How to buy a Bed Frame

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Before you even think about leaving the house to go look at bedroom furniture you MUST draw a floorplan of the room.  You need to know the following:

  • What is the exact size of the room? Every corner, every angle?
  • Where are your doors – entry and closet? Which way do they swing?
  • Where are your windows? How high are the window sills?  How high are the tops of the windows?
  • Where are the floor vents, forced air heating or base boards for electric heating?
  • Where are the receptacles, (plug ins)?
  • Where is the cable/TV plug in?
  • Where is the computer plug in?
  • How high is the ceiling?
  • Do you have ceiling lights? If yes, where?  (Show on your floorplan)
  • Where are your light switches?
  • Is there any device that cannot be covered by a headboard or piece of furniture? (i.e.: ceiling fan switch, thermostat)


Once you have clearly transferred all of these details onto a drawing then you are ready to start shopping.  Standing in a showroom guessing at what you think you can fit into the bedroom is a complete waste of your precious time.  Many people say that they cannot draw even a stick person, but go buy some scaled paper and do your very best to get all of these measurements down on paper and trust me – this will make your shopping experience a breeze.

Know what size mattress you are after.  There are many specialty sized mattresses but here are the standards.  Once you have determined the mattress size you can begin your planning.


The next part is pretty straight forward.  For this exercise we will use a Queen sized bed.  You know the mattress is 60” (5’-0”) across from edge to edge.  The bed frame will generally add some size, inches, to the width of the bed.  Most bed frames will add 1” to 2” on each side of the bed so a 60” mattress will be 60” + 2” + 2” = 64” wide, (5’-4”).  Let’s now pretend that you desire two nightstands, one per side, for the bed.  Add the width of the nightstands, which for this exercise we will assume they are 30” per unit.  2 x 30” = 60” (5’-0”).  You will always require a little bit of space between your nightstands and the bed frame which we will assume is 2” on each side.

So here’s the math:

  • Mattress and bed frame = 64”
  • 2 nightstands = 60”
  • 2 gaps between the furniture = 4”

64” + 60” + 4” = 128” Total or (10’- 8” wide)   Now with your floorplan you can easily check to see if you have enough space to have a Queen sized bed and two 30” nightstands.  When you check your drawing it will be able to confirm whether or not you can fit the units in.   This mathematical formula will work on any furniture you plan on adding to the room.  You must remember that you do require enough space to be able to open and close the drawers in any units you are considering.  Be sure to allow enough space for walking past the furniture once it is in the room so that you’re not bumping into it all of the time.  30” is a comfortable walking path between furniture items however; I have seen people have smaller openings to fit through in the bedroom.  If this is not a high-frequency used space, then you can get by with a little less width in your walking path.

Master Bedroom Queen Size Diagram B

Another consideration is – which type of bed frame to use.  Most companies sell the headboard, foot board, and side rails as a package.  There are some manufacturers that will sell headboards only, so if you search on-line in your area you will be able to see what is available.

When you choose a high foot board it simply means that you cannot sit on the end of the bed.  Also, if you have a tall person in the bed, their feet may touch the foot board all night long and this could interfere with a restful sleep.

Storage beds are an excellent way to increase drawer/storage space in a room.  Some beds have drawers in the end of the bed which are usually easy to access.  Some beds have drawers in the sides of the bed but possibly two of the drawers may be blocked by the nightstands (if you have them) unless the drawers are offset from the headboard.  Tilt up beds are another nice option for extra storage by having the bed hinged at the headboard position so that the user just simply lifts the end of the frame and it tilts up to allow access to the storage area underneath.  These models are a little harder to find on every showroom floor.

No matter what style of bedroom set you end up choosing the most important part is to know what pieces you want and whether or not they will fit into the room. The floorplan knows all.  You cannot be tricked while you are out looking for the perfect bedroom set.  Know your measurements.  Know what you can fit.

Lastly, the bed frame should be sturdy enough for two people to run and jump around on without banging and squeaking.  There is nothing worse than being in a bed that makes a noise every time you roll over.  Confirm at the showroom that it can support the users and that it can withstand adult activities without everybody in the house hearing about it.