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Best beds 2023: Our favourite wood, metal and upholstered frames and divans

If you're looking to snooze in style and comfort, these are the best beds you can buy

It makes a lot of sense to invest in the best bed that will ensure a good night’s sleep in the long run. After all, by the time you turn 50, you’ll have spent approximately 16 years of your life in bed. “We splash out on holidays, kitchens and sound systems, why not on something we use every single day?” asks Simon Williams of the National Bed Federation.

But there are a few factors to take into account when picking out a new bed, and it’s not always clear where to start: Divan or bedstead? Double or king? Solid slats or sprung? These are all questions you’ll need to ask yourself before you even think about buying a mattress for your bed.

That’s why we’ve put together this roundup, as well as a comprehensive buying guide, to help you make your decision. So, read on to find out the answers to these questions, as well as our pick for the best beds that should last for years.

How to choose the best bed for you

What types of bed are there?

The two most common types are divans – a deep-sided base that the mattress sits on top of – and bedsteads, where the mattress sits on slats within a frame. Divans provide extra support and can also offer built-in under-bed storage. But most aren’t that stylish and you often have to buy the headboard separately.

Bedsteads have more going for them aesthetically, as well as providing fewer places for allergens to accumulate. But you don’t get quite the consistency of comfort right across the bed and you’ll need to make sure the slats are secured to the frame and evenly spaced.

Solid slats or sprung slats?

There are two main variations of bed slat, solid and sprung, and both types provide a different sleeping experience:

Solid slats: As the name suggests, these are made from a non-flexible material such as pine, and they are designed to give firm support to your mattress and you.

Sprung slats: These are designed to respond to the weight of your body, and are made from a flexible wood such as beech plywood. Slightly curved, they give a little when you lie on top of them and spring back up when pressure is removed. Sprung slats will make a mattress feel slightly less firm, making them ideal for sleepers who find solid slats too rigid.

As a general rule, most manufacturers recommend having spaces no longer than 7cm (2.8in) between bed slats. However, you should check the brand’s product information for more exact advice on this.

For more information, see our extended buyer’s guide following our roundup below.

READ NEXT: Best duvet covers, sheets and bedding sets to buy

The best beds you can buy in 2023

1. Zipcode Design Hope Bed Frame: Best double bed frame under £250

Price when reviewed: £205 (double) | Check prices at WayfairThis simple wooden bed frame is sturdy and relatively easy to assemble. And for a budget bed, there’s little else you could ask for.

The frame is made from solid pine, with a natural wood grain finish, and includes a headboard. You might find better quality from more expensive frames, but considering a double falls comfortably below the £250 price mark, there’s really not much to complain about. It’s the perfect choice for a kid’s bed or spare room.

Key features – Sizes: Small double, double; Delivery time: See ‘Deliver to’ section on product page; Delivery cost: Free

Check prices at Wayfair

2. Emma Signature Bed: Best overall bed frame

Price when reviewed: £513 (double) | Check prices at EmmaUPDATE: Since publishing our review, Expert Reviews has noticed a recent influx of negative customer reviews for Emma Sleep on Trustpilot, with many customers complaining of delays to shipping and a lack of communication over when deliveries will happen. According to Emma Sleep, these delays have been caused by factors “not under [the brand’s] control”, and a spokesperson said that the process of transitioning “order management and fulfilment platforms” has led to these issues. We’ve also been told that resolving these issues is a top priority for Emma Sleep and the company is expecting to resolve the issues in the coming weeks. We will be sure to bring you more information as we receive it.

Emma’s Signature Bed is understated and elegant. The metal frame is upholstered in a choice of light or dark grey polyester fabric, and is available with or without a headboard (tufted or plain).

You also have the option to add up to four matching storage drawers, but don’t worry if your budget won’t stretch to accommodate these additions: the 20cm of under-bed clearance is enough to accommodate any number of cheap third-party storage boxes for keeping spare bed linen and other items packed neatly out of the way.

Another standout feature of the Emma Signature Bed is the 200-night trial period that comes with it, giving you ample time to decide whether or not the bed frame is for you. This is the same 200 nights you get with Emma’s bed-in-a-box mattresses, and it adds some welcome peace of mind when you’re spending this kind of money.

On that note, the Emma Signature Bed isn’t cheap. Prices start at £513 for a double, rising to £627 if you add a tufted headboard. Our advice is to wait for one of Emma’s promotional sales, or peak sales periods such as Black Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day. It’s also well worth considering the Signature Bed Bundle which combines the bed, Premium Mattress, Mattress Protector and a pair of Original Pillows for a discounted price.

Key features – Sizes available: Double, king, super king; Design/colour options: Two upholstery colours (light grey and dark grey), two headboard designs (plain and tufted); Delivery time: Dispatched in 1-3 working days; Delivery cost: Free; Warranty: 10-year guarantee

Check prices at Emma

3. John Lewis & Partners Bonn Upholstered Bed Frame: Best value bed

Price when reviewed: £249 (double) | Check prices at John LewisThis bed from John Lewis’ Anyday range has a similar design to the Eve Tailored Bed Frame but costs a fraction of the price. It’s made from pine and rubberwood, with a muted grey polyester upholstery and sprung slats.

It might not look quite as nice as the Eve bed frame and it doesn’t offer quite as much under-bed clearance (15cm rather than Eve’s 19cm), but you can’t really complain when it costs almost half the price in a double size. You can use the money you save to pay for John Lewis’ bed assembly service (which will cost £29).

