Choosing Your Bed

It can be a proper headache figuring out how to choose a new bed, headboard or mattress. There’s oodles of info out there and it’s all very easy to lose sleep over. Here are some of the main things you might want to know. So whether you buy from us (we do hope you will!) or go elsewhere, you know you’ll be making informed decisions.

1. What’s a divan base?

A divan is a simple, durable base built as a sturdy wooden box and often upholstered with lots of lush fabric. They usually sit quite close to the floor. Some divans come with a sprung edge platform tops, but ours all have a solid platform top to give even support. 

Divans often have some under-bed drawers for snugging your things away, but some come without storage. You can get divans with drawers organised in lots of different ways. The set-up you choose will depend on the way your bedroom is laid out and what space you’ve got.

For example, if your divan is going to be up against one wall, you’ll only need drawers on one side. If you want lots of storage but still need to fit in bedside tables, you might choose big drawers at the bottom and smaller drawers at the head end

Upholstered divan beds are lovely because they are durable, good value, solve storage headaches - and they are also super easy to customise. So you just need to choose what type of fabric you would like, and add a headboard and mattress

What are the advantages of a fabric divan base?

• Great value, durable option

• Plush fabric finish

• Flexible storage options to suit your space

• Firmer support with wooden platform top

• Customise with a headboard – choose a new one or fit with one you’ve already got

• 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 faffing around. If you have a really teeny room and need under-bed storage, you might find a lift-up ottoman suits you better.

2. What’s 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 you access the storage inside by lifting up the platform. The space inside may be one compartment (single size) or two for bigger bed bases. Our ottomans are lined with oak. 

A gas-piston mechanism assists with the lifting so it swings up easily (phew!). Often ottomans will have non-slip fabric on the top of the platform which keeps the mattress in place, and you’ll find little hand-holds to help.

End lift ottomans

You swing up the whole platform from the end of the bed, so you can access the storage from either side of your ottoman bed. Perfect if you’ve got lots of space around your bed. 

Side lift ottomans

Another variation - you lift up the whole platform, but from the side of the bed. This might be a nifty choice if your bed’s nestled against the wall on one side.

Half-end lift ottoman

Lift this one from the end but only half of the platform, so you just get half the storage space. This might suit you if you don’t have space for the full end lift – and you might like the thought of having a smaller platform to swing up.

You can also get half-lift ottoman bases which combine the platform lift with drawers of varying sizes too. 

What are the advantages of a fabric ottoman base?

• Loads of storage configurations to suit any room layout and size

• Roomy compartments for chunky items

• Value for money and durable structure

• Special grippy fabric on the platform to keep your mattress in place 

• Easy to customise with a headboard – buy a new one or fit with an old favourite

3. What is a bed frame?

A bed frame (or bedstead) is different from a divan and ottoman base. It is the frame that you put your mattress on, 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 made out of lots of different materials, like metal, brass or wood, and come in a huge range of styles. Here at British Beds Direct, we specialise in making upholstered bed frames which come complete with a headboard, and some with a footboard. 

We have two types of fabric bed frame.

Bed frames (without storage)

This one sits up off the floor on short beech or chrome legs, and has solid pine wood slats. You can choose one with a footboard, if you like. 

You might lurrrve the look and feel of a tall footboard, but don’t get carried away. Think about how space works in your bedroom first. It’s super important to let your space ‘breathe’ – better for the soul, better for sleeping – just better. So if you have one of those narrow little passing places at the foot of your bed, adding a footboard into the mix might just be, well, awkward. But, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of room to play with then the snug, tucked-in feel of a footboard might suit you down to a T.  

Ottoman bed frames

We also have fabric ottoman bed frames, complete with headboard, which sit directly on the floor. Rather than having a platform top, these are sprung-slatted with reinforcement for extra support. These ones don’t come with a footboard, because the top of the base swings up for some roomy storage.

These ones don’t come with a footboard, because the top of the base swings up for some roomy storage. 

4. Different types of headboard: pros and cons

Our headboards come in two categories: the statement, floor-standing headboards, and the smaller strutted headboard.

Floor-standing headboards

These can make a real style statement and give drama to your bedroom. They’re also really sturdy, standing strong behind your divan or ottoman base. To attach, it’s easy: just screw the bolts through the headboard slots into the base. 

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. Obviously, you need enough actual space to move around freely. But also having too much in-your-face furniture packed into a room can clutter things right up. Keep your bedroom serene for a dreamy night’s sleep.

Mounted headboard

For a more subtle look, a mounted headboard is a more light-weight option. 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 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 feel you are after, there are all sorts of different styles of headboards. You could 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 the Chesterfield. Curves can feel a little more trad; or choose a winged floor-standing headboard if you have the space to make it sing. 

5. How to choose a mattress

This is a big one! Grab a cuppa and head over to our mattress guide here to find out more.