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What Are The Different Types Of Beds

What Are The Different Types Of Beds

Antony Blythe |

As one of the most used pieces of furniture in your home, it’s important that you buy a bed that’s comfortable, durable and of the correct dimensions. But what type of bed is right for you? Find out by reading our complete guide to the different types of beds…

What is a bed? 

This may seem like a question with a blindingly obvious answer, but bear with us. 

A bed isn’t a singular item - it’s in fact made up of several different things:

  • Bed base or frame.
  • Mattress.
  • Headboard.
  • Footboard.
  • Additional accessories such as castor wheels, bed glides etc. 

As you can see, quite a lot goes into making a complete bed!

The anatomy of a bed

Whilst not every bed will have each of those parts (footboards are not seen on beds as much these days), you will at least want a bed base, mattress and headboard and accessories such as some castor wheels or bed glides.

For the purpose of this article we’ll be focusing on the part that most people identify as a ‘bed’; the bed base. Keep reading and we’ll take you through each type of bed base and the unique characteristics and properties of each type.

What are the different types of bed base? 

The bed base is something that can be easily overlooked when buying the bed, after all most people tend to focus on the mattress as that’s what they’ll be directly sleeping on. But, overlook the bed base at your peril!

In much the same way that foundations underpin a house, a bed base is the main ‘building block’ of your bed. And, just as there are many different types of foundation, there are many different types of bed base. So, below we’ve listed the main types of bed base you should be aware of. 

Divan base

The divan base is the UK’s most popular type of bed base - and for good reason! Divan bases offer great value, often feature storage, are easily assembled and can be customised with relative ease. 

But, what exactly is a divan base? 

A divan base is essentially a wooden box that is upholstered in fabric, comes in either one or two parts, and has a firm flat base on which to place a mattress. Divan bases also usually feature drawers built into the base to provide storage.

There is a caveat though - there are in fact three different types of divan base:

  • Platform top.
  • Sprung top. 
  • Reinforced.

So, what’s the difference between the three? We’ve set that out below. 

What is a platform top divan base? 

Shire Essentials Platform Top Divan Bed Base

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A platform top divan base is constructed with a wooden frame. Atop this wooden frame is usually placed a strengthened carded top panel, which provides a base for the mattress. Because of this strengthened top, platform top divan bases offer a firmer feel which makes them ideal for people who suffer with back pain. 

Having said that, the overall feel of a platform top divan base will ultimately be determined by whatever mattress you choose. A platform top divan base, because it provides a solid base, is effectively the ‘neutral’ option. 

What is a sprung top divan base?

Sprung Top Divan Bed Base

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Like platform top divan bases, sprung top divan bases (also known as sprung edge divan bases) are constructed with a wooden frame. However, instead of a strengthened carded top panel alone, sprung top divan bases also feature a unit of springs that sit on the top of the carded top panel. 

The best way to think about sprung top divan bases is that they sort of act like a mattress for your mattress (try saying that quickly). Because of the integrated spring unit, sprung top divan bases offer a softer top and extra comfort, resulting in your mattress feeling slightly softer. 

However, because of the additional elements, sprung top divan bases tend to be a little more expensive than platform top divan bases.

What is a reinforced divan base? 

Reinforced Divan Bed Base

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As the name suggests, a reinforced divan base, is a base which usually features an enhanced wooden frame with double the amount of support and strengthened sides. Reinforced divan bases don’t normally feature spring units - they are effectively extra strong platform top divan bases with additional wooden support slats running across the top of the wooden base, beneath the carded top panel. 

Reinforced divan bases are normally constructed to support people of 24 stone in weight (or higher). The exact amount of weight that a reinforced divan base can support will usually depend on what size it is e.g. single, double, king size. 

At Divan Base Direct our reinforced divan bases can support up to 75 stone (475kg) in weight. Note that these figures usually incorporate the weight of the mattress too.

What divan base storage options are? 

One of the most appealing parts of divan bases is the extra storage they offer. Not only do you get a comfortable, solidly-built bed, but you get one, two or even four drawers in which you can store spare blankets, pillows or anything else you need to store away. 

At Divan Base Direct we offer a range of different storage options; you can go for the standard two drawers on the one side option, a single drawer on each side, one large end drawer or even four drawers (two on each side). You can even choose to include much larger continental drawers.

Our complete divan base storage options are illustrated below:

Divan Bed Base Storage Options

If you want to know how big these drawers are, you’ll find the dimensions of each drawer type detailed in the table below:

Drawer internal dimensions

Width (cm)

Depth (cm)

Height (cm)

Standard drawer




Continental drawer




Large end drawer





Note - drawer dimensions will be different for other divan base manufacturers.

What height divan bases are there? 

In addition to the different types of divan base listed above, you can buy divan bases in a variety of different heights. We’ve set out the most common ones below. 

Standard height divan bases

Platform Top Divan Bed Base Only

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These are divan bases that are at the ‘standard’ height for a bed. With a mattress on top, these divan bases create beds of the normal height you would expect for a bed. 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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Some people prefer to sleep closer to the ground, and this is the divan base for those people. 

Whether from personal preference, or because of mobility issues, the dimensions of low divan bases make it easier to get out of bed. Low divan bases are also ideal for use in rooms with very low ceilings or other confined spaces. 

Because of their low profile however, these types of divan bases do not feature storage compartments. 

