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Bedroom Furniture Buying Guide
Last Updated: 06/29/2009
Bedroom Furniture - The Furniture Authority
Bedroom set shopping just got more exciting!

A beautiful bed is a welcome sight after a hard day's work. Besides providing you with a place to lay your weary body down, a stylish bed greatly affects the atmosphere of your bedroom, which, in turn, affects your sleep. But throw in all the other furniture and putting together something comfortable can become quite complex. This bedroom furniture buying guide contains some basic information to help you create the right look for every bedroom in your home.

What you need to know
Before we really get going on bedroom furniture, let's review some furniture basics. First, realize that lumber is generally stronger, more durable and more beautiful than rattan, wicker, particle board or medium density fiberboard (MDF). Solid wood furniture is also more expensive. Here are two more words you want to look for: "Assembly required." For many, this is not a problem; home assembly saves you money, and it usually requires no real technical know-how. If you don't like the idea of building your bedroom furniture, however, avoid pieces with that description.

With that out of the way, let's discuss some of the more common pieces of bedroom furniture, starting with those that make a bedroom a bedroom.


Bed sizes

Several factors affect the size of bed you'll need. First and foremost, you need to take into consideration the size of the person or people who will sleep in it. King beds (California and standard) are the largest, followed by queen beds, full beds, and twin beds. The dimensions of each size are as follows:

  • California king bed: 72 inches wide x 84 inches long
  • King bed: 76 inches wide x 80 inches long
  • Queen bed: 60 inches wide x 80 inches long
  • Full bed (or double bed): 54 inches wide x 75 inches long
  • Twin bed: 39 inches wide x 75 inches long (80 inches for extra long twin beds)

The other factor to consider when deciding what size to purchase is the size of the room. You need to have space to walk around the bed without tripping over bedchairs, access your closet or change the sheets. In a small bedroom, a full size bed would probably fit better and make the room look bigger than would a king size bed.

Bed configurations

Your basic bed has a tall headboard on one end and a short footboard on the other end standing on short legs. In the middle is the frame whereon the mattress sits. Some beds have more than this, and some have less. What you need will depend on your comfort needs and your bedroom's decor. Tall people might want to avoid a bed with a footboard, as it might make it difficult to stretch out. If you are a vertically gifted person who really wants a footboard, get a sleigh bed that curves out away from the top of the mattress.

A bed's configuration will also affect your overall decorating scheme. While most iron beds would look great in a room decorated with antiques, they probably wouldn't fit very well in a room with modern bedroom decor. A sleek, low-profile platform bed would probably go better in that setting. If you're going for a classy look, you might consider a canopy bed or a poster bed. When shopping, just think about how the bed might look sitting amongst your other bedroom furniture and decorations.

Bed construction

How much work are you willing to spend to keep your bed looking good? Different materials require different care. Wood beds are usually easier to clean and polish than some other common bed materials like powder-coated steel or brass. A metal bed won't be quite as susceptible to damage, however. Also, consider how often you will be moving the bed. If you plan on moving your residence a few times, get something lightweight that can be easily disassembled and moved.

Night stands

You can purchase a nightstand with drawers, with doors, with a combination of both or with open shelves. It's all a matter of what you want. Just make sure you pay attention to the height of the bed side table. It needs to be tall enough that you can reach your alarm clock, lamp and other bedside essentials from bed. Some night tables are short, designed to sit beside platform beds. Others are taller for a traditional bed with a box spring mattress. Ideally, you want the top of your night table or bedisde occasional table to be about the same height as the top of your mattress.


An armoire, also known as a wardrobe, can make a beautiful, formal addition to a master bedroom, even if the room already has a large closet. There are many different armoire configurations in many styles, from 18th Century Chippendale and Louis XV reproductions to pine wardrobes sporting contemporary rococo molding. The most common and basic configuration features a clothing rod behind double doors, along with a couple of drawers at the base. There are other, more complex types of  armoires, however. For example, you can get what's known as an "entertainment cabinet" or "TV armoire," which has a place for a TV and stereo concealed behind the cupboard doors.

Armoires take up a lot of space, relatively speaking. Make sure you get one that isn't too big for the bedroom. You also might want to measure the door and make sure the dimensions of the armoire allow for moving it in and out of the room.

Dressers and chests

It's all in the drawers -- how many and how voluminous they are. Basically, the bigger the better when it comes to dressers. If you're short on drawer space, you're stuffing the clothes in the drawers and forcing them shut. With more space in the drawers, you can avoid wrinkles in your clothes while allowing more air circulation.

Chests and dressers are almost synonymous. Dressers are usually wider than they are tall. A chest of drawers is a single, vertical column of drawers stacked on top of each other. Some are designated as lingerie chests, meaning they are narrower and smaller, perfect for storing their namesake. Others, like vanity tables and some console tables, feature drawers designed around bathroom article storage. Measure carefully, so you'll know exactly how much space you have for your dresser or cedar chest to occupy, then look carefully at the dimensions of each dresser or chest you consider to make sure it will fit through the door, around the bed and with the other pieces of furniture. For other brands of bedside storage, consider the shabby chic of an upholstered trunk or the country-style, rustic look of an unfinished pine sideboard or buffet.

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 > Platform Beds
 > Sleigh Beds
 > Canopy Beds
 > Bedroom Sets
 > Classic Beds
 > Night Stands
 > Bed Buying Guide
 > Headboards
 > Futons
 > Daybeds
 > Dressers & Chests
 > Mirrors
 > Armoire
 > Jewelry Armoire
 > Benches
 > Make up Vanity
 > Kids Bedroom Furniture
 > Kids Beds
 > Bunk Beds
 > Kids Play Furniture
 > Modular Storage
 > Fireplaces
 > Mattresses
 > Bed Frames and Trundles
 > Lighting
 > Buying Furniture
 > Plan Before You Buy
 > Furniture Types and Terms
 > Furniture Types and Terms
 > Engraving and Printing
 > Finishes
 > Dining Room Furniture
 > Common Dining Room Furniture Questions
 > More Ideas for Dining Room Furniture
 > Living Room Furniture Buying Guide
 > Common Questions about Bedroom Furniture