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Metal bed frame vs. wooden bed frame vs. upholstered bed frame

Whic is best: metal, wooden or upholstered bed frames? 

In pursuit of a good night's sleep, mattresses get most of the focus, but your choice of bed frame is also crucial. When you're trying to decide which type of bed frame is right for you, it can be tough to choose between metal, wooden and upholstered bed frames.

Metal bed frames are strong yet lightweight, but they're more prone to creaking. Wooden bed frames can be extremely durable, but there are plenty of cheap, flimsy options that are best to avoid. Upholstered bed frames have soft headboards that are great for sitting up to read or watch TV in bed, but they're difficult to clean. 

Metal bed frames

Metal bed frames come in various styles and are generally painted, with black and white being the most commonly found colors. While they often come with headboards, some contemporary styles do not include them. 

Generally an affordable choice, most metal bed frames cost $100-$400, although some elaborate options can cost more. 

Metal bed frame pros

  • Metal bed frames are reasonably lightweight, so if you want to move the position of your bed, it should be light enough to pick up and move easily. 
  • Although you can encounter some cheap, flimsy options, you don't need to spend as much on a metal bed frame to get a durable option compared to wood or upholstered bed frames. 
  • It's easy to wipe metal bed frames clean if you spill anything on them, and there's no chance of them getting damaged by woodworm or termites. 

Metal bed frame cons

  • Metal bed frames are more likely to be squeaky than wooden or upholstered options, so you'll need to tighten any screws and bolts semi-regularly to help avoid this. 
  • While it's possible to find traditional-looking metal bed frames, they tend towards a modern appearance that doesn't go with all decor styles. 

Best metal bed frames

Olee Sleep Modern Metal Platform Bed Frame

This low metal bed frame has a popular contemporary design and is easy to assemble because of its simple style without a headboard or footboard. It's affordably priced yet durable, which is ideal for buyers on a budget.

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Zinus Mia Metal Platform Bed Frame

Available in black or white and with or without a headboard, it's easy to tailor this bed frame to meet your preferences. With simple, clean lines, this bed frame looks great with a range of decorative styles.

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Elegant Home Products Victorian Vintage Style Platform Metal

This bed frame can work well with both traditional and contemporary decor for a modern take on a classic. It's available in twin, full and queen sizes with either a silver-gray finish or a black finish.

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Wooden bed frames

Wooden bed frames can be solid wood or engineered wood, such as MDF or particle board, with a wood veneer or laminate outer layer. Depending on their material and design, wooden bed frames can vary widely in quality, from the highest quality wooden bed frames that could last hundreds of years to flimsy particleboard options that don't feel sturdy even when new. 

The price of wood bed frames can vary as much as their quality, with basic options starting at less than $100 and the highest quality frames costing more than $1,000. 

Wooden bed frame pros

  • Wooden bed frames have a warm, classic look that works well with almost any decorative style. 
  • As long as you steer clear of flimsy wooden bed frames, they generally feel stronger and sturdier than metal ones, with heavier, thicker legs. 
  • It's much easier to clean a wooden bed frame compared to an upholstered bed frame. 
  • You can choose from a range of natural wood colors or opt for painted wood if you prefer. Plus, it's easy to paint a wooden bed frame if you want to change up your bedroom decor down the line. 

Wooden bed frame cons

  • Quality solid wood bed frames are heavy and difficult to move once assembled, even with another person to help you. 
  • Decent solid wood bed frames cost significantly more than metal bed frames of comparable quality. 

Best wooden bed frames

Mellow Naturalista Classic Wooden Platform Bed

Made from solid pine, this is a great option for the price. It might not last a lifetime, but it's surprisingly sturdy and has an attractive mid-century modern style.

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Zinus Tonja Platform Bed

This striking wooden bed frame features a tall headboard, although there's also an option without a headboard if that's your preference. It's made from pine but features some steel components for additional support.

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Acacia Aurora Wood Platform Bed Frame

Available with either a caramel or chocolate finish, this is an excellent choice of bed frame for people who like darker woods. It's low to the ground with a contemporary-looking headboard.

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Upholstered bed frames

Upholstered bed frames are usually made from engineered wood but are covered in fabric with a soft layer of foam between. They're great for anyone who loves the luxurious look of an upholstered bed, although they're not as common in modern styles of decor.

Because of the extra materials and work that goes into making upholstered bed frames, they tend to be relatively pricey compared to metal and wooden options. Depending on the design, you can pay  $200-$1,000 on an upholstered bed frame.

Upholstered bed frame pros

  • The headboard on an upholstered bed frame is soft with foam padding, which is excellent for anyone who regularly sits up in bed to read or watch TV. 
  • Upholstered bed frames often have drawers or other storage solutions built into the base. 
  • You can choose from a wide range of colors and fabric types, so you're sure to find an option that you love or that matches the existing color scheme in your bedroom. 

Upholstered bed frame cons

  • If you get the upholstered parts of your bed frame dirty, they're difficult to clean. 
  • You'll need to vacuum your upholstered bed frame every few months as fabric collects dust.

Best upholstered bed frames

Zinus Lottie Upholstered Platform Bed Frame

This attractive upholstered bed frame has square quilting on the headboard and comes in gray, blue slate or beige. You can choose options with a drawer for storage or with handy built-in USB ports.

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DHP Cambridge Upholstered Platform Bed

This is an excellent choice for anyone who needs more bedroom storage as the mattress and slats lift up to reveal a large area to stash bedding or other items. It's available in light or dark-gray linen, gray velvet or black faux leather.

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Roundhill Furniture Nantarre Fabric Tufted Wingback Upholstered Bed

This is an elaborate upholstered bed with gorgeous details on the headboard, such as diamond tufting and nailhead trim. It has a classic design and feels extremely sturdy.

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Should you get a metal bed frame, wooden bed frame or upholstered bed frame?

There's no clear bed frame winner between metal, wooden and upholstered frames. It mainly comes down to personal preference. For instance, some people love having a comfortable upholstered headboard to lean against, while others think they look old-fashioned. If it still isn't clear which bed frame material is suitable for you, just choose the one you like the look of best.

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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