Written by Hugh Metcalf

Buyer’s guide to upholstered beds

Comfortable, stylish and with the potential to pack in extra storage, upholstered beds are a clever investment for your bedroom. Here’s what you need to consider before you buy.

scalloped upholstered bed in grey, with blue bedroom - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: Bella bed, Sofa.com 

Upholstered beds not only look impactful in a bedroom scheme, they’re super comfortable for sitting up in bed with a cup of tea or a good book. It’s no wonder that they’ve become more and more popular in our homes.

If you’re in the market for a bedroom upgrade, but don’t know where to start with what’s available to buy out there, start with the basics in this guide.

How to pick the right size

bright green double bed in white bedroom scheme - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: Willow bed, Button & Sprung 

With a bed, bigger is always better for comfortability, but when it comes to picking the right size for your space, that’s a different story. Around 50cm from the bed to the wall will give you enough space to clamber in gracefully come nighttime, as well as leave room to push a vacuum around the perimeter of the room.

If you have built-in furniture around the room, anything less than 90cm runs the risk of creating a ‘pinch point’ – a spot which, while perfectly liveable, will cause an issue when it comes to the functionality of using your room.

Ideally, a king-size bed is best based on two adults sharing, leaving enough room for you both incorporating an elbow wingspan. Largely, beds and mattresses are a standard length, but specialist brands do offer longer beds if one of you is particularly tall, though this may limit the styles available.

Don’t be shy to try out a bed in a showroom and see if it’s the right size for you, especially if you’re changing scale when purchasing a new bed.

Storage for essentials

modern scandi bedroom with storage bed divan - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: Hidden storage bed, Argos 

Storage or no storage? There’s not many homes in the UK that couldn’t benefit from a bit more storage, but whether or not you choose to incorporate this into your bed design may depend on other factors. Storage beds do have to make some compromises when it comes to style, usually meaning that you’ll usually have to opt for a bulkier divan bed than something more streamlined or lower riding.

If you’re happy with a divan, then time to consider how you want to access your storage. Divans with drawers are a common choice and are easy to access, but they can limit what you’re actually able to store under your bed. Lift up bases are more inconvenient if you want regular access to this storage space, but gas-powered lifts are an option to make the process easier. We can’t guarantee your bed will still be neatly made by the end of it though!

What’s the perfect style?

pink buttoned bed head with studs - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: New Beginnings bed, The French Bedroom Company

Upholstered headboards can come in all shapes and sizes, and largely this choice is down to what works with your interior scheme. One thing you may want to think about it specifically whether or not you choose a tufted headboard design.

Buttoned detailing adds texture and depth to your headboard, helping to break up what would otherwise be an expanse of plain fabric. However, tufts can be dust-catchers, so if you’re looking for low-maintenance, a more simple design may suit better.

How to pick the right fabric

upholstered bed with modern floral fabric pattern - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: Yushan bed, The Original Bed Company 

The fabric used for an upholstered bed is important, as it’s a material that is more likely to wear and tear than metal and wood. Unless your commissioning a bespoke bed, your bed is likely to be made using a strong, durable fabric suitable for upholstery, however you can still make choices to help your investment last longer. Dark colours and patterns, for example, are better at hiding stains and marks, though this isn’t as much of a concern as with sofas, for example.

As your bed will be the dominant furniture in your bedroom, it’s important to get it right – order fabric samples from your bed supplier where possible and use to build a colour scheme. This should give you a good indication of the exact shade and the quality if you haven’t seen it in a showroom.

Investigate the delivery details

sofas and stuff curved headboard with blue and pink pattern - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: Gothic king size bed, Sofas and Stuff  

You don’t want to spend months sleeping on a mattress on the floor, so always look at the delivery dates before you set your heart on a certain design, and keep an eye out for whether a brand delivers to a specified room or will only deliver kerbside. Beds are cumbersome, so trying to get it in your house and up the stairs can be tricky!

With that in mind, look out for the package dimension information – too often, and oversized headboard won’t fit into homes with narrow or awkward access.


Which new bed are you buying? Let us know by tweeting us @goodhomesmag or posting a comment on our Facebook page.



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