. The resulting style can range from natural to classic to contemporary. Want a Scandinavian-themed room? Look for one made of light wood like ash, beech, or pine. You can easily enhance it with the soft contrast from your sleep accessories.

Wood can last for years. And you won’t have a problem with your platform bed going out of style. However, they can be heavy to move around. And the same stylish light woods are prone to staining. You can counter this by caring for your sleeping space regularly. But if you’re a low-maintenance person, possibly go for a wooden platform bed with metal side panels.

Pricing

Platform beds have low price points. They are the more affordable bed frames together with panel beds. You can pick a model retailing around the average $200 (Queen). You can cop online or in-store. If online, you can buy directly from the manufacturer or via online marketplaces. Watch out for exclusive deals and promos to save a few more bucks.

In some cases, the platform bed frame is bundled with the mattress. This can bring down the total cost. However, you don’t have to settle with that option if you think you can find something better. If you can’t pay cash upfront for the platform bed, see if there’s financing available for the product. Lastly, make sure to read the return, exchange, warranty and other terms before buying.

Platform Bed vs Box Spring

The platform bed is a standalone bed frame. It provides adequate support to the mattress on its own. That said, you won’t need to place a box spring in between it and the mattress. However, you can use one if you want added height or your manufacturer requires a box spring to go with the mattress. Keep in mind that it wouldn’t look nice with a headboard and footboard type.

Now, what you will probably need is to choose between a platform bed and a box spring. You already know what a platform bed can offer you. A box spring, on the other hand, is a structure made of metal or wood that also supports the mattress. It can work as a base itself, but it’s recommended to put it on a bed frame or foundation.

If your priority is a box spring, it’s up to you to assess whether it will go well with a platform bed or not.

For more information about this topic, read our complete guide: Do You Need A Box Spring?

Why Should You Buy A Platform Bed?

Affordability is the main reason you should buy a platform bed. This type is one of the less expensive bed frames or foundations. A queen-size costs around $200. And models retailing at this price already use premium materials. With their sophisticated and modern style, you would not think they’re budget-friendly options. 

Bringing a wide range of designs, platform beds are easily a favorite among consumers. Their low profile, as well as “less is more” design, helps create a clean, clutter-free look. You can go for any theme you want and find a platform bed that will suit the theme of your bedroom interior.

Comfort and support are a priority in most platform beds. They are not just made to be aesthetically pleasing. They’re also crafted to be durable and sturdy enough to support you and your mattress. Platform beds are a classic example of a product that excellently balances form and function.

Why You Should Not Buy A Platform Bed?

You might not like the idea of owning a wooden platform bed, however, if you despise heavy furniture. The setup can be a lot of work if you do it yourself. Plus, if you live alone, it won’t be easy to move the bed around while you clean up.

No clearance platform beds are not for tiny spaces. If your bedroom area is quite small, you would want to maximize the space. This includes slipping some bins under the bed. This particular type of platform bed, no matter how beautiful, won’t serve any practical purpose if you buy it.

The raised platform of this bed frame type is enough for some people. But for others, the low profile can make it hard for them to get in and out of the bed. They would prefer a thick, elevated bed base to let them feel they’re sleeping on a real bed. Another downside of a low-level bed is how quickly it can attract insects, dirt, and dust.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You have come to the end of this guide. By now, you already know what is a platform bed, its types, surfaces, and materials. Pricing is also something we discussed as we know it’s a deal-breaker for some customers. The pros and cons were also outlined for you.

A platform bed has a lot of pretty sides. It’s durable and supportive. It is stylish and timeless. You have a low price point, to begin with. The search for an aesthetically pleasing and practical bed frame may indeed be over. It’s your turn to make a decision.

Are you ready to answer the most important question: Do you need a platform bed?

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