Ideas for Choosing a Modern Bed
The clean lines and stark edges of modern design doesn’t mean you can’t find a comfy modern bed. And since you spend a third of your entire life asleep, your bed had better be good. As the focal point of the bedroom and one of the largest (and maybe most expensive) pieces of furniture in your home, choosing the right bed for your needs is one of the most important decisions you’ll face when furnishing your bedroom. From aesthetic choices to overall footprint, here are some tips and ideas to consider when selecting a modern bed.
As a general rule of thumb, allow for at least 8 by 8 square feet of floor space AFTER you factor in the size of your bed and other furniture in the room. Since the average bedroom is 200-300 sq ft, that leaves you with enough wiggle room to allow for doors opening into the space and walkways around your furniture. For a queen-sized bed, at 60" by 80" (that’s 5 by 6.5 feet), the minimum size bedroom would be 10 by 10 feet--other furniture notwithstanding.
Make sure your furniture around the bed doesn’t hinder your movement. Leave space along either side and at the end of the bed; keeping lounge chairs, night tables and dressers out of the way of most of your bed’s entry/exit points ensures you never wake on the wrong side.
In smaller spaces, you may find it necessary to get creative with layouts and other furniture choices to ensure you have enough room to maneuver. A good starting place for most needs is to allow about 24-30 in of space for a walkway on either side and the end of the bed. If you have doors that open into the room, though, allow at least 36 inches for clearance (the width of a standard door).
If space is hard to come by, consider alternate layouts such as placing a night table at the head of the bed or eschewing one altogether. You can get a similar functionality with a wall-mounted reading light and a neat stack of necessities next to or even tucked under the bed.
Whether a minimal aesthetic is your aim or floor space is at a premium, some beds do double duty as storage units. With a bed like this one from Calligaris, you could even forgo a chest or closet space and store shoes, containers, and more right under the bed.
Platform beds not only add storage, they can eliminate the need for a separate box spring under your mattress. Many have drawers that are good for primary or supplemental storage, depending on your needs and other furniture. Just be sure to take into account the space you’ll need to pull these drawers out when planning your walkways. Another kind of built-in design includes beds with nightstands built into the headboard, which lends a seamless look.
Your bed is the most important functional piece in its namesake room, but it doesn’t have to be the center of attention. Low profile frames let other features take the spotlight, like a great backyard view or special ceiling detail.
When using a bed with built-in nightstands, you can select accent furniture that doesn’t exactly match the bed frame. This helps to keep your overall look more interesting and personal (and less like you ordered the whole room from a catalog).
The bed is the focal point of the bedroom because its sheer size dominates the space. A tall headboard reinforces this point with a dramatic edge. Depending on the height of the frame (and of your ceilings) the headboard might act as wall decor, or build your wallscape around it for contrast.
If you’re not in the minimalist camp, simply add more texture and visual interest for a cozy and sumptuous effect. This button-tufted bed is nevertheless modern thanks to its straight lines, and the wall decor in large rectangles reinforces the drama as the round artwork complements with contrast.
Particularly for rooms on an upper floor (or in a remote location) where privacy is less of a concern, you may like to place your bed by large windows. A simple bed frame and lots of clear floor space add to the impression that your bed is a hideaway among the trees.
On the other hand, smaller spaces or just different aesthetic needs may call for a lighter look. Beds with slim silhouettes, airy spindles, and slender slats create visual space as the eye moves through the frame. This kind of bed even works in front of windows since it won’t obstruct the view as much as solid headboard. And tapered legs add to the visual flow so the overall effect isn’t weighed down.
The flip side to a neutral, go-with-anything bed is a fabulous centerpiece. The bed is naturally a bedroom’s focal point because of its size, but its style can easily influence the rest of the room. Showstopper beds come in all kinds of variations, from futuristic floating frames to modern canopy beds suitable for the kings and queens of loft living.
A modern canopy bed can be a dramatic centerpiece without overpowering the whole space. Keep the look light by hanging lightweight fabric or forgoing the drape altogether. A beautiful, sleek wood frame looks just as classy without the curtains.
Upholstery is no longer relegated to medieval tester beds or studded and button-tufted headboards. Some modern frames are fully upholstered all the way around and give a luxurious, soft contemporary look. A large piece of soft furniture will help absorb sound for a quieter night’s sleep, too, which might be especially helpful in bedrooms without wall-to-wall carpeting.
Perhaps more important here than in any other room, everything you touch in the master bedroom should feel sumptuous and comfortable. Nubby rugs, thick covers, and squishy pillows will be in contact with more of you in the bedroom than other places (unless you’re au naturel in every room--we don’t judge) so make sure to choose all surfaces with their tactile sensations in mind.
Bedding is an easy and fun way to update the master bedroom with little commitment. Plus, when covered by a slightly more permanent duvet or comforter, you’re free to go wild with pattern, color, and even material without detracting from the room’s overall scheme. As with your mattress choice, though, select high quality linens for the best feel and longest lasting solutions.
A super quick update can be affected by adding throws in various colors and styles. They’re great to grab in case the temperature drops and add a pop of color and texture wherever they’re, well, thrown.
Some people are rock-solid sleepers who barely need to make up the bed in the morning--for the rest of us, consider these designs to keep your bed clothes where they belong. A wraparound headboard might help keep your pillows in place if they’re prone to sliding off the side of the bed. And bed frames with footboards keeps covers from falling completely onto the floor if you toss and turn. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Finding the right modern bed is one of the most important choices you can make, but it can also be one of the most daunting. Particularly challenging is figuring out the right size–with so many choices, it’s no small task. Find everything you need to choose the right size in How to Pick the Right Size Bed.
When she’s not polishing up promotions as a Web Content Specialist, Kelsey is practicing how to properly pronounce Danish, if only to be able to say “home is where the ‘hygge’ is.” Aside from Scandinavian design, she spends a lot of time thinking about organic gardening, mini farms, honey bees and England.