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What Is The Difference Between Bed Frames And Divans?

Bed Frames

We all know that beds are massively important – after all, we spend something like a third of our lives in them – but how many people know the difference between a divan and a bed frame? Ever since the early days of make-shift bedding, people have made all kinds of innovations for sleeping technologies, from innovations in mattress materials to novel bed frame designs.

But in the wake of all these advancements, there’s a lot of jargon floating around, and since asking for “the wooden one” isn’t your best strategy, we wanted to equip you with the knowledge you need to hunt down the ideal bed. From single bedframes to the double Divan bed base, there’s so much variety in materials, designs and functionality that it can seem overwhelming, so let’s start from the beginning.

What is a Bed Frame?

A bed frame (also known as a bedstead) is a supportive frame that supports your mattress above the ground and allows for easier movement, sometimes including wheels. Bed frames have existed for centuries and have numerous benefits, such as improved support, style and protection against insect infestation.

Although the first bed frames were simple things made from copper or iron, there is now a huge variety of bed frames to choose from, including ones made from metal or wood and even more outlandish frames with added features such as storage drawers or even TV screens. Some of the most common types of bed frames are:

  • Platform bed frames: These simple frames are made of a raised platform with supporting slats and minimal adornment.
  • Sleigh bed frames: Named for their similarity to horse-drawn sleighs, these bed frames have curved headboards and footboards and are often made from wood or upholstered.
  • Four-poster bed frames: Made with four tall posts at each corner of the bed, these bed frames are stylish and dominate the room, but offer little practicality for their verticality.
  • Canopy bed frames: Like four-poster frames, these beds have four tall posts at each corner of the bed, holding up a canopy – often fitted with curtains – for an imperial look.
  • Bunk bed frames: These space-saving bed frames are made of one or more beds stacked vertically with a connecting ladder, allowing you to use the lower bunk as storage space or stack multiple beds in the same footprint.
  • Round bed frames: In addition to classic rectangular designs, you can buy circular bed frames to really set your bedroom apart from the rest.
  • French bed frames: The “French” refers to style rather than nationality, as these bed frames are fitted with elaborate heads- and footboards that evoke classic French designs.

What is a Divan?

The word divan stems from an old Persian term for council chamber or long couch (as the ancient Persians cleverly furnished these chambers with long cushioned seats), but in modern English, divan refers to a type of bed frame made of a wooden box upholstered in fabric. Many models of divans include wheels and drawers, allowing you to move the bed and store spare bedding easily, making a great combination between style and functionality.

What’s more, certain models of divan offer even more functionality, such as zip and link divan beds, which are made of two separate single size divans which you can zip together or separate however you want. With a wide range of designs and plenty of functionality, divan beds are highly popular but many lack the style of traditional bed frames, as divans are made from simple upholstered wooden frames.

Things to consider

Choosing between bed frames and divans for your bedroom is a lot more complicated than opting for drawers or no drawers, as the two types of bed platforms have drastically different styles and features. Also, there are many bed frames that can offer some of the benefits of a divan (such as storage and wheels for easy movement), so don’t assume that you’re locked into one or the other if you have specific needs.

Generally speaking, you should focus on the essentials and leave the rest until the end when choosing your bed frame, as even the most beautiful styling can’t redeem a bedframe that fails in its most important job – supporting you as you sleep. Firstly, make sure that your chosen bed frame or divan can fit neatly in your bedroom, is big enough to support your mattress, then worry about style and storage.

Which is better?

As with most debates, the answer is a little of both: Sure, divan beds often have more functionality and storage than traditional beds but lack the style or durability of properly made bed frames. For example, divan beds are better suited to bedrooms with restricted space, though a traditional bed frame is an obvious choice if you aren’t tight on space.

It ultimately comes down to your practical requirements – size, storage, etc. – and sense of style, as this is where the most apparent differences are. If you want to maximise sleeping space whilst minimising the footprint of your bed, then go tall with a bunk bed, or opt for the double Divan bed base to increase your sleeping space and storage at the same time.

How to buy a bed frame or divan

Like any other piece of furniture, you can find bed frames and divans in a wide range of furniture shops, specialist stores and online shops. One important thing to remember is that you should have a clear idea of what you need before you choose a product, as the last thing you want is to find that the beautiful divan you ordered online is too big to fit through your bedroom door.

If there is no way to ‘try before you buy’ – i.e. see the product and examine dimensions, material, and so on – make sure to double-check the product details and read reviews to understand the product better. After researching and evaluating products that catch your eye, you are now ready to purchase your ideal bed frame or divan, so get shopping and remember to research before you buy!

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