Mattresses: best mattress brands: Choosing a bed Types of bed

Family sleeping in bed

The average person spends a third of their life in bed

The average person spends a third of their lives sleeping - that's around 200,000 hours in bed. So you'll want to get the best possible bed for you, so that you can sleep well and feel refreshed and ready to go when you wake up.

A good bed starts with a good bed frame - we've outlined the main types of bed below. 

Once you've chosen a bed, you'll need a great mattress to go with it. Our mattress reviews can help you find a mattress that will support your back well and last for years and years - and Best Buy mattresses start at less than £200.

Divan beds

A divan bed is the most popular and simple style of bed available - and there are countless varieties on sale. Essentially, a divan is a base, on to which you add a bed mattress and headboard, sometimes as part of a bed package. 

There are two types of divan base available. Pocket sprung divans have springs in the base, offering a softer top and extra comfort. Cheaper platform top divans have a hard top and will give a firmer feel, though the overall firmness of the bed will depend on the mattress you choose.

Example of a double-sized divan bed

Divan beds are simple and practical

Divan bed pros

  • The most widely available type of bed
  • They tend to be cheaper than other types of bed
  • There are lots of sizes, shapes and storage options to choose from

Divan bed cons

  • They tend to be less ornate and stylish than other varieties of bed
  • Only some divan beds offer extra storage


Bedsteads are slatted frames (as opposed to solid bases), usually made of metal or wood and comprised of a base, legs and headboard. They're usually a more decorative option, with different colours, finishes and styles to choose from - from a traditional pine bedstead to a luxurious four-poster bedstead. 

Upholstered bedsteads, clad with leather or faux-leather, are an increasingly popular option.

Double bed with a bedstead frame

Bedsteads can offer a more decorative style

Bedstead pros

  • They often look great, with lots of styles available
  • There's no need to buy a separate headboard
  • Different slat types are available to offer a harder or more flexible feel

Bedstead cons

  • Storing items underneath the bed can look messy
  • They usually need to be self-assembled
  • They tend to be more expensive than divan beds

Storage beds

As the name suggests, storage beds offer just that - lots of tidy storage options below or underneath the bed. They're a great option if you're short on bedroom space but want something a bit more stylish than a standard divan bed. Choose between storage drawers or an ottoman-style bed that fully lifts up, letting you store your belongings inside.

Double bed with drawers for storage

A storage bed is a good space-saving option

Storage bed pros

  • They have lots of storage space
  • They're particularly suitable for small bedrooms

Storage bed cons

  • Ottoman beds can be heavy and awkward to move or lift

Sofa beds, folding beds, bunk beds and cot beds

There are lots more types of bed on the market - often designed to meet a specific requirement or appeal to particular age groups.

  • Sofa beds and folding beds: flexible, compact bed options that work well in a guest bedroom, or where a bed won't be used everyday.
  • Bunk beds: two beds in one for brothers and sisters in a shared bedroom - and lots of play fun for kids, too.
  • Cot beds: for smaller children, cot beds are convertible cots that can help your little one make the transition from cot to bed. Our video guide to buying the best cot bed includes advice on buying a safe cot bed that's right for your child.

More on this...