What Is A Bed Frame? Everything You Need To Know

Written by
 Purple Staff
Last Updated
January 30, 2023
min read

A bed frame is a flat base that supports your mattress and keeps it off the floor, away from allergens, dirt, and other irritants. Like mattresses, bed frames are crucial in providing the proper support you need each night.

Although bed frames come in dozens of varieties and styles, making them challenging can make the shopping experience overwhelming.

This guide will tell walk you through what a bed frame is and the various kinds.

What Is A Bed Frame Used For?

Bed frames were invented in the mid-1800s to balance lumpy and uneven mattresses. There are many practical uses for a bed frame, including the following:

  • Mattress hygiene: While you can theoretically place your mattress on the floor, doing so exposes it to contaminants like mold, mildew, dust, dirt, stains, and mites. Raising your mattress with a frame can keep it from becoming dirty.
  • Storage: A taller frame can provide additional storage if you have limited space. Some frames also come with built-in pull-out drawers.
  • Support: Placing your mattress on the floor can cause it to move around or become lumpy, making for a deeply uncomfortable sleep. With a frame, you can keep your mattress firmly in place and distribute weight capacity evenly. With ample support, you increase your mattress’ lifespan and prevent sagging. Frames are especially helpful for thinner mattresses with softer materials, like a bed-in-a-box.
  • Aesthetics: Because a bed acts as a bedroom centerpiece, one without a frame can look “incomplete”, especially in a larger room. Bed frames come in all designs, from traditional to modern.

Not sure what bed frame is right for you? Read our guide on choosing a bed frame.

Pros Of A Bed Frame

Many people think that bed frames are frivolous and decorative, so you may be wondering whether you need one. The truth is that frames can provide many advantages, such as the following:

  • Improved sleep hygiene: As we mentioned, bed frames can protect your mattress from bacteria on the floor. You’ll be less exposed to potential allergens with a bed frame.
  • Extended warranty: Did you know that placing your mattress on the floor can void its warranty? If it gets damaged in ways you could’ve prevented, manufacturers may not provide a replacement.
  • Enhanced support: Even the most expensive mattress won’t provide the appropriate support without solid foundations. Regardless of materials, mattresses without a frame will sag quickly and won’t be as comfortable to sleep on.

Cons Of A Bed Frame

Now that you know the advantages of modern bed frames, you may wonder whether they have cons. While not too significant, there are a few things you’ll want to consider:

  • Additional cost: Some bed frames are costly. For instance, adjustable bed frames that contain motorized parts and boast extra features can cost over $4k. 
  • Parts to break: Like most any product, bed frames naturally can break down over time requiring replacement.
  • Difficult to move: Some frames are not collapsible, making them challenging to move from room to room. Be sure to check on set up requirements before purchasing a frame. 

Types Of Bed Frames

Like mattresses and platforms, there are many different types of bed frames. Each comes with its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Not sure what bed frame type is best for you? Read our guide on bed frame types and common questions.


Platform beds are standalone frames that don’t require an additional foundation. They commonly comprise wooden or metal slats to provide optimal support and even weight distribution.

A decorative platform bed frame may come with a headboard and footboard. 


Floating frames are similar to platform bed frames except they are anchored to the wall. Some floating frames have legs, albeit discreet or hidden. These modern designs are minimal and can suit any room design.


As its name suggests, sleigh bed frames resemble a sleigh. With a curved headboard, these wooden frames make for a unique bedroom centerpiece.


Bunk bed frames can support two or three mattresses stacked over each other. These frames typically support twin sizes, though some can fit up to king-size mattresses.


Trundle bed frames are a type of “bed within a bed” in that they contain roll-out mattresses for additional sleepers. Most trundle bed setups comprise a large drawer underneath the primary bed, but others have a pop-up frame.

Common trundle bed sizes are twin and full, though you can find queen-size or king-size variations.


Murphy beds are a space-saving option, allowing sleepers to store them vertically in a wall or closet when not in use. They are available in nearly every size but are most commonly used with queen-size mattresses.


Daybeds are multipurpose structures with three frames, similar to a wider, deeper couch. They also double as regular couches, perfect for accommodating visitors.


Adjustable frames are remote-controlled structures that allow you to adjust the base’s angle. You can elevate the head or foot of an adjustable base to achieve optimal comfort. Some adjustable bed bases have extra features, such as temperature regulation, sleep tracking, and wireless internet connection.


Canopy frames comprise four posts that add a regal touch to your bedroom design. You can attach curtains to these posts for additional privacy or to regulate temperature.

Wrought Iron Bed Frame

These metal bed frames are highly durable and can last for decades, so it’s no wonder they’re extremely popular. Most wrought iron frames are rust-resistant and very easy to clean. They come in sleek, modern designs that suit minimal, brutalist, and futuristic bedroom designs.

Bed Frame Materials

Depending on the type of bed frame you choose, it may come in different materials, such as wood, metal, or fabric upholstery. Learn how certain materials can alter your sleeping experience below.


Solid wood frames are common and reliable. Variations of this material include medium-density fiberwood, which is highly durable, and particleboard, which is typically less expensive but flimsier. 

Wooden bed frames are long-lasting and easy to maintain but can be difficult to move because of their weight. 


Unlike wooden frames, metal bed frames are more minimalistic. Because it is lighter than a wood frame, a metal frame is often easier to assemble, disassemble, and transport. 

Fabric And Leather

For sleepers who prioritize aesthetics, fabric, leather, and upholstery bed frames make an excellent choice. These frames are typically built with wood or metal, have various soft coverings, are versatile, and come in many patterns and colors.

Bed Frame Heights

bed frames and average heights

Bed height can significantly impact your sleep experience. Your height options ultimately depend on your height, preferences, and any existing health conditions.

Standard Profile

Standard profile beds range between 13 and 15 inches tall. This is the most typical bed height and allows additional storage underneath your frame.

Low Profile

Low-profile beds are lower to the ground, standing under 13 inches tall. They are ideal for sleepers with limited space and individuals who prefer a minimalistic look. However, low-profile beds do not provide extra storage and can be uncomfortable for taller sleepers.

High Profile

At over 15 inches tall, high-profile beds complement bedrooms with high ceilings and ample space. They are ideal for taller sleepers and provide a lot of bottom storage. 

Key Takeaways

While you can use a mattress without a bed frame, it will be difficult to maximize its comfort and support. Purchasing a bed frame can provide the comfort you need and give your bedroom an elevated look.

If you’re looking for a reliable bed frame, shop with Purple! Our high-quality mattresses are designed to improve sleep quality and provide optimal comfort. Learn more about our frames by chatting with a sleep specialist on our website today.

Ascent adjustable bed frame: Designed to help improve your sleep quality and daily comfort. Premium, customizable support for your mattress at an affordable price.

Platform Bed Frame: The platform bed frame is designed to help improve your sleep quality and daily comfort. Premium, customizable support for your mattress at an affordable price.

Purple Bed Frame: The Purple bed frame is strong, stylish, and super-simple to assemble. Everything you need in an upholstered base for your mattress.

What Is A Bed Frame FAQs

What is considered a bed frame?

A bed frame is any structure that acts as a foundation for your mattress. This structure can be made from wood, metal, or upholstery.

Does a bed frame need a base?

Most bed frames already have a base and can provide sufficient support for your mattress.