Storage is an essential element of every home, accommodating a wide range of items from glassware and crockery, to clothes and bedding. Bedrooms are the most personal places in the home, and it is here that we store the things we need to access every day – including clothes, shoes, jewelry and sometimes toiletries and books.
Personal storage needs differ, both in terms of type and size. But it is to everybody’s advantage to create a storage system that is well-planned and suitable for one’s personal needs. Within the bedroom, storage may be in the form of built-in cupboards, freestanding wardrobes, chests of drawers, shelving, bed side units, dressing tables with drawers, and even wooden storage beds.
Different Types of Beds
There are many different types of beds, some of which are more distinctive than others, including a variety of more traditional types. The latter include beds that feature old-fashioned cast iron or brass bedsteads, four posters – made in metal or wood, or lavish canopied beds.
But today the most common beds are those that feature a comfortable mattress on a base of some sort, often one that is padded. You can buy relatively solid base and mattress sets, or you can buy a mattress and use it with a wooden slatted base or one of the traditional types, either old or new.
If you’re short on space, it’s worth seeking out various space-saving solutions, including dual-purpose furniture. In the bedroom the most usual space-savers come in the form of wooden storage beds, although you will also find some gorgeous leather beds that also incorporate storage. A popular option for guest rooms is a single bed that incorporates a second bed that slides away. Or you might prefer a contemporary day bed that doubles as a couch.
If wood is your first choice, the two most common timber types are pine and oak (in that order). Wood is also often spray-painted so the bed becomes a bold part of your color scheme – a good choice for children’s rooms. Although you won’t see the wood, this material is also used for most padded and upholstered bases.
Another categorization you will across when you go shopping for beds is the divan versus the ottoman-type bed.
Divans have been around for decades. Essentially just a bed with a thick base, they traditionally didn’t have a headboard, and so were often used with a padded board of some kind, often mounted on the wall at the head of the bed. The disadvantage was that the headboard wasn’t attached to the bed; the advantage was that it could be any type or style, modern or traditional. Some contemporary divans are sold together with headboards. However, without a headboard, a divan can also double as a long, low seat, especially if it is covered with an attractive throw or tailored cover, and decorated with soft, comfortable cushions.
Strictly speaking an ottoman is an item of furniture that is essentially a large box with a soft top. They were a popular form of upholstered furniture during the Victorian era in England, and in those days were normally either round or rectangular in shape. Traditionally, ottomans were used either as a backless, armless seat, or more commonly to rest ones feet when sitting on a chair or couch. The box was used for storage.
Today’s ottoman beds are basically big upholstered boxes with storage underneath a mattress.
Different types of storage beds
As ordinary middle-class homes become smaller, and need to be more sustainable, storage is at a premium. So instead of a bed base that fulfils a single function of supporting the mattress, a growing number of manufacturers have created beds that provide us with extra storage space. The area and volume of storage space supplied depends both on the height of the bed base and design and type of storage incorporated.
A particularly popular design is a mattress that tilts upwards to reveal storage space below the mattress, within the base of the bed. This is ideal for bulky items that you don’t need every day, including spare duvets, extra pillows and winter blankets. Alternatively you could use it to store heavy jerseys and jackets that you don’t wear during the summer months, and then the light clothing you don’t need in winter.
There are two similar designs of tilting storage bed; one that tilts from the bottom towards the headboard, and another that tilts sideways. The fact that the base is virtually hollow doesn’t affect comfort since a good design will feature a fully-sprung slatted base that supports your body. Of course when the mattress is lifted, the base is too.
Another popular type has drawers that slide out of the base. Some have more generous drawers than others. For instance a good-looking double bed might have a single drawer that slides from the side, at the centre of the base, or outwards from the end of the base. There are also very useful “guest beds” that have as many as six drawers below the mattress.
Generally divan beds often feature draw-storage, while the new-style ottoman-type beds are made to tilt.
Obviously the greater the volume of storage space, the higher the bed will need to be. Children’s bunk beds, for example, offer the opportunity for quite a lot of extra storage if designed with shelves and cupboards as part of the bed (rather than a second bunk under the top bunk).
A well designed kiddies’ sleep station might include a two-door cupboard at the foot of the bed, an attractive bookshelf and four drawers in the middle, and even a pull-out desk at the head. Like any other bunk or “cabin” bed, this type has a step ladder for the kids to climb up and into bed. They also feature rails along the sides to ensure that little people don’t fall out of bed.
Generally the more storage there is, the more expensive the bed will be. Of course the quality of mattress will also affect the price. But as with all beds, it’s advisable to buy the best quality mattress you can afford, not only to ensure a good night’s sleep, but also for health reasons.