How to Decide if an Upholstered Bed is Right for You

dark blue velvet upholstered bed

You are ready to upgrade your bedroom, and the first thing to go is your old bed frame and headboard. You think it will probably be an easy replacement, but there are so many choices out there and it becomes too overwhelming to pick just one. Do you go sleek and sharp? Classic and luxe? Vintage and cozy? Luckily for you, there is one style that can encompass all these looks and more: the upholstered bed. In this article, you will discover if an upholstered bed is right for you by learning what an upholstered bed is, the benefits of an upholstered bed, and how to find your unique look in an upholstered bed.

What is an Upholstered Bed?

The first step in deciding if an upholstered bed is right for you is to understand what an upholstered bed is. According to mattress company Casper, an upholstered bed is a headboard and bed frame covered in a layer of padding, which is then covered by a type of fabric. Odds are you’ve seen an upholstered bed at some point in your life. They are one of the most popular styles of bedroom furniture that is out there and used in hotels almost exclusively.

Upholstered Beds We Like

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Types of Upholstered Beds

Standard Bed

A standard bed is the simplest version of a bed consisting of a headboard, a base, and a spring box. Only the headboard is upholstered in this situation, as the remaining elements of the bed do not lend themselves to this type of décor. This is a great option if you are tight on space or are looking for a less ornate style of an upholstered bed.

brown tufted upholstered bed

Platform Bed

The platform bed is similar to a standard bed, but instead of a basic base, it will have a platform that you can upholster. The platform is the size of the mattress, with the mattress sitting directly atop the base. However, occasionally, the platform will extend beyond the width of the mattress to create a true platform experience.

Ottoman Bed

Ottoman beds give the same general vibes and appearance as a platform bed, but where you can raise the platform beds, ottoman beds always extend down to the floor. In an ottoman bed, both the headboard and the bed frame are tufted, giving it an appearance of an ottoman. A tremendous benefit to ottoman beds is that you can build them with the intention of storage. They have designed many ottoman beds for the bases to be drawers that slide out from beneath the bed. This is a handy option if you want the look of an upholstered bed but need more space for storage in your room.

Wingback Bed

A wingback bed has a distinct profile that is aligned with its name. The wingback look means it has two arms that extend perpendicularly from the base of the headboard, evoking the shape of extended wings on a bird. The wings can be in any shape and extend anywhere from a few inches to a few feet.

Wingback Beds We Like

Canopy Bed

Canopy beds add an extra element of fabric to an already upholstered bed. Besides the basic bed components being upholstered, the columns leading up to the canopy can be upholstered as well. To create the canopy effect, different yet coordinating fabrics can elevate the statement the bed is making. You should only use canopy beds, especially those that are upholstered, in large spaces as they take up a substantial amount of room.

Sleigh Bed

Like ottoman and canopy beds, they name sleigh beds because of what they look like. In addition to a headboard, these beds also have footboards, giving them the appearance of a sleigh. While most commonly made of wood, choosing to upholstered a sleigh bed will give you an encompassing look of comfort. Because of the additional piece in the frame, sleigh beds take up a lot of room, and upholstering them will definitely make this upholstered bed the defining feature of the space.

Sleigh Beds We Like

Panel Bed

This style of upholstered bed is not its own look per se, rather it is a style that you can implement on previously mentioned types of bed. A panel bed is just when you make the upholstery resemble panels. You can use this look in every other style of bed and is a quality option for a crisp, clean look.

blue upholstered bed

Panel Beds We Like

Elements of an Upholstered Bed

An upholstered bed is an elevated version of a basic bed and requires other elements to craft the look.

Bed frame

The bed frame of an upholstered bed gives the bed its general shape. A bed frame includes a headboard, side rails, and an end rail. Some bedframes will include wings on the headboard or a full footboard.


Padding gives an upholstered bed a look and feel of comfort. You can create the padding from a variety of materials ranging from down feathers to acrylic foam. So if you are prone to allergies or are looking for a particular level of comfort, be sure to identify what kind of padding is on the upholstered bed before purchasing.