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

Divan bases with legs

Divan Bed Base on Wooden Legs

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Finally, we have divan bases with legs. If you don’t like the ‘boxy’ look of traditional divan bases, then divan bases with legs are a great option. 

They offer the solid construction of a divan base, but elevated on strong legs (which are usually made of either wood or steel). This gives the bed an elegant appearance and also provides room to store things underneath the bed.

Divan bases with legs are typically around 30cm in height.

So, that’s all of the ins and outs of divan bases. However, there are yet more types of bed bases to discover. Find out more about them below. 

Ottoman bed base

Ottoman Storage End Lift Divan Bed Base

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An Ottoman bed base is another very popular type of bed base. Primarily because of the vast amount of storage they offer. 

An Ottoman bed base is of similar construction to a divan base, featuring a wooden box-like frame which is then upholstered. 

However, where an Ottoman differs is its hinged lid. 

With an Ottoman bed base, the entire platform top is hinged and can be lifted up, so that the entire internal section of the bed base can be used for storage. Ottoman bed bases are ideal for use in small or narrow rooms where it wouldn’t be possible to use the pull out storage draws of a divan base.

Note - Ottoman bed bases are nearly always platform topped, so be sure to factor this into your buying decision.

What to look for in an Ottoman bed base

Because of the way Ottoman bed bases function, there are a couple of important things to look for when buying one:

  • The base should be robustly and solidly built to support a good quality mattress. 
  • The gas struts that are used on the hinge are capable of lifting a heavy mattress.

That second point is especially important. If you buy an Ottoman bed base that doesn’t have good quality gas struts, you’ll find that the struts either can’t keep the bed open and support the mattress, or they’ll quickly break.

Ottoman bed base strut close up

Tip - when looking at an Ottoman bed, check the Newton rating of its gas struts. The Newton rating refers to the weight that can be supported. At Divan Base Direct, our Ottoman bases are fitted with 600 Newton Gas Lift Pistons (400 Newton on 2’6 and 3’0 sizes). This means that the struts will be able to support the weight of the mattress ‘hands free’. 

Select a good quality Ottoman bed base and you’ll have a bed that offers you the perfect combination of comfort and storage space.

Electric bed base

Adjustable 5 Position Electric Bed Base with Remote Control

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A relative newcomer to the world of bed bases is the electric bed base. Electric bed bases allow you to raise and lower parts of the bed in order to change your position. With an electric bed base you can easily transition from a sleeping position to a sitting or inclined position at the push of a button. 

It’s worth noting that there are two distinct types of electric bed base currently on the market: 

  • Consumer electric beds - for the average consumer who simply wants a ‘smart’ bed. 
  • Healthcare electric beds - for the elderly or people with mobility issues.

So, what’s the difference between these two types of electric bed base? You’ll find the answer below.

Consumer electric beds

Consumer electric beds are the most common type of electric bed base, with prices ranging anywhere from £470 up into the thousands.

These types of electric beds usually feature several adjustable positions - at Divan Base Direct, our consumer electric beds have 5 adjustable positions with a remote control to adjust Height, Head, Back, Knee and Foot Elevation. 

When buying an electric bed base for your home it’s important to look out for features such as an emergency lowering motor. This will reset the bed back to its standard flat position in the event of a power cut. 

You should also check what weight the electric bed can accommodate. Our electric bed bases are able to support a maximum user weight (including mattress) of 35 stone. 

Given that consumer electric beds feature many moving parts and electronic components, you should also check to see if your desired bed features a warranty. At Divan Base Direct, our electric bed bases come with a 3-year warranty.

Healthcare electric beds

Healthcare electric beds may seem superficially similar to consumer electric beds. However, the similarity is merely that - superficial.

Because healthcare beds are typically used for long periods of time, they are subject to stringent criteria. They also normally have additional features such as side bars, and the ability to pivot.

Bed frames

If you want a more traditional looking bed base, then a bed frame is the perfect solution.

Combining the convenience, build-quality and dimensions of a divan base, with the look and design of a traditional bedstead, bed frames come complete with a headboard and on some models a footboard and storage.

Bed frames are available in a range of different styles which you’ll find outlined below.

Divan bed frame

Vogue Nicole Premium Upholstered Drawer Divan Bed Frame

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divan bed frame features a divan base, which is raised from the floor by a series of feet, a headboard and on some options a footboard too. These all add up to create a traditional looking bed, but with the conveniences of a modern divan base. 

Our range of Vogue divan bed frames include models with 2 or 4 drawers, a huge range of fabric colour choices and a 5 year warranty.

Ottoman bed frame

Vogue Charlotte Heritage Ottoman Storage Upholstered Divan Bed Frame

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Resembling a traditional bed, but with the functionality and massive storage of an Ottoman bed base, Ottoman bed frames are a great choice for many people.

Our Ottoman bed frames come complete with a headboard and are available in a wide range of different styles from the traditional through to the contemporary - all of which are available in a range of high-quality fabric options including crushed velvet, chenille, cord and faux leather, which will make them the focal point of any bedroom.

Buy your next bed base at Divan Base Direct

So there you have our breakdown of the most popular bed bases. We hope you’ve found it useful. As you’ve probably already guessed, we stock a wide range of bed bases and possibly every variation of divan base you could imagine! Please explore our site, and if you have any questions, feel free to get in contact!

Shop divan 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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