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Bed Buying Guide

Shopping for a bed for your bedroom? If you’re looking for a headboard, footboard, bed frame, or any combination of the three, there are numerous resources available to you. Unfortunately, due to the "pushiness" of local furniture salesmen and their bias towards their own products, the information gathering and buying process is typically not a pleasant one. To make your bedroom furniture shopping experience productive and enjoyable, try following these simple guidelines.

Of primary importance in selecting any piece of bedroom furniture is the evaluation of its construction and materials. If you’re seeking a metal bed, avoid headboards and footboards made of aluminum, tin or thin gauges (thickness) of steel and iron. Go instead with a heavy gauge or solid iron bed or steel piece. Be forewarned, solid iron beds, and solid metal beds in general, can be extremely pricey (and heavy!), and unless your budget dictates such an expense, opt for a bed with a medium gauge of iron or steel with a nice finish.

For wood pieces, make sure that veneering, wood composites and wood fillers are kept to a minimum. Ideally, it’s best if only solid wood components are used -- stay away from products made with particle board, melamine, or medium density fiberboard (MDF). As for woods, many varieties are used by today’s woodworkers and manufacturing facilities. Both softwood and hardwood species can be used, but typically the denser the wood, the more durable the bed. Again, a word of caution, extremely dense woods, or scarce woods (such as hickory, mahogany, or burlwood) may raise the price of a bedroom piece outside of your budget.

The most important component of any bed is arguably the bed frame, or bed rail system. This portion of the bed holds your box springs and mattress, and in the end, elevates your sleeping surface off the floor. Unfortunately, there’s no real standard in the bedding industry for bed frames, so frame and bed rail construction, support, and durability vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. If you can, find a bed frame that is free-standing (has feet of its own). Ideally, the frame should have four feet that sit on the floor, but typically, the more feet, the better. A free standing frame will minimize the racheting of your bed (the rocking or squeaking of the bed), and will increase the overall life of your furnishing. The bed frame should have brackets to attach a headboard and an optional footboard, and each bracket should have at least two slots to accept hardware. For larger sizes (queen, king, and California king), the frame should have a center support with a crossbar, for added stability. If you opt for a bed with bed rails or a side rail system, make sure the side rails have ample slats stretching across the rails for support.

Shopping for bedroom furniture doesn't have to be a hassle. Keep these guidelines in mind when shopping for a bed and you'll be sure to come away with a piece that you'll enjoy for many years.

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