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How to Find the Right Bed Base.

Updated on August 2, 2016

You thought a bed base was just a bed base, right? But now you’ve come to buy one you’ve discovered that there’s a whole world of bed bases that you didn’t know about! In this hub I hope to unravel that mysterious world a little so that you can decide which bed base might best suit your needs.

Do I need a new bed base?

Bed experts estimate that a bed lasts for 8-10 years but they don’t really specify if that’s the base as well as the mattress. But as one supports the other it would seem reasonable that if you think you need a new mattress (and look at the article ‘how to know if you need a new bed’ on for more on that), examining the base you currently have might be prudent. That way you know if you need to look for both mattress and base.

Look for sagging, wear and tear of the covering fabrics if it’s a divan or splitting or breakage of the slats or legs on a bed frame. And if you are buying a base separately from the mattress, check the size fits your mattress. You’d think that a bed is a standard size but there are some variations between manufacturers. As a guide:

  • A single is 3 ft x 6ft3in or 90cm x190cm
  • A double is 4ft 6in x 6ft 3in or 135cm x 190cm
  • A king size is 5ft x 6ft 6in or 150cm x 200cm
  • A super-king size is 6ft x 6ft 6in or 180cm x 200cm.

For tips on buying a mattress, look at this hub.

Platform top divan base
Platform top divan base | Source
The sprung edge divan base
The sprung edge divan base | Source
Firm edge divan top
Firm edge divan top | Source

What’s a divan?

The divan bed base is one of the most popular bed bases in use around the world. It is a solid frame, usually made of wood, with drawers or storage space in the frame. It’s dressed with fabric that often matches the mattress that comes with it. It may or may not come with a headboard so you could need to purchase this separately.

The platform top divan is simply a flat wooden top to the wooden frame of the divan and the mattress sits on this. It gives a firm, supported feeling to the mattress. It’s effective but cheaper than its sprung edge cousin.

A sprung edge divan gives the bed as a whole a more luxurious feel. This is because there is a layer of springs over the base of the divan – imagine a ‘naked’ mattress: one without all its fabric covering.

The firm edge divan gives support to the mattress at its edge, and is therefore ideal if you are prone to rolling out of bed, but also has the luxurious feel of the sprung edge divan base. It is more expensive to produce.

Sleigh bedstead
Sleigh bedstead | Source

Bedsteads as bed frames.

The sleigh bed or the traditional iron bedstead is a bed head, bed foot and a slatted or wired base; it’s either in 3 parts or as a single entity. If it’s in 3 parts then it’s easier to get into a house or apartment than a divan.

The advantage is that you don’t need to buy a separate head board and designs can be classic or modern, but storage under the bed can look messy as it’s not contained in a divan-like drawer.

Because the base is made of slats or something similar, air can circulate which is healthy for the mattress and may be a good option if you have allergies as there are potentially fewer crevices and materials that dust etc can get stuck into.

However a solid base can be used with a bed stead and if you use or plan to use an orthopaedic mattress this is what you’ll probably need as it gives a firmer feel.

What about other sorts of beds?

  • Bunk beds are great for children who share a room and are an excellent space saver. Today they come in all sorts of great combinations of desks, beds, play areas. They often come as a flat-pack.
  • Storage beds are solid frames with drawers underneath like the divan. However they include a head and foot board and as they’re a single unit, may be difficult to manoeuvre in a stairwell/tight space etc.
  • Futons and sofa beds. Great for guests but the quality of mattress that comes with most of these types of beds makes them less than ideal for regular sleeping.


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