The fabric on an upholstered bed holds the padding in and is the most apparent visual element of the bed. You can use almost any fabric in upholstery, but some, like cotton and acrylic, are most commonly used. Because of the variety of selection, the fabric is where most people have a chance to imprint their own personality in their upholstered bed.


Hardware is the final element added to an upholstered bed. It refers to pieces that are used to hold the other elements in place. Many upholstered beds use tufting to create a visual effect and additional hardware can emphasize this look.

dark blue upholstered bed

Benefits of a Fully Upholstered Bed

When deciding if an upholstered bed is right for you, you need to consider what your priorities are and what you are looking for. If comfort and personalization are at the top of your list, an upholstered bed may be the right choice for you as they are the main benefits of bringing an upholstered into your life.


Beds are not just for sleeping. So many people use their beds as a place of relaxation or a place to escape. After waking up or before falling asleep, the bed is the perfect place to lean back and read a book or watch television. The last thing you want when you are deep into the plot of your favorite book is for a sudden ache to hit your neck or back and take you out of the story. This is where an upholstered bed comes to the rescue.

Comfort is where an upholstered bed provides the greatest benefit. By covering a wood frame with padding and fabric, you create a soft, cozy surface. Lifestyle blog The Inside has great information on comparing and contrasting wood frames to upholstered frames to explain the difference in comfort levels. Both the type of fabric and the padding contribute to the comfort level. When considering an upholstered bed, be sure to note what makes up the padding and fabric if you want an extra comfortable bed.


With the variety of options in padding and fabric, it is no surprise that personalization is an enormous benefit of upholstered beds. If you are searching for a prefabricated upholstered bed in stores or online, you will find a variety of options to suit your needs. If you are purchasing a custom upholstered bed, you can personalize everything from the padding to the fabric, from the shape and size to any hardware you want. Upholstered beds truly allow you to bring your vision to life and make an investment in furniture that will reflect your personality. 

If you are a crafting type, upholstering is a surprisingly easy project to tackle. While building an entire bed is a bigger project to handle, making a headboard from scratch is simple. A sewing machine is all you will need if you’re purchasing the wooden base, or you can easily create your own from plywood using a jigsaw. If are looking to create a tufted headboard, some specialty tools are required, but you can easily find them in stores and online. HGTV and This Old House have tutorials on building your own headboard, which is just about the most personalized you can get. 

tan velvet upholstered bed


Suppose you have an upholstered bed that you love. It fits your aesthetic and your space perfectly. Then, you move. Your new bedroom is a new style with entirely different accent colors and different woods. Do you have to buy an entirely new bed set? Not with upholstered beds! If something is upholstered, it can also be, you guessed it, reupholstered. 

A tremendous benefit of an upholstered bed is that you can always upgrade and adapt if necessary. With some simple tools, you can reupholster your own bed at home. If that doesn’t seem like an activity you want to tackle, there are upholsterers all across America that can help you with that. 

As discussed by Queen Anne Upholstery, reupholstering has more benefits than just updating the style. Reupholstering is also sustainable and good for the environment and it saves you money in the long run.

Makes a Statement

With the variety of styles, personalization options, and the possibility of change, an upholstered bed allows you to make a statement. And what better place to make a statement than in your bedroom? By choosing an upholstered bed and making it the bed you want, you are allowing your personality to shine through. 

Concerns with Having an Upholstered Bed


With wooden or metal headboards and bed frames, a simple wipe down usually suffices to clean it. Upholstered beds require a little more maintenance to keep them in tip-top shape. 

We love our furry friends, but they can affect an upholstered bed if their owner isn’t careful. If you have a pet that sheds and you let them in bed with you, be ready to deal with shedding fur on your headboard and bed frame. This can be offset by using a fabric sealer and vacuuming the fabric regularly. You can learn great ways to protect your furniture from pet hair from the Family Handyman.

Avoiding dust and dust mites in an upholstered bed also requires consistent maintenance. Vacuuming regularly with a deep clean every few years will keep your upholstered bed clean and add years to its life. If the bed has a bigger problem than dust mites, like bedbugs, having it cleaned professionally is the best way to go. 

The exception to this is leather upholstery. With leather, upholstered bed owners can simply dust and use quality leather cleaner to wipe down the bed frame when it needs cleaning. Be sure to monitor the underlying structure of the bed frame the same as you would if it were upholstered with fabric. The experts from Fantastic Services go more in-depth on the cleaning process for all upholstered beds.


Adding padding and fabric to a bed frame and headboard inevitably adds some inches to its dimensions. For anyone who has lived in a small apartment or has had a small bedroom, the value of a few inches is clear. When deciding if an upholstered bed is right for you, consider the space you are placing your bed in. If you are going for a cozy space, an oversized bed could be the right choice. Having a bed that is too big, however, will just make the space feel crowded. Build Direct has advice on how to choose the right size bed for your space.

grey upholstered bed

Upholstered Beds We Like

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Finding Your Upholstered Bed Style

Personalization and a large selection are great, but sometimes it’s hard to find the right place to start. Give some serious thought to your own style and the look you are going for. The following options are a good place to start narrowing down exactly what you are looking for. 

Classic Tufted Look

The tufted upholstered bed is what people tend to think of first. This is a classy yet versatile option for a headboard. In addition to being able to choose from a variety of fabrics, the tufted look also give personalization options within the tuft itself. Hardware can be inserted into the tuft or around the edging of the headboard, or it can be left as a simple tuft with no hardware. 

Tufting is traditionally done in an offset row along the width of the headboard, as seen in this article from Apartment Therapy. Recently, a unique trend has been emerging that sees tufts not as a singular point but used to create a geometric effect on an upholstered bed. Tufts can be strategically placed to create lines to emphasize the headboard shape or to create new shapes entirely.

The Sleek Modern Choice

Minimalists often feel a metal or wood bedframe is the only option to achieve the look they are striving for but that could not be further from the truth. An upholstered bed can be crafted to have a sleek modern look. Through the use of simple shapes and fabric choices, a minimalistic approach to upholstered beds is attainable.

If you are going for a modern look you will want to go for a simple rectangular shape with no ornamentation around the edges. Alternatively, you can choose a geometric shape like a circle or an octagon for a futuristic vibe. In terms of fabric, you will want to stay away from small patterns or heavily textured choices. Instead, look at sleek fabrics with no pattern or a large geometric pattern. You can find inspiration online in articles like 11 Minimalist Bed Frames to Introduce Serenity Into Your Space from lifestyle group Hunker. 

Luxe Fabric and Hardware

Maximalists can also find their niche with an upholstered bed. Nearly every fabric can be used in upholstery and that gives people plenty of opportunities to find the right fabric for them. 

luxury tan upholstered bed

Fabrics for a Luxe Feel





 Supima Cotton

As mentioned before, various hardware can be used in the tufting portion of the headboard. This means that a metallic flair can be incorporated to give an extra element to the bed. Gold, silver, bronze, black… any finish the hardware comes in can be used in the bed. You can check out upholstery buttons on for inspiration. 

So is an Upholstered Bed Right for You?

An upholstered bed is great for anyone looking to showcase their personal style and make a statement. 

With a wide selection of fabric types, shapes, and hardware, upholstered beds have the potential to fit any aesthetic. Be prepared for some vacuuming to maintain the upholstery on the bed, and be cautious of pet hair and the space an upholstered bed can take up. If you think an upholstered bed is right for you, start shopping or reach out to a professional to build a custom headboard. Find something that feels right for your needs today, and if you ever want a change, reupholstering is always an option!

Do you want an upholstered bed? In this guide, I will cover some of the pros and cons of purchasing a new mattress. We’ll go over the different types of upholstered beds and also take a look at what to consider before making your final decision.

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