What Are The Parts Of A Bed?

Whether you sleep in a luxurious bed with over 1000 count sheets or in a sleeping bag on the floor, you have a bed. The type of bed you have probably depends on culture, your design style, and your salary.

What Are The Parts Of A Bed?

The type of bed you have doesn’t matter. Beds are made for sleeping, not to impress. This is why we’ve labeled the parts of a bed in a practical way. So you can get straight to the facts before focusing on personal style. 

History Of BedsImage from Coffey & Co. House of Interiors

Even in our own lifetimes, we’ve probably seen the way that beds have changed. Bust just imagine how much beds must have changed over the thousands or even millions, of years they’ve existed. Because beds have been around for as long as humans have. 

The first beds were probably grass beds. The people who build these would put ash and certain plants that would repel insects and keep them safe. It took thousands of years for humans to build raised beds.

When they did, they were either made of stone or wood. This protected the bed itself and kept snakes and other creepy crawlers away. Since then, beds have evolved greatly, and today, there are dozens of different types of beds to choose from. 

Parts Of A Bed FrameImage from ULFBUILT

The bed frame is the main part of the bed. It is what makes the bed the type of bed that it is. But there are many parts to a bed frame. Not all bed frames have all of these parts, though many of them do. 

  • Headboard Slat – this is a vertical grid or set of slats attached to the back of the bed. This is usually the base for the headboard. For example, putting horizontal slats first will give nothing for the bed frame to attach to.
  • Headboard Top Rail – the top rail goes on top of the headboard slat that sets vertically. It is the top of the headboard whereas the slat is the bottom going up. You only need these two pieces for a headboard.
  • Headboard Cross Rail – if you want stability, then you’ll need a headboard cross rail. It supports the headboard from the base and attaches to the bed. While the slat is attached directly to the bed, the cross rail is attached to both.
  • Bed Side Rail – side rails support the bed lengthwise. They also allow for there to be storage under the bed, among other things. They go longways and are put on the top, at the bottom of the mattress.
  • Bottom Side Rail – the bottom side rail is put at the bottom of the bed. There isn’t usually much room between the bottom side rail and the floor. This rail is parallel to the other side rail, it’s simply lower.
  • Footboard Slat – the footboard slat is just like the headboard slat. In most cases, the footboard slat sets lower than the headboard slat so you can tell which is the head and which is the foot of the bed.
  • Legs – this needs little explanation. The legs can extend down from the headboard and the footboard on the sides. Without them, your bed would sit on the ground, which is a type of bed we’ll talk about later.
  • Cleat – this is the base of the bed. Oftentimes, this is a built-in boxspring, so there are two functions. To make the bed more comfortable and to serve as the base of the bed and frame. 

    Footboard top rail
  • Cut Slats – slats can be considered part of the cleat. They are slats that lay across the bed in the same way that the top rail does. You can add only a couple or many for optimum stability for your mattress. 
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Mattress Parts And Materials

What’s actually more important than mattress parts is mattress materials. Because mattresses are similar to one another. They are padding for one to sleep on comfortably. You can use a mattress without a bed frame but not vice versa. 

  • HD or PU foam – this is a foam layer that usually makes up the bottom layer of the mattress. It can also be used in eggshell padding and other cushioning and comes in both HD – high density -and PU – polyurethane foam.
  • Double Foam Quilt – this is a layer of the mattress that is quilted and provided cushioning and comfort.
  • Memory Foam – memory foam is a relatively new material that has primarily been used in the last twenty years. It sinks down when you touch it but will plop back up after a few minutes of being off of it.
  • Polyester Padding – padding goes in the center of the mattress and provides the most cushioning.
  • Springs – the springs make the mattress bouncy. Not all mattresses have springs, as those that are pure memory foam often don’t need them. But traditional mattresses always have springs.
  • Cotton Felt-  this is a material that separates the coil system from the cushioned layers of the bed. 

Bed ExtensionsImage from dararosenfelddesign

There are more things you can add to a bed other than a bed frame and a mattress. Many parts of a bed aren’t original parts. 

  • Canopy – a canopy bed is a bed that has a large frame over it for a canopy to hang over. It provides privacy and protection from elements and insects. You can add a canopy frame and canopy to any bed.
  • Post – bed posts stick out up from the bed and are an extension of the legs. They are usually built into the bed rather than added on.
  • Storage – if there’s enough room, you can add storage under your bed. If you have more than a few inches, you can build in storage. But if you don’t then you can add sliding storage that is separate from the bed.

Types Of BedsImage from Miller-Roodell Architects Ltd

There are dozens, if not hundreds of different types of beds. However, not many of them are too distinctive compared to others nor do they change the frame of the bed. Here are some of the most easily distinguished types. 

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A waterbed is a bed filled with water. They were used for medical purposes in the 1800s, and aren’t nearly as popular now as they were. However, some people still enjoy them and they can be quite an experience. 


Futons don’t usually make the best primary beds but they are great for company and guests. These beds come in many different shapes and sizes and usually rely on a simple frame and one layer of cushioning. 

Sleeper Sofa

A sleeper sofa is a sofa with a bed built into it. You can turn it into a regular sofa of a day time and pull the bed out at night. It works a lot like a cot as most of the time it is the same material, only with a thin mattress folded into it. 


A daybed is a bed with three sides rather than two. It has a headboard, footboard, and sideboard. They are made to be placed next to a window or against a wall. They also look quite good with a canopy. 

Murphy Bed

A murphy bed is a bed that folds up into a wall or cabinet. They were designed to save space and hide your bed away. You can learn all there is to know about murphy beds with this guide on murphy beds. 

Sleigh Bed

A sleigh bed is simply a type of bedframe rather than just a bed. The footboard, and often headboard, curve up like a sleigh. It was popular in France during the 19th century and is hopefully making a return soon.

Divan Bed

While divan beds vary in style, one thing they all have in common is that they are upholstered. They usually have buttons and are a smooth material. You can upholster most beds in the same way and consider it a divan bed. 

Platform Bed

A platform bed is a low-to-the-ground bed often without legs. They are popular in Japan and in minimalist homes, and also great for kids. Find out more about platform beds and why they are so popular here. 

Bunk Bed

Of course, the classic bunk bed. Most people know what a bunk bed is. They are beds designed for kids and people living in small spaces with more people than rooms. Don’t underestimate a good bunk bed. 

Trundle Bed

A trundle bed is an older style of bed that looks like a regular bed with a drawer. But the drawer pulls out to create a second bed. This is a great alternative to a bunk bed if you want to keep both beds low to the ground. 

Any More Parts?


Image from Tamara Rosenbloom Design LLC

Now that you know the parts of a bed, it’s easier to let people know what you want in a bed. Do you want a high headboard? Maybe a good amount of cut slats? And of course, don’t forget your add-ons. A canopy can transform any room! 



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