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Divan Bed Buying Guide

Divan Bed Buying Guide

Elisa King |

Divan bases are easily the most popular type of bed base here in the UK. That’s because they offer excellent value, longevity, comfort and flexibility. But, if you’re looking to buy a divan bed, what do you need to know to make sure you get the right one for you? Read our divan bed buying guide and we’ll tell you everything you need to know

Divan base, divan bed base or divan bed?

Before we delve further into the world of divan beds, we thought we’d give you a whistle-stop overview of the terminology involved.

When people talk about divan beds, they are almost always referring to the base - this is the divan itself, the platform upon which the mattress sits and to which the headboard is affixed (if you choose to have one).

As the illustration below makes clear, a bed is made up of many different parts - the divan base being only one (crucial) part:

The anatomy of a divan bed base

In other words, divan bed, divan base and even divan bed base tend to be used interchangeably. We’ll follow this naming convention in the article that follows.

Fun fact - the word divan traces its roots to the Persian word dīwān which meant ‘register, court or bench’ and referred to a low bench used in Middle Eastern countries.

What is a divan bed?

That’s a simple question with an easy answer right?! Not quite…

You might be surprised at how many different variations and options there are when it comes to divan beds.

So, what exactly is a divan bed?

At its most basic, a divan bed is a wooden box/frame construction that is upholstered in fabric. This ‘box’ usually comes in either a single unit, or two parts which are then joined together.

A divan base will have a firm, flat base on which you then place your mattress. Divan bases can also feature one or more drawers which are built into the base to provide you with additional storage for linen, blankets, pillows or other general household items.

From there, however, your choices begin to diverge. This is because there are in fact three different types of divan bed base:

  • Platform top.
  • Sprung top.
  • Reinforced.

Platform top divan bed bases

Platform top divan bed bases are one of the most common types of divan bases on the market.

A platform top divan base will be constructed with a wooden frame at its core. On top of this wooden frame is placed a strengthened carded top panel, which provides the base for the mattress.

Platform Top Divan Base Anatomy

It’s thanks to this strengthened carded top panel that platform top divan bases offer a study, firm feel which makes them ideal for people who suffer back pain, or those who just generally prefer a firmer base to sleep on.

With that being said, the firmness of a platform top divan base is ultimately determined by what mattress you choose to use with it. A platform top base, because it provides a rigid, unmoving base, effectively offers you a neutral platform on which to place the mattress of your choice.

Platform top divan bases also usually come with either a set of castor wheels, or a set of bed glides. These raise the divan slightly off the floor allowing the drawers to be opened, as well as making it easier to move the bed around.

Sprung top divan base

As with a platform top divan base, sprung top divan bases also feature a sturdy wood frame, which forms the main shape and foundation of the base.

Where a sprung top divan base differs from other divan bases is with the unit of springs which sits atop the strengthened carded top panel. Because of this spring unit, a sprung top divan base will offer a softer top and additional comfort to the sleeper.

Sprung Top Divan Base Anatomy

Another way to think of sprung top divan bases, is that the spring unit acts as a ‘mattress for your mattress’. In effect, this results in a supremely comfortable sleeping experience - however, it’s not excessively soft as you still benefit from the strengthened carded top panel which the spring unit sits on.

Because of the additional elements and parts that go into manufacturing a sprung top divan base, they tend to be slightly more expensive than platform top divan bases.

As with other types of bed base, a sprung top divan base is usually supplied with either a set of castor wheels or bed glides, to slightly elevate the bed and make it easier to move.

Reinforced divan base

The third most common type of divan base you’ll see on the market are reinforced divan bases.

A reinforced divan base will generally be similar to a platform top divan base, but with an enhanced wooden frame that has double the amount of support as well as strengthened sides.

Reinforced Divan Base Anatomy

In general, reinforced divan bases do not feature a sprung top. Think of them as being extra-strong platform top divan bases, but with additional wooden support slats running across the top of the wooden base (beneath the strengthened carded top panel).

Reinforced divan bases will usually support individuals of 24 stone in weight or more. The exact amount of weight that a reinforced divan base can support will vary depending on what size it is e.g. single, double, king size.

Here at Divan Base Direct, our reinforced divan bases are able to accommodate up to 75 stone (475kg) in weight. It’s important to note that this weight figure includes the weight of the mattress.

What about Ottoman beds?

Shire Artisan End Lift Ottoman Storage Divan Bed Base

You may have heard of another type of bed base - the Ottoman.

This is a slightly different, but related form of bed base to the divans we’ve outlined above. Ottoman bed bases have primarily become popular because of the vast amount of storage space that they offer.

An Ottoman bed base features a similar construction to a divan base, with a wooden box frame construction which is then upholstered.

However, unlike a divan base which has either a platform top or sprung top, an Ottoman base has an end or side opening lid.. The entire platform top opens and closes with the use of gas lift hydraulic arms and can be raised (whilst the mattress is on it) so that you can access the inner ‘body’ of the bed base.

This means that an Ottoman bed base offers far more storage space than a divan base with drawers.

Ottoman bed bases are ideal for use in small or narrow rooms where it wouldn’t be possible to pull out the storage draws of a divan base.

You can explore our complete range of Ottoman bed bases here.

Types of feet on divan beds

The type of feet that come with a divan bed are something that is easily overlooked - but shouldn’t be!

Selecting the right types of feet for your divan bed will make a big difference to the elevation, positioning, stability and ability to move your bed around.

When it comes to divan base feet, you will find three main types on the market:

  • Castor wheels.
  • Bed glides.
  • Legs.

We’ll take a look at each option so that you can decide which is right for you and your divan base.

Divan base castor wheels

The castor wheels that are normally supplied with a divan base will be made from either plastic, metal or a combination of the two.

They work like any other type of wheel, and are usually connected to a pivot - so will easily spin 360º so that you can push your bed in any direction.

Set of 8 Bed Castor Wheels with Inserts

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Castor wheels are generally the best option if you are going to be putting your bed in a carpeted room. A carpet floor will allow the wheels to ‘settle’ and prevent your bed from moving around. As you can imagine, if you place a divan bed with castor wheels on a hardwood floor, it’s likely to move around!

Here at Divan Base Direct we stock castor wheels that come in packs of eight, complete with inserts to connect them to your bed base.

Divan base bed glides

Bed glides are sturdy, solid feet which attach to the bottom of your divan bed base.

They are usually made of metal and help to position your bed in place. Whilst they allow you to move your bed around your room (hence the word ‘glide’), they will not make your bed as easy to move as castors.

Set of 8 Chrome Bed Glides with Inserts

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However, many people prefer bed glides as they are the more ‘aesthetic’, better-looking option over castor wheels. What’s more, bed glides are less likely to create long-lasting depressions in your carpet as they spread the weight of your bed more effectively than castor wheels do.

Bed glides are ideal for use on either carpeted or hardwood floors. On hardwood floors, bed glides make it less likely that your bed will move when you get in or out of it.

Here at Divan Base Direct we stock chrome bed glides in packs of eight, complete with inserts to attach them to your bed base.

Divan base legs

The final type of ‘feet’ that you’ll find on divan bases are legs. As you’ve probably guessed, these are fixed legs which protrude from the bottom of the divan base, elevating it from the floor.

Divan Bed Base on Metal Chrome Legs

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Legs are ideal if you will be placing your bed on a smooth floor and don’t want it to move around.

And, whilst legs also have the benefit of looking good, they do have some downsides. Firstly, a divan base which is fitted with legs is harder to move around. Secondly, divan bases with legs cannot accommodate drawers. So, you’ll only have the option of storing things directly under the bed rather than in a neat drawer or compartment.

You can explore divan bases with legs here at Divan Base Direct.

Types of divan base storage

For many people, one of the most appealing things about divan bases is the fact they can be configured to include a large amount of storage space.

With storage drawers, a bed becomes even more practical and helps you make the most of the floorspace in your home.

When it comes to selecting a divan bed, it’s important to remember that A) not all divan bases come with storage drawers and B) those that do have storage drawers, can be configured in a number of different ways.

Below we’ve provided all of the information you need to know when it comes to types of divan base storage.

Standard drawers

Let’s begin by looking at the most common type of divan base storage. Standard drawers.

These are simply storage drawers that slide on rails out from the bed base. They will normally feature a lightweight wood construction with the ‘face’ or exterior of the drawer being upholstered to match the rest of the bed base. This ensures the drawers are discrete and don’t detract from the overall look and feel of your bed.

So, how much can you get in these standard drawers? You’d be surprised. Here at Divan Base Direct, the standard drawers in our divan bases have the following dimensions:

  • Width (cm) - 74cm.
  • Depth (cm) - 53cm.
  • Height (cm) - 14cm.

Note - divan base drawers do not use standardised sizes. The size of drawers in a bed base will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

When it comes to how many standard drawers, and where you want them located on your bed base, you have a number of options:

  • 2 drawers on one side of the bed base.
  • 2 drawers at the end of the bed base - one on each side.
  • 4 drawers - two on each side of the bed base.

Continental drawers

If you want to maximise the storage space within your bed base, but have limited space at the top of your bed (for example, you have bedside chests or cabinets on either side of your bed), then there is another option; continental drawers.

4 Drawers Continental

If you decide to configure your bed base with continental drawers then you’ll get two full size standard drawers (these will be situated at the end of the bed base - one on each side).

You’ll also get two smaller sized drawers that sit near the top of the bed; their smaller size means you can still open them even if you have bedside chests/cabinets next to the head of your bed.

Our continental drawers have the following dimensions:

  • Width (cm) - 37cm.
  • Depth (cm) - 53cm.
  • Height (cm) - 14cm.

Large end drawer

This isn’t an option you’ll see offered by every divan base manufacturer, but here at Divan Base Direct we appreciate that not everyone has limitless amounts of space in their bedroom - but would still appreciate the ability to store things in their bed base.

So, we provide the option of including a large end drawer in your bed base.

Large End Drawer

This is simply a large drawer which spans the width of the bed and sits at the ‘nose’ of the bed base. A large end drawer is ideal if you have limited space on either side of your bed and would be unable to open standard drawers.

Our large end drawers have the following dimensions:

  • Width (cm) - 117cm.
  • Depth (cm) - 49.5cm.
  • Height (cm) - 14cm.

What height are divan bases?

When it comes to selecting the ‘height’ of your divan base you have more than one option. In addition to the ‘standard’ bed height, you can also buy low divan bases. When selecting a divan base, it’s important to remember that other features such as your choice of castor wheels/bed glides will affect the overall height of the bed.

Standard height divan bases

Platform Top Divan Bed Base Only

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First off, you can choose divan bases that are the traditional height you would expect for a bed. With a mattress on top, these divan bases create beds that you can easily get in and out of. With feet attached, these divan bases are 35.5cm in height.

Low divan bases

Low Divan Bed Base on Chrome Glides

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Low divan bases are ideal for people who prefer to sleep closer to the ground or have limited headroom in their bedroom (e.g. an attic or loft space). However, their low profile means that low divan bases do not feature drawers or other forms of storage.

At Divan Base Direct, our low base divans are only 20cm in height.

Note - the thickness of your mattress will also affect the overall height of your bed.

Divan base headboards

For many people, a headboard is an absolutely essential part of a bed. It helps to frame the bed, provides a nice aesthetic touch providing the bed with a traditional look and feel and is a great way of marrying the look of your bed to the overall decor of your bedroom.

If you want a headboard to go with your divan base, then you’ll find you have a massive amount of choice. From the shape of the headboard and the way it has been upholstered to the way it attaches to your bed base, there are many different factors to consider when selecting one.

We’ve provided all the information you need to know about divan base headboards below.

How does a headboard attach to a divan bed base?

The first thing to consider when selecting a headboard is the way in which it will attach to your divan bed base.

There are two main ways that headboards attach to bed bases; strutted or floor standing.

Strutted headboards

Apollo Signature Regent Strutted Upholstered Headboard

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Strutted headboards are the traditional way in which headboards have been attached to bed bases. A strutted headboard attaches to the bed base using two struts which feature vertical slots (very occasionally a strutted headboard may have more than two struts).

The bed base will generally have two headboard bolts sticking out of the rear of the bed base - these can usually be screwed into place by hand. On many new bed bases you’ll find stickers indicating where these headboard bolts should be inserted.

Set of 4 Headboard Bolts with Washers

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The headboard is then lowered so that the vertical slots in the struts pass through the bolts. At this point, you simply tighten the headboard bolts further so that the headboard remains fixed solidly in place.

Floor standing headboards

Dura Beds Linden Floor Standing Upholstered Headboard

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The second main type of headboard you’ll see on the market are floor standing headboards. These offer you an alternative way of attaching a headboard to your divan bed base.

These types of headboards sit directly on the floor. They are independent from the bed, however they can also be fixed to the bed base in much the same way as a strutted headboard - the only difference is that the headboard bolts will pass directly through vertical slots on the headboard rather than struts.

When considering a floor standing headboard, it’s important that you select one that will fit your divan bed base. Ideally, we would recommend buying your divan base and floor standing headboard at the same time.

How do you assemble a divan base?

One of the main selling points of divan bases is that they are far easier than other types of bed to assemble.

Buy a traditional bed frame and you’ll face the prospect of having to use tools and plenty of elbow grease to put it all together.

A divan base on the other hand can be ready for use in only a matter of minutes.

How to assemble a divan base

Depending on what size divan base you have ordered, you will receive your bed base in either one or two pieces.

Our small single and single divan bases are delivered as one single piece. If you select a small double, double, king size or super king sized the bed base will be delivered in two parts.

Assembling your small double, double, king size or super king size divan bed base is as simple as pushing the two pieces together and then using the linking bars or clips to hold them together.

Once you’ve done this, simply add a mattress, attach the headboard and dress your bed. Job done!

The only exception to this are split platform top divan bed bases which are supplied in four separate parts; their assembly remains the same as other types of divan base though.

Note - not all divan bed bases feature linking bars or clips.

How to style your divan bed

Divan base beds can be made to match a multitude of different interior decors. No matter what sort of aesthetic you’re aiming to achieve in your bedroom, you’re bound to find a divan base upholstery option for you.

Here at Divan Base Direct we offer a fantastic range of fabric choices ranging from long-lasting, textiles and weaves through to luxury hessian, crushed velvet, and chenille.

Divan Beds Direct Fabric Choices

If you’re keen to see what these fabrics look like ‘in the flesh’ then you can request up to six samples which we’ll deliver straight to your door, free of charge.

You can order your free fabric samples here.

We also make it easy to select a matching headboard. Simply click on the matching headboard button on the product page and you’ll be directed to all of the headboards that match your selected bed base:

It's easy to find a matching headboard at Divan Base Direct

Where to buy the best divan bases

We hope you’ve found our guide to divan bed bases useful. If it’s helped you decide that a divan base is the right option for you, then explore our huge range of divans now.

Divan Base Direct has one of the UK’s best ranges of divan bases, which as you have seen, are available in a huge range of different configurations, fabrics, colours and more. All of our divan bases are made in the UK, feature a 3 or 5 year warranty (depending on the model), and we offer a range of convenient delivery options.

Shop divan bed bases at Divan Base Direct today

For more bed base, mattress and headboard buying advice, explore the Divan Base Direct blog

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