Key features – Sizes available: Double, king; Alternative options: Also available as a platform bed without headboard, and an ottoman storage bed; Delivery time: 3 working days; Delivery cost: Free

Check prices at John Lewis

4. Silentnight Divan Base: Best basic divan bed

Price when reviewed: £379 (double) | Check prices at SilentnightA divan is an ideal choice if you want to economise on storage space, and this divan from Silentnight gives you plenty of customisable options, allowing you to find the perfect bed for your needs. You have a choice between full-length ottoman storage, drawers, or a combination of both. And if you’re looking to save money, you can even cut back on storage altogether.

At an additional cost, the Silentnight Divan base also comes with a choice of headboards, ranging from the Paris headboard (at £125 for a double) to the Palermo (at £235). All of this comes upholstered in a neutral grey or sandstone which should look nice in most homes.

Key features Sizes: Single, double, king, super king; Design/colour options: 24 options; Delivery time: 14 days; Delivery cost: Free; Guarantee: 5 years

Check prices at Silentnight

5. John Lewis & Partners Rouen: Best statement bed

Price when reviewed: £699 (double) | Check prices at John LewisWith this bed, the in-vogue diamond-styled buttoning is bigger and bolder than ever, and it’s versatile too. You can either make it a showstopper bed in a minimalist room or blend it into a look of more understated elegance in a room with other stylish or dramatic furniture. And the neutral tones (with a choice of 43 colours) mean it will go with pretty much any décor.

The oversized headboard is soft against the head – wonderful for reading – and the bed is really well made, too. The curved look and twisted wood legs give it a softness that makes it exceptionally inviting and the sprung-slat system gives extra height and a good base for a decent mattress (not included). You can pay extra to have it assembled for you, but it doesn’t take all that long to do it yourself.

Key features – Sizes available: Double, king, super king; Design/colour options: 43 options, including five Aquaclean fabrics; Delivery time: 14 weeks; Delivery cost: Free, £29 with assembly service

Check prices at John Lewis

6. Wrought Iron Brass Bed Co. Sophie: Best metal bed

Price when reviewed: £895 (double) | Check prices at John LewisIf a traditional metal bed look is more up your street, this iron frame from the Wrought Iron and Brass Bed Co. should fit the bill nicely. Living up to the brand’s name, it’s made in the UK from solid wrought iron to give it a sturdy build, with slats made from Scandinavian pine.

The sleek design, complete with bedknobs, gives it a touch of Victorian elegance without going over the top, and it comes in a choice of two colours: black, or cream. Weighing in at 50kg (double), it’s very heavy, which is worth taking into account depending on where you plan to put it. That said, John Lewis states that the frame will be delivered and assembled by the supplier.

Key features– Sizes available: Double, king, super king; Design/colour options: Black, cream; Delivery time: 6 weeks; Delivery cost: Free

Check prices at John Lewis

7. Button & Sprung Jasmine: Best retro bed

Price when reviewed: £1,095 (double) | Check prices at Button & SprungThis has a pleasing combination of curves and clean lines. Coupled with the wide wooden legs, it definitely has a 1970s retro look about it yet it still maintains a modern finish and we found it excellent quality for the price, with a robust, sturdy and luxury feel. You can get all the standard UK sizes, as well as a range of bespoke sizes if you’ve got an unusual shaped room and you can mix and match between other ranges too in terms of base, headboard and fabrics (even using your own). There’s a 100-night free return if you’re remotely unhappy with it.

Key features – Sizes available: Single, double, king, super-king; Alternative options: Bed frame or divan; Delivery time: 5-7 weeks (depending on the area); Delivery cost: Free; Warranty: 10 years

Check prices at Button & Sprung

Best beds: Extended buyer’s guide

What size bed should I buy?

Choose the biggest bed you can afford that will fit in your room. Ideally, you want a king-sized bed, especially if you’re sharing with a partner. “A standard double bed is 4ft 6in wide, which gives each person just 2ft 3in – that’s less room than a baby has in a cot,” pointed out a National Bed Federation spokesperson.

So how big is big enough? “You should be able to lie side by side, with your arms behind your head and your elbows out, without touching,” is the official advice. “Your bed should also be 10-15cm longer than its tallest occupant: anyone taller than 6ft (1.8m) should consider a bed that’s longer than the standard size.”

How important is the mattress?

The quality of your mattress is the most important factor when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. If you’ve had your mattress for more than seven years, it might well be time to replace it. Clues include waking up with stiffness or aches and pains, or if you find you sleep better in beds other than your own. Sagging and lumpiness are also indicators that your mattress is on its way out. Ideally, buy your bed base and mattress together, or at the very least, try mattresses on a similar type of base, as the two are designed to work together.

If you’re struggling to pick out the best mattress for you, then be sure to check out our best mattress roundup and buying guide next.

Will I be able to get the bed upstairs?

Remember that most divans have split bases and most bedsteads will be delivered in pieces for assembly at home. But do tell your retailer about any potential access problems such as narrow staircases and always check the terms and conditions.

What else should I consider?

Shop for the best value, not the lowest price. The better the construction, the better the support and comfort, and the longer the bed will last. Also consider the bed’s height – many modern styles are quite low, while designs with storage drawers may be much higher.

Where possible, try before you buy – as mentioned, ideally with the mattress. Check dimensions, particularly if the mattress and base aren’t from the same manufacturer – many imported bedsteads come in European sizes, which are nonstandard in the UK.

A final thing to check is delivery times: a bed can take months to arrive, especially if it’s made to order. Will the couriers dispose of your old bed? Do you have to assemble it yourself? And what happens if you need to send it back under warranty?

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