Your bed is one of the most important pieces of furniture you'll ever buy. It needs to look lovely, be right for the room and - perhaps above all - be comfortable. Storage beds are a great way of really maximizing the use of space. But sadly, they're not all the same. So here are a few things to consider when choosing yours:
Check carefully the size of the bed frame itself. We think of beds as coming in standard sizes, but this often refers to the size of the mattresses. Many ottoman beds have large frames to accommodate the mechanism needed to lift them, so the footprint is far larger than it needs to be. Storage beds are meant to give your more room, not take it away.
The storage area may be big, but how easy is it to get to the things kept at the back? Some storage beds don't raise the mattress very high leaving you to reach into a narrow, dark space. So look for one where the mattresses lifts high and it fully supported when it's open. If your storage bed needs to be against a wall or in an alcove, why not consider one with a side-opening mechanism?
The storage space will be large but will it be strong enough to take everything you want it to? Some storage beds have thin, unsupported bases, which will bend and bow when loaded. Or the space can be divided into two so is nothing like as usable. The best are those with a strong, supported base. Consider also how the frame is supported when it's closed, beware of corner blocks that don't support the frame on all sides, this can cause the frame to bend out of shape.
Some companies only offer beds in two sizes and with just one storage depth. Others - particularly where the beds are made in the UK - have a full range, a choice of depths and can made a bed in any size you need. Many manufactures make storage beds in bi-cast leather and only one colour option. But is that really what you want? There are beautiful fabrics and real leathers out there in hundreds of colours. If you're buying online though remember that not all screens show colours accurately, so always ask for a real sample before you buy.
Bedrooms are often upstairs and the access can be extremely tight. A bed which is supplied ready-made or in only one or two large pieces simply may not fit in. Consider too that if the bed is delivered by a courier they are unlikely to help you get it to its final position. Do you have to assemble the bed your self or is a time saving home assembly service offered? A new bed should last you many years. So check it's easy to take apart and put back together if you.
Many storage beds are supplied with a intergrated headboard, which you may not want. Others can be made with or without - and a headboard can even be added at a later date. There may also be a choice of feet - castors are great if you need to move the bed around for example.
Storage beds should be designed to be used every day and made to last to many years. But very occasionally there can be a problem and your new storage bed should be guaranteed against manufacturing defects. Consider too how and where it was made. For example it's much simpler to repair something that has been bolted rather than welded together. Likewise parts are going to be more difficult to obtain for something made in China compared to something made here in the UK.
They may look similar, but they are far from it underneath! The quality of the materials and workmanship varies hugely. Beds made in China are often mass-produced to a cost, where as others produced here are carefully hand made with enormous attention to detail. If you choose a small, British company the chances are you'll be carefully guided through the buying process and the after-sales care will be good too. As with many things in life, you get what you pay for. There's lots to think about. But get it right and it will be money very well spent, storage beds truly do offer the best possible way to increase the storage in your home. Go on... Sleep on it!