Bed Bases Explained

Most everyday mattresses are used in combination with a bed base; such as a divan, bedstead, adjustable base or bunk bed. We advise to ensure that your mattress and base are suitable for use together, especially if you are buying them separately!

Here is some expert advice on the subject:


Divans are still the most popular style of base in the UK. They are essentially an upholstered box, fitted with castors for mobility or on legs to create space beneath. These days there are many beautifully tailored and upholstered bases with matching headboards offered in a range of colours and fabrics.There are three main types of divan:

  • Sprung edge divans are the most luxurious option and feature a complete open coil or pocket spring unit mounted on a frame which acts like a giant shock absorber, increasing the mattress’s durability.
  • Solid or platform top divans have a rigid, non-sprung top panel, often made from hardboard. Beds with these bases are generally firmer, as well as cheaper than beds with sprung bases.
  • Firm edge divans generally feature a smaller number of larger, heavy duty springs within a rigid, wooden sided frame. A divan is useful if you’re tight on space as most are available with drawers or lift-up storage, known as ottomans. Storage need not affect the comfort or quality of the bed – but it does cost a little more.


Slatted Bases

Slatted bases are mostly used with bedsteads. These can be either rigid (with no give) or flexible. Flexible slats are made from laminated soft woods mounted in a frame creating a modest level of springiness from their bowed shape. The tension of some slats can be adjusted to suit individual requirements. The space between slats on most, cheaper, rigid bases is usually wider than on flexible slatted models but it is advisable to ensure the gap is not more than 9-10cm (approx 3in). Wear and tear on a mattress will be greater the wider the gaps.



Bedsteads come in a vast array of styles from traditional classics to more modern designs and are available in wood, metal, plastics, upholstered or any combination of these. Your choice will largely be an aesthetic one but bear in mind mattress support. This could be fixed or sprung slats or a metal grid or rigid woven wire. 


Adjustable Beds

Adjustable beds are becoming increasingly popular as the bedroom evolves into a multi-functional space. As well as reading or having breakfast in bed, people now watch TV from their beds and spend time on their laptops and mobile devices. Of course, adjustable beds still offer many benefits for a range of medical complaints requiring a raised sleeping position or raised legs or aid getting in and out of bed. Styling choices range from a traditional divan look right through to contemporary bedstead designs. Some even incorporate massage units as an optional extra!


Bunk Beds

A bunk bed is a type of bed in which one bed frame is connected on top of another. The design of a bunk beds allows two people to sleep in the same room while maximizing on the available floor space. Bunk Beds can ofetn be found in places llike ships, summer camp cabins, hostels, children's rooms and college or university residence halls.

Bunk beds are normally supported by four poles or pillars, one at each corner of the bed. A ladder is used to get to the upper bed, which is normally surrounded by a railing to prevent the sleeper from falling out. Some models also have a privacy curtain for the lower bunk. Because of the need for a ladder and the height of the bed, the top bunk of a bunk bed is not recommended for children under six years of age.