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Choosing your bed

When choosing the bits and pieces of your dream bed, it can be confusing. There’s so much information out there, along with mattress types, headboards and storage options to consider… but let us help you out before you lose any sleep. In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about choosing a bed, so when it comes to making a decision, you’ll have enough information to know exactly which bed is for you. 

What is a divan base?

Let’s get down to bases. A divan is a simple, durable base that is built in the shape of a sturdy wooden box, usually upholstered with plush fabric (we offer lots of this!), and typically sits quite close to the floor. Our divan bases all have a solid platform top to give an even amount of support.

In need of extra storage space? Many divan designs feature under-bed drawers that are ideal for storing your belongings away. You can also purchase divans with drawers organised into various formats (such as on one side or at the end) so that your bed can fit in seamlessly with your bedroom layout and magically utilise the space. If you don’t need this function, many divan bases come without drawers too.

For example, if your divan is going to be pushed against one wall, you’ll only need drawers on the side that faces outwards. If you require lots of storage but still need your bed to fit in next to bedside tables, you might prefer big drawers at the bottom and smaller drawers at the top, near the tables. 

You can’t really go wrong with an upholstered divan bed - they are durable, good value, solve storage headaches and they are also super-easy to customise. All you need to do is to choose what type of fabric you love the most and match it with a headboard and mattress that suits your tastes.

What are the advantages of a fabric divan base?

• A durable option that offers great value for money.

•  A gorgeous plush fabric finish.

• Flexible storage options to magically fit into your space.

• Firmer support provided by a wooden platform top.

• Easy to customise with a headboard – choose a brand new one or fit your divan with your current one.

• Easy to deliver and assemble.

 

Don’t forget: If you’re going for a divan base with drawers, you’ll need enough space to pull out the drawers without having to move your other furniture. If you have a very small room and rely on under-bed storage, you might find that a lift-up ottoman better suits your needs as it is easier to access in a small space. Which leads us onto….

 

What is an ottoman bed base?

An ottoman bed base is another type of upholstered storage bed, similar to a divan base. It’s built as a sturdy wooden box in the same way, but (and here’s the big difference) - you can lift up the base platform to access storage inside. An ottoman bed base uses a gas-piston mechanism, allowing it to swing up easily. Often ottomans will have non-slip fabric on the top of the platform which keeps the mattress in place, and you’ll also find useful hand-holds to help lift it up. The space inside may be a single size compartment or split into two for bigger bed bases – and there are lots of options for different room layouts. Our lovely ottomans are all lined with high-quality oak to provide a long-lasting storage solution. 


End lift ottomans

As you may have guessed, end lift ottomans rise up from the end. By swinging up the whole platform from the end of the bed, you can instantly access all that handy internal storage from either side of your bed, which is ideal if you have plenty of bedroom space free on either side.


Side lift ottomans

Another variation - you can still lift up the entire platform, except this time it’s from the side of the bed. This design would make a perfect choice if your bed is nestled against the wall on one side.


Half-end lift ottoman

This variation lifts from the end, however, only half of the complete platform rises up. This means you have half the size of the platform to fill with all your extra things. This may suit you if your bedroom space doesn’t have enough room for the full end lift or if you prefer the idea of having a smaller piece of platform to swing up. There are also half-lift ottoman bases that combine their platform lift with drawers of varying sizes too.

What are the advantages of a fabric ottoman base?

• Half lift, side lift, drawers or none! Plenty of storage configurations to suit any room layout and size.

• Generously sized compartments to fit your bulky, larger items.

• High-quality, durable structure offers value for money.

• Platform features special grip fabric to help keep your mattress in place.

• Easy to customise with a headboard – choose a brand new one or fit your divan with your current one.

What is a bed frame?

A bed frame (or bedstead) is different from a divan and ottoman base, as it refers to a frame that you put your mattress on, rather than a box base. A bed frame is made up of the head end, foot end and side rails which are all fitted together. These have a more delicate look than platform bases, and the mattress nestles snugly on slats rather than sitting on top of the platform as with a divan. 

Bed frames can be manufactured out of lots of different materials, such as metal, brass or wood, and come in a huge range of styles to suit an array of interiors. Here at British Beds Direct we specialise in making gorgeous upholstered bed frames, all of which come complete with a headboard, and some with a footboard too. 


We have two types of fabric bed frames in our collection:

Bed frames (without storage)


Bed frames (without storage)

This classic design sits up off the floor on short beech or chrome legs, has solid pine wood slats, and are also available with and without a footboard. 

While we’re on the subject of frames, a note on footboards... You might love the look and feel of a tall footboard, but be aware that they can take up space. First, think about how the layout of your bedroom works. 

It’s super important to let your space ‘breathe’, as this benefits your wellbeing as well as your sleep cycle. If you have a narrow space at the foot of your bed, adding a footboard into the mix might be a bit, well, awkward. However, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of room to play with, then the snug, tucked-in feel of a footboard might just suit you down to a T.


Ottoman bed frames

A great mix of the classic frame with all the storage perks of an ottoman, we also have fabric ottoman bed frames. These come complete with a headboard, which sit directly on the floor. Rather than having a platform top, these are sprung-slatted with reinforcement for extra support. Of course, these don’t come with a footboard, because the top of the base swings up to reveal all that nifty hidden storage.

Different types of headboard: PROS AND CONS

Now for that throne feel! Our headboards are available in two categories: the statement, floor-standing headboards, and the smaller, strutted mount headboard.


Floor-standing headboards

Put simply, these eye-catching headboards stretch right down to the floor. These headboards can make a real style statement and elevate the interior of your bedroom. They are also extremely sturdy, standing strong behind your divan or ottoman base. When assembling, you simply screw each of the bolts through the headboard slots in the base, for easy attachment.

Having a tall floor-standing headboard is a strong look, so it’s important to make sure your room is big enough to carry it off. Of course you need enough space to move around freely, but also from a visual perspective, having too much in-your-face furniture packed into a small room can make things feel a bit claustrophobic. It’s best to keep it roomy for a dreamy night’s sleep.


Strutted mount headboards

For those looking to achieve a more subtle look, a mounted headboard is a more lightweight option that is suitable for a wide range of bedrooms. It fixes directly to the bed base and doesn’t stand on the floor. It attaches to your divan base with bolts in the same way as the tall headboards, but it has shorter struts. An advantage of this is that the headboard is fully adjustable, so any time you change your mattress, you’ll be able to move your headboard to the comfiest height.


Different headboard styles

Depending on the kind of bedroom feel you are after, there are all sorts of styles of headboards to choose from. Go for simple, geometric fluting with stitched lines for a contemporary look, or if it’s a retro Victorian vibe you’re after, choose the deep, diamond buttoning of a classic Chesterfield. Curves can feel a little more traditional; or a winged floor-standing headboard is an ideal choice if you have the space to make it stand out. 

How to choose a mattress?

Want to learn more about choosing the best products to achieve your perfect night’s sleep?
Head over to our mattress buying guide to find out more about picking the right design for you.

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