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To figure out which bed suits your decorating needs, think about the bed you currently have: its size, its style (which may be the starting point for your room’s style), and the comfort of the mattress. Are you satisfied with what you have? Or are you looking to purchase something new? If a new bed is within your budget, keep reading for tips on selecting the best option for your space.

Before you go shopping for a bed, figure out the maximum amount of space your bed can take up. A too-big bed makes it nearly impossible to move around. You need adequate space to walk through the room, open closet doors and drawers, and place other furnishings. Turning the bed sideways along a wall is one option because it gives you plenty of floor space a perfect solution for small rooms or rooms with beautiful flooring. To dress it up, install a corona (a crown-shaped piece) and drape fabric from it over the sides of the bed. Or, use a king-size headboard it will work for any size bed. Add stacks of pillows to complete the look.

You have to be able to get the bed through the bedroom door. Measure all the door openings and hallways. You may have to take the doors off the frames in order to squeeze the bed through.

The mattress you choose should be at least 3 inches longer than the height of the tallest person sleeping on it. The standard mattress sizes are as follows:

  • Twin: 39 inches wide by 75 inches long

    If you plan to use two twin beds, allow a minimum of 24 inches between them or place a nightstand between them.

  • Extra-long twin: 38 inches wide by 80 inches long

  • Double: 54 inches wide by 75 inches long

  • Queen: 60 inches wide by 80 inches long

  • King: 76 to 78 inches wide by 80 inches long

  • California king: 72 inches wide by 84 inches long

Add personal style instantly with a dramatic bed. Because your bed is the dominant furnishing in your bedroom, choose a style that suits your taste:

  • Captain’s bed: Inspired by the beds made for ships, captain’s beds feature a drawer beneath the mattress for storage. They’re often used in children’s and teenagers’ rooms because they hold tons of stuff.

  • Daybed: These beds are intended for napping or even sitting during the day. They’re usually more compactly sized than standard beds and typically are placed sideways along a wall to save space. (Some double as sofas.)

    [Credit: Photograph courtesy Garcia Imports’ Sun Country Style by Patricia Hart McMillan]
    Credit: Photograph courtesy Garcia Imports’ Sun Country Style by Patricia Hart McMillan
  • Four-poster bed: Four-posters are good choices for rooms with high ceilings or large rooms where anything else would seem proportionately too small.

  • Hollywood bed: A Hollywood bed is a very low bed, with or without a headboard. Sleek and contemporary, this style doesn’t take up much space visually. A Hollywood bed’s headboard is very tailored, with straight lines.

  • Platform bed: A platform bed is a mattress “floating” on a stage-like box that raises the bed one to two (or more) feet off the floor. The platform bed adds a streamlined sense of drama and is especially good for large, open spaces.

  • Sleigh bed: Sleigh beds are usually very high, with slightly curved headboards and somewhat lower, curved footboards, drawing on the design of 19th-century sleighs. Sleigh beds may feature heavy carving or simple, plain wood surfaces. Sleigh beds generally aren’t for very small spaces because they’re heavy in appearance.

  • Tester bed: A tester (or canopy) bed is a draped four-poster bed. Originally designed for warmth and comfort, a canopy bed has draped fabric covering the top and sides. Most people choose canopy beds today for a romantic sense of luxury and privacy, especially in spacious rooms. Testers come in Traditional and Contemporary designs.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Katharine Kaye McMillan, former senior editor of a New York City-based national magazine, is a writer whose work appears regularly in magazines and newspapers. She is a contributing writer to internationally circulated Florida Design Magazine. She is the co-author of several books on decorating and design, including Sun Country Style, which is the basis for licensed signature collections of furniture and accessories by three leading American manufacturers and importers. A graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, she holds a masters degree in psychology and is a doctoral student in psychology at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida.

Patricia Hart McMillan is a nationally known interior designer, whose interior design work for private clients, designer showcases, and corporations has appeared in publications worldwide, including the New York Times and USA Today. Known as a trend spotter and for clearly articulated views on design, she is quoted frequently and extensively in both trade and consumer publications. She a ppears on TV and talk radio. A prolific writer, she is coauthor and author of seven books on interior design and decoration, with Sun Country Style signature collections of furniture based on two books. She has taught decorating courses at several colleges and conducted numerous seminars across the U.S. She is decorating editor for Christian Woman Magazine and reports on design trends for The Sun-Sentinel, a Tribune newspaper based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She has been editor-in-chief of two publications and was head of a New York City-based public relations firm representing some of the most prestigious names in home furnishing and building products. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a minor in art history (with an emphasis in architecture), from the State University of New York (New Paltz). She was awarded a certificate from The New York School of Interior Design.

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