Guide to Types of Bed Bases and Other Factors Defining a Bed’s Quality

Beds being an essential part of our lives, are used in every household, and they come in many shapes and sizes. They can be put together from different materials, such as metal, plastic, composite materials, and timber. However, wooden beds remain the popular choice worldwide. These beds are often padded and upholstered in a fabric to make them visually pleasing and improve the aesthetics of your bedroom. A bed has various components, including:

  • Headboard: Installed at the head side. These can be floor standing, joined, or wall mounted. They are available in various sizes and are often upholstered with the same fabric as the remaining bed.
  • Footboard: Installed at the foot side and usually upholstered with the same fabric, matching the headboard.
  • Base: The base is the part that rests on the floor and holds the mattress. It has to withstand your weight and that of the mattress.
  • Bed Frame: The frame of the bed that holds all the parts together.
  • Storage Compartments (optional).

The overall quality and durability of a bed depend on several factors, including:

  • The type of construction material: Brass, other metals, and timber are usually the preferred choice for constructing the bed frame. They are sturdy and long-lasting.
  • The quality of construction: The craftsman’s skill plays a vital role. The quality of joinery is very important as low-quality joinery can make your bed squeaky.

Types of Bases

There are various types of bed bases. Some of these are traditional and have been around for centuries. These include divan bases, ottoman bases, and others. Let us look at some of the most common bed bases.

Divan Bases

Divan bases have been around for hundreds of years. They are constructed to withstand the combined weight of a mattress and the user. They are sturdy, robust, and well-built. They have very little ground clearance and often come with storage options such as drawers or a gas lift mechanism. A divan base is a box-shaped structure covered with padding and fabric of your choosing. You can choose the top of the base, either a spring base or a platform top.

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Divan Base with Sprung Edge

Sprung edge divan bases are considered to be top-of-the-line. Springs are added to the base frame, usually a Bonell spring system or pocket springs. The latter cost more than the former but also performs relatively better. The frame of the base is solid and prevents the coils from shifting or moving. Pocket springs have the highest quality regarding components, construction, and comfort. They act exactly in the same way as they do in premium quality pocket spring mattresses and provide independent support. These springs are upholstered and padded to create a luxuriously comfortable base. If budget is of little concern to you, then sprung edge bases are the best option.

Divan Bases With a Platform Top

Platform tops are constructed in the same method as mentioned above, but they do not include any spring units. Instead of a spring unit, a plain wooden platform is upholstered and padded. These are cheaper and firmer than sprung edge bases but still offer the option for multiple drawers. You should be careful when buying a divan base and ensure that they have been constructed according to the best standard. Not all divan bases will be the same. You can expect to pay anywhere from £200 to more than £3000 for the entire bed. The wood, spring quality, and construction technique should all be considered before purchasing.

Slatted Bases

Slatted bases can be flexible or rigid. Flexible slats are often called sprung slats because they are slightly curved, enabling them to act somewhat like springs by providing you with a bounce when you get up or lay down on the base. Flexible slats are usually constructed by joining together pieces of laminated wood which are mounted together in a frame. More sophisticated designs may use slats that have a higher tension, especially in the middle, to ensure that the base adjusts itself according to the weight on it. The compatibility between a mattress and a slatted base must be considered when buying either of the two, as slatted bases will differ from each other regarding slat widths and the spacing between the slats. Ideally, a mattress manufacturer should be able to provide recommendations for the right base types.


These are available in a large variety of styles ranging from traditional to highly modern. Bedsteads can be constructed from several materials such as plastics, metal, wood, or a combination of any of these. They are more aesthetic and less durable. The mattress support can be sprung slats, rigid woven wires, metal grids, or fixed slats. Be very careful when selecting a mattress for bedsteads; the wrong mattress can invalidate your warranty. They may or may not be available in standard British sizes, and most of them are made to order.

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Ottoman Bases

Ottoman-styled furniture is very famous in the United Kingdom. It originates from Turkey, used during the Ottoman era but is probably more famous in Britain than in Turkey. The distinguishing feature of ottoman bases is that they offer the highest storage space compared to any other bed base. A typical ottoman base comes with a liftable lid, allowing you to use the entire area under the bed base for storage. These bases always use platform tops and contain no spring system. The ottoman bases are ideal if space conversation is one of your top considerations. Gas lift mechanisms are also used with ottoman bases to provide convenience and easy operation. When buying an ottoman bed, you should inspect the base and ensure that it is robust enough to provide adequate support to the mattress and you. You should also ensure that the gas lift mechanism is powerful enough. You can check this by inquiring about the Newton rating of the gas lift system.

Electric Bases

Electric beds are a relatively new introduction to the world of beds. However, be warned that this segment is relatively new and may be very tempting. They are also considerably costly, from £1500 to over £12,000. They allow you to adjust the bed by raising or lowering the base according to your position. Highly specific mattresses are required for these beds and may not be available among the standard British sizes. They also need special motors and will have a running cost. Some models have numerous adjusting sections for your feet, legs, upper body, head, and neck. Some models can slide backwards. They are more suitable for people with medical issues and are not highly recommended for common use.

Storage Options

Many bed bases come with various storage options. These include one to two drawers side by side or on opposite sides. Some provide the entire wooden base for storage, while some use a gas lift mechanism to lift the whole base. The gas lift mechanism is the best option if you are considering a much larger storage space. A wooden storage compartment underneath the bed can get overloaded and may damage the base’s shape. Gas lift mechanisms allow you to use the floor underneath your bed for storing your things. This way, there is no pressure or wait on the bed itself.

Why Are Bed Bases Important?

The bed base serves multiple purposes. It is the central part of the bed and provides strength to all the other parts joined to the base. It provides support to your body and the mattress. The wrong base or an unmatched base will increase the wear and tear of your bed. It can create discomfort for you and prevent you from sleeping peacefully. It can also create health issues such as improper spinal alignment and body pains. The right bed base will also improve air circulation throughout your mattress and prevent heat retention. It will also enhance evaporation and keep your mattress free from moisture, which can develop mould.

Matching the Base with the Right Mattress

Another important factor you need to consider when completing your bed is the mattress you will use. Not all mattresses will match every base type, and bed frames or bases which are lighter will not be able to withstand heavy mattresses for long. Slatted bases will not fare well with heavy pocket sprung mattresses. First, make sure you get a matching-size mattress. Second, check the weight of the mattress and ask the manufacturer if it matches your base. Also, check the details of your mattress warranty. It will usually specify which bed bases it has been manufactured for. With the right bed base, mattress, headboard, and strong bed frame, your bed will last a lifetime.